I think I'll start calling my sleepless nights, the night shift. Even with the help of medication, sometimes my pain is too intense to quiet.
I'm sure the pain tonight comes from a few sources. My day started out well, taking Sadie to her beloved music class. She sang her heart out and had a blast as per usual. Sadie and I had a mommy and daughter date at McDonalds too.
After lunch we drove to the Children's Hospital to visit a friend and her daughter. On the drive there, I felt sad and talked with Sadie about how much I missed Hope. She informed me that I would be happy when I had a new baby. Always putting in a plug for the new sibling she wants so desperately. In the parking lot, I walked past license plates and vehicles that I had memorized as I used to pass by them each morning. Families that had also been at the hospital long term, ones that still had a reason to be there. As I walked into the unit I saw the nurse practitioner that had followed Hope on the purple team. She was an absolute gift and also the best one to draw blood from Hope's scalp. Seeing her brought on the teary eyes. I passed a few nurses that I had not seen and was able to hug, some that were excited to see Sadie again too.
Sadie and I visited with our friend and her daughter that continues to struggle for her life. We sat next to her twins and fed one of them as his brother slept. I've spent so much time in the hospital, it's almost a familiar comfortable place. Perhaps the fact that we'd spent the most recent part of our journey in the ICU and not on the ward made the difference. I was okay being there, in a hallway that Hope had spent the greatest portion of her life.
Sadie and I left after only 30 minutes. I know it's good for me to get back there and I do miss so many of the staff. I just wish I had a reason to go everyday still. The onset of this long weekend does not help. We lost Hope the day after a long weekend. I remember feeling like we were missing out on a long weekend because Hope was in the hospital. Now I wish I could spend this one there. I was so burnt out, I spent hours of that long weekend out with Sadie while Shawn cuddled Hope. Time he'll forever cherish and I'll continue to miss. I wish I had known that Tuesday morning that it was our last day. I would have fought to get on the plane with her. I would have stopped them from intubating her until Shawn was able to get there and hold her again. I wouldn't have put her down, not even to use the washroom. If I had known, I wouldn't have been able to look at her face like I did that day. I would have been crying too hard to see her beautiful eyes through my tears and her chin that stuck out so sweetly. Maybe ignorance is truly bliss.
Yesterday I went to donate blood for the first time. I'm not a fan of needles and I would not describe myself as strong. I can become light headed and exhausted quite easily. I brought a friend along for strength, but also to ensure one of us could drive home. As they poked my finger to test my blood before beginning, I thought of Hope. Each time they wiped her heel with alcohol she knew the poke was coming. As I waited for it myself I realized that waiting for the poke was much worse than the pain. She had it done so many times that she knew right away, even as a newborn.
As I sat in the chair, my blood pouring into the bag, I thought of the numerous times those bags of blood hung next to Hope. I looked around the room at complete strangers that had given their free time to come and donate blood. Many strangers, just like the ones around me, had given 20 minutes of their time and given us 13 months with Hope. Without the gift that each person made, we would have lost her many times over. I wish I could personally thank every donor whose blood was pumped into my child. I thanked one man on the way out, but could not properly articulate how I felt. It made me want to go into high schools and rally 17 year olds to start donating regularly. If everyone who was able did, there'd be no shortage.
A long weekend, a trip to the hospital and donating blood. The deadly combination that puts me back on the night shift once again. I ran my hands over the sleepers in her drawer tonight. Spent time looking at the brand new clothes, hanging in her closet that will never be worn by her. Stroked her crib that she spent too little time in. Moved pictures of her around in the house. Looked at medical supplies we had no purpose for. Folded laundry and once again longed for her clothes and blankets to be included.
No matter how deep the pain of losing Hope, I cannot stop remembering how deep God's love for me is. I read in a book tonight that God is not far from the brokenhearted, he is closer than ever as we need him more than we ever have before. I hate that Hope died, I hate that she suffered when she was alive. I hate that I will always be a mother that is missing one of her children. Yet, I cannot hate God and truly do not feel angry. Without the Lord, I would have missed out on so much more of Hope's life. He gave me the strength to get to the hospital. The strength to sit and do nothing for hours with a person that never spoke and often did not smile. God gave me a love for a child that I knew from the beginning could be taken from me. I don't question why God allowed Hope to be born broken, I can see the evidence all around me. Hope's life made an impact, people's hearts were turned to God. I don't understand why she had to die, maybe I won't until I see God face to face. Regardless, I choose to trust the God that has carried me this far and believe that he will continue to carry me until he carries me home to be with Hope. Without God, there is no hope for tomorrow.