Merry Christmas everyone! I've been asked a lot today how I'm doing and I appreciate that people care. To be honest I feel that this Christmas I've chosen to be numb of most emotions and avoid the pain. It's not to say that I refuse to grieve, I've still shed tears, but I didn't want to sob through the day and pushed myself to not focus on what I was missing today. Sadie was a fantastic distraction and was very excited that Santa remembered to bring her a wheelchair for her dolls. We had my parents out for a wonderful 5 day visit to keep us busy and distracted. They flew out today at noon so it broke up our day and helped keep my thoughts off missing Hope. We did make a stop at the Children's hospital on the way up to Shawn's parents house to drop off some treats for two families. I simply couldn't let today go by without acknowledging that there are still families spending the holiday in a cramped hospital room and not doing the things they normally would. I realize they are so blessed to just be together, but I know it's difficult and wanted to try to bring a smile, even if only for a moment. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do for families in the hospital this year, but December did not go according to plan!
December has not been a month of great health for our family and I've spent a lot of it on the couch. I started with a cold that was survivable, but not enjoyable. I then got the influenza virus, apparently a strain that was not covered by my flu shot. I was very ill and after being given IV fluids at the hospital, they decided to put me on antivirals. These may have helped, but I'm not really sure as I didn't react well to them. Eventually I was taken off of them, after I began vomiting each time I took them and feeling worse when they were in my system. I spent almost an entire day at my OB's office after vomiting all over myself while driving to my appointment! They didn't want to send me into the hospital as there were so many germs and my immune system was garbage. They started an IV right in their office for the first time ever and essentially put me in a storage room on a bed for hours while filling my body with fluids. I even had to show them how to use some of the equipment, all those months in the hospital pay off some days. They did an ultrasound of the baby to make sure she was tolerating all the sickness well. She looks great and is growing on schedule and developing as she should. I had the privilege of seeing her beautiful 4 chamber heart once again and could thank God for a miracle I never understood before meeting Hope.
When I finally began to feel human again, I spent a day running around to catch up on all the errands I had gotten so far behind on. While dropping something off at a friends house I jokingly told her I thought I broke my ribs. I had this terrible pain in my side that had started in the morning. By 4 pm the pain was so intense I couldn't handle it any longer and had to go back to the hospital again! They confirmed that I had indeed broken at least 1 but possibly 3 ribs from coughing so hard with all my yucky germs I'd been fighting. I spent the next couple of days on pain meds but eventually began feeling nauseous from those and went off them. I am now feeling a lot more comfortable and can cough or sneeze without getting tense beforehand. They said the healing process may be slow with all the movement in my ribs from the baby growing. They don't realize that we've been praying about it and things are healing faster than I expected and I'm almost back to my normal routine. I still have a difficult time picking up anything heavy, that includes Sadie girl.
This morning under the tree were a few gifts from my family for the new little lady that grows in my belly. Opening little girl clothes once again and being reminded that this girl is coming in a few short months was nice. I'm excited to meet her and often wonder if she'll look like Hope. I look forward to having the moments with her that I wasn't able to have with Hope. I feel afraid when I think about planning this daughter's 1st birthday as I know it was the only one I ever had the privilege of planning for Hope. At the same time, I look forward to telling her often about her big sister up in Heaven who was such a world changer and will forever be precious in our family.
I also had the joy of walking down memory lane. My mom worked tirelessly this year and completed a scrapbook of the first 30 years of my life! (I turn 30 on the 28th this month) She beautifully laid out our precious Hope and our life journey with her. I was also reminded of my terrible haircut choice in grade 8, boyfriends that just weren't Shawn and friends I haven't seen in years. It was such a gift to sit and go through it all with my mom and to enjoy her hard labours finally!
The holiday season was full of a lot of blessing. Although we thought often of Christmas last year and knew that our family was one short, we were glad that Sadie didn't have to spend all day at the hospital this year and could enjoy time with her extended family. Someone who never identified themselves dropped off very creative packages on our doorstep each morning for the 12 days of Christmas. I often laughed or smiled going through them and it was something to look forward to each day. We also received a video we requested be made after Hope's death and were able to watch it just before Christmas. Watching Hope smile and hearing her whine was a precious gift we will cherish. I have yet to sit through more than 20 seconds of it before the tears begin to stream. If anyone would like a good cry and a reminder of how bright her smiles were, I'm happy to watch it again! I also spent this Christmas knowing that Hope was celebrating Jesus' birth with the birthday boy. That's much more exciting than what we were doing here on earth and I picture her in absolute joy and peace and that is comforting. I don't wish her back here to a world of pain, I just look forward to joining her one day in paradise.