Here I am last year on my birthday when I was 5 days away from welcoming our sweet Clara into the world. And I was a complete wreck. I’d spent the entire pregnancy in mostly panic mode, always worrying that I wasn’t feeling her move. I lost track of how many special trips I took to my doctor’s office or hospital triage to have an NST (non-stress test: where they hook you up to a machine that monitors the babies heartbeat and oxygen levels). These NSTs were the best times for me of the whole pregnancy. I liked them even better than the ultrasounds. For a glorious 20+ minutes, I could lie there listening and watching her heartbeat, knowing that she was ok. It was kind of like my drug. The first few times I had them done, it helped the panic and worry to stay at bay for a few days, but the longer into the pregnancy I got, and the closer I got to the 38 week point, the shorter the times that listening to her heartbeat helped me once I left the office. I was going daily by this week last year. The plan I made, with my doctor’s encouragement, was to try to have her at 37 weeks in order to avoid having to live through the 38 week point. It was at 38 weeks that Jude passed away. But through amnios we knew that her lungs weren’t ready for life outside the womb. And so the weeks from 37 – 39 weeks were excruciatingly long and difficult. It was in this last week before she was born that I celebrated my birthday. She was 5 days away from making her appearance. But I remember that even those 5 days seemed to last an eternity. But on August 7, all those worries dissolved into thin air when I heard her beautiful cry.
I could say here that I can see now how God was so good to us to bless us with our Clara. But then I have to acknowledge that it is the same God who kept Clara healthy and safe for 39 weeks of pregnancy that also took our precious Jude to heaven at 38 weeks. Working through this dichotomy has taken a lion’s share of my thoughts for the past year. But then I realized, it’s not a dichotomy. Those 2 things are not opposites. They don’t cancel each other out. I came to the grueling but ultimately satisfying belief that God is good no matter what. I trust Him. He loves me. And I just don’t/can’t understand everything that happens. So while the lingering effect of such loss is a doubt of “special blessings” bestowed upon those who: pray/serve/trust/have enough faith, I don’t know that that is such a bad thing. Because my faith in my God is based on a knowledge that His love for me is undeserved and full of grace.
And so while I miss my sweet, beautiful Jude every single day, I also hold dear every moment with Clara now, because I know life is fleeting, and we are promised only this moment with those we love. This year with our girl has been an extraordinary gift with a beautiful love.