It’s been almost three weeks since our hearts were shattered. It does not feel like it’s been that long. I still feel like the first week, from the time I found out until we laid her to rest, felt like one really long day. I don’t remember much about that week. I just know that it was one awful thing after another. I was trapped in the most excruciatingly painful time of my life, with no escape in sight. However, some time has passed now and our new reality is setting in.
PICKING OUT A HEADSTONE:
When we originally went to the funeral home, we did not make a decision about her stone. We chose to come back and make that decision once we were in a better mind frame. Thankfully, I was so sedated, I don’t really remember even being there. I am glad we chose to wait on making this decision but last week I had to go pick out our daughter’s stone for her grave. Austin was back at work so I asked a friend to come with me to help me pick out a couple for Austin to look at so we could decide together. I had NO idea what I was doing. I had no clue how I was supposed to pick something out for Ava Rae when I never got to meet her. Before I got out of my car, I prayed. I asked God and Ava to help me make these decisions since she left me too soon to know the perfect stone that would represent her tiny grave. As we were looking at the granite, I was already overwhelmed. It all started looking the same and did I mention that I was looking for a piece of stone for my DAUGHTER’S GRAVE!? Overwhelmed is an understatement! Anyhow, when I was almost ready to just throw my hands up about it, I saw one piece of granite in a different light. I saw pinks and greys and it was beautiful. It became so clear that God and Ava guided me to that piece of granite because it would remind me of her nursery. It was awesome. They were there! It was such a since of relief and confidence that I wasn’t alone. Now on to the next few decisions (fonts, a symbol or picture, and what we wanted it to say). We have not decided 100% on it but we are almost there. I know it’s just a materialistic thing but if this is the only physical thing we can give her, we want it to be perfect.
PANIC ATTACKS FROM HELL
Some of you know the full story of what actually happened on January 11th, but others don’t. This part of our story literally haunts me. I think about this everyday. Multiple times a day. Sometimes for hours and hours at a time. Just replaying it in my head. So, here is what happened: the night of January 10th, I noticed she hadn’t been as active that day. By this time, her kicks and crazy movements just became so normal I didn’t always think about it. I of course told Austin that I would go get checked out if I still didn’t feel her in the morning but I was certain she was fine. The next morning, I still couldn’t get her to give me one of her crazy kicks so I called my sister and she had me try a few other things to get some movement. Still nothing. Shockingly, I was still completely calm and convinced all was fine. I decided to go to the hospital just for a peace of mind. I told Austin to stay at work, I was sure all was fine and not to tell anyone because I didn’t want people to worry. I get myself up to Labor and Delivery and checked in. This whole time I am, of course, texting Jeni and Austin letting them know exactly what is going on. I get called back to the emergency area of L&D. Wendy is my nurse and she tells me she is going to look for the heartbeat with the Doppler. She looks for at least a minute but nothing. I’m kind of confused and Wendy tells me not to panic, sometimes it’s hard to get the heartbeat if they are in a weird position. She called for an ultra sound. While she was out of the room, I got scared. I text Austin that I needed him to come because I was scared. He was on his way. Jeni called because I text her that the heartbeat was not found with the Doppler. I heard panic in her voice and she just said, “I’m on my way.” We hung up. Wendy grabbed my phone and called Austin because I told her i could not tell Austin this about the heart beat. I just could not tell my husband this. He told her he would be there in 10 minutes. (For the record, she just told him that they had concerns for the baby and thought he should be here) Before I knew it, my doctor and her entire team of nurses, who have been with me every step of the way of this pregnancy, are surrounding me. Dr. Schmidt was not waiting for the US lady to get there. She found her own machine and came in and began the ultra sound. I was surrounded by a circle of women who were holding my hand, holding my leg, holding on to me wherever they could because they knew. And when Dr. Schmidt turned around and said, “I can’t find it. I can’t find her heartbeat” I needed all of them. I just screamed and cried. I was so confused and I just couldn’t stop screaming and sobbing. There are truly no words that I can write that would explain this feeling. It’s literally unimaginable. As I am screaming and sobbing, somehow, I’m being taken to an actual room. As I am roled up in a wheelchair to the hospital bed, Austin comes running in. Wendy did not have a chance to tell him. So I had to tell my loving husband that his daughter had died. He dropped to his knees with his arms around my waist and we cried. This was easily the worst moment of my life. Later, Austin told me that he didn’t even check in with the L&D front desk because he just heard me screaming crying and he chased after me until I was in his arms. This is what haunts me. This is the moment that keeps me up at night. This is what spins me into a panic attack that I can snap out of. That is the moment and sequence of events that changed the course of our lives. It changed us. It changed everything.
TIME OUT FROM LIFE!
After too many days of feeling like complete and utter crap, Austin and I decided to call an official TIME OUT! We are very fortunate that Austin’s family has a cozy cabin on Lake Limestone. It’s away from everything and everyone. And most importantly, our devastating reality. It was time to pack up and get the heck away from it all. This past weekend we just checked out of the world. It was great. We knew that all of our problems would be there when we got back so we tried to laugh, play with our crazy dog, fish, relax and just be immature and runaway from our problems, temporarily. It was amazing.
OFF TO TRY COUNSELING:
We are finally caught up most of the events! Counseling was actually tonight. We went together and we both really liked the therapist. She was extremely sweet, kind and we could feel her compassion towards us. She is a mother of two, so of course, our story caused her to tear up more than a couple of times. For us, this made her seem real. She understood the depth of our pain. We decided to do a couple session once a week and then a session with me once a week. We are hoping that therapy can help us continue to communicate and navigate our way through all of this.
MY LOVING HUSBAND
Once again, I just reiterate how incredible this man is. I mean, he is everything. The other day, I was crying and said, “I just want to hold her!” Austin came over to me and said, “Me too, babe. But since we can’t, I’m just going to hold you.” How does he know the things I need without me even asking him? He reassures me that God has something amazing in store for us. Knowing that my partner believes that and is moving us forward to our brighter days gives me so much security and hope. Even when I can’t move forward at his pace, he is doing everything he can to clear the path ahead of me. I love this man. I love everything about him.
Thank you all for reading our story, encouraging us to stay strong in our faith, sending us food, sending us cards and flowers, texting us, and more than anything, PRAYING FOR US. I know everyone has tons of stuff going on in their own lives so taking time out to read about ours means a lot.
So far what Austin and I agree we have learned through all of this is that we want so badly to be parents. We have so much love to give. We also realized how grateful for one another we are. We were very unlucky to lose our Ava Rae but we are so lucky to have been given this additional love to share between the two of us. Ava’s life gave our marriage an unbreakable love super power. The pain is unimaginable but this love we share, thanks to Ava, is just as unimaginable.