Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dear Jellybean -

You've been on my mind constantly lately. Of course, you were on my mind for many many months before now, but I've had time lately to really stop and think about you and about us and about everything that has happened.

You are the precious little gift that we never believed we would be blessed to have. During those years of sadness and grief when we lost three of your siblings, we hesitated to even dream that you would come into our lives. We treasured every day with your big sister and started to mourn that little brother or sister that she would never have. When we couldn't even imagine you existing, those were our darkest moments.

But then a series of miracles and angels entered our life and all of them helped bring you to us. Although every loss was tragic, the most recent one was so traumatic that it brought us our new doctor and her wonderful support team. It brought new tests and new diagnosis that helped us see that it was possible to hope again. It brought us careful consultations, lots of blood draws, many ultrasounds and other more invasive tests, but it brought us answers. Those answers allowed us to dare to hope, and that was something we hadn't been able to do for a long long time.

When we saw that first positive line on the pregnancy test, I can't even express to you how overwhelmed we were. My heart wanted to burst with joy at the idea that you would be joining us, but I was so scared. I knew that our first trimester would be three months of anxiety and fear as we hoped that you were strong enough and that we were able to keep you safe. I took the shots and the progesterone and the drugs to counteract the kidney infections. I learned to deal with small pains like bruising and bleeding because the payoff was you. Those small pains and inconveniences don't even come close to measuring up to your amazing little life, and I know we'd do it all again in a second. Every moment of every day was like living with my breath held - would something happen at any second? Would there be pain or another problem that indicated that you were in trouble? I have never prayed so hard or so long or actually given my life over to God. I knew I had no control at that point...I had to simply trust in Him that you would be ok.

And then we saw your heartbeat. Before we went in for that ultrasound, I couldn't breathe I was so scared. Thankfully, the angels that are our ultrasound techs knew our history and had experienced some of it with us, and they quickly looked for and identified your beautiful beating heart there in your chest. Even now, thinking about it, I feel those same tears of joy and relief. You were strong and healthy - even with my genetic problems and the problems my body was having. You were fighting through it all and were growing. I knew you were the little angel we had prayed for.

When I see how happy your sister is when she thinks about you or talks about you, I know that you are the missing piece in our lives. I didn't really know you were missing - I thought that something was, but I had started to believe that I was wrong and simply expecting or hoping for something that wouldn't happen. But now I know that you are our missing piece and you will make us a complete family. You have been so strong and so resilient. Whenever I hear your heart on the monitor, it both amazes and terrifies me. How can someone so small endure so much? When you kick me during contractions, I'm amazed by how powerful you are and how determined you are to fight back.

Knowing what we know now makes all of this so much more amazing and miraculous. The fact that Katie even exists and is the strong and healthy girl she is amazes me - we didn't know anything we know now and we didn't have any of the medical assistance. The outcome could have been so terrible, and we never even knew it. Now, knowing what we do, makes me appreciate all the more what you are going through and how hard you are fighting to grow and develop. A few weeks ago, you were particularly feisty during an exam and the doctor remarked, "Isn't it funny how God sends them to us in a particular order for a reason?" That's exactly it. Katie was our first survivor and you're doing the same - but showing that you're definitely going to keep up with your big sister at all costs.

So, now I sit here and just continue to pray that you will be the strong and resilient little fighter you've always been. I know that my body isn't cooperating and is making it very hard on you, but I know you're strong enough to make it through this. I hope that you'll show us just how strong you are by hanging out until 37 or 38 weeks, but I understand if it's sooner (try to make it to 34, though!). Right now, we've got contractions and pressure and medicine to try to endure, but very very soon you'll be in our arms and we can truly show you just how special and loved you are. You and your sister could not be more treasured in this family, and I just can't wait to have the opportunity to show you that.

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