As we near the end of one year, and the beginning of another, most of us take a few moments to reflect on what has happened, and maybe plan a little for what is to come.
2011 has been the biggest year in my life. It has been both my best year and probably my worst too. But I count my blessings and keep to the positive, and I sincerely believe it to have been more good than bad. Now, you might think that sounds a bit crazy... yes, my baby died this year, and yep that sucks royally. But having my baby, feeling him kick inside me, seeing him move around on the 3D scan, and finally holding my darling - how can it really be bad!?
The year started out with hope for a positive pregnancy test. January passed and I learnt of a few of my good friends falling pregnant and I wondered when it was my turn. While we'd only been trying for 3 months (a long time for us), it gave me even the smallest glimpse into what it might be like (times 1 million) to have infertility problems, and it broke my heart.
Feb came and my period was due around the 3rd. I think I tested on 5 and 6 Feb and both times I got 2 lines! It wasn't really dark but it was surely there. We were over the moon with excitement! Number 4 was finally on its way!!
We took a bit longer to tell people this time - mostly because I had been a part of an online parenting community in recent years and knew more of how often miscarriage happens. As I look back, it appears to me that 12 weeks meant nothing in our journey.
We chose not to have the 12 weeks scan and NT testing. We both knew that if we were to have a child with Downs Syndrome, we would most definitely continue the pregnancy, so I think we thought it pointless. In hindsight, I wonder if this was a gift from God in itself. Maybe we would have found out about Sebastian's condition at the 12 week scan, maybe we wouldn't have. But God gave us that extra 8 weeks of pure happiness and bliss not knowing...
I turned 29 this year. My birthday was only a few days before my morphology scan. I was given a Pandora bracelet and Greg bought me an angel bead for it. He said it was because we were Christians, and I was his angel. In the week after, that little silver angel bead, it took on a completely different meaning.
I was in busy party-planning mode for Eli's 5th birthday. We had a huge (whole class, seriously don't ever do it!) SuperHero Party. It was nuts. But it was great fun. I had a friend make me a shirt to wear that said 'I make people, what's your super power?' That shirt almost felt like a lie in that week too. Epic fail at that super power...
It was Wednesday 18 May (4 days after my b'day and 3 days before Eli's) when we went for our 19 week scan, We were so excited to finally see bub and to find out the gender!! We went in thinking the worst case scenario would be that bub would be a boy. I think back at that now and shake my head. How stupid is that? I guess when you haven't been through any sort of baby loss, you are just so naive to it all really. I know I was.
When the sonographer went quiet for a while, I started to think maybe something was wrong. I could see black patches on baby's brain, but tried not to think anything of it. But when she said that 'something is going on with this pregnancy' I knew what I'd seen was right. Something was seriously wrong.
And so that was the start of this journey. We were thrown for 6. Absolutely in a state of shock. These things don't happen to us! No way. It was hard to believe I could have 3 perfect pregnancies and healthy babies previously, and now so many problems with my poor sweet baby. How!? Why!?
Trisomy 18. It was obvious in the scan. All the indicators were there. The doctor said she's be very surprised if it wasn't. And she was right.
Not compatible with life.
I HATE those words. More than any other. Loathe them.
And so we knew that our only path was to continue. Yes, we are human and we considered it very momentarily if we should terminate. But I don't think it would have ever ever gone any further than that split second thought. This was my baby. My goodness, I wanted and loved him SO MUCH. I had to give him all that I could. I had to 'look after him' while God blessed me with his life.
And then I went and played Super Mum and put on the best birthday party for my 5 yr old, only 3 days later. The shirt was a lie. I couldn't make people properly. But no. I knew that wasn't true. God somehow allowed this to happen. I knew He would make good from this. I trusted.
We loved him. We cherished him. We named him. Sebastian Levi. That was it. He was ours, and already a part of our family.
Lani turned 4 in June! She wanted a Princess castle cake, and so with belly making it a little more uncomfortable than usual, I went to making that princess cake, even if I was still decorating it as my family arrived for her little party. She loved it and she loved her pink and purple Dora rollerblades!
I threw a Baby Shower for Sebastian - or Baby blessing maybe. We donated money in his name instead of gifts we couldn't use. We had people write him letters and the children drew him pictures. And although he never got to see them, we have them with us and they make his life much richer in our memories.
We loved him.
We cherished him.
Then we had to hand him back to God. Fathers Day. 4th September 2011.
And the new part of our lives had begun. This new dance we are still in now, and will still be in next year too. We won't 'move on' from this, but we will move forward, a step at a time. Always remembering our sweet boy.
We moved house. We love it where we are now, and I'm slowly adding personal photos and especially Sebastian's things around the house. He lives here too.
Jaidyn turned 11. We had a Wii party for him. That was heaps of fun.
Christmas Day. Without Seb it wasn't the same. But it was still nice. We sent up red balloons for our boy and so many people around the world did kind things for others in his name. Beautiful.
Greg turns 31 tomorrow.
And so we say goodbye to 2011. But I don't say good riddance. I say 'thank you Lord for all that you blessed us with this year'... and here's just some of those beautiful gifts...
Our beautiful baby, Sebastian Levi Mardon. To love. To cherish. To hold. To return. But to love all the same.
My salvation. Where would I have been this year without you God? I couldn't have been so strong, or have been able to see the good in this Plan. Thank you.
Life lessons. Lessons mostly in my faith. In trust. In prayer. In love. In loving a baby I knew I had to give back, In trusting God's perfect plan although I'll never truly understand it.
New friendships. Some I had to say goodbye to, but more I gathered. I have come to know so many beautiful hurting mothers like myself this year. And God has brought others that I already knew to a more front part in my life. Support where I didn't think I would have it before. Thank you Father.
A new home. God knows the desires of our hearts and He gives and He takes away. We have a lovely new place to call home. Thank you Lord.
Boldness. To share my story. To share my faith. To share my sweet Sebastian. All God-given.
Salvation - again. But this time not mine, but a dear friend who I only met through Sebastian. Another soul to be reunited with her sweet baby girl in Heaven one day. Praise You Lord.
And many, many more.
And so I say goodbye to the year with thanks. For what will I ever be blessed, if I cannot see the good things God bestows on us - the beautiful gifts in our every day. With thankfulness comes blessings and miracles. And that is my stance.
I look to 2012 and already I am thankful for his blessings. I pray many more will come our way.
God is so good. Each day is a gift. Remember to thank Him for it. And for all the little blessings along the way in each day.
So here's to 2012 to be full of blessings. Hopefully one of them will be a baby I can bring home in my arms.