If you were here, we probably would have celebrated your sixth birthday this month. You would be learning to read and trying to keep up with your big sister. Maybe you would have joined her at the church music camp at the beginning of August and sung in the musical with her. Or maybe you would have sat with us and watched her, and tickled your little brother to keep him from falling asleep during the show.
Maybe you would have been with your sister in Daddy’s class when our homeschool community started this week.
Maybe you would be ready to join her in the church children’s choir next week.
So, so many maybes.
You’re not here in person. But I have thought of you a lot lately. Especially whenever I get another negative pregnancy test, and I feel that punch in my gut, again, that reminder that what I want so much is, for now, out of my reach.
Yes, after six years, four more losses, and one rainbow baby, we are still trying. Even though I am well into my AMA status. Even though we have two beautiful living miracles. Even though our last two losses were so early that a positive test gives me no reassurance at all until we get past several blood tests.
People wonder about that. They wonder if we are still trying (the first question I get when people hear about our most recent two losses). They wonder why, even if they are too polite to ask. They wonder how we keep going with so many losses behind us. I imagine they wonder when we will stop trying and just accept the family size we have.
I wonder, too, sometimes. I wonder if it is the missing of you and your siblings that has created this desire for more children, or if I would have had that anyway. I wonder if your brother would be here if you had lived, although the years between you make me think I could have had you both. I wonder if negative pregnancy tests would sting as much if I hadn’t said good-bye to so many babies, beginning with you, sweet girl. I wonder if another baby would share your brother and sister’s blond curls, and if so, if you would have them, too.
So, so many questions, and very few answers.
What I do know is that carrying you for the 18 weeks and 4 days that I did changed me. Your life made me stronger, wiser, more compassionate. Because of you, I learned to trust God more deeply than I ever had before. I learned the names and faces and stories of some of the most amazing, strongest people I have ever met. Because of you, I discovered the joy of reaching out to others on this road, and because of you I found a voice to share your story, and your brothers’ and sisters’, again and again.
And because of that, I’m not afraid to keep trying, to put my heart on the line one more time. Because you showed me the value and impact of every life, no matter how small, and the joy and wonder of being a part of that miracle fills me more far more than the fear of saying good-bye again.
Happy would-have-been birthday, sweet girl. I miss you everyday, but the memory of you lives on and strengthens me each day of this crazy journey.