This 18th week of pregnancy is very special for my husband and me because it marks our 6th wedding anniversary and a total of 9 years together. I would never have gotten this far after losing Austin or in our pregnancy after loss journey without his love and support, so I am dedicating this blog to him.

To My Husband on Our Anniversary

From that warm pool in the hot Texas sun,
Spinning around the honkytonk dance floor,
Life together had only just begun,
But I knew it would become so much more.

A year of long distance was not a breeze,
But with letters and weekend trips we grew
Our affection for each other with ease,
A great love story blossoming anew.

Wedding First Dance - Emma's Bump Day Blog, Week 18: Forever and Always

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

We moved in together, our lives blended.
A simple question. Absolutely, yes!
Plans made, the day to be truly splendid,
Boots for dancing and a beautiful dress.

Our time together as husband and wife
Is filled with travel, adventures, and love.
Road trips and cruises, camping and wildlife,
Seeing beautiful landscapes from above.

Couple on adventure

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

We saved and made plans to buy our first house,
A place for our little family to grow.
You finished your degree. And I, your spouse,
So incredibly proud, more than you know.

At the end of summer, we saw the lines
That changed our lives forever and always.
Parents to be, making plans of all kinds
For the little babe we would one day raise.

positive pregnancy test

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

You came to every appointment with me
And showered our baby with love and care.
Feeling the kicks, picking out names, to be
A helpful father, ready and there.

Then there was no heartbeat. Our hearts broken.
The long drive to the hospital. The call
Our family to share the news. Unspoken
Pain, unbelievable, too shocked to bawl.

Dad holding stillborn baby

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

You held my hand, squeezing it tight. Told me
This would not break us, but make us stronger.
As the contractions grew, your arms held me,
Slow dancing until labor no longer.

No cries from the baby, a little boy.
Heavy in our arms, waiting for movement
That would never come. Our souls felt no joy
As we fell head first into bereavement.

couple kissing their stillborn baby

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

Austin Parker DeVanzo, our angel.
Our beautiful, sweet first child, gone too soon.
The grief, hard to imagine and painful.
You held me tight while I stared at the moon.

It was your strength and support that put me
Back together again.  I couldn’t have
Done it without you believing that we
Could build our love again rather than halve.

Over one year has passed since that Friday,
And our love continues to grow deeper,
Stronger than it was on our wedding day.
And now, another life growing, a keeper.

Ultrasound image

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

Thank you for being the partner I need,
For helping me through our beautiful life.
Our hands were blessed*, guaranteed to succeed,
Smiles grow on my face because I’m your wife.

Michael, thank you for giving me strength on my weakest days, and for allowing me to always be my nerdy, passionate, quirky self. Thank you for loving Austin every day, and for showing that same love for our little jelly bean. Thank you for being all the things and so much more than what was described in the Blessing of the Hands at our wedding and the man described here. I love you, forever and always.

Emma's 18-week bump: Forever and Always

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

The weeks seem to be flying by thanks to how busy work has been lately.

I can’t believe we are at 18 weeks already! Jelly bean is giving me sporadic flutters still, and I can’t wait for the days when they are more consistent so that I’ll have more regular reassurance that everything is alright. I’ve been feeling very eager for the anatomy scan that is 2 weeks away. Maybe if all goes well I will finally feel ready to announce this pregnancy to the world, so this baby can be celebrated and loved just as much as Austin was.

We have been feeling hopeful enough to start organizing the items in the nursery. We didn’t spend much time going through the items, but it was a good first round. Despite having many items already, it felt like there are so many still missing. Maybe we need more blankets and clothes. Or maybe more toys. Or maybe we are missing all of the items that would have been added over the last 14 months had Austin lived.

*Blessing of the Hands

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.

These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.

These are the hands that will help you, to hold your family as one.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

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