Today starts the one week countdown to Pierce's BIG birthday. That's right, our once teeny tiny has grown so much and will be turning 1 next week. As I see the 12th of April quickly approaching, I must say, I'm pretty overwhelmed with emotions- happiness at how well Pierce is doing, joy at watching him grow and develop and sadness and pain as I reflect on how difficult this past year has been.
I've heard many micro moms talk about their child's birthday as one filled with sadness and tears. I suppose it's the dilemma of having on one hand, the most horrifying and tragic day of your life forever meshed with the beauty and joy of meeting your baby. These two events will always be seared in my mind. I imagine it will get easier, with each year that passes. But as for this year, the first anniversary, it's hard. This week has literally been the first time where I've allowed myself to feel the emotions of that day. Yesterday, as I drove the exact path to the hospital where Pierce was born (a path I drive 2-3x a week), it was like it was happening all over again. I remembered what it felt like to be rushing in the car, hoping and praying I wouldn't deliver a lifeless 23 week baby in the passengers seat. Desperately praying this was a fluke and that the contractions would stop. And yet yesterday, as I drove that drive (with my relatively healthy and happy baby in tow,) I couldn't shake those intense feelings. I kept mulling over them all morning/afternoon.
And then something sobering happened yesterday evening. Something that brought me out of that funk and reminded me of the rest of our story- the grace that we experienced (and continue to experience). I learned yesterday evening that my friend and her husband lost their 3 1/2 week old preemie son.
Upon hearing the news, I was flooded with more emotions that I had, until then, successfully blocked out. Remembering holding Pierce for the first time while kissing him, and saying goodbye to my sweet boy. Suddenly I was right there, in the NICU, placing him in his isolette thinking I'd never hold him alive again. And I remembered the misery and gut-wrenching pain of that moment. Pictures literally flashed before my eyes, snapshots of those tender moments, where Nik and I were at our most broken.
But for those who know our story, you know that it didn't end that day. Not many will say they had the experience of grieving the loss of a child and the miracle of witnessing that child survive in one day. For that I am so, so thankful and grateful. And because of that, I go into this next week with hopeful anticipation. Gratitude for the many miracles God has done in Pierce's life. And an understanding that I now have more empathy when talking with others who are suffering. I'll also enter this next chapter of our lives with a deep assurance that our good and sovereign God is at work in our lives, working everything for our good and for His glory.
Probably my favorite song right now is the one I'm about to share with you. It is so rich in theology, true to Scripture and is just perfect for reminding me of God's work in Pierce's life. (Side note: Aaron Keyes is one of my favorite artists. Check out the background story to this song here.)
And please keep my friend and her husband in your prayers. Also, please continue praying for baby Jude, who is struggling in the NICU right now.