Tomorrow is my first ultrasound. I'm headed to Balboa Navel Hospital in the morning to meet my doctor and enroll in the high-risk prenatal group.
Balboa Navel Hospital is where my girls were born and where my Ellie died. Aubrey was transferred from there to Rady Children's Hospital and passed away there.
I have been back to Balboa a few times since my girls died and each time has been hard. I believe that my girls got the best care possible in that hospital so I don't have any resentment or fear toward the place or the doctors there, but being there always brings back tons of difficult memories.
My worst nightmare became reality there.
The morning my girls were born I stood at the reception desk 24 weeks pregnant and said, desperately hoping I was wrong,"I think I'm in labor." After failed and frantic attempts to stop my labor I was in emergency surgery and my girls came into the world, perfect and tiny...and way too soon.
I forced myself to get out of bed so that I could see my girls before the day ended. I was so afraid they would die in the night before I had a chance to see them. From my wheelchair I met my girls for the first time. I felt so helpless seeing them connected to all those tubes and monitors behind the incubator glass. And they were SO TINY. I was truly amazed and terrified at how unimaginably small they were. To this day I am still taken aback when I see pictures of them.
I remember the NICU had a very distinct odor. That sterile sent reminds me of all my hours there holding the tiny fingers of my very sick girls. I remember all the meetings with specialist and experts hypothesizing about just how sick my girls would be if they somehow survived.
From the moment Aubrey and Ellie were born until their deaths, we only got good news once...the doctors were able to resuscitate them at birth. When I woke up from surgery my girls were alive. It was an answer to prayer. I begged God to let them be alive when I woke up and they were. Sometimes I feel like that was the only prayer God heard because from that moment on, however, things unraveled. But I know that is not true. God heard every single one of my prayers.
There is a tiny room in that hospital where I held my little Ellie while she took her last breaths and left us for heaven. And a very long hallway from that room back to the NICU where my husband walked her back to her bed after she passed with me crying on his arm.
It was the last place our girls were together alive.
I don't think I will ever be able to visit Balboa and not feel sad. My whole life changed in that place. I cannot be there without being reminded of the scariest and saddest days of my life.
Tomorrow will start a new chapter there. I will walk through the doors with a new pregnancy and a new hope that this time things can and will go much better.
Truthfully I am beside myself waiting for my first ultrasound. I am dying to know how many babies are in my belly. I have had a secret hope since my girls passed away that God would bless me with twins again, ones I could keep this time. And tomorrow I will find out if my prayers have been answered. Not that I will disappointed if there is only one, I will be thankful for what God has decided. I was telling my belly in the shower yesterday not to worry, that however many babies are in there are wholly loved and fully wanted.
But I have to be honest and admit I will feel a twinge of sadness if there is not two in there as my heart has not let go of the joy I anticipated experiencing the uniqueness of twins. I still long for that very deeply and have prayed earnestly for my heart's desire. Tomorrow I will know if my prayers were answered in this pregnancy, and although I am a little nervous, I can barely stand the suspense.
Tomorrow I will post any ultrasound pictures I get and fill you in on any important information. In the meantime I would appreciate it if you would keep my baby and I in your prayers as I face the emotional challenges of returning to Balboa. It is an understatement to say that this pregnancy has been an emotional roller coaster and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
I would also appreciate it if you would hope for me when I am too afraid to hope for myself.
I am so afraid to be hurt again that at times I find myself rationalizing hope away. Don't pray for twins Rachel, a healthy baby is the only important thing. Don't ask to feel well during your pregnancy, your only request should be to go full term. Don't get specific with your prayers, don't expose the deepest desires of your heart, just pray for God's will and be ready to accept it whatever it is, even if it hurts. Don't get your hopes up, be realistic, or you are likely to be disappointed again. All these are the words fear and doubt whisper into my ear. And I'll admit, they are pretty convincing sometimes. I get so afraid to hope, I mean really hope, for anything anymore, that sometimes I hope for nothing just to avoid disappointment.
But deep down inside I know that is no way to live. And Christ came to give hope, not take it away. It is ok to hope with all my heart. It is. Hope takes faith and faith pleases God. And it isn't about hope and faith as a means to get what I want like throwing coins into a wishing well, but hope and faith as a way of obeying and pleasing God. Hope IN as opposed to hope FOR. Hope builds our relationship with Christ. Hope is intimate. Hope is the result of, not the requirement for, trust.
But when I struggle can I ask that you would stand in the gap for me and be hopeful for me? I could use the encouragement these days as I face the challenges ahead.
Leave a comment if you will stand with me. I would be delighted to hear from you and value any advice you can offer.