Aubrey and Ellie were born at 24 weeks and 4 days also on a Tuesday. Tuesday, June 24th, 2008.
Today is a strange anniversary of sorts.
I have been counting down the days until today, holding my breath the entire time I think. Since I found out I was pregnant I have been hypersensitive to each day of this pregnancy, knowing too well that my new little guy needs more time, enough time.
24 weeks and 4 days just isn't enough.
Every night I prayed for enough time. Every night I prayed for more than 24 weeks and 4 days. Every night I prayed to get through today...
Today is a gift. As is every day after it. Every hour. Every minute. It is all one vital moment closer to enough time.
So why am I still holding my breath?
Today I woke up convinced it would be a turning point but it wasn't. I didn't feel better. Getting to today was not the magic cure all I hoped it would be. Honestly I have more anxiety than ever.
Because I don't just want one more day. I want ALL the days, every single day my baby needs to be healthy and safe and alive.
I want to bring this baby home.
He needs the days but I need them too. Sometimes I think I need them more.
Fear is such a battle. Daily I ask myself where to draw the line. How far will I let my fear take me? It starts with holding my breath through my entire pregnancy but it won't end when the baby is born. The fear will spill over . I will bring my son home and hold my breath for the first year of his life worried that he might die in his sleep or choke on something. And I'll cry in my prayers every night asking God to keep him safe for just one more day. The thought of losing him will overwhelm my life and I will never have peace...I will spend all the precious days of his life holding my breath...
Unless I choose to breathe.
How life goes, if and when things workout, and all the happy endings DO NOT cure the fear. Fear is choice. Which means letting go of fear is a choice too.
Why is it so hard?
I have to be honest. I don't consider myself a paranoid type of person. But after Aubrey and Ellie died I became afraid for the first time in my life...not afraid of death or loss, but afraid of pain. I never hurt like that before. I can't even explain it. And the thought of feeling that agony again, of having to live though the loss of another child, is my worst fear...one I have felt twice already in my lifetime and pray to God I NEVER have to feel again.
I have said out loud many times to others that I trust God no matter what. I don't want to lose this baby but if I do I trust God to get me through it just like he did before (I know all the right things to say to put others at ease) but inside I feel my stomach turn in knots when I hear those words come out of my mouth. Inside I beg God not to let that happen. Inside I know how it would destroy me.
I know the difference between an intellectual understanding of God's word and an experiential understanding, I have walked out my faith through times of real suffering. I trust God's word. I trust His ways and I trust His love, but I still fear the pain.
I simply don't think I could bare it again.
My struggle these days isn't with my faith, but with myself. For some reason I am choosing fear when I don't have to. When I don't even want to. I don't understand myself sometimes. Pain can trigger bad habits I think, habits we have to purposefully choose to change or risk letting them run our lives. Habits we know are not good for us, yet we allow anyway. Habits that rob us of the peace and joy right in front of us. Habits that harm us.
Today did not turn out to be a repeat of the past after all. My fears did not come true. As a matter of fact, today my prayer was answered.
My hope came true, not my fear.
Two years ago, 24 weeks and 4 days was my worst nightmare, the day my world came crumbling down on me. But today, 24 weeks and 4 days is my gift, my miracle, my reason not to fear.
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. Isa 41:13 NIV