I usually wake early, but pray to God that he lets me fall back asleep before the hole in my heart sends a message to my brain. Before the tears start, I beg Him, just a few more hours. Today was no different - in fact it might have been worse. My husband came in before work to wish me a happy day, and even let the dogs in bed this morning to snuggle with me. But, just like every morning, I smile, tell him to have a good day and then begin my struggle to get myself motivated.
Today is my 34th birthday. Today also marks 3 weeks since my baby girl left this earthly world and celebrated her heavenly birthday - which should be reason enough to celebrate if you're a strong Christian mother who trusts your baby is enjoying peace and unconditional love forever and ever. But today the selfish, human mother in me wants my baby for myself - and I'm not apologizing for it.
You see today is my first birthday as a mother, a day I was so looking forward to. A day where I wouldn't rush to get out of bed, but rather lay there as long as I wanted, staring at my girl - kissing those little piggies and sweet (and chunky) cheeks - not worrying about the clock or where I had to be. Everything I was looking forward to was going to be right there in bed with me. Instead, today (like pretty much every other day since she was born) I lay in bed in the mornings - listening to the silence, waiting for a sweet cry to rouse me - and after an hour or so, giving up as I know it's not coming.
I did get a special delivery yesterday - two actually - and I'd like to think they were birthday gifts from Olive. The morning she passed we received a call in our room that there was a photographer at the hospital that was available if we wanted to have pictures taken with her. My husband and I were already packed up, had maybe 12 hours of sleep combined in the last 3 nights and really just wanted to get out of the hospital. We declined the pictures and I have not forgiven myself since. With 36 hours on this earth and only a few low quality pictures of her on my phone, what was I thinking not taking them up on that offer? For 3 weeks I've stared at the same picture over and over again wishing I had something else.
The doorbell rang yesterday with a package from the hospital. I opened it and found two 5x7 pictures of my baby and a CD of images that the photographer took of her. While there were only 9 pictures on that CD, it was still 9 more pictures that I didn't have of her the day before.
Oh, my heart!
The other gift Olive gave me was through song. I've mentioned that I have the Christian rock station on in my car - hoping for more messages to bring me comfort. The first song I heard yesterday morning was, without a doubt, a birthday message from my precious baby. I've not stopped listening to it the last 24 hours.
So here I sit, on this my 34th birthday. A grieving mother - listening to a song on repeat like I'm a 14 year old girl with my first broken heart. Instead of snuggling and kissing her I'm staring at her baby picture and mine, trying to find comfort in the fact she had my nose - looking for any other confirmation that she was indeed mine, if only for a short time. Rather than holding her in my arms, I hold a picture of her wrinkled toes, remembering how they felt on my lips when she was lying in the NICU.
Yes, I feel sorry for myself today on my earthly birthday. But I can't help but feel a tiny bit of comfort listening to the rain fall on the roof. I imagine those raindrops are coming from a giant sprinkler in heaven where my baby - along with other angel baby friends - are running through enjoying a beautiful summer day - celebrating her heavenly birthday. It doesn't make today any easier for me as the hole in my heart longs for her, but I listen to her message over and over again trying to believe that she is having the time of her life.