Reflecting today on the relationships that have started and ended since the loss of Haven, both ends of the spectrum -- disappointing, unexpected and the others more than enough and healthy. Some days, I find myself dwelling on the relationships completely lost or those of whom whose presence has lessened. Some of these moments get painful and negative, so I do my best to pray fervently as soon as they start to get out of hand and instead, focus on the positive and on the relationships that have flourished because of Haven's life.
Relationship old or new, lost or found, friend or family member; it doesn't matter what kind of relationship it was/ is, all of my relationships have been redefined since Haven's life. It is not right, nor is it wrong; they just simply are. Some things that were said or not said, actions that were taken or not, support that was shown or not, the Haven of it all -- it is wrapped up in my relationships with others.
A relationship that has been become much stronger through this test of time, faith, strength, and heartbreak has been that of my husband, Paul and I's friendship and marriage.
Paul and I have been together since we were thirteen year olds so it has been thirteen beautiful years together -- two years and a few months of them have been as husband and wife.
He has been my stronghold, my solid ground, the bestest friend, and the most amazing husband throughout the years, and more so now than ever after our first child's life and our loss.
I remember him coming home that day in February after a long shift at work when I told him we were pregnant. He was in tears and so so so excited for our future ahead. He never complained once when I asked him to do a late night grocery run for whatever I was craving. He even got really good and kept a mental note of everything that I would possibly be craving and went out to the store on his days off to purchase them all so that he'd be ready for whenever I would ask for my cravings. He always made sure he wasn't scheduled at work at the hospital to be at every single pre-natal appointment, ultrasound, and checkup. He walked into the doctor's office every time prepared with his own set of questions to ask the doctor. He made sure that he was understanding the pregnancy journey as best as he could from a father's point of view. He was so eager and ready to prepare for our sweet little one -- re-painted both our bedroom and the nursery and helped me pick out furniture and decor to style the baby's room. When making the registry shopping list, he told me that he trusted me with all things necessary for our little one (ie. baby gear, clothing, bottles, etc.) and him telling me to leave all the safety things up to him (ie. baby monitor, car seat, car supplies for the baby, etc.). I remember how calm and strong he was trying so hard to be when the doctor discovered Haven's heart defect and the way he held and never left go of my hand and looked at me as the doctor began to explain everything to us and what our options were. I'll never forget the face he had on the entire rest of the day the doctor told us of this news. How he cried, stayed with me, and prayed together in Haven's room right when we got home from the doctors'. I had gotten up to use the restroom and after found him lying and crying on her bedroom floor.
I remember how he believed, remained hopeful, stayed positive, and how brave he was and continued to stay the days and months following receiving the heart news. He would proclaim and state with confidence and assurance that we were going to be okay, that God would provide for us, see us through, and help keep our baby and family safe. He was so amazing and stayed so lifted -- it was so beautiful and comforting to see him and the way he was. It made me so proud and happy to be his wife and there were many moments that I would look and/ or just stare at him in amazement and disbelief that he chooses me everyday to endure this life with.
I remember how he looked and also how he fell apart when the doctor once more, bore us with news no soon-to-be parents would ever expect to hear or have to go through. How he begged and pleaded for all the possible, promising options from the doctor. How he tried so strongly to remain calm and hopeful even through how terrifying, real, and "hopeless" our situation really was. How he prayed relentlessly and prayed over my womb after being officially admitted. How he asked God for there to please, please be another option for us than to "have to" ultimately choose induction of labor. How he was jumping up and down inside, crying with happy tears as our prayers almost immediately became answered when another high-risk specialist MFM (maternal fetal medicine) MD walked right into our room and gave us the option of hospital bedrest with careful and close monitoring of the baby and I. He told me instantly that he knew this was only the working and the hand of God over our situation and that He in fact, did not leave or forsake us.
He was so gentle, loving, strong, and amazing during those difficult, trying eleven days of our hospital stay. He ordered my breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily for me -- complete with protein, veggies, and fruits, helped my sister give me bed baths and even did some on his own, he always woke up when the doctors would round or check up on me, he never missed a detail and was so involved with baby's and I's plan of care. He'd climb into the twin bed with me, tell me he missed me, binge watched Law & Order, and pray with me several times during the day. It was so hard for me to connect and respond to our families and friends through my phone, so he did a great job at giving updates and taking calls and responding to text messages. While I was getting some rest and quiet, he handled our finances, took care of bills, and let both of our jobs know what was going on. He'd go home daily to get some fresh air, shower at home, and stay in touch with the things that were going on at home. He made sure to water our plants, open the windows in the nursery, and sent me daily videos and photos of our five pups at home -- I missed and cried for them terribly when I was on bedrest.
When I started having my contractions 1.5 days before Haven's birth, Paul still remained so strong and graceful. When I was getting snappy and more irritable during those last few days due to worsening pain, contractions, an Epidural in place, more bleeding, Haven's limbs now hanging out -- Paul's patience and optimism never wavered. If anything, he was becoming more amazing with this role. Despite the pain, fear, and anxiety over the things that were getting worse and imagining what our outlook would soon look like in a couple of days, it was in those moments that my love and admiration for Paul were solidifying and becoming stronger than ever.
The love and respect I have grown to have for and towards my husband in the last thirteen years has increasingly sky-rocketed in this past year alone. He has taught me so much about love, life, loss, my faith, and the continuous, abundant grace + provision God pours over and into our lives and our marriage.
In the last year, Paul and I have gone through more than we ever have in our 2 years + a few months of marriage -- the life and passing of our Haven Faith being the most tragic and crippling. From Haven's life and all its' challenges, difficulties, and heartache that come with it, has only forced Paul and I to grow, stretch, learn, and progress. We have both individually as well as one body, grown in ways that could have only happened by going through each turn and and twist of this life event specifically. Paul and I are both better because of it. Our marriage has deepened and strengthened. We've learned to become more gentle, patient, and loving with one another. Although we will never be able to get over this, it is this experience and Haven's life that will continue to both change and stretch us for our good. Haven's passing brought profound change between us.
For all that Paul and I have gained, accomplished, and for the people that we've become because of her, I am eternally thankful.
Healing and grieving one day at a time together. I am so blessed to be going through this with my amazing man. I love you with all that I am, Paul.