To say that 2016 was heart and soul breaking, the hardest, most painful, and traumatic - would be an understatement.
In January, Paul and I had no idea that in just the next month we would become parents.
In February, we experienced firsthand and for the first time ever, the most precious gift of all - LIFE. LIFE growing, living and thriving inside of me and my body.
In March, we heard and saw our babe's sweet and fast heartbeat on the screen and immediately knew this is who Paul and I were meant to me.
In April, we reached the "safe zone" also known as, 12 weeks in pregnancy. Naively, we both viewed this season - pregnancy as beautiful, effortless and good (as commonly portrayed on social media).
In May, as we continued to pray for our baby and our future, we also began nesting, made renovations to our babe's nursery, and started planning a gender neutral beautiful baby shower.
- At 20 weeks (month 5), Paul and I innocently, happily and anxiously walked through the doors of our doctor's office to check out every detail of our little one on the screen with our MFM MD for the routine anatomy scan.
- Everything "looked good" with our baby from our doctor's end ... except .. this is when our world flipped upside down .. everything, except her heart.
- That day when we left the doctor's office with 2 pairs of swollen eyes, all things rainbows and butterflies concerning pregnancy flew right out the window.
- That day The Gavini Babe was diagnosed with a unspecified heart defect. Our lives, forever changed. Was Day 1 that we began to pray and prepare our hearts, minds and all else revolving our lives for the scary and uncertain future that lied ahead for our small family of 3.
- From that day on, Paul and I researched and studied about congenital heart diseases, began drawing diagrams of the heart like we did in our anatomy courses to help us to understand some more. We read and clicked through testimonial after testimonial on other families and their child/ren surviving + living with a CHD.
- Though terrified and knew how easily fear could over come us, we remained strong and excited for the arrival of our little one.
In June, we reached month 6. We praised God for another month as that meant that we were another one closer to meeting our tiny love. Baby G and I threw a beautiful baby shower for Mama Meg as she and Papa Jeff were set to wed in August. I was so excited to be rocking a big ole' belly at my sister's side on her wedding day.
In July, Paul and I celebrated 13 years together and 2 years of marriage. We also decided that with our baby's new diagnosis that it would be safer to vacation at somewhere local -- Palm Springs it was. We combined our anniversary weekend with our baby-moon.
- Just when we thought our world had already flipped upside down .. the next day after visiting my father in law in Vegas, we walked into our 6 month check-up to find out that I too, had a new diagnosis -- a silent killer condition, Incompetent Cervix. The amniotic sac that was keeping Haven safe, began to hang out and its' half was outside of my cervix.
- A few short hours later, I was admitted into the hospital's antepartum unit and was placed on bedrest.
-We lived in the hospital for eleven days, hoping to be there until Haven would deliver at an older gestational age and/or "heavier" birth weight. She was born on July 22nd and returned back to Jesus, 4 short hours later.
In August, Paul and I both were out of work to rest, grieve, and heal. We both spent 99% of our time at the cemetery at Haven's grave. With extended family staying at our home for another life celebration on its way, it became a challenging balance to us both to be present AND grieving. We also were the Best Man and Matron of Honor at my sister's beautiful civil wedding.
In September, with a brave face and spirit, Paul returned to work. And fortunately returned to a supportive work family. This month was another one for me that was free of work. I stayed home, trying to find myself again, grieved, and found comfort at a place that I didn't ever think would become a favorite of mine - my daughter's grave.
In October, I still remained home from work. I began an internship and found myself falling in love with arranging flowers. I began to see Haven in the flowers and could feel us connect the most when working with my hands. This month, Paul and I both learned was also, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month -- a month and a community that no one ever dreams or wants to be a part of. Paul and I took a road trip with our family to re-group and re-energize ourselves. I reflected on my grief, pain and heartache every day of the month with Carly Marie's #ProjectHeal. On the 15th, we held a small and beautiful intimate candle lighting at our home in honor of Haven and all the other angel babies + children gone too soon.
In November, I turned 28. A birthday, I eagerly anticipated for months ago with so much excitement, thrill, and hope -- as it was going to be my first one as a mother and with my first child in my arms. Instead, they were empty. My heart broken. My soul feeling aged by 15 years. As my birthday passed, I fearfully looked onward to the next month and what the new holiday season was going to mean for Paul and I. After Thanksgiving and 6 months off, I finally returned to work.
In December, I took a break from social media to help in my navigation as a first time mom experiencing her first holiday season without her child. It also became painful for me to scroll through my Instagram feed and see all the beautiful profiles I follow post pictures of their families and children. Instead, I did my best to keep myself busy. This time of the year, like many others is my favorite -- so I did what I could, listened to myself while also being gentle -- and incorporated Haven into my holiday season.
Christmas was hard. New Year's Eve countdown was hard. I felt as I have been ever since Haven's left -- empty and floating.
Despite heartache, pain and emptiness, I continue to press on and look forward to 2 0 1 7 with hope -- hope for all the things still yet to come, big and small, joyful and painful. With comfort -- comfort in knowing and believing that God is already there. He knows every plea and cry and prayer before I even bring it before him. With joy -- joy in that with every day that passes, it means one more day closer to seeing Haven again.