Before I begin, I want to apologize for not keeping up with this blog better. For the last several months I've had lots of blog post ideas swirling in my head, but when I went to go write, I froze. I don't know if it was the grief or something else, like fear. Nonetheless, here I am determined to get a blog update written.
I also want to apologize if you have not gotten a written or even a spoken "Thank You" from us. In all honesty, after Delaney's funeral, I became mentally exhausted after handwriting over 250 thank you notes, and had a hard time picking up the pen again. Lame excuse I know... What I do know is that I cannot emphasize enough how much we appreciate the amount of support & love we have received before and after Delaney's passing. Whether you made a meal, helped financially, leant a hand with chores, gave a listening ear, or simply prayed, we truly appreciate it with all our heart.
It is difficult to think that it has been 8 months since Delaney passed away. We think about her everyday, and some days are definitely more difficult than others. I feel like those who say "it gets easier" are either trying to find something to say or don't know what they are talking about. I would say our acceptance of her passing has gotten better & we have realized that this was the only way her painful life would ever find peace. But I don't think the actual heartache that comes from the loss of a child is something that ever gets easier. Time may heal our wounds, but we have been left with a deep scar that will never go away.
My therapist asked me a couple weeks ago what I thought Heaven was like. I told him that I thought it was a little different for everyone depending on what you love, enjoy doing, or what is important to you. Then I added that I believe that those in Heaven do have the ability to visit loved ones on earth. I said, "I know some people will argue this one with me. But, I just find it hard to believe that God wouldn't let us visit those we love after we've passed". My therapist said he felt the same way. He then told me to keep in mind that, in a way, Delaney will now be able to enjoy and experience your family much better than she was able to on earth. It is bittersweet to think about , but it does give me some comfort...
...Especially now that she is a big sister.
Yes :-). For those of you that don't know, Delaney became a big sister this summer. On June 29th, we welcomed her little brother Finnian John into the world. He weighed 8lbs and was 21.5 in long. That was a very happy day indeed.
To get to that happy day I endured an emotionally difficult pregnancy. I was watched closely by doctors. I had several appointments and ultrasounds. I felt elated to be pregnant one moment, then sad and guilty the next. I constantly worried that something may go wrong, especially during those last few weeks of pregnancy. Something as simple as putting D's clothes into boxes and into the basement left me shattered and crying. And every time someone asked me "Is this your first baby?" I would cringe and stumble over what to say. But together we dealt with it and stayed strong. I was relieved to have such wonderful medical support. It was so reassuring, especially after what we'd been through. In the end we wound up with a happy, healthy baby who is truly a joy and a blessing. And, for those of you wondering, Finn got a clean bill of health from Delaney's cardiologist Dr. Sommerfield.
I cannot emphasize enough how much we cherish every moment with this little boy. We are so grateful he is healthy and happy---SO happy! Every smile is such a priceless gift to us. He was smiling, and even laughing in his sleep when he was less than 24 hours old. He started genuinely smiling early on when he was just 2 weeks. I about fell over and cried when he did. He still smiles and laughs in his sleep. It may sound a little cheesy, but I like to think it is Delaney visiting him, perhaps playing with him during those peaceful, sleepy-happy moments.
Having Finn has also been healing. He does remind us of Delaney in his looks and mannerisms, but he, of course, will never replace her. There is just so much normalcy we were missing out on that we are so grateful to have. Even if it means sleep deprivation (which hasn't even been that bad!), constant breastfeeding, and not getting out of the house as much as we used to--we'll take it. I laugh to myself when people ask me how things are going and then say, "Oh, don't worry, it will get easier...". Well, that's nice, but I wasn't wasn't worried or complaining about how things were going. Caring for him can be demanding, but it isn't difficult. Trust me, after what we have been through, it is already easier.
So, where do we go from here? Brian and I have talked at length of what we can do to honor Delaney's short but significant life. We will continue to share her story and encourage others to do the same in hopes that it will educate and save lives. We want to be there as support for others who may have lost a child or are dealing with a child with special needs. The last thing is finding a generous use for the Delaney Rose Fund money and that is still a work in progress. We have thought about using the fund money to periodically support charities related to CHDs and special needs such as the Katie Herb Foundation, and Emily Ann Griffin Foundation. What we would especially like to do is use the fund money to create a scholarship for a student heading to college or trade school who has overcome a medical difficulty. Like I said, it is still a work in progress. If there is anyone out there who knows how to get something like this going, please feel free to shoot Brian or me an email. We will definitely keep you posted on the happenings of this subject.
I think that is all for now. Thank you again for your support and love as we continue on this journey.
B & L
P.S. One last thing. A website that has been particularly helpful in dealing with my grief is www.corasstory.com. There you will find a button that says "Helping a Friend Through Baby Loss". Kristine lost her baby girl unexpectedly five days after she was born to an undetected heart defect. She is doing amazing things to help families who have lost babies and also in the detection of heart defects. She is one of the reasons pulse ox testing is becoming common place before a newborn is released from the hospital. Lives have already been saved because of it, and that is a beautiful thing.