Aria, the baby who saved me.

As mirror syndrome waged war on my body, and threatened to take us both, all I wanted to do was save Aria. We had come so far in our fight for her life, and I was not ready to surrender. The awful truth was that if I stayed pregnant in an attempt to keep her going, I would have left this world in a matter of days, and she would have gone with me. My body was no longer a safe place for her, and carrying her was no longer safe for my body.

The worst part was that once Aria was born, I would fully recover over time. The tumor in Aria’s chest had destroyed so much of her small body already that the world outside of the womb was equally unsafe. She didn’t have a chance inside me, and birthing her wasn’t going to increase her odds.

For the seven months I carried Aria, I thought I was giving her the gift of life. But I realize now that through her birth, Aria was giving life back to me. Even more than that, she fought to give us over an hour of her life after she was born, so that we could be the family of three we had always hoped to be, even if only for a moment. The weeks we spent fighting for Aria were so worth every single second of life with her.

While I’m grateful for each continued beat of my heart, I hate that my daughter couldn’t stay. A piece of me will always wish I could have taken her place.

However, Aria’s story did not end on January 2, 2016, it was only just beginning. You see, in a lot of ways her life continues through me. It is now my responsibility and privilege to live a life so full that it satisfies the both of us. On the day God calls me home, I want us to have a million stories to share about how wonderful life has been for me on earth, and for her in heaven.

This is the very reason I get out of bed each day. I want to have a lifetime of joy and hope to share with her. It took me a while to see it, but my will to live now comes from a 2 pound, 11 ounce baby girl named Aria.

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