Looking back, and hoping forward.

There are so many things I want to say, but it would take hours to write it all. So I’ll try to sum it all up in one post.

Yesterday marked one year since we met our team of MFMs and fetal surgeons at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for the first time. That first meeting in consultation room #2 was not a good one, and it still weighs heavy on my heart.

I keep thinking, “At this time last year, I was having a Fetal MRI.” or “Meeting with Dr. K” or “Crying in our hotel room.” And so on and so forth. It is strange to be out shopping, knowing exactly one year ago I was sobbing in my husband’s arms, as my sick baby girl moved around in my womb. It is still so hard to comprehend how I ended up here, almost one year away from the last time Aria kicked in my belly, or the last time I held her in my arms.
img_3848After I sent this photo to my Dad with the caption “One year ago…” He replied with, “Do you think you could have ever imagined what the next year would be like?” To which I replied, “Not in a million years.”

And there are so many different meanings wrapped up in my response. Even with all the horrible things our doctors were saying, I never wanted to believe in the possibility of a future without Aria alongside us. I never dreamed that I would become a bereaved parent. I never imagined the magnitude of pain this loss would bring, or how endless grief actually is. I never knew that heartbreak could bring such immense physical pain. And in the moment Aria’s heart beat for the last time, I never imagined I would ever know joy again.

And yet, laughter still finds a way to fill the walls of our home. Brian and I still dance around in our kitchen. I still attempt to embarrass him in public with random antics. He still does the same silly things he’s always done. We still talk about our daughter daily, and happily reminisce on our fondest memories of her. We look at pictures and gush over her adorable little nose. Such a contrast to the days when I feared I would never be able to look at pictures of her without crying. I wouldn’t say I am “healed” or “better”, just different.

Beyond all of that, I never dreamed Aria’s name and story would be known by hundreds of people all over the globe. I never fathomed that she would inspire people so much that they would help us give sixty children Christmas gifts in her honor. I didn’t know that her legacy would eventually become the catalyst for a project that honored the brief lives of over fifty babies.

Never in a million years.

And so as 2016 comes to a close, and Aria’s first birthday inches closer, I can’t help but wonder what unfathomable goodness the next year may bring. That is my hope and prayer for the coming year. Dear Lord, let it be good.

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