I was offered the opportunity to write an article for the UNITE newsletter. I was touched and honored to be able to share some of Allie's story.
Tonight I write from my hotel room in rural Tennessee. I am weary from travelling and should be in bed, but as usual, my mind is wandering. Today is the first day of May. I love May. May is the month I graduated from college and I still remember counting down the days. May is the month I said, “I do” and went from a Miss to a Mrs. May is the month my daughter was supposed to be born.
I met my husband when I was already in my 30’s and it was not long before I was packing up boxes and moving in with him. While it took us a while to find each other, it took very little time to know that what we had was so very special.
While I always thought that having children was something I wanted, it was not till I met my husband that I knew how badly I wanted to have them. To create someone out of the love we had for each other seemed so natural and so right and so exciting.
We got pregnant so easily. I could not believe it at first, but as my belly started to grow, it sunk in more and more. This was really happening! We went to each appointment and got more and more excited as the days and weeks and months wore on. Once we found out she was a girl, we spend weeks trying to find the right name for her. Then we spent as much time designing the perfect nursery. We went to all the classes that were offered at our hospital and spend our free time researching day cares and car seats and whatever else we could imagine.
At 37 weeks and 1 day, I felt decreased fetal movement. I had been to the doctor two days before and everything was fine. I was sure our daughter was just getting ready to make her grand debut and was nervous to read any more into it. Then my instincts kicked in and I asked the right questions to the right people and was instructed to go home, eat something sweet, lie on my side and wait for her to kick.
She never did kick.
I never felt her move again.
The very next day, I delivered her still. It was both the most horrific day of my life and the most wonderful day. I said hello and goodbye to her on one breath - something no parent should have to do with their child. I saw my husband transform into a dad and with my still swollen stomach and tubes and tears all over my body, I became a mother.
I became a mother on April 22, 2011. That May, I celebrated my first Mother’s Day. It was supposed to be with my daughter in my arms, but instead it was with her in my heart.
This past year has been so very hard. In the beginning, getting through one day seemed like a small victory. Going to work took every ounce of energy I had. Doing laundry, chores around the house - it all seemed so meaningless. Slowly, we started to heal. As we grieved for our baby, we started to learn to live without her. It was the hardest thing to do. In some ways, it still is.
The joy and happiness I had for those 37 weeks is what we all try to remember. We celebrate the bliss we had when we first found out we were expecting and the excitement we had each time we went to the doctor and heard her heartbeat. We think about the giddiness we had when we saw the 3D ultrasound for the first time. We remember what it was like to hold her in our arms, before they took her away.
She taught us to love and live our lives with passion as you never know what tomorrow will bring.
We love you, Allison Paige. We loved you before you were even conceived and we continue to love you after you are gone. Gone, but never ever forgotten.