Shortly after returning from the hospital to an empty house without my sweet girl, I went for a long distance bike ride on the open road alone. I was climbing a huge hill, the wind beating behind me and smelling the fresh Fall air, thinking of what my life had become. I was talking to Ruthie Lou as I rode, telling her of my undying love and asking her what I was supposed to do with a life that now held no meaning when the thought came, I must live for her. I must wake up each day, put my feet on the ground and greet each day as it is my last and make it the best it can be. I must be the person I always wanted to be, do the things that always held fear for me and truly live for her.
When Ruthie Lou died, life as I knew it ended. Relationships ended. My presumed future ended. Who I had been until that point ended. My innocence ended. But, my life did not end. I wanted it to end, but it didn't. I willed it to end, but it didn't.
As every child does, Ruthie Lou came into my life to make it better, sweeter, full of love and she did, while she was alive. She did not come here to ruin my life, but to see how truly beautiful life can be. I will never un-experience the joy I had when she was in my arms, I could never fall out of love with her. Even though she died, my love never will.
I live for her because she cannot.
Two years ago, the night turned dark and I didn't know if I would bring him home. Exactly one year after his sisters due date, I went into labor. I was scared but I was present. They say faith and fear cannot occupy the same space so I held faith in the belief that I would be holding my baby boy soon. The car seat was placed where we swore we'd never put it again; in the car before baby. As I waited for Chris to reverse the car down the driveway (because I could not fit through the car door in the garage!) I spoke to the Universe. With redwood trees silhouetted against the night sky, the stars twinkled and the air was brisk, I asked his sister to bring him here safely.
I spoke to her a ton that night and she appeared to be everywhere we were; with our nurse at the ER, the room number in which we were placed, the star tattoo on our midwife, even having the same dr who delivered her. Ruthie Lou was present. I labored all night with no relief, feeling every contraction. I worked hard, waiting for Reid's arrival. I spoke to him, envisioned him and when it was time, I was more than ready.
I was told that his birth story would be whatever I created it to be and so it is this:
It was a day filled with food, family, crafts, a walk and lots of laughs. It was a night full of work, faith and love. It was my sister, tending to my every request, my doula knowing my every need, my husband being my everything. It was sacred and special, long yet so fast. It was the warm water cleansing, soothing and calming and when Reid arrived, it was entirely him; large, boisterous, stubborn, beautiful and amazing. I held him for a brief moment, kissed him and said I love you before they whisked him away in true sibling rivalry fashion. Not to be outdone by his sister, Reid was given royal NICU treatment and an extended stay in the hospital.
It was not as planned but neither is life. We are presented with this journey and with choices in the road, perhaps not in experiences but in attitude. What would his story be? His story would be amazing, just like him.
I lay here with him sleeping and I am amazed. He amazes me. This is Reid's story. This is Reid's life. I am so grateful to bear witness to him.
There is life after loss and a love so big I could burst. On this night as I reminisce, I am so grateful for the gift of Reid. His love of life is so contagious, he is the bright light in my heart and I celebrate him, today and every day.
Two years ago, we didn't know if we would bring him home. There are no guarantees in life, I can only guarantee that a life of gratitude changes everything..
Happy birthday, sweet sweet amazing boy. Happy second birthday, Reid!
I hope someday you understand an ounce of how incredible I think you are.
I am a mama of three beautiful babes; two boys I have the honor of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.