10 years ago today, my first child was born. Audrey Marie. And 10 days after that, she died. I’m not sure why God chose us to give us a child with complications too many to keep her alive for no more than 10 days, but he felt we were strong enough, and we were. We made it through the horrific experience of having a child born and then taken from us.
I remember nights of Kevin holding me in the bed and just crying. I remember us sitting in the hospital lunchroom with neither one eating the food that was in front of us. I remember the call the morning of her death, telling us we needed to come in early to the hospital that day. I remember the panic of realizing she was no longer with us when Kevin’s father looked up as he was holding her. I remember going out to the nurses station to tell them and not being able to speak. I remember all of this as though it happened yesterday. I remember all so well that even after 10 years, I still cry.
I wish this pain on no one. The traumatic experience of losing a child. She only lived 10 days, not 10 years, and so we didn’t have that bond that comes in loving someone who had “lived”, but nonetheless, we loved Audrey and treasured those 10 days, making the most of them, knowing that she would more than likely she would never come to her earthly home. And she never did. She died because of congestive heart failure. She went to heaven and it’s through this knowledge and expectancy, that I will one day be with her again to see her happy and well, free of sickness, that I hang on to.
Audrey was born with Trisomy 18 which gave her the complications with her heart, Spina Bifida and fluid in her skull. She had surgery to close up the hole in her back due to the Spina Bifida and then a shunt put in her head to drain the fluid. We had her fitted for braces for her legs. We had to move forward with the pretense that she would make it out of the hospital. We had to move forward.
And we have. We still remember Audrey and we still go to her gravesite. We have a picture of her in our living room and she is always in my heart. God has given us four more beautiful blessings and it’s because of them that I can move forward.