We woke to celebrate Abigail's birthday. At 12:21 we sang Happy Birthday, gave her the cupcake, helped her "blow out" the candle and gave her birthday kisses.
We were awake (after all I had a 45 minute nap) so we sat and ate a snack while doing some paperwork and cuddling our sweet girl. We had no idea these were our last moments with her.
Trever felt like she was having more trouble breathing so I held her in bed with me while reclining. We went to sleep around 1am. At just after 1:30 am on the 26th I woke up. As I looked over to Abigail my heart told me she was gone. It was a simple, sad and peaceful thought. I laid her in front of me to watch her for a moment and then woke Trever. He was obviously sleeping lightly, all it took was saying his name. Then I said "she's gone". It was true. Her little spirit had left us.
We sat and stared at her, holding her and touching her and crying. After a bit we called the nurse to let her know. She came in to check on us and then called the Pediatrician. The doctor came in and was so gracious, she watched her for a moment and then let us know that she needed to listen for a heartbeat. After a moment she confirmed her death. The time was 2am.
Trever remembers that each time Abby had difficulty breathing she would open her eyes and look around. My heart tells me that she opened her eyes, looked around and found that we were asleep and decided it was time to leave us. She gave us such a gift, to leave us peacefully and not have us watch her with the painful wonderment of whether or not she was leaving. I'm sure that God prompted me to wake, so I wouldn't wonder how long we had slept after she left. I find comfort in knowing I was asleep for such a short time.
My heart aches just writing this. I can talk about her, about the details, with a certain level of detachment. But when I write, when I think about these little moments I can't hide from the vision of her. From how tiny she was in our arms, from the touch of her skin, from her beauty. I miss her so much, I want more... more moments with her to love on her and whisper to her. More moments to hold her tiny little hand.
I told Trever that I totally get the "crazy" people who keep their loved ones around for days and days after they pass. I'm sure it sounded creepy to me at one time, and I'm sure it still sounds creepy to other people. But part of me would love to be able to just pick her up and hold her, to cry my tears onto her even though she is gone. Even though it's just a body and not her spirit.
We did stay awake with her until after 5am. We took casts of her hands since we hadn't done that earlier, and we did footprints.
We held her and dressed her, we cried deep sobs. My body ached with so much pain. It's so painful to loose something so precious. It's the loss of so many hopes, so many dreams.
I feel the pain for myself and for my children. During the last few months as I've watched Andrew learn and grow, it's been so bitter sweet. I long for those moments with Abigail. I yearn for more smiles, for her learning to sit up, giggle, walk. The squat that defines a toddler as they explore and learn about bugs and flowers. My heart hurts when I listen to Natalie's thoughts. How badly she wants a sister, when she picks out a dress to send to Abigail in heaven. When she asks if there are beds in heaven. When she talks about the next time I have a baby in my belly. I wasn't able to give her what she wants, what she thinks she needs, a sister to grow and play with. It's a terrible feeling.
As I sat on the bed holding Abby with Trever next to us, the sobs overwhelmed every inch of my body. I wouldn't have stopped them if I could, it was the most pure moment of pain I have ever experienced. I was so intensely aware of what it means to have heart ache, the moment when your spirit is truly broken. And I was so thankful to have Trever by my side. To know that I am so safe with him, to know that we both grieve deeply for our loss while holding to our belief that this loss is temporary. That our pain is selfish (which is okay with us), that we did the only thing that was possible for us. We let Abby live her life, and we are so thankful that our prayers were answered. We got to hold her, look into her eyes and share her with our friends and family. And we were able to keep her comfortable, to fill her moments with love and then gracefully release her to a happier place. We didn't fight her body, we didn't force her to live longer for our sake, we honored her story.
We are trying to walk the tightrope between joy for her, for her life with us and her life with Jesus, while nurturing the pain that comes from not having her in our home.