March 4, 2010 the Lord changed our lives with a little boy that never took a breath. At that time and the time since Bennett's birth and death, it has been made clear time and time again that the Lord used Him for the glory of His Kingdom. We have never questioned God, though we have been angry with Him. He never once let us wonder if Bennett's short lived life in the womb was only for loss and sadness. He always made it clear to us that Bennett had a purpose as his story touched the lives of the ones close to us and around us. We watched as hearts were changed, as salvation and the fear and love of God were brought forth to people who may otherwise still be lost. And we rejoiced as our boy brought glory to God as He rocked him to sleep each night. I have talked a lot about Bennett. I have spoken of how God changed our hearts, our faith, our marriage with that sweet tiny person. Never did I once realize that He was preparing us for something else, something greater, something harder, something more miraculous than we ever imagined. His sister.
March 4, 2010 changed my life. It was scary, and sad and traumatic and truthfully there are really no words to describe what it did to my heart. I was certain that the giant hole that was left there would never be matched. That the fear and recovery would always be what I considered "the hardest days of my life". November 8, 2012 I learned otherwise.
So today I sit in a bed, tired, more sore than I even knew I could be, emotionally spent as I pump breast milk that is one of many miracles that I have witnessed over the last four days, but not the biggest. I sit here and I try to think of how to tell you all what has happened and I realize it is another story that is hard to tell, hard to believe, hard to grasp. But I am going to try because all of you have loved us through the hardest days of our lives....and they just got harder.
The morning of November 8, 2012 was not fun. We were exhausted from the night before because I had been up all night feeling bad. We were convinced that this was a result of them taking me off the meds that were preventing contractions. We had to come off of those meds because the one side effect that "seldom" happens, had happened and my sweet girl was living in a sac with no amniotic fluid. So as we struggled through the night and the morning Doc called the doctor that had been helping us since our first trip to the Maternal ER, Dr. Dobay. Thankfully he answered and they talked through some symptoms and decided I would stay home and tough it out. Doc called in half a day because the contractions were not ceasing. It only took about ten minutes for me to realize and one look for him to realize that we had to go in. And so we did. The ride was quick, we obviously knew the way, and only at the very end did I realize we were in big trouble.
I'll be honest with you. I had no idea that they would even give her a chance. We were 24 weeks to the day and though her heart was still beating it was low, I was dilating and the placenta had almost fully abrupted. I was checking out into my happy place preparing to deliver another baby that would go straight to Jesus. Only this one would be bigger, stronger, and would have touched my heart in a completely different way. The term emergency c section came up immediately. So immediately in fact, that Doc's truck was still on the curb running when they started prepping me. I asked one question, "will I be okay through the surgery" the answer was yes and there was absolutely no hesitation to try and save her. I looked at my strong, beautiful husband and he nodded. Off we went into a scene out of Grey's Anatomy. Doctors everywhere, running me through the hallway, a neonatal team already scrubbed in and waiting (how they did it that fast is beyond me), people screaming orders at each other and saying "hurry" "now" "faster". It was scary, hard, painful, by far the most physically traumatizing ten minutes of my life. They kept telling me what they were doing and saying they knew it was scary. I was not scared. I was not worried. I was not crying. I was hanging out with Jesus and saying to Josie "you fight, I'll fight. You fight, I'll fight". And then they put me to sleep.
I have never been so happy to be asleep in my entire life and honestly will tell you that the surgery was harder on Josie and her daddy than it was me, I was asleep. She was born at 9:18 am, 24 weeks gestation, eyes wide open, took one small cough. She was born out out a fully abrupted placenta with no blood in her lungs and minimal in her stomach, an absolute miracle. I woke up about an hour later, Doc right by me as usual, and my first words were "is the baby alive", he said yes. I breathed a thank you to Jesus and our world changed forever.
I have spent four days recovering. She has spent four fighting. My family, my husband, my world has spent four days trying to grasp our new normal. I woke up today and I realized Bennett changed our lives, our faith, our marriage, our parenting. And he prepared us for Josie. You see my friends, though this is more than we ever imagined and words like hard and scary don't even touch on it, we are so grateful for that tiny little girl and every breath she takes. We have already buried a tiny person. We have already sent one straight to Jesus that we never saw take a breath, move, that we never touched, that never heard his daddy talking to him or felt his mama stroke his head. And she has. Yesterday, I changed her diaper. Bennett never even wore a diaper.
So Praise be to Jesus for this baby girl. I will not question. I will not be angry or frustrated. I will not complain or cry about how hard it is. I will only worship harder, blown away at what He has done for us and the miracles that have happened to get her here. I eat and I will pump and I will heal and I will pray. We will take care of our girls here and the one that lives at Centennial Hospital everyday praising Him from the rooftops for all three of them.
I ask you, again, to pray for us. You have all been so amazing through our last few years and I am going to have to ask you to stand with us one again. Please pray for our hearts, our family and most of all our tiny girl. Please praise Him as you pray thanking Him for her and everyday she grows stronger. Please put Josephine Hope Hall on every list, in every offering plate, in every prayer box. We love you all and thank you for loving us.