Ezraela Eaven's Would Be First Birthday

Just last week we celebrated my daughter’s fourth birthday. Every 365 days she gains another year I always marvel at how quickly the past year has gone. In our house we celebrate birthday week, which included a park play date party and also a weekend camping trip with friends. If there is anything I have learned to strive to do, it is to cherish the moments you have with your children because you never know how long they will last. You never know how many birthdays they will have.

Alexandria's First Birthday

Alexandria's Fourth Birthday

Today should have been the first birthday of my second daughter, Ezraela Eaven. Because of all of the excitement about Alexandria’s birthday and also the impending birth of my third child, May 29 snuck up on me. After we were done with Alexandria’s birthday week, I began to reflect on what this week would have looked like for Ezraela, had she made it past 18 weeks gestation. I remember bits and pieces of the preparations for Alexandria’s first birthday, where friends and family would gather to celebrate not only her life, but also the survival of mama and dada, who had also made it a year with a new baby. I found myself, on several nights, before I fell asleep, thinking about how unfair it was that I would not be doing the same with my second little girl.

If there is one thing I have learned in life, it is that nothing ever goes the way that you would expect it. And most of the time, you will never understand the “why”. It’s been a year and a half and my heart still aches for her. Even with this little guy rockin’ and rollin’ in my belly, at 34 weeks, I still feel like there is a big hole in my heart where Ezraela was. Because no child and no pregnancy can ever replace a child you have lost. It might ease the pain a bit, but it does not fill the void.

I woke up this morning feeling that void. Alexandria was sound asleep in the bed next to me and I prayed to God, telling him how thankful I was for her sweet little face. She woke up, we ate breakfast and headed to the seminary, where she attends childcare, so this mama can get some "me" time. Against my better judgment, because I'm in the middle of an IC flare and have been having a lot of back pain from the pregnancy, I went for a walk. Back at the seminary I worked on a few things and then picked her up. I told her that today would have been her baby sister's first birthday and we were going to get something to put outside to remember her. We went to eat lunch and then afterwards headed to the store. At first, my idea was a garden stone or something solemn, like a child angel, that would remind me of her, but when we got to the garden aisle I realized that wasn't appropriate. Yes, this past year and a half has been extremely difficult and sad. Yes, I would give an arm and a leg to be holding my baby girl right now. But I didn't want to remember her with sadness. I wanted to celebrate her. I wanted her big sister (and soon to be little brother) to know who she was and to love her. Alexandria's eyes immediately lit up with the colorful wind chimes, pinwheels and more festive garden stones. So, I let her pick the most sparkly, beautiful garden stone and a pinwheel to place by it so that every time I would see it I would think of Ezraela, and through my tears, smile. I would think of her smiling and laughing. Playing with her brother and sister. Getting into mischief, but more importantly, I would smile.


I would smile

Not because there is no longer any hurt. Not because I won't ever ache with longing to know the child that she was to become, but because I know I will hold her in my memory for as long as I will live and know who I have become as a result of this journey. And even though I know it isn't her real heavenly birthday (that was 12-31-2013), I wonder if they are eating cake in heaven tonight to celebrate her as well.  One can never be sure, but that is the image I will hold in my heart. I'm pretty sure Jesus is definitely a birthday cake kind of guy, so he would look for any excuse.

Ezraela Eaven 12-31-2013, Always In Our Hearts


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