It’s been six years since the day the doctor grimly but assuredly announced: “There’s something wrong with your baby’s heart. And she probably won’t live to be born.”
That day I understood that terminating a baby isn’t because a mother doesn’t love enough. It’s because the fear is suffocating. It’s because a mother doesn’t want her child to suffer. And some doctors are good at convincing scared parents that there is an easier way.
That day I was scared. But I chose to keep you.
I wish I would’ve already known that day that nothing that’s beautiful is ever perfect. But I’m glad that somehow I chose to believe your life was worth it.
I wish I would’ve known that there would be so much more to celebrate than to grieve. Yet on any given day of your life I’d likely be doing both.
I wish I would’ve known that your fight would get us all through. And that your courage would keep me going on the hardest days.
I wish I would’ve known that even though it wouldn’t be easy, every single day with you would be sacred.
I wish I would’ve known that the world would fall in love with your bright spirit and courageous eyes.
I wish I would’ve loved you quicker, instead of waiting in caution to watch your life unfold.
I wish I would’ve known that you’d change me into someone who knows and cares about all the sick babies and the strong sobbing moms of the world.
I wish I would’ve known how many mothers would ache for the news that there was a tiny chance that their baby could make it.
I wish I would’ve known that even though you’d be a hospital regular, most of your days would be spent on playgrounds, at dance class, swimming with friends, laughing with your classmates.
I wish I would’ve known that your sickness would somehow heal us all.
Instead of knowing, I laid on the exam table wondering how I’d mother a child who shouldn’t make it. I didn’t know any of that courage yet. I didn’t know any of the beauty yet.
But I’m still glad that I chose to get to know you, Annie. I watched you kick on the screen above. I wondered about your broken heart. And mostly what in the world God was doing.
In my wonder, I believed.
I believed that your life was worth it, no matter how short or long it lasted. I believed that God could provide whatever we needed. Mostly I believed that someday somehow God could redeem the ache of that day.
And last year on November 20, 2018, He did. On the same calendar day that doctors told us your heart was irreparably formed, you gave your broken heart to God.
You asked Jesus to heal you. To save you. You told Him that you wanted to live your life for Him.
So today, Annie, and on every November 20 that God allows in your future, we will celebrate the choice we made that day to keep saying yes to your physical life. And we will celebrate your spiritual birthday: the choice you made to begin your spiritual life as God’s child.
Annie, I’m glad you’re mine. And mostly I’m glad you’re God’s. Keep shining bright, my brave girl. The world is surely watching.