One November day the baby I had been vomiting over, rounding from, and dreaming of became a baby I didn’t want anymore.
At first I knew that baby #2 was right for our family.
At first I liked the name Cassie best.
At first I only hoped for a “healthy baby.”
At first I knew I wanted Audrey to get a little sister.
At first didn’t matter anymore when the doctor announced, There’s something wrong with her heart. Maybe it’s just a hole, he said, and those usually close on their own. Or maybe she can have a quick surgery, he said, and that’s usually pretty simple. Or maybe it’s much more, he trailed, but we need to find out.
Together we prayed he was wrong. We prayed she was still perfect and whole and that it was all a horrible mistake. We begged for God’s favor on our family and also for grace and strength to walk this much-unwanted journey we were suddenly trapped on.
Alone, secretly I prayed that somehow I’d get a different baby. A baby I wanted. A regular baby. A good baby. A healthy baby.
If she wasn’t going to last long, we’d better get to naming her. This heart problem girl wasn’t Cassie or Samantha or Hattie anymore. Those were names for normal girls with normal hearts when we had normal lives. Our newly-unwanted baby was Annie– meaning prayer, favor, and grace. The things we were already asking for.
The moment we named her, she was mine. How could I not want my own baby? Suddenly, I couldn’t help but know her and love her and fight for her and hope for her.
And that’s what I’ve been doing every day since that November two years ago.
Some days have been hard, like when Audrey met her baby sister for the first time, who was tangled up in cords and more cords and more cords.
Or when Matt recently disclosed that Annie lay screaming to be held, yet confined to an ICU, for her entire first day of life outside the womb. Thankfully I was distractedly sipping Starbucks, figuring out how to pump, recovering in a hospital across town.
But some days are easy, like when she wakes me in the night to ask, “Momma. Bobba.” When I arrive back in bed with cold milk she sweetly greets, “Danks, Momma” and slurps herself back to sleep. Like when she weasles her way out of having her hair fixed by suggesting this hat instead.
Like when she sprints down the driveway squealing “Dadda!” when the jeep rumbles in. Like when I cannot even imagine one second without her crazy faces, her friendly demeanor that pats the Home Depot worker helping us search for screws, her love for LIFE that we thought she’d never have.
Annie, you are wanted and loved. Each day with you is quite the gift, and now that you’re here, I will always remember the shortness of time and the nearness of eternity.