It has been a long while since I have posted anything here. I felt led to start this blog so many months ago and I have continued to update it with as many details as possible so I could have an accurate account of my thoughts and feelings in this season of life. As time continues to slip by I have fewer and fewer updates to post. Annie’s time here was so brief and her story is far from over, but there just isn’t that much left to say. I kind of feel like Forrest Gump. I’ve been brutally honest, maybe overshared a time or two, and now “that’s all I have to say about that.”
This post is just a big huge thank you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for praying. Thank you for believing. Thank you for being involved in making my little girl’s existence so much bigger than 14 hours and 58 minutes. That means so much more to me than I could ever express here.
Our family has started a new chapter recently. The last time I posted was about being pregnant again and how bittersweet it was. It was incredibly difficult at times and it made me grieve Annie all over again. When the ultrasound was scheduled to be performed on Annie’s birthday I knew it had to be divine intervention. We brought the big girls with us because we wanted the 4 of us to be together all day on that day. I was terrified, but tried my best to stay calm and be brave. When we finally got back into the room, the technician asked a simple small talk type question and I lost it. I started sobbing and felt like I couldn’t breathe. She was amazing and knew our situation so she just handed me some tissue and began her scan. She immediately scanned our baby’s head and showed us a big round perfect skull. It’s funny, but that was the least of my worries. Annie’s diagnosis shattered my false sense of security in this imperfect world that we live in, and I knew that there was a million other things she could find on her scan. I was on pins and needles until she was finished and told us we were having a perfectly healthy baby girl. Then I started laughing… 4 girls!!! Are you kidding?! I laughed for about a week. I love having girls and Robert adores his little ladies. We were over the moon.
(BTW-how gorgeous are these pictures!? We did a maternity shoot at the Oklahoma State Fair with Sarah, and she knocked our socks off. Per usual.) http://www.sarahlibbyphotography.com
Robert and I went to the hospital alone on the day of delivery. I didn’t know how I was going to be emotionally, and I wanted a few hours with just him, me and the baby. We went into the prep area and I was a nervous wreck. We discussed with our doctor and the anesthesiologists about my anxiety and our history, and everyone agreed to let Robert come back with me from the very beginning. (Normally when you have a C-section, the momma has to go back and get the spinal, get prepped, and surgery is usually underway before the dad comes back) It was so wonderful to be able to hold on to my man during that time. That short period when I’m usually alone can be so terrifying and cold. Surgery began soon after and all of a sudden I heard the whole room erupt with “Oh my God!” “She’s huge!” “Look at that HAIR!” and then the most beautiful chubby face peeped around the drape and I saw my baby girl. They put her on my chest and I just LET GO. My heart hadn’t felt that light in so very long.
Our darling Iva Ray Ahern was 8 lbs 12 oz, 20 inches long, and had a head full of beautiful red hair. She had some respiratory issues and had to be taken to the NICU, and she ended up spending 4 days there until we were discharged, so nothing went according to plan. We didn’t get our alone time with her, her sisters couldn’t go meet her, I was torn between needing to rest after surgery and NEEDING to be with my baby… It was hard. But we know from experience it could be much, much harder, so we just sucked it up and did what we had to do. 4 days after she was born, we took our baby home. (Insert giant waving MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner here)
Our big girls FINALLY got to love on their baby sister, and they haven’t stopped since.
The name Iva means “God is gracious”. God has blessed us beyond belief. We recently did a newborn photo shoot with Sarah and I made this little flipagram with her pictures. I cry every time I watch it because it’s just so freakin beautiful. It’s a miracle that God can take something so wretched and turn it into something so glorious. I am in awe of His power, and humbled that He chose to give me these 4 girls and this man.
I pray that this blog and Annie continue to reach people. I pray that the mom who just received the crippling news about their own unborn baby’s health and is frantically googling “anencephaly” comes across this story and finds hope. I pray that the Lord continues to use Annie and her sisters for his glory. I pray that Dylan and Harper never forget their time with Annie, and I pray that Iva will always hear of and be proud of her big sister.
Thank you again, for all you have done for me and my family.
***Our dear friends are still waiting. If you would like to help them please pray both for them and for their son. If you would like to make a donation you can do so here: http://www.gofundme.com/homesweethoma