On the first day of spring of 2021, we discovered I was pregnant with our first child. There were so many emotions, excitement, and trying to keep it a secret until we could tell our families in person, which we could do a few weeks later.
We were excited to hear the heartbeat at every doctor visit and eventually felt kicking.
My husband Jason and I found out at my 20-week ultrasound that we were going to have a little girl, and we were so excited. We would have been happy either way but were hoping for a girl.
Unfortunately, shortly after, our world turned upside down. We found out that she had Anencephaly, a fatal birth defect. She was going to die, and there was nothing we could do. We were devastated
I went into early labor. I delivered our daughter on July 13, 2021, at 20 weeks and 6 days weeks old, she weighed 8.8oz. Aveline Hope Barnett lived for 5 1/2 precious hours before we lost her. No one expected her to live through labor, especially at her age and with her condition and the Anencephaly. The fact that we got that much time with her under the circumstances was a little miracle.
Even though it was not nearly long enough, I’m so grateful for those moments, seeing her heart beating and taking little breaths, feeling her lightly squeeze my pinky with her tiny hand.
It’s hard to describe, and it was unexpected, but after she was born was one of the happiest moments of my life. I was just giddy and smiling for hours. I knew before she was born how it would end, but I am so grateful for that gift of happiness and time with our daughter. I held it together to sing her a song I had been singing throughout my pregnancy. “Still” by Hillsong.
We are thankful our parents were able to be there to support us, for our friends and family, and for all of the amazing and caring hospital staff.
Shortly after that, reality sank in, and we were devastated. The next morning, walking away from that hospital without our baby was one of the worst feelings in the world.
It is not how we imagined things would go. It’s not what we wanted, it doesn’t seem fair, and it hurts so much. However, through all of this pain, we have seen God working, which sounds crazy with everything that has happened. But we have seen Him, we have seen little miracles, not the one we wanted, but they have been there. He has brought us closer together and has been carrying us every step of the way, giving us peace, bringing us comfort, and putting the right people in our lives at the right time. Without Him, I don’t know how we would get through this. With Him, we have this hope, hope that one day when He returns, we will get to be with Him, and we will get to hold our little girl again.
There are still so many hard days, but they are becoming fewer. I’m starting to smile more and look forward to the days ahead, not dreading them. It’s hard to believe it’s been coming up on two years. When everything happened, I was told time heals. I had a hard time believing that back then. However, it does, with God’s help, it does. It does not erase what happened, but it helps lessen the pain. Now when I think of her, I don’t burst into tears every time. Often I smile and think of the little girl who made me a mom.
Our Little Rainbow
Fast forward to a year after we lost Aveline. We found out I am pregnant with our second child, a little boy. I had been praying for this to happen and for God’s timing, for healing and getting us ready to have another baby.
The first few months of this pregnancy were so hard, and I struggled with depression and so much worry. We had to wait until 12 weeks to determine if this baby also had Anencephaly. Every doctor’s appointment was dreaded because I worried we would get bad news again.
At my 15-week scan, we were told this baby was perfectly healthy and did not have Anencephaly. We were relieved beyond words.
As far as pregnancies go, this one has been pretty easy physically. Still, emotionally it has had its hard moments after losing our daughter last year, bringing mixed feelings and reminders. We are so thankful for this little miracle and are taking in all the good moments. Now that I am over 30 weeks and so far have no complications, I am getting more and more excited to meet this little one.
So far, he is very healthy and kicking, and we can’t wait to welcome our little boy into the world at the beginning of May!
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