Today has been an emotional day. A wonderful day full of laughs and an excruciating day full of heart wrenching tears. Each good moment makes me want another happy experience and so forth. There will never be enough "time". This morning waking up to Ruthie Lou's beautiful face right next to mine was the best. I have not slept that peacefully in three weeks.
Today was yet another peaceful and tranquil day. We lounged around this morning, snuggling with Ruthie Lou just being a family in our home. It was a warm and beautiful day here, the sun shining brightly. We took an afternoon stroll outside and smelled the sweet fresh air of all the flowers in bloom, the grounds here are immaculate and beautiful. We spent time this afternoon "memory making" with Ruthie Lou, creating 3-D casts of her hand and foot, they turned out perfect! It's kinda weird how realistic they look, I haven't seen anything like these before. We also attempted to do some handprints but little miss Ruthie Lou had another agenda, she was not having it! Ruthie Lou likes her hand in a fist, not flat, so instead her print turned out to be a big beautiful pink smear on the canvas, with paint all over her tiny hand and it kept getting frighteningly close to being put in her mouth! We were laughing so hard, we couldn't clean her fast enough! Oh well, imperfections make things perfect so we will keep her smeared prints and laugh every time we look at them.
Tonight we sat outside and watched the sunset once again with the intent of taking some pictures of Ruthie Lou in the beautiful garden, but it was much too chilly. It was a good reminder that not all memories make it on the camera. Sometimes, I want the the picture so bad that most of my time is spent behind the camera and not appreciating the memory we are making. Throughout the day, I could not let go of how the community came together for our family at two fundraisers last night. The buzz was so big, we could feel it here in our "home", in fact we could still feel the energy today. The messages, texts and emails were so overwhelmingly full of love we are still in disbelief at the amount of support you have all shown us. We felt as if we were actually there...because in a sense we were. I told Ruthie Lou about all our friends and family who love her, love us, but I am sure she already knows you all. I still believe that she came here for me, for Chris but I also think she came here for all of you. It's hard not to think that when I see the tremendous amounts of lives that she has affected, she has changed.
Thank you for all the Caringbridge guestbook messages and emails, I am saving all of them to remind me of Ruthie Lou's purpose here on Earth and to read them when I need your strength. Please continue to keep writing us, there is no blessing too small, sometimes it's the small things that make the biggest difference in our lives but I am also blown away by the huge life changes that some of you have confided in us. It's just another miracle of this little angel.
The staff and volunteers here are so kind & loving, many of them having their own personal connection with this house or having lost a child before this house even existed. Once you join this "club" there is an unspoken bond that unites you with everyone else in it and fortunately there are some amazing people who have turned their loss, their pain, into helping and supporting families like us cope with the worst loss imaginable. There are also volunteers here of every age and every interest. Today an elderly woman sang Ruthie Lou a song and a high school student helped us with our "memory making" projects.
This house includes people of all ages and all are united by the desire to bring joy to our children, no matter what. We feel so fortunate to have ended up here to be held close by people who love us and want the best for our daughter.
And finally, thank to to all of you who have passed on the story Ruthie Lou's journey. A handful of your friends, people unknown to me, have reached out to share their personal story of pain, loss and survival. I desperately need to be connected with people who have been here before us. Hearing the ways in which families have coped, turning their loss into support for someone else, in this case us, gives us an ounce of hope that we will live beyond this tragedy, that we will give Ruthie Lou's legacy meaning, even though I am not sure what that will be yet, only time will tell...
I woke up yesterday morning after a restless nights sleep. It was amazing having Ruthie Lou sleep in our room with us but it also brought such anxiety of listening to her breathe all night with the fear she would stop at any moment. Any little change in her breathing woke me up and I felt myself awake more than I was asleep. It did however afford me some very sweet quality moments with little miss Ruthie Lou.
At one time, I took her to the couch with me and we slept there but eventually she just ended up in our bed between Chris and I where we could just reach out and touch her at any moment. Since I slept so poorly, our morning yesterday started very slowly, but who am I kidding, I move slow in the morning on a regular day! So we got in great naps on the couch and lots of lounging, but I suppose that is what you do with a newborn anyways... Lots of rest.
A photographer visited us yesterday and not being quite sure how that was going to go, it turned out to be amazing! We could see some of the shots that he got immediately and they were beautiful. Even Chris, who many of you know a camera comes near him and his very sweet face immediately grimaces, looked relaxed and so loving in the pictures we saw. Ruthie Lou of course looked stunning! She is just the absolute most beautiful thing I have ever seen and she did amazing as we moved from one spot to the next.
The evening proved to be just as relaxing as the day. We ate dinner outside and after, took a little stroll out to the garden. We circled the grounds and checked out the landscaping, it is captivating here. Every little last detail has been thought of and it is breathtaking. There are little creatures and birds flying about from tree to tree, flower to flower, we even saw a hummingbird land. I don't know about you, but we had never seen one actually land before! Not stop at a feeder or flower to feed, but actually stop on a branch and sit there a moment, they certainly are cute little guys. We were excited to show Ruthie Lou the hummingbird.
As night fell and we got sleepy, ordinarily I like to stay up as late as I can because I don't want to leave her or I feel worried that we may not get tomorrow, but last night was not the case. We had had a beautiful day, so relaxing and wonderful. We couldn't have asked for a nicer time together. I found myself feeling at peace last night as we lay Ruthie Lou between us on the bed, which is just the most peaceful place for us to have her. Laying right between her mama & her dad and just for a moment, all was right in the world.
Today was heaven sent. It was amazing. We got off to a later start than anticipated but when we arrived here, it was just as described and better than the pictures.
As we entered the building, before we even made it to our room, we were greeted by an enormous bouquet of beautiful pink roses from Ruthie Lous grammie and grandpa! The co-founder came to our room and greeted us and gave us such a warm welcome, we sat and chatted for over an hour, it is clear she is following her life's purpose by providing such a safe, warm, and welcoming place for families to retreat with their children. And just as she was about to leave, Ruthie Lou's neurologist came by to see us! The fact that she came here, is just indicative of the numerous wonderful people that Ruthie Lou has had the pleasure to be with these last few weeks.
It took a little while to settle in, and we were so very tired, it felt great to sit on the couch and just be. Dad held Ruthie Lou and took a little nap, I pumped (once again) but in the comfort of our living room and with both of them right next to me on the couch. As I got sleepy and dad woke up, I scooped up Ruthie Lou and had my own little snuggle with her on the bed, something I have wanted to do...forever. We ate dinner outside and Ruthie Lou got to smell the fresh air for the very first time! We really wanted to take a walk with her but as the night chill began to come in we thought we'd better bathe her and bundle her up before that could happen, so in we came for Ruthie Lou's first bath. I set everything up and Chris took off her diaper and handed her to me, as he turned to grab the video camera, since of course it needed to be documented, she pooped all down my arm and all over the floor, it just kept coming!!! I was laughing so incredibly hard and Chris was just worried about catching it on film, all we could do was stand there!! Ruthie Lou has a great sense of humor and has been really good at giving us all those new parent initiations and yesterday we had a similar experience and as she was pooping, even shot me some smiles. Who doesn't smile when they've just pooped?!
After she was warmed up and bundled, we went out to sit in the sunset and it was beautiful. We rocked in the rocking chair and allowed our minds to sit still for a bit. What a blessing and a beautiful night. The rest of the night was just as sweet, Ruthie and I napped on the couch and dad watched a movie, I think. We were too busy sleeping. When it came time to put Ruthie Lou to bed in our room, she of course decided that was the perfect time to wake up, she didn't want to miss the party, as her grandpa used to tell me when I was a kid. So we settled in bed, read her "On the day you were born" (a gift from our friends the Sullivans) and she peacefully fell back to sleep where she's resting now.
As for me, maybe a nap around 8pm wasn't the best idea, but it sure felt good! I keep reminding myself to be in the moment, not worry about tomorrow and not to have expectations, but be so grateful for right now. I am grateful for a beautiful day. I am grateful for my beautiful family, a daughter so perfect and a husband with the largest heart of any man I have met. It's amazing that you can be with someone for ten years and still continue to learn things that make you love them more and more each day. Ruthie Lou gave us that gift, as well.
And so, in this moment, all is peaceful, all is good.
We were blessed to have this day.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.