Nearly A Year
"For a moment out of time We hold in our hands A life that hovers Between two worlds." Beneath the Surface, Sheila Pyatt (author & Ruthie Lou's Aquatic Therapist)
For a brief moment we held her...and held her and held her and held her. We held her as much as we physically possibly could and it was still not enough. It would never have been enough, we knew that then, we know that now. Nearly 366 days ago, of course this a leap year, was the best day of my life. I birthed my sweet beautiful perfect girl. I gratefully labored hours for her, I knew she was worth all the pain. And she was.
I look back to the moment leading up to the day of her birth and I wonder what guided us through that time? Why did we make one decision over another? How did all this come together so that we would get 33 days with her? Each decision made, knowingly or unknowingly, provided us with as much time as we possibly could have had with our sweet Ruthie Lou. It was not the miracle we had hoped for but it was still nothing short of a miracle in itself. Her life was already determined, as all of ours are, yet there were certain things that had to fall in place in order for us to get so much time with Ruthie Lou. It was truly a miracle to have had so much time. Not enough time, but there is never enough time to say good bye to the most loved person in your life.
Miracles of her birth to allow her so much life: She came early. Her cord was wrapped and meconium inhaled. Coming early was a blessing. Her cord was wrapped, she inhaled meconium. This criteria helped send her to Oakland. Ruthie Lou's birth was non medicated and supported by the wonderful staff at Santa Rosa Kaiser. It may or may not have helped Ruthie Lou, but there was not a "bed" for me in Oakland. So free from meds, this allowed me to walk out of the hospital when I needed to, to be discharged within hours of birth to drive to Oakland ASAP. She was sent to Oakland. There was no damage from birth. We discovered her chromosomal abnormality. It was a blessing to have been discovered. We knew her genetic makeup. Had we brought her home from the hospital, she could have died there without any explanation to us. Our Kaiser Oakland nurses fed us, loved us, loved Ruthie Lou. They helped give us the nutritional energy and loving support to be present every moment for our girl.
We hella love Oakland!
The same nurses/staff introduced us to George Mark Children's house, Ruthie Lou's home. We were given the "gift of time". We spent her final 12 days free from machines, enjoying LIFE with our daughter, being supported through her life, her transition and today....the nurses, staff and founders are forever our family. Each and every physical step of Ruthie Lou's life was a miracle, a blessing. It was not as we had hoped. It was not what we wanted. But if we had to endure the same outcome, we feel so fortunate that this was the path of her life, that these steps must have been taken so we could have her as long as physically possible. It was never enough nor would ever be enough but it was as long as we possibly could have had with our sweet girl in our arms, 33 days to hold and love our child. Our first born, our beautiful, perfect girl. We love her so much.
Ruthie Lou experienced unconditional love her entire life from the moment she was born until the moment she left our arms. Each miracle sent our way allowed us to provide her life with TIME to show her the warm sunshine on her skin, the sounds of the waterfall, the birds and critters flying trough the trees, beautiful sunsets, the warm tub she loved, arts and crafts, snuggles all day & night, and the sound of her mama and dad, loving, laughing, crying, singing, reading, and talking to her and each other ALL DAY LONG.
Her life was real and it was full and it was important.
The last year....
Has been unbelievable
Has been hard
Has been a journey
Has given meaning to our life
Has given us a passion to be our best
Has prioritized everything
Has been an instant
Has been filled with tears, hope, joy and beauty
Has bonded life long unbreakable relationships, friendships, family
Has taught me more about myself than I ever knew or probably ever wanted to know
Has created comfort in an imperfect life
Has shown me a great man, my husband, Ruthie Lou's dad
Has been nurtured by the love FOR and FROM our daughter
I remember writing when Ruthie Lou was alive, asking, how do people survive this heartbreak. I still do not have the answer other than, THEY DO. Humans are resilient. So resilient. Even when we would rather give up, that choice was never a choice for us. We love Ruthie Lou too much to ever give up. We love each other too much to give up and leave the other alone in this life. We made a pact to each other before Ruthie Lou died that the life we live and the love we give is all because of our love for her. We live, we love because she is not here. Our life is the proof of gratitude for her choosing us. It is not always easy, it is not what we wanted but we know what she wanted for us, to live a good, loving , and full life and so we do it for her.
Ruthie Lou's birthday MAY be a hard day for us, it MAY NOT be. Sometimes the anxiety or apprehension of an event is worse that the actual day. We know it can't be any harder than the 11 months of days we have endured without her. So we are not anticipating the day to be one way or another and we hope you can do the same for us. Ruthie Lou's labor was beautiful and the day of her birth was so full of love, we did not know what the next month would bring.
So we will celebrate her LOVE and LIFE on Thursday, August 9, 2012 as we have each day since last year. Celebrations can look so different, sometimes filled with laughter, stories, smiles and love and sometimes filled with sadness, aching pains and tears because we love so much. Both are beautiful and both are necessary and both are love.
For Ruthie Lou's birthday and month of her life please celebrate with us. I have another request from those of you who still read our sweet girl's updates- please comment on her GUESTBOOK, NOT Facebook or email. Caringbridge offers beautifully bound books of all the updates and messages that are shown on these pages and after Ruthie Lous "month" has ended, we will be publishing this Caringbridge book for her siblings to know her through you, for us to remember her joy always, and to chronicle her life in print. We would love to have your current messages to print. We ask that these messages be sent in the next 33 days this year to celebrate her 33 days of life last year.
We so desperately want her siblings to know her and this book will be that gift to them Please share anything you like! If you need guidance we would love to hear once again but now with a year of experience:
How has your life been touched, changed, blessed because of our daughter?
How has her brief journey on Earth affected you?
How do you live differently? Love differently?
How do you regard the sweetness of family, friends, nature, and life since the last year has passed?
What is your favorite "Ruthie Lou" memory having met her or not, a ladybug or story of love that was your symbol of her this last year?
All these messages help us in our hardest days, the moments we need your support but don't have the energy to call. The written word can so beautifully provide the love that we need in a moment and throughout our lifetimes to be reminded that Ruthie Lou's life MEANT something to YOU, too. . Please celebrate Ruthie Lou on her birthday this week and all through this month from 8/9-9/10 and share with us the love her life has shared with you.
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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.