Numbers - I'm a big numbers fan. I love them. It's weird I know but it has its upsides. When my good friend Mel was pregnant, she couldn't remember how many weeks she was, so she would always tell people to ask me. I remember, friends' kids birthdates and when people at church ask me about the next month's activities, I can rattle off all the dates.
So the point of all this!!
Today is the 21st day of October and I am 16wks and 4days pregnant with our baby boy. This scan is my baby at 12wks and 1 day.
At first I wished i had a scan of him at 16wks and 4days so I knew what he looked like today but then I realised, I already knew what he looked like.
On the 21st of May at 16wks and 4days, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter Charlotte. The sacredness and sadness of the labour experience, her exquisiteness and grace, the perfectness of her body beyond anything I could have comprehended has been indelibly etched in my mind.
We found out on the 21st of April, exactly one month earlier, that our baby, whom we named Charlotte May, had Down Syndrome. According to the doctors, this is why she died, her heart was too defective. But her soul wasn't -it was strong and perfect and wise. I don't know why Charlotte had to die before we had the chance to watch her grow and learn about the joys and challenges of raising a magical extra chromosome baby, but I know there was a purpose to this whole experience. I don't yet know what that purpose is, but a very dear friend of mine said 'when it's hard....that's when faith has to take over'. Sometimes it is hard not to know the reason for some things, but the journey is in coming to gracefully accept HIS will and having the peace of mind that ALL experiences, both joyful and sorrowful are for OUR good, to help us be better than before, because HE loves us.
The other day at the hospital I came across a young man with Down Syndrome. Where once I would have fleetingly glanced at him, I slowed and searched his eyes until they met mine....... and then we gave each other the biggest grin and in that moment, I saw Charlotte smiling back at me. Already I have changed and for that I am eternally grateful.
Charlotte was due on November the 1st so on that day, Simon and the kids and I will quietly reflect on Charlotte's presence and influence in our lives. She will always be close to me, I know that and feel it, like my own personal guardian angel I suppose, and that is a truly tender blessing from above but as numbers go there is a new date I must now focus on and prepare for and start to look forward to.
Charlotte's baby brother is due April 3rd. He arrived against all odds just one month after we lost Charlotte, when I wasn't mentally, emotionally or physically ready. He has his own story to tell, his own blank pages to fill with life experiences and a mother who will love him fiercely because I know that he and Charlotte share an amazing bond and I feel privileged to be a part of that bond forever and ever.