I looked at the clock. It was 5:17 am. Two years ago, at this time, I was holding my baby girl. After several grueling hours of intense labor Finley was born at 3:09 am. It was a Sunday. She weighed 4 lbs 12 oz and was 16 inches long. She had Daniel's nose and my lips. She had the longest fingers and the daintiest hands.
What I wouldn't give for her middle of the night moans and groans, her loudest cries and her stubborn sleep-fighting tears. I can still feel the misplaced shock and the gut wrenching pain that I felt when upon my final push she didn't make a sound. It was tragic. All consuming. Breaking my heart and blackening my memories in one swift blow.
We left the hospital on Monday. We left quietly ...amidst the cries of new, pink, chubby babies being cradled by tired mothers and examined by proud fathers. We were wheeled down the back hallways, averting our eyes, and silent. We were ushered into our car with mutters of well wishes, a stuffed animal to fill my weak and empty arms.
I didn't know how I was going to survive. I was sure I wouldn't.
Thankfully, without pause, Daniel knew that we would. Our parents knew that we would. Countless friends and acquaintances and even strangers knew that we would. And without a doubt, my faithful Father KNEW that we would.
I clung to His promise... that He would be faithful. That He would be my everlasting light. That He would guide me through both the day and the night. And He never left my side. Never once did I ever walk alone.
And here I am two years later, celebrating and remembering the little girl who forever changed me. The little girl who gives me hope for something much greater than this life. The little girl who I can not wait to hold once again, stroking her hair and kissing her face basking in the Glory of our Redeemer.
Though there is immeasurable heartache and grief in this walk we have been chosen for, there is also so much light and love. Reminders of His mercy....
This morning Eli and I laid in bed curled up with one another and had this conversation:
Me: "Today is such a special day..."
Eli: "What is it today, mama?"
Me: "It's your sister's birthday. Finley's birthday."
Eli: "I remember Finley, where is she?"
Me: "She's in heaven with God. But she is watching down on us all the time..."
Eli: "I want to go up there, mom. I want to go to heaven."
Me: "Me too buddy!"
Eli: "We can fly up there mom. With Jude too. He can carry you. Or we can build a really big tower to get there."
Me: "Do you think it's beautiful up there? What do you think it's like?"
Eli: "Well God is there. And Finley. And all the little children too. I want to go there mommy..."
It hurt but felt so good to assure him that one day we would all be up there together, singing with the angels. We sang a quiet and sleepy "Happy Birthday" to our best girl and I thanked the Lord for blessing us with her.
This journey has been rough. Two years filled with the ebb and flow of anger, pain, sorrow, and despair... but through it all we have been filled with so much hope, we have regained our joy, we have seen and felt our Father's love, we have been surrounded by grace and mercy. I would not have changed a thing.
I am thankful every day for my baby girl. For the 7 months I was able to feel her squirming and kicking, for the 2 days I was able to cradle her in my arms, and for the endless days ahead knowing that she is waiting for me in a much more beautiful and peaceful place... twirling and laughing in the golden light of His kingdom.
I love you Finley. Happy Second Birthday, darling little one.