I really hope I haven't confused all of you with the dates and what I've written. This evening is when Grady went to heaven. Tomorrow, the 12th, is the day he was born. I'm not sure which is going to be harder to get through.
Today, one year ago, I woke up as normal and felt great. I did take Emma Grace to school again but came back home to rest. After I picked her up and we ate lunch, I wasn't feeling too well. I was just really tired. I checked my blood pressure several times throughout the day. It was fine. A couple of times it was even a little low. Not too low, but lower than normal.
At 2pm my doorbell rang and it was Nicole coming to help me finish Grady's nursery. To my surprise, her husband, Christian, was with her. I don't remember if he had taken the day off or come home early, but nevertheless he was here and was a great help. He vacuumed my house! I couldn't believe it! While Nicole and I were in Grady's room, he was fast at work.
I sat in the glider rocker and told Nicole where to put everything. She opened a pack of newborn diapers. She hung up his clothes, just the way I asked, with the hangers and clothes turned a certain way. She put his clothes that belonged in the drawers there, too. She packed the diaper bag and hung it on the door of his closet. Where it is still hanging, by the way...
As we were working, I commented on Grady's hiccups. He was alive, kicking and all seemed well. That was about 2:30 in the afternoon.
The bus came at 3pm. Jessica got herself a snack, did her homework and got on the computer. By this time it was around 4:30. I was sitting in the recliner talking to my friend, Amy Ellen. As we were talking, Grady gave me a HUGE kick. Not so huge that I was concerned, but it was big. I could feel the outline of his foot protruding on my stomach. I motioned for the girls to come feel. I'm so glad I did. They thought it was so cool, and so did I.
Little did I know that would be the last time we ever felt him.
I truly believe that's when he died. I often wonder if the big kick came from him being in distress or if the big kick caused his distress. Dr. Joe really believes that Grady layed (laid?) on his cord, compressing it and therefore cutting off his oxygen supply. Grady didn't fight or flutter. At least not that I felt. And I'm so thankful. Because as mommies of stillborn babies, we often wonder if our babies suffered inside of us. It's our job to protect them and when they die inside of us, we often feel like a failure. We couldn't even protect our babies where they're supposed to be safely growing. We're supposed to bring life into the world, not death.
During my conversation with Amy Ellen, I clearly remember telling her that I was done..that I honestly never wanted to be pregnant again. Obviously that was before I knew Grady would go to heaven so soon.
Not long after that, around 5pm, Gib came home from work with another slew of food from his coworkers. I got off the phone to see what he had brought in. I started to feel a little nauseous and thought I just needed to eat. At the dinner table, Grady didn't move. Caution flag number one. He ALWAYS moved during dinner. I thought it odd, but wasn't too concerned.
After dinner I went to rest on the bed. On my side. In the quiet. No movement. Caution flag number two.
I knew better, but I got up to go do the dishes. I love my husband with all of my heart, but he doesn't do dishes. It's like pulling teeth. He hates it. I needed to do something because the lack of movement had me concerned at this point and I needed to try to get my mind off of it. I didn't work too hard, but I was determined that my kitchen would be presentable.
I was propped up on Jessica's bed that night around 8:45 helping her study for a Social Studies test the next day. I started poking on my tummy to see if I could get him to move. She asked what I was doing and I told her I hadn't felt him move in a while. She poked too and put her head to my belly and started talking. Nothing. Caution flag number three. I was worried by now but was telling myself I was just being paranoid, that he was fine.
I fell asleep with her that night in her bed and got up around 12am. After emptying my bladder, and praying while I was on the toilet that Grady was okay, I just knew that when I got in my bed I would feel movement. Waited. Waited. Turned to the other side. Waited. Waited.
My heart sank. I was nauseous with worry. My legs were weak, even though I was laying down. My stomach felt more flaccid or floppy. Not as toned as it was. This is where the first warning sign appeared. A big red one.
Gib had fallen asleep in Emma Grace's bed. I didn't go wake him up. Instead around 2am I got up to get my stethoscope. I had never tried that with Grady but I did with Jessica and I heard her heartbeat just fine. That's how they used to do it in the "old days" before dopplers. I found my heartbeat but not his. I knew in my gut that he was gone. But it's very hard to describe...even though I knew he was gone, I was still rationalizing with myself that he was okay.
Because I SO badly wanted him to be okay!
I told myself that even though I was measuring 38 weeks, I was only 36 weeks and 5 days. He probably wasn't as big as Jessica when I heard her. Maybe he was in a position where I couldn't pick up his heartbeat.
Heck, maybe he was in a position where I just wasn't feeling him move.
So there I was. All night. Awake. Alone. Praying. Begging God to let Grady be okay.
I don't remember what time Gib came to bed but I didn't dare tell him. No need in both of us losing sleep. I lay there and contemplated calling Dr. Joe. But then I would have to wake someone up to come stay with the girls and disturb Dr. Joe (turned out he was at the hospital all night anyway). But I rationalized, and this does sound harsh, that if he was dead at 3am he would still be dead the next morning when I went into the office. And then I thought that maybe if I hurried to the hospital they could save him...
But I knew it was too late.
He had been still far too long...
I'll pick up here tomorrow.
Today was just okay. I didn't cry all day but there was definitely a heaviness present. And it's still there. And the tears have come off and on all day.
First thing this morning, I was getting ready to back out of my garage to take the girls to school when I heard Jessica yell, "Whoa Mom. Miss Jenny!" Jenny is my friend and neighbor across the street. She is a faithful reader of my blog and the one who lit the candle and put it outside on October 15th for Grady. She pulled up my drive on her way to work to give me a hug and let me know she was thinking of me this week, especially today and tomorrow. That was a great way to start the day...thank you!
I tried to keep myself busy around the house. I made a list and went to Walmart to buy the things to make Grady's cake. I'm a bit nervous about that, I must admit!
This afternoon around 4:45pm, right around the time that I think Grady went to heaven, I retreated into his room and journaled in the rocker. It was a time of tears and love and reflection. I decided that we needed to release a balloon today. I still plan for us all to release one for him tomorrow, but we needed one for today, too. Unfortunately, by the time I decided to do this, it was already getting dark. The pictures of it flying away aren't very good, so I didn't post them.
When the balloon flew away, it floated in the direction of my "Baby Grady star". It's a star that I discovered a couple of nights after coming home from the hospital. It just recently reappeared in the same place that I discovered it this time last year. (I know it's probably always in the sky, but it's not always in this particular spot)
Then we went to the Mexican restaurant for dinner. I just couldn't sit at the dinner table tonight at home. I guess because that's where I first suspected a problem.
And I also got these beautiful flowers today from a dear friend, and Gib's best friend, Stephen, and his boys, Nick and Noah. They were a lovely surprise and brightened my day. Thanks boys!
My Sweet Baby Grady,
How I wish we could turn back time and things could be different. I wish those things for myself because I'm selfish and I miss you with every breath I take. But I don't wish that for you. As much as I wish you could be here, as much as my arms ache to hold you, as lonely as it is without you, I wouldn't wish you back here. You are in the most magnificent place you could be and I can't wait to join you there some day! We would have done our best to give you a happy, loving, Godly home, but nothing compares to heaven. Surely there was a celebration there for you today! You've been there a whole year! It seems like an eternity to me. I love you and I miss you more than words can say!
Hugs and kisses to heaven,