363 DAYS

by Carmel on December 4, 2016 · 2 comments

Laurel turns one year old on Wednesday. As with many moms in the weeks leading up to her first child’s first birthday, I’ve been asking myself, “where has the time gone??” and staring at photos from these amazing 12 months. However, these past few days, I’ve been reliving the memories of last year at this time when uncertainty was the only thing I knew. Would I have a baby in the next day? Week? Month? If the “worst thing happens” and I have the baby now, are we ready? What else do we need to order? We did the best we could, followed doctor’s orders, and she insisted it was time to be born. So, we did what we had to do.

Little did I know that this would be my last maternity photo

I feel a little ridiculous admitting that I have been struggling with my emotions the past few days. When the trauma you experience ends with you having a beautiful, healthy baby, how can you feel anything but gratitude? I have friends who have not been so lucky. I heard stories in the NICU of long-term issues that other families deal with. After 25 (long) days, we got to take home the most perfect 4 lbs. 9 oz. child ever made. Yet I still have this lingering sadness in my heart of all the things we endured to get here.


Bringing the Peanut home

The thing I’ve learned about grieving over the nearly five years is that you can’t reason it away. Rationalize all you want – your feelings are your feelings. So while I don’t intend to spend my days feeling sorry for myself (because, trust me, I know how blessed we are), I do owe it to myself to honor my feelings.

Last week, I noticed my bad habits surfacing. They crept in, mostly unnoticed, ignored once they were recognized. Another spoonful of dinner…a little more wine…staring endlessly at my phone. Friday, I finally went on my run – I kept putting it off because of meetings, work, Shawn’s schedule, my excuses… Thinking back on a year ago, I felt so powerless. My body was working against me, and I felt like a failure. It wasn’t my fault, but I felt responsible. Halfway through the week 4 day 3 Couch to 5k program, I was on a walk portion when I reached the bottom of a long hill. The app told me it was time to run. I had a choice, but I chose to go. It was hard after being so sedentary for a few days, but I kept my head down, paced my breathing, and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. In a way, it was the same thing I did a year ago while on bed rest. The future is so unknown. Things change in a moment.

I’m going to give myself a chance to reflect, to be sad when I feel it – it doesn’t change how I feel about the outcome. Sometimes we just have to allow ourselves to get through the sorrow and come out to the other side where we can fully celebrate the outcome.


So many reasons to give thanks this year







{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim December 5, 2016 at 2:21 pm

She is so beautiful. Happy birthday little Laurel!


sheiladearden December 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm

Hi Carmel – I’m so glad I found your wonderful blog. Your daughter is beautiful! Thanks for your post, your words really resonated – this time of year is usually such a time of celebration & yet, post election, I’ve had a hard time shaking off a deep seated sense of sadness. Running is my meditation & the only thing that has been helping is to take myself & the dog for a run in the woods.
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