Thursday, December 31, 2009

My reflection of 2009

I can't believe we've come to the point where a new year is ready to begin. 2009 has been quite a year-one of the toughest and greatest of my life. I can't even remember what I did last New Year's Eve. It was just a few days after we got back from our trip to Hawaii. More than likely I slept through it. That's what I have done most years. I am not a night person.

But tonight I find myself awake and reflecting on the past year. So, here is a recap of some of the moments in our journey with Carleigh...

January 5 - I started Carleigh's blog and we met with the funeral home to begin going over pre-arrangements for Carleigh's funeral.

January 8 - I had my first OB appointment after Carleigh's fatal diagnosis and presented Dr. F with our birth plan.

January 21 - More pre-arrangements with the funeral home.

January 25 - Bought Carleigh's plot at the cemetery. We also bought ours so that we would be together.

February 1 - We told our church family about Carleigh fatal diagnosis.

February 11 - We had our 3D/4D Ultrasound and it was wonderful to see our little girl so clearly!

February 18 - Had a maternity photo session done by our NILMDTS photographer.

February 27 - Felt Carleigh have the hiccups for the first time.

March 6 - Received packages in the mail to officially enroll in the Duke study on anencephaly.

March 10 - Birth plan updated and finalized.

March 14 - A prayer shower was given for us and it was amazing.

March 20 - Had my last ultrasound that showed Carleigh's growth had fallen even further behind. I decided it was time to move forward with an induction.

March 21 - I threw a belly casting party so that some of my girlfriends from high school and some of my family could help me create a belly cast.

March 23 - Last OB appointment and set induction for March 27.

March 24 - Met with the funeral home to go over final arrangements for Carleigh.

March 27 - Went to the hospital in the early morning for my induction. Had many family and friends there for us and who stayed the whole day and night. I updated my progress on Carleigh's blog.

March 28 - At 3:49 am, Carleigh McKenna was born still. She weighed 3 lbs 15 oz and was 13 1/2 inches long. A beautiful and perfect little girl.

March 29 - We left the hospital and took Carleigh to the funeral home and then went home.

March 30 - We returned to the funeral home to dress Carleigh in her burial outfit. My milk also came in this day and I started pumping and storing milk.

March 31 - I wrote Carleigh's birth story.

April 3 - Carleigh's first visitation.

April 4 - Carleigh's second visitation and funeral service.

April 9 - I had a 2 week check-up with my dr to see how I was doing.

April 19 - Made our first visit to Carleigh's grave since her burial.

April 27 - My milk finally dried up and I quit pumping. I was able to pump over 300 oz for my cousin, Amber.

April 28 - 1 month without Carleigh.

April 30 - I sponsored a child from India in memory of Carleigh.

May 1 - Received news from Heidi at Duke that they were unable to do chromosome analysis on Carleigh's cord blood.

May 10 - My first Mother's Day without Carleigh

May 11 - Had my 6 week check-up with Dr. F and it was also my first day back at work.

May 16 - We held a bike run in memory of Carleigh that benefited the Neural Tube Defect Research Fund and I got a tattoo in memory of Carleigh.

May 21 - Foundation poured for Carleigh's headstone and more dirt to be put on her grave.

May 28 - 2 months without Carleigh.

May 30 - We had a pancake breakfast fundraiser to raise money for expenses and to make donations to a few places. It was a great success!

June 20 - Anthony's first Father's Day without Carleigh and also my birthday.

June 28 - 3 months without Carleigh.

July 4 - I created a corner in our flower beds to remember Carleigh and finally received our NILMDTS photos.

July 14 - I visited Carleigh at the cemetery and found that her headstone was finally up!

July 15 - I had my first dream of Carleigh.

July 18 - I wrote lyrics just for Carleigh to the song More Beautiful You.

July 19 - We visited the cemetery so that I could put flowers in Carleigh's vase on her headstone, which had just been put up.

July 28 - 4 months without Carleigh.

August 8 - We participated in the Ride 4 Grace and I got to meet Kelly from Sufficient Grace Ministries in person! It was wonderful!

August 10 - A year ago I found out I was pregnant with Carleigh.

August 21 - I met with Monica from the Mother Baby Care unit at the hospital I work and where I received Carleigh's diagnosis and delivered her. I told her I wanted to provide her with Kelly's Dreams of You memory books and comfort bears to help other families.

August 25 - I obtained copies of my records from my labor and delivery with Carleigh.

August 28 - 5 months without Carleigh.

September 28 - 6 months without Carleigh.

October 15 - I lit candles for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

October 25 - We took a trip to Chattanooga, TN to visit the National Memorial for the Unborn and to meet up with some other loss families. What an amazing weekend!

October 28 - 7 months without Carleigh.

November 1 - I gave Carleigh some new flowers for fall.

November 6 - I saw Carleigh's memory chest made by my aunt and uncle for the first time. Breathtaking.

November 22 - I had my first public breakdown.

November 26 - Our first Thanksgiving without her.

November 28 - 8 months without Carleigh.

December 6 - I decorated Carleigh's vase for Christmas.

December 15 - One year ago this day we received Carleigh's fatal diagnosis of anencephaly.

December 24 - I visited Carleigh on Christmas Eve and sang to her.

December 25 - First Christmas without her.

December 28 - 9 months without Carleigh

So many moments made up 2009, both big and small. If I had to think of one word to describe it all I would say 'wonderful'. It truly has been a wonderful year despite the hard times. Sure, there's been heartache, but when I think of 2009 I don't think of the fact that I lost my daughter. I think of the fact that I had my daughter. I'm thankful and blessed that I got to know her and that I had time to prepare for her. This year has forever changed my life. I've loved deeper, grown stronger in faith, and so much more. I am hoping that 2010 will have great things in store for us. I have faith that God will bless us with another child. In the meantime, I'll continue on by loving my family, praising my God, living my life, and always, always remembering my baby girl.

I found a poem a while back that I think would be perfect to share now.

She is Gone
You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her and only that she's gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she'd want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.


Lynnette Kraft said...

2009 was definitely a year of heartache and healing for you. I think it's wonderful that you have all those days recorded. That's wonderful!

I hope that 2010 is also a wonderful year as you draw near to God and allow him to work in your life.


Danielle said...

I love that poem! What a great reminder of how blessed we are to have had our babies here. Thank you for sharing :)

I've been praying my heart out for you and your family. I hope 2010 brings you much love, happiness, and blessings. God had used you to help so many people this past year, myself especially. Much love to you :) Thanks for being such a wonderful friend.

croleyc69 said...

What a beautiful post and I can say that Carleigh and you have made a big impact on my life. I'm thankful for so many reasons that I met you online. Not that our daughter's had the same name and we were in the same group but everyday I pray and think of you. My heart breaks but at the same time God has used you to make me a stronger person. My children love you and often ask How's Holly ?? Nice to know that they as children care so much.
Praying 2010 brings you alot and Carleigh is lookin down and smilin at you.
What a beautiful poem. {{HUGS}}

Jodi Lansink said...

"Sure, there's been heartache, but when I think of 2009 I don't think of the fact that I lost my daughter. I think of the fact that I had my daughter."

This part of what you wrote is EXACTLY how I feel as I reflect back on 2009 as well...sure there was so much heartache, but I think of all the memories and that is what makes it a good year! Here's to a GREAT 2010!!! Happy New Year!

Jennifer Ross said...

That's a really awesome poem. I could change the "she" for "he," for Isaiah.

You have a wonderful attitude with that long list of 2009!

Anonymous said...


Sending you hope for 2010 to be an amazing year.

chadandnikki said...

I haven't thought about doing a time line of 2009. This was wonderful.

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

What an amazing year it has have walked through so much! This was a beautiful recap of Carleigh's life and your journey this past year. I am so grateful that you have been part of my 2009. It has been such a blessing to get to know you!

Much Love,

P.S. Beautiful it!

stitchndeb said...

Wow, seeing it all lined up like that, you've sure been through a lot. I love your attitude that in 2009 you didn't lose your daughter, you had your daughter. That poem is INCREDIBLE. Happy New Year, Holly. ~Debbie

Elizabeth said...

That is a beautiful poem. I think I will use it for my friend's funeral. Here's to hoping that 2010 will bring you peace. *hugs*

Franchesca Cox said...

I love how your memories are so detailed! That's awesome. And that poem is beautiful, I'd never read that one before and it's so perfect.

Hoping that Carleigh's little brother or sister comes soon :)

Bree said...

I agree, 2009 was my happiest, yet saddest year. I just read through the birth plan you wrote for Carleigh. I am so amazed how all of the pieces (the birth plan, her funeral plans, maternity shoot...) came together before her birth. You are amazing. May 2010 be kind and gentle on all of us.

Stephanie said...

What a year you have had. I'm glad I was able to share it with you.

I hope that 2010 brings you lots of joy! Happy New Year!

Mom Putnam said...

Yes, the poem says it all and is so true. I loved it! We (You) were blessed and Carleigh and God would want us to move on, smile , be happy and love. And look forward to whatever god has in store for us. Missing you Carleigh, as always, but never forgotten and always thinking of you!!!!!!
Mom and Grandma

April said...

What a huge year for you holly, and your family. I had no idea that you did the belly casting. I really enjoying reading that post and seeing those photos. Have you done anything special with the casting?

The poem is so beautiful. Something you can share with other baby loss mommies... very uplifting and encouraging.

Heather said...

What a year....and that is a great poem!

I also didn't realize our babies were so close in size at birth. Madelyn was 3 pounds 4 ounces and 15 inches long.

My Very Own Angel said...

I just love how you put this together. The poem is great also. I know that 2010 will be a year of great blessings to you and your family. There is no hoping, I just know.

Just Breathe said...

That is a beautiful poem. If any of use were told that we would have to face all the things you faced in 2009 we would run away and hide. It is amazing what one can do when faced with such pain.
I am sure that you were a beautiful person before the sadness but look how beautiful you have grown with it. What a beautiful example of what God can do when you put your faith in him.
I pray that 2010 will give you desires that bring tears of joy to you.

Once A Mother said...

i think it is truly a testament to your love for little carleigh that you have all of those moments recorded.

thank you, too, for posting that poem. i really needed to read it

Nickel Pickle said...

What a year...

I love the poem at the end.

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