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.