Three years ago tonight I was getting my tired, pregnant self ready for bed, totally unaware that in just a few hours my life would forever change. A few hours later, after falling asleep, I awoke to my water breaking. I hardly even knew what was happening. It was five days before my due date. Everyone had insisted to me that your first baby never comes early. But five days early or not, our first born was ready to make an appearance. I think I was pretty much in shock as we drove to the hospital very early that morning. Could it really be that easy? My water breaks and then we have a baby? I remember talking to Joel on the way to the hospital about the names we had chosen. I still wasn't sure about the boy name. I'm sure Joel thought that I was a crazy lady as I once again started to debate about boys names in the middle of the night, on our way to the hospital, as my contractions were starting. I didn't have to debate with him about the girl name. I loved the name Cora Paige. I was feeling all of the conflicting emotions of a first time mama--excited, scared, nervous, and overjoyed that maybe my swollen feet would return to their normal size in the near future. Of course meeting Miss Cora Paige wasn't that easy...you know, like my water broke and boom we had a baby. There was a lot of pushing involved. I mean a lot.
March fifth is a day that I will never forget. A day that came as a total surprise. A day full of anticipation as I waited to hold my first born. A day when I found out that I had a daughter...a little girl. A day when I felt like my heart couldn't be any fuller...ever. It was an amazing day. A day that forever changed my life. March fifth is the day I became a mama.
Tomorrow we once again face Cora's birthday. This will be the third birthday that we have celebrated without our sweet girl. My baby girl would have been three. Three...how is that possible? Oh how my heart longs to know Cora as a three year old. The past few days as the sadness has been creeping in on me again I have wondered how different my life would look right now if we were preparing to celebrate my little girl turning three. I wish I knew what Cora would have been like as a three year old. What would she sound like as a jabbering toddler? What would her favorite color be? Would she have been a girly-girl or a farm girl helping her daddy? What kind of birthday party would she have begged for? What presents would we be wrapping up for her? What would I be saying to my little girl as I greeted her on the morning of her birthday?
Instead of a fun birthday party with all of our friends and family we are wondering once again how to mingle the celebration of the day our daughter was born with the deep grief that our hearts are filled with. Instead of filling our house with balloons and presents and cupcakes we are planning when to take flowers to our sweet little girl's grave. It all seems so wrong. So wrong in every way. And if I let myself dwell on what tomorrow will look like in "reality" instead of what my heart longs for it to look like, I so easily can slip into despair.
So tomorrow, on March fifth, I know that I need to choose to remember that I am one blessed mama rather than dwell in my sadness. On March fifth my life was forever changed. When I saw Cora Paige and realized that the Lord had chosen me to be her mama, I felt like my heart was going to explode. It was love at first sight. An instant bond between mama and daughter. And then to see Joel fall head-over-heals in love with his little girl...no words can describe what that was like. And I wouldn't change anything about that day.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Just like all of the other days that the Lord ordained for our sweet Cora, March fifth wasn't a surprise to Him. On March fifth He already knew that the fearfully and wonderfully made little girl that I was holding in my arms wouldn't live to see her third birthday, or even her first. He had created sweet Cora to fulfill a big mission in the short eleven months that she would live on earth. The Lord knew that the days written in His book for Cora would look so different from the days we would have chosen for our daughter. And yet he chose us to be Cora's parents. He chose us to be part of His plan for her life. He chose me to be Cora's mama.
Tomorrow, on Cora's birthday, I want to remember the blessing that March fifth marks in my life. I want to remember the incredible privilege it is to be Cora's mama. I want to praise the Lord for the day my daughter was born. His works are so wonderful, I know that full well! Of course along with my praises there will be many tears because the reality is that I miss Cora more than words could even describe. But I think that is okay. He understands. And just like March 5th, 2008 wasn't a surprise to my Lord, March 5th, 2011 won't be either. Happy birthday to my sweet Cora Paige.