My apologies for the long hiatus. This thing called the doc program began, and since then, well, I've found my time for writing endeavors limited, to say the least.
And then this other thing, a full-time summer semester with a full-time job in restaurant management happened, and I found that not only did I have no time for writing, I had no time for anything.
But classes are over now, and I have a special reason for writing today.
Some of you may know that this current pregnancy is actually my third, not my second. Eight years ago, Rashieme and I lost our middle daughter, Jasmine Celine, to stillbirth.
I was 24 weeks pregnant.
This week, I am 24 weeks pregnant with Shaylin Meadow McFadden.
Shaylin means gift, and she truly lives up to her namesake. Every day she flips around, kicks me, and reminds me that she is growing and alive. She only sits still when I am working (and sometimes, not even then!). All other hours of the day, in moments when I find time to sit or lay down, she is practicing gymnastics, reassuring me that not only is she still thriving--but that she is going to be a PROBLEM when she makes her entrance!
We could not be more happy or excited.
A pregnancy after a loss is still a bittersweet time, though. It's been years, and I've found myself reliving painful memories. Jasmine rarely moved, at least not to the point where I could feel it. Strangers ask is this my first, and I usually answer, no, my second, even though that's not true.
I remember the day they told me her heart stopped beating. I remember being shocked, even though I'd been told how this was going to end.
I remember the only day I held her. It was her birthday, Friday the 13th. That's a day I'm not a fan of, but not for the silly superstitious reasons. We wrapped her in a soft pink blanket, the only thing I ever bought for her, and we baptized her, and said our goodbyes.
That experience isn't one I talk about or even write about a lot, because it's awkward for other people. They don't know how to respond. I respect that, and also, there is no use living in the past.
But Jasmine is also an important part of who I am. She has strengthened my faith, and shown me how precious life and motherhood are. She's made me appreciate even the irritating inconveniences of pregnancy.
God is constantly showing me how He hasn't forgotten Jasmine. We found out, on all days, that we were having another girl on Jasmine's birthday. I went to her grave that morning and brought her flowers and sat and spent some time missing her and thinking about her and talking to her. I'd felt Shaylin kick before, but that morning, while I sat next to Jasmine's grave, was the first time I was sure it was more than fluttering. It was like she was talking to her sister, too. That afternoon, Rashieme, Kaliah, and I went for the ultrasound and found that we are being blessed with another daughter.
Shaylin will never take the place of Jasmine. There's no way to know how our lives would be different if Kaliah's eight year old sister were with us now. I wonder if she would like video games and Pokemon like Kaliah, or if she would be into cheer and gymnastics like I was, or something all together different. I wonder if they would get along, Kaliah and Jasmine, or if they'd constantly argue like my brothers and I did. Kaliah is blessed to finally have a sister here with her, but a two year age difference and a ten year gap are not the same.
Everything happens for a reason though, and I don't say that as a trite, one size fits all, look at the glass half-full mentality. I say it because I believe God is in charge, and that nothing that has happened to us has been outside His control. I believe Jasmine is in heaven, and I know--know--that I will finally meet her and see her smile one day.
So as I reach the point in this pregnancy where my other one ended, I am nothing but thankful. Thankful for the new life I have inside me; thankful for my new life in Jesus Christ, and thankful for the new life I will one day share with all my daughters, and, God willing, maybe a son, too.
Pregnant with Shaylin Meadow McFadden. Picture taken at 22 weeks, on my husband and I's anniversary.