From Life’s First Cry to Final Breath…

Dearest Ainsley,

I suspected that I was pregnant with you the day before I got on a plane to fly to Kansas for a week. Your Grandfather was not doing well health-wise, so your aunties, Grandma and I decided that we all needed to be together.  We worked it out to all be in Kansas at the same time.

Getting pregnant again wasn’t part of our plan. Gibson was three years old at the time and I was beginning to dream about my future plans. I was ready to explore new opportunities like a blogging conference and a missions trip. I couldn’t even wrap my head around the possibility of being pregnant again.

But seeing your Grandfather, my Daddy, looking so weak was also unexpected. He didn’t want to eat, he was agitated, and by that time there were no longer any meaningful conversations. My heart was breaking, but at the same time, there was this excitement over the tiny secret growing inside of me.

One of your auntie’s dearest friends agreed to do a family photo shoot. My first family, the 5 Mills’, posed for pictures and it was bittersweet. A joy to be together, but a sense that this would be the last time.

On one of the nights that I was in Kansas, the 5 of us sat on your grandparent’s bed, the one we had knelt around countless times while we were growing up. And we did what we had always done. We prayed and we sang, but this time those prayers and those songs were accompanied by tears. We were losing our Daddy, the one who had always led our family, the one who adored his three girls, the one who loved Jesus with all of his heart. It was heartbreaking.

But you were there with me, a sweet comfort in the midst of sorrow. The beginning of one life at the same time that I was contemplating the end of another.

I didn’t dare hope that you would be a girl. A baby is a gift- no matter what- but I knew how much I didn’t deserve it. Our entire family huddled in the little ultrasound room when I was 19 weeks pregnant. The whole time my belly was being examined, I was convinced that you were a boy. I didn’t plan to be pregnant! I don’t deserve another girl! were the thoughts going through my head. But the ultrasound technician typed the words on the screen and it took a long moment for the news to register. It’s a girl! It’s a GIRL! IT’S A GIRL!!!

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I discovered that you were a girl right after we made the difficult decision to move your Grandfather to a nursing home. Again, my heart was overwhelmed with grief and at the same time experiencing an indescribable happiness.

You taught me many things throughout my pregnancy- how to truly say It is Well With My Soul, how to have joy when I am grieving, how to be patient when the contractions come every day for a full month before the due date. I was reminded not to take myself too seriously and to be okay with admitting I was wrong. A trip to the hospital and still pregnant when you return home is one of the most humbling experiences.

You came when you were ready, in God’s perfect timing. May 7th, a full week after your sister’s birthday. The 7th- a day of perfection, completion. And that is what you are, Ainsley! A perfect, undeserved gift. The completion of our family.

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We adored you from the moment the doctor placed you in our arms. You were so tiny! How was it possible that our love could be so huge?

You filled every waking moment (and my barely awake ones too!). I didn’t have time to think about anything really. But in the midst of my fog, I received a phone call that woke me up. Your Grandfather was being admitted to the hospital. He had been doing so well in the nursing home. Or so I thought. Was I completely oblivious to the reality of his condition?

I tried not to jump to conclusions, but I begged your Grandma to let me know the truth. I didn’t want a sugar coated version of his situation. So, when Grandma said I think you need to come, Becky, I didn’t hesitate. I wanted to see my Daddy. To hug him one more time. But mostly? I wanted him to meet you.

You will not remember your first flight, but Lindsay and I will always remember our trip to Kansas- just the Daye girls. We went straight from the airport to the hospital. The pictures still make me cry, the memories are ones I will cherish always. Grandfather didn’t want to hold you, but as I leaned over to set you on the bed beside him, he took you from my arms.

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From life’s first cry to final breath…  

It was right there before me. The fullness of new life and the serenity of a life well lived. Life just beginning and life about to end. But the rest of that sentence is one that gets to me every time I hear it.

…Jesus commands my destiny

Sweet girl, this is how your Grandfather lived his life. An absolute trust in Jesus, living for God’s glory, believing himself to be most unworthy of God’s love, knowing that Jesus was his Savior, his Shepherd, his Lord.

Two weeks after your Grandfather held you in his arms, I received a call in the middle of the night letting me know that my Daddy had received his greatest desire, his most sincere hope- Give me Jesus! Your Grandfather went home to be with Jesus.

An hour after receiving this phone call, you cried because you were hungry. And as I gave you nourishment from my body, holding you close in the early hours of the morning, I cried with the beauty of God. That He would give me the gift of you, when I didn’t even know how desperately I would need you. That He would allow me to walk through grief with a clear sign of His presence always before me.

Your laughter, your smile, your cries and your very life have allowed me to walk through this season with a constant reminder that our God is so very good. He has blessed me above and beyond what I could have imagined. You are a daily reminder of His grace. Every time I have sobbed in grief, I have been able to snuggle you close and I have been reminded-

From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny!

Your very life has taught me to trust Jesus with mine. You are a treasure to me, dear girl. An undeserved blessing.

I love you! Happy first birthday, Ainsley Rose!

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Love,

Mommy

 

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