Happy 3rd Birthday, Miss Cora Jane

I remember everything about you. Your big hands and adorable “Johnson” feet. Your beautiful, huge and squishy lips. I remember how your fingers felt wrapped around my finger and how you felt in my arms. I remember the feel of your soft skin and your silky hair – so much of it and so curly, like your daddy’s. I remember the beautiful sound of your tiny, soft cries when you first graced us with your presence and how your little face screwed up in anger when the NICU team was assessing you.

I remember how hot your head and feet were when I would cup them in my hands and sing to you, trying to get your vitals to stabilize. And I remember the one and only time that you opened your eyes and looked up at me while you squeezed my finger. You seemed so strong that I thought nothing would ever take you from us.

I also remember how your eyes became blank and empty a few hours before you left us and how your daddy had to look away until the nurse closed your eyes because he couldn’t bear the thought of you already being gone. I remember looking down at your beautiful, but extremely swollen face as you were dying in my arms and I remember thinking that no person should have to lose two babies in one lifetime. I remember knowing, instinctively, that this time was different and that it was going to change me completely and that my life would never be close to the same again.

I remember absolutely everything about you and our brief time together – all of the pain, beauty, joy, heartbreak, devastation and grief. I remember it all so vividly, but what I remember the most is love. A love so full that it radiated through me – all-encompassing – and into your daddy, too, because we finally had the family that we had been dreaming of for years and years.

If I forget everything else about our experience with you – your hands, your feet, those lips, the feel of your soft skin and cheek against my lips; the pain and all the other emotions of bearing and then losing a miracle child – I’m going to cling to the love until I reach my dying breath. I’m hanging onto that love, my little one, because you gave it to me and it was the greatest gift I’ve ever received.

Happy 3rd Birthday or what would have been your 3rd birthday, kiddo. My gift to you is to love myself and to carry all that you are inside me.

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