A year ago today, Trevor and I drove back from Seattle after catching a last minute Sounders game.
I was 22 weeks and three days pregnant. The baby had kicked the entire soccer game, so much so that I actually joked with Trevor that I thought she wanted out.
Ironically, I had no I idea how prophetic my joke was. And to this day, there is something about this picture of us that silences me every time I see it. People often say that life changes in the blink of an eye. It does. This picture is my proof. Because the very next day, everything changed. Everything.
I just had to pee. Any pregnant woman knows what I mean when I say the urge was real. I had to go. And now. I was out on a walk with the boys, though, so I ran them back home, handed them off to their dad, and ran to the bathroom. In a matter of seconds, I knew something was terribly wrong. I could feel my baby's bag of water bulging out. The terror I felt was indescribable. To say it was too early was an understatement.
I knew in that very moment, sitting on a toilet, that we were walking a fine line between life and death. Those of you who have been there before know exactly what I am talking about. And it is a moment I have replayed in my mind probably a thousand times. A moment that could have gone either way. Either way. I knew it then, and I know it now.
Some call this feeling haunted. I know I do. It's a moment that to this day, despite the happy ending, can still haunt me. Out of nowhere.
The news we received at the hospital didn't get much better. I was surrounded by nurses whose faces I will never forget, and a doctor on call whom I had never met. He delivered the reality of the situation to me with calm and grace. It didn't look good. My cervix had failed. He would try to sew it shut, but prepared me the worst - he didn't think it was likely. And he needed me to understand my baby wasn't viable.
I understood, I told him. Did I know what I was having, he asked. I said I wasn't sure. There had been some confusion. He wanted me to know, he said. So he did a quick ultrasound and said she was a girl. As they prepped me for surgery, I called my mom to deliver the news. I asked Trevor to send out a few texts to my closest friends.
And what only a few people know is, I prepared myself for her burial. I asked the doctor for time with her afterwards. A nurse overheard, looked me in the eyes and said, we will make sure you have as much time with her as needed. So I closed my eyes, prayed that she wouldn't suffer, and told myself I could do this. I could say goodbye. Even if I didn't want to.
We all know our story doesn't end here. Or like that. I don't have answers as to why our story went one way when so many people - people that I love - have had their stories go another way. There are no words. None.
But I do know that I am forever changed. Gabby has taught me that we never really know our own strength until we have to. And that life can change in an instant. That we are all walking a fine line, tottering between moments that could go either way. That every day is a fine line between life and death.
Every moment is a gift. Every single one. And we're all miracles. Every single one of us.
This morning, out of nowhere and completely unprompted, Nico looked at me as we were all getting ready and said, "Thank you for getting me a sister."
I sighed. A heavy, heavy sigh.
"You're welcome," I said.
Sometimes he knows how to say just the right thing, that one. Just the right thing.
A year ago today, we almost lost her. But we didn't. She defied all the odds. And my life was forever changed. There aren't words to express my gratitude, so I guess I'll say it like one of the best people I know said it to me.
Thank you for getting me a daughter. Thank you. For the very rest of my life, no matter which way it all goes.