I woke up today thinking about the fact that Mary Anna went to heaven a month ago. Yesterday was a hard day anticipating today. I was thinking how I just wrote her one month letter to her, and we are already at the one month of her death. It’s just too soon.
The day Mary Anna went to be with Jesus and be made new was a heavy day, that I hope no one else has to experience. We woke up and had to make the decision to take our daughter off the ventilator or to allow her to continue to suffer. So many people say they could not have made the decision that we did, and I always say that I promise if you were in the same position that you would do the same thing. You see, when our baby girl was born she was healthy, tiny, but healthy. When she started showing signs of being sick, she went down hill fast. If you ever have to watch your child in that state and had the opportunity to allow them to be made new, I promise, you would do it too. We weren’t strong that day, but The Lord and all the people praying for us gave us strength.
We woke up that morning in the hospital room, and Dan and I decided that before she passed that we wanted to baptize her. We called our pastor and told him what the update was, and he said. “I will get a baptism together, and I will be there soon”. Keep in mind, we were about two hours away at UAB at the time. While we were waiting, we showered and quickly went down to the NICU to be with our girl. The sweet nurse let me change her diaper and lotion her little body. I knew it would probably be the last diaper that I would change and the only time that I would get to lotion her little body. These things most moms take for granted, but for me it was precious, because it was all I had. Then, the pediatrician came in and confirmed that Mary Anna had Trisomy 18. We knew it before he even said it, but the diagnosis was devastating. He told us that she would not live, and even though we were prepared for that, it hurt so bad. I cannot put into words the emptiness that I felt as I looked at my baby. I looked at Dan and said, “How do we do this?”, and he quietly said, “I do not know.” We wept together.
Our pastor arrived with some close friends from church, and some other friends and family arrived from our home town. The nurses got Mary Anna ready to take her off the ventilator, and they put the dress on her that we were supposed to take her home from the hospital in. The very same dress that I came home from the hospital in 26 years ago. They handed me Mary Anna, and slowly one by one the people walked in. Our pastor, Rick, who was wonderful through Mary Anna’s little life handed out the words to “Holy, Holy, Holy”. I looked at Dan, and we wept again. Rick did not know it but we sang that song at our wedding. It was so special. We sang together, and at that moment it was a glimpse of what Mary Anna was about to see as she entered the gates of heaven. The saints and angels would be singing those very words. It was almost too much to handle. After Rick baptized her in Jesus name, each person hugged us and our baby girl, and they left the room.
Dan and I spent the last few hours holding and singing to our baby girl. We soaked up every part of her little body. We kissed her, held her hands, and rubbed her little toes. We sang “Amazing Grace” and “When the Night is Falling” to her, and we read her Psalms. We told her how much we loved her over and over again. I will never forget those moments. We knew that these moments would be our last, so we cherished everything about her. Dan felt her little chest, and he told me that her heart was slowing down. They came in and took the breathing tubes out so that we could get some final moments with her without the tubes. I will never forget finally seeing her little lips again and just weeping. I held her to my face and kissed her lips knowing she was with Jesus. I did not want to let her go, but I knew she was not there anymore. We laid our precious baby girl down in her beautiful smocked dress. She was an angel. Before we left, I looked at her and quoted Matthew 19:14, “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” At that point, the kingdom of heaven was more real to me than it ever had been.