August 30 is National Grief Awareness Day. Twin Cities Moms Blog contributing writer, Trista Rakow, is bravely sharing her story with us today about loss and how it’s impacted her as a mother.
Life has certainly handed me an assortment of disasters and losing my daughter Audrina, was just one of them. In all of the chaos, I cling to these four words, “Thy will be done.” When there’s nothing else I can do and nothing is in my control, I let go of all expectation and surrender my hopes, dreams and plans over to him.
All I ever wanted in life was a daughter, and on November 23rd, 2018, I found out my ultimate dream would soon come true. Five days later, I found out heartbreaking news that changed my entire existence. Doctors detected a lethal type of dwarfism called Thanophoric Dysplasia. The condition would mean my sweet baby girl would die upon birth.
I had to completely surrender to God’s will and trust in him. I humbly accepted his plans for me. And with strength and grace, I carried a child who was destined to die. All I asked of him was one thing in return. I prayed he would give me at least two minutes with her. Just two minutes of pure heaven, to look her deeply in the eyes and tell her how much I love her and how she’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted.
Months passed by and it came time to deliver my sweet girl. I did everything I could to plan her birth story, with the only expectation that I would have a couple minutes, to bond my heart to hers. If you are a mom, you know what I’m talking about. You know, that life-altering moment where time stands completely still and you can physically feel your heart fill up with love. A memory that lasts a lifetime, and when you think of it, you get sent back in time to relive it all over again.
Sadly, my prayers weren’t answered. I spent my entire pregnancy expecting I would lose my child, from respiratory failure. Ironically, she died during labor from a rare uterine tear that nearly took my life. It was even odder for me to experience this because I had no prior C-sections that would put me at risk of it. After six hours of labor, my epidural wore off. I turned to one side and felt excruciating pain. My contractions came to a stop and I was unable to successfully push, so I had to have a C-section.
When I got to the operating table, I lay there helplessly with a deep intuition that something went terribly wrong. Doctors took one cut and I could hear from their voices that I was indeed right. I heard them mention blood transfusion, hysterectomy cart and saving the uterus as a last priority. The sound of suctioning blood and feeling of doctors tugging forcefully from every angle with speed had me in a panic. Doctors flooded in the room and worked with urgency.
I thought this is it. This really might be the end of my story. I felt powerless with my mind racing a million times per minute. So many questions came to mind. Will my son be okay without his mother? How will my husband be able to handle losing me too? I’m not ready to die…. I need more time. As they lowered the gas mask over my face, I could only have one final thought… trust God.
I woke up in another room profusely shaking. When the trauma settled, I was thankful to be alive but devastated for my daughter. They wheeled her tiny deceased body into my room with the perfect white laced bonnet and dress I picked out. I held her in my arms and kissed her cold sweet cheeks about a thousand times before we left that hospital.
We can plan as much as we want, hold expectations in our hearts, hope and pray all day long. But the truth is, it was never in our control. I’ve come to realize and appreciate how amazing it really is to carry new life to this earth. It’s not something we can plan for and execute. We don’t control when it happens, the gender or how many. We can’t even control how long we have with them. When they come to us, we can only be grateful, and I know in my heart that it’s truly a gift from God. Not something we should ever take for granted. If you should ever be so lucky to be entrusted with this gift, you should know that you are blessed beyond measure.