…I became a mother. Early the morning of February 26, 2000, I woke up and discovered the contractions I had been dreaming about were, in fact, real. And regular. And then my water broke, right there in our bedroom.

About two hours later, after a beautiful natural childbirth, we held our firstborn daughter in our arms. (Just goes to show you that the style of childbirth has very little bearing on the health of your child.)

As all first-time parents are, we were totally clueless. But we were more than most, because we had no idea what lay ahead. Our daughter was born with life-threatening heart defects that had gone undetected.

Our little girl became critically ill in the two days following her birth, spending 7 weeks in the hospital before we brought her home again. You can read more about that here.

Four months and one week ago, Elli lost her battle for life here. This is her first birthday in heaven, and our first celebration without her here. This year we’re keeping things low-key. Everyone has been sick (especially Little Boy), we’ve been dealing with some other crises, and to be completely honest, we’re bone-weary.

Elli’s eighth birthday, cake courtesy of Mamaw

I really don’t know what to do to honor Elli’s memory today, but being together and trying to rest seems to fit best this year. We had all our extended family over last weekend for a get-together and watched some old home video of Elli.

Today, Scott and I are taking the day off work, and after the kids spend the morning at school, we’re going to take them all on a family outing complete with dinner at a restaurant. As the kids grow older, I’m sure we’ll refine this and come up with some good traditions. But this year, we’re just feeling our way and praying for God’s help. And we know that many many dear friends and family are praying for us today too.

Elli
February 26, 2000 – October 19, 2008