Sweet Haley Jean
When Cole was only 17 months old Dust announced that he was ready to have another baby. I was caught very off guard - like standing in the middle of the court as a dodgeball game begins, totally empty-handed kind of off guard. Before that day we hadn't even tossed around the idea of trying again so soon.
It took us almost two years, three heartbreaking miscarriages, and a surgery to remove my fallopian tube to get Cole. I didn't feel ready at all to face such challenges again. Plus, Cole was still my baby!!!
So, I said, "Sure, honey! Whatever you want!" pretending to give permission, knowing full well that it was completely out of our control. I thought that it would surely take at least a year to get pregnant.
I still remember this text message conversation, just a few weeks later:
Me: "Can you swing by the grocery store on your way home from work?"
Dust: "Sure. What do you need?"
Me: "A pregnancy test."
Dust: "What the. Are you serious???"
Well, nine months and MAYBE a week after Dust announced he was ready for another munchkin, Haley Jean was born.
I had been so nervous about having another baby. I had always known I wanted more, but I was scared that I wouldn't be able to love another as much as I love my Coley. My heart had expanded to maximum capacity with my first child. It couldn't be possible that there was enough room for my heart to grow that much again.
From the very moment I first heard her cry, love encompassed every nook and cranny of my soul. The love I felt in that moment for this perfect baby girl filled my heart and I knew that she was meant to be mine. I started to cry, not expecting to feel such an intensity of love for her so immediately.
Cole, Dust and I all reacted the very same way the second we laid eyes on this perfect baby girl.
I watched Cole run into the hospital room and beam with pride as he climbed on the hospital bed to get a closer look. He seemed to glow with delight as he kissed her sweet little face.
We were in love.
On the night of September 20, our sweet Haley Jean sat on my hip as our friend burst through the garage door to tell us to call 9-11 because there had been an accident.
She was by my side through the 4.5 traumatic days that followed. She wasn't allowed in the ICU, but she slept and played in the waiting room with our family and friends. And then when her daddy was transferred out of the ICU, he couldn't wait to touch her, to hold her. He would feel her sweet little hands and feet. I would watch her sweetly nestle her little body into his. No sadness, no fear, no expectations. She was such a good baby through it all.
I found such solace and peace every three to four hours as I took a break to feed my sweet Haley Jean. She was a Gatorade break in the midst of a tough marathon. Each break spent alone with her in the small consultation room just off of the OR waiting room helped to replenish my soul. It gave me time to stop, to be alone with my thoughts, to breath.
And just moments after Dustin lifted up my face and exclaimed, "I can see you!" Dustin's sister rushed in with Haley in her arms. At just five months old, she was witness to the best day of our lives.
She was there with her daddy, just moments before he was wheeled into surgery. She spent every torturous second of his 17 hours and 40 minute surgery by my side.
Haley was blessed with just the sweetest Grammy who took over my roll as her mom for months while I used all of my heart, might, mind and soul to take care of her daddy.
I don't know that my mom fully understands how she saved me. She stayed up several nights with her as she developed a bad tummy. She would try to sooth her in the middle of the night, delaying bringing her to nurse so I could get some much needed rest. I don't know the extent of it, but I'm pretty sure there was not much sleep happening on their end either.
There were days I only saw Haley four times a day to nurse. Actually, to be honest... I'm pretty sure there were days where I didn't even see her. And considering that she wouldn't take a bottle, I'm not sure what they did!
It couldn't have been easy to do what she did. And every time I tell her what she did for me, she simply says, "We all did what we had to do to make it through."
Wow. She is just so amazing, she doesn't realize that she didn't HAVE to do anything! She loves us so much that she didn't even think twice about it.
As a result, Haley and her Grammy forged a bond that will be with them forever. As much as Haley was meant for this mom, she was meant for that Grammy. I LOVE how much they love each other!
I'm sure her Gramps helped a little too!
A miracle I experienced in my own body was the ability to keep my milk. I was under crazy amounts of stress, barely able to eat and hardly sleeping more than an hour at a time. I shouldn't have been able to keep my milk. But if I had been unable to nurse her, I wouldn't have been forced to connect with her every four hours or so (for the most part). That was and is still such an amazing blessing to me.
Over Christmas break, Haley and I were able to renew our bond. I felt pretty disconnected from her for a while and I wasn't sure how to fix it. Turns out, sometimes things fix themselves with a little love and care.
Now little miss can't get enough of me! And I love every second of it! She is so feisty and fun. Dramatic and enthusiastic. Social and inquisitive. She is strong and assertive. Sweet and smart. Long and petite. Oh, how I love her.
I'm not going to lie, there are a lot of things in Haley's first year that truly break my heart to think about. There are a lot of things Dust and I missed. But I KNOW this little girl was meant to come to our little family exactly when she did. And while we were out of commission, we were blessed to know that she was so very loved, adored and taken care of.
It's been an interesting first year of life for my baby girl, to say the least.
We had a sweet day yesterday, celebrating her first birthday. She has brought so much joy and love into our lives. We are so very glad she's ours.
My favorite things about Haley right now -
- She says "Hi!!!" very enthusiastically and does a little Miss America wave every morning as I walk up to her crib and then about fifty times a day (especially if she's trying to get someone's attention)
- She days "Dad" but not "Mom"
- She can stand for a whole minute, but refuses to walk. She could totally do it! She's just chicken.
- She is such a good eater! She loves blueberry pancakes, muffins, cake and ice cream (she almost gets frantic to get her hands on some!), chicken parmigiana, yogurt... Well, to be honest I'm not sure there's anything she doesn't like. I'm also not sure she ever gets full.