Lakeleigh turns ONE | Annapolis Photographer
The first year of a babies life is such a whirlwind, and then its over before you know it. That was the same for my Lakeleigh girl… the first few months we adjusted to having two daughters then after that tried adjusting to having an infant in the house, the we started baby proofing all over again.. I mean after 6 years things change a bit… then its First birthday time. When they tell you to soak it all in and enjoy it, they aren’t kidding… before you know it, its over.
This little girl is everything perfect to me. She completes our family, and makes me love having a baby in the house again. She is all smiles, all the time and hardly cries… It’s true.. the second is WAY easier then the first… but boy of boy was getting her here harder then the first. After almost 2 years of battling infertility… that journey is an emotional roller coaster… and I will save all of that for another post.. but with diagnosis, and testing, and procedures… when they finally tell you you are pregnant, you almost dont believe them, its like you never really thought that it would happen. Shortly after I found out that I was in fact pregnant with her, then we were told that pregnancy was ending, that my body wasnt accepting it…. that it would soon be another loss. I remember sitting at an Orioles Game in Camden Yards, wondering why…… how come… why was I going through this, …. again. It was just a short week later that I would be told I should return to the doctors for a procedure to finish out this process, and I would ask them to just “check on more time”. The doctor thought I was crazy but before I walked in for that D&C I wanted to be sure…. so I went for one more HCG test….. this would be the one where the numbers skyrocketed…. and proved to me that the feelings in my heart and mind were true…. and that I was infact still pregnant regardless of what Modern Medicine would say based off of my last test results… this one was different and this one would change things.
I progressed through my first trimester with just as much morning sickness as I did with my first baby, and the smells ohhhh the smells….. You sweet girl, you had a way of taking over my whole body and causing me to detest my favorite foods, and hate all smells… along with being at the highest level of fatigue I may have ever experienced. The further along I got in my pregnancy the more i knew something wasnt right…. I stopped feeling your kicks, and your movements… I was worried…. I was quickly moved to high risk, and was set on a routine schedule to see the high risk specialists as you would not have me labeled a “decreased fetal movement pregnancy”. I knew you were in there, but my only indicator aside from seeing you on the ultra sound monitor was your movement and we would go days sometimes with only one small poke. I began to worry, that I would carry you all this way, and maybe never meet you. I decided I would make myself sick to keep thinking this way, so I began carrying on with life as if you were here… I talked to you, and would hold my belly as much as I could… I would place my hand where I felt the largest bumps and pray that whatever was going on in there, God would be with you. The doctors would tell me each time, that even though you didnt pass the tests with flying colors you could stay with me for a few more days until my next set off prenatal testing. That continued for a few weeks, every 48 hours I would switch between seeing the high risk doctor for fetal non stress tests, and then going to Labor and Delivery for testing as well.
One thursday morning for my routine testing I arrived at my doctors office, I just kept thinking things were off, they didnt feel right… my hands were swollen, oh so swollen…. and I was tired.. from being up all night hoping you were ok in there. I broke down in my doctors office, telling her the stress of this journey was more then I could handle… based on my blood pressure she admitted me, just for more testing… and it was in that test that I was informed you needed to be induced, about 3 weeks before your due date… that you were struggling a bit, and didnt pass your testing. Such a mix of emotion came over me, I was so elated to meet you and see your beautiful face, but so so scared that maybe they didnt catch things in time……
The next few hours were terrifying, with doctors in and out, blood pressure dropping, heart rates dropping, the threat of and prepping me for an emergency C-section, A very hard unmedicated labor (unmediated against my choice do to lack of fetal movement). It was in the moments that I was pushing you out and told by my doctor not to move, that she needed to “help you”… that I realized I delivered a tiny baby who was all blue and not breathing on her own, due to a very tight umbilical cord wrapped around your neck 3 times. We would later find out that the restriction from that cord is what led to your lack of fetal movement. The NICU team came rushing in and I started praying for you, out loud…. I couldn’t see you, and since you were struggling, I couldnt hear you and the moment froze…. I felt defeated as your mother, not being able to jump up and help you or hold you…. that moment was the darkest, coldest moment… it was like I was in a fog, all I hear was metal carts, and beeping, and lots of voices talking at once…. my doctor looked over at me and said the words that haunted me in that moment…. she said ” We are going to try our best, it will be ok”… I had really hoped as I saw her begin to speak that her words would be… “everything is fine” but they weren’t…..
Suddenly…… I heard a womans voice from the NICU team say …. “Shes breathing”. At this point I hadn’t seen you yet, or locked eyes with you .. I had seen them hand you off, folded over your feet, and completely blue and purple but I hadn’t seen you…… I dreamed of you so many times before and I needed to see you…. once they got you regulated, they brought you to me and you were more then my heart could even handle. You were perfection…. you were so tiny, you were so beautiful, even though you didnt have any color yet…. You looked just like your sister…. like a twin born 6 years later.
I fell in love again…. In a way I didnt understand a mothers heart could love two babies until you were in my arms and suddenly this all made sense. It was like in an instant my heart doubled in size and I was able to love you with the very biggest kind of love I was already loving your sister with. That moment told me everything was right in the world, an in an instant, all the testing, and procedures, and heartache, and worry, and terrifying delivery all faded away, and were so so worth it…. my rainbow baby was in my arms, and she was everything….
You had to spend a bit of time back at the nicu for some breathing but then you were perfect, and came back with me. The love I have for you and your sister cannot even be put into words. The two of you complete me, and make me better then what I was. You are both far more precious then jewels, you are so valuable, and the most incredible blessing God could have ever given me. I feel so undeserving of such an incredible gift as the two of you.
Lakeleigh, You are so so loved, you were before you were even residing in my tummy, the thought of you was full of love, and you always will be. You completed our family, and as my last baby you have such a special place in my heart. I now know looking back that you came at just the right time, all those months, led us to here….. the months I had hoped to have been pregnant, it just wasnt your time yet…. your plan had already been written for such a perfect time as this, and now here you are… turning 1 right after a pretty trying time in our lives, you turned ONE on the weekend that your Daddy retired from his dream job, due to physical restrictions that forced a medical retirement. Gods timing to bring you into our lives couldnt be more perfect in every way.
We love you sweet girl, and we love watching you grow and discover new things, and interact with us. The bond you and your sister have developed melts my heart every single time. We cannot wait to see what great things God has in store for your life.
Lakeleigh turns ONE | Annapolis Photographer
Happy Birthday my sweet Lakeleigh Gray!
(So thankful to my friend Sarah | Evie Claire Photography for capturing that bottom image, I will treasure it always)