|Brand New With Her Halter Monitor|
|One Month Old|
The following few days were a blur. I spent much more time in the hospital than ever anticipated. The thought of a normal delivery were out the window when a c-section was determined to be the safest course of delivery for our babe. It was thought that our darling daughter was going to be a giant sized baby but in fact she had flipped inside the womb and was in fact, a breech baby. I had been doing back labor, naturally, for a few hours and there was no way our baby was coming without the aid of a surgeon. My sweet husband knew that he would not make it in the operating room and with tears said he couldn't go in. I was strong in that moment and knew that he couldn't do it. It wasn't a matter of wouldn't - it was couldn't. With my midwife by my side we headed into the operating room. What seemed like an eternity later brought the most joyous noise ever. A cry. I almost didn't realize it at first. But my midwife, Meghan, said "Do you hear that? It's your daughter." And it was. And my breath caught in my throat. She was hear. And she was small. She wasn't a giant baby. She was less than eight pounds. While the doctors and nurses were taking bets on how big she would be, she threw them all with her tiny body. And she made them all laugh when she peed three times as they were trying to swaddle her. That's my girl. Very healthy movements.
|Two Months Old|
I spent three nights and four days in the hospital. One our second day in the hospital, my precious child turned a shade of blueish purple that literally would make your blood turn cold. She spent the next 12 hours in the NICU for observation. My heart broke as I saw her tiny little body in her "Giraffe" warmer. This precious person that I barely new but yet was my constant companion for 41 weeks. My heart almost stopped beating it hurt so much. When they placed her in my arms to nurse her we struggled so hard. Both inexperienced, both new, both not knowing the how even though I had been taught it in a class. We tried little tubes and tiny bottles of infant formula and we prayed and prayed that she would latch. And through tears she eventually did. Nursing was a battle that would be an intense struggle for two weeks until we learned a technique that made everything click. And now a year later, as this nursing relationship draws to a close, I sit back and marvel at how far we came.
|Three Months Old|
We finally left the hospital on the 23rd. A tiny halter monitor strapped to my tiny little baby. It would monitor the hole in her heart for 24 hours. On Christmas Eve we would return the monitor. It was determined that there was nothing significant in the report but she would be under observation for a year. Christmas Eve I gave my girl my all even though I was barely making it myself. Somehow I pulled myself together for a Christmas Eve bash at our home - well, my in laws home - but our temporary dwelling as our house was being renovated. A year later we are still here, still waiting for the house to be finished. On Christmas Eve, I struggled to get my daughter to latch. For a couple of hours we tried. And we were failing. Nothing was working. Nothing. And at 1 am I sobbed as I handed my precious daughter to my mother-in-law and said "I don't know what to do." I finally broke. The whirl and emotion of the past few days had finally hit me like a ton of bricks and as I desperately tried to feed my child, and realized that I couldn't, I broke. I called my midwife in tears and could barely speak I was crying so hard. She offered to come to the house to help me but said I could also supplement with formula. And we did. And my sweet baby was happy. And it was that night that my mother-in-law and sister-in-laws formed "The Night Shift".
|Four Months Old|
I was blessed to marry into a family of night owls. I am not one. Shane really isn't one either but it's not uncommon for cleaning, or eating, or TV watching, or web surfing, or heart felt talks to happen midnight and beyond. And that heart breaking Christmas Eve, The Night Shift was born. One of my husband's sisters suffers from insomnia so it was not uncommon to find her awake at 6 am. Or 7 am - having not slept the night before. And those desperate nights that I could not get my mixed-up daughter to sleep, the Night Shift would take her and love her and hold her and bond with her and eventually put her to sleep. They would creep into our room, late at night, and put her to bed. And she would sleep late into the morning. And it was sanity for me. It was what got me through. And one day, I will return that favor. It's a gift that I wish I could give all moms. It truly was how I got through.
|Five Months Old|
Christmas Day was another overwhelming day. Not as overwhelming as the day before but it was emotional, non-the-less. We received a card with a check inside for $2000 from an amazing family friend. We were blessed with great Christmas gifts. And I spent most of the day with my precious daughter laying on my chest, skin-to-skin, in our bed with "Beauty and the Beast" playing on repeat in the background. We slept. We bonded. We loved one another.
|Six Months Old|
And day by day, it got easier. We still had many challenges. The day after Christmas we were back into the hospital because Aubrey was turning blue again. After some testing, it was determined that she suffered from "acrosynosis" a condition in which ones extremities turn blue. At least we had answers. A few months later we were back at the hospital for a sonogram on our daughter's head because she had a hamangioma that grew out of nowhere. They wanted to make sure that it wasn't growing down into her brain. And it wasn't. Thank God.
|Seven Months Old|
In six short days, my sweet girl will turn a year old. It's hard to believe that we will be turning a page of her life. It's bittersweet. I know we will be saying goodbye to some wonderful times and moments and that I know I will desperately miss snuggling her as a baby. It brings tears to my eyes to think of how big she is getting. But at the same time, I am excited for the next year. What will it hold? Soon she will be walking. And running. And saying words. And sentences. And learning her colors, her numbers and her shapes. To think of where we will be this time next year blows my mind. Some days I feel like I need a badge as a Mom. We made it. We got through. We've made it a year!
|Eight Months Old|
*Aubrey Faith - we've called upon our faith so many times in the raising of you. May we continue to always call upon the Lord in regards to raising you. May we be the parents you need to shape your precious mind and heart. May we be the parents to love you unconditionally and may we always point you back to Him who loves you even more than we do. You are the best thing that has ever happened to us sweet girl.*
|Nine Months Old|
|Ten Months Old|
|Eleven Months Old|