The year is almost over. And what a year it’s been. A lot of ups and downs and in betweens. December last year, I had such high hopes that 2014 would be the best year of my life. I wasn’t wrong. But it’s also been the hardest and most rewarding and there were many surprises along the way.
At the beginning of the year, I was about six to seven months pregnant. I was looking forward to the day when I’d get to meet Hazel, and looking forward to the day my sister gave birth to her baby Daniel eight weeks after. We would both have healthy, perfect babies and get to see each other. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. In January, Erin was admitted to the hospital at only 24 weeks pregnant essentially because her water broke. I was really scared for her, especially when we found out she would remain in the hospital until he decided it was the right time to enter the world.
The next month and a half dragged on. Every morning I was expecting to wake up to missed calls or texts that Erin had gone into labor and Daniel was here. March 10 was the day that he arrived, when Erin was only 30 weeks pregnant. Despite the fact that she had steroid injections, Daniel didn’t grow much even though he was still “on the inside.” He was only three pounds. He had to fight for his life all 80 days he was in the NICU. So I was still pregnant on March 10, and at this point I had accepted that we wouldn’t have the life we had dreamed with the perfect babies and the play dates every few months and things like that. Instead we were introduced to Chronic Lung Disease, which makes it a bad idea for Daniel to travel during the flu season. And it’s what made his journey in the hospital so difficult.
I was worried every day he was in there. I couldn’t see my sister (I live in Texas and she lives in Pennsylvania) so I didn’t know how she was really feeling. And even if I knew, how could I relate to what she was going through and what would I say? I felt terrible feeling so terrible in the end of my pregnancy. Any time I felt uncomfortable and huge I just felt guilty that Erin would have done anything to have felt this, so I should just suck it up! (Even though being hugely pregnant is really difficult and super uncomfortable.) She put on a brave face and was happy for me when Hazel came just twelve days after Daniel, on her due date no less. I wished so badly she could have been there, and I wished so badly that I could have been there for her through her pain and worry and crippling anxiety. But that’s not what happened.
Instead we kept conversations light for awhile, until we knew for sure Daniel was going home. The day he left the hospital (of course) it was discovered that he had a hernia. I asked Pam if she would come stay and watch Hazel for a week so I could go help Erin during his recovery after his surgery to correct it. She agreed, so off I went.
The day I arrived, his hernia was critical. A stranger was sent to pick me up from the airport, and Daniel was at the hospital prepping for surgery (one day before the scheduled procedure.) So I went to Erin’s house alone and waited there for Dan to take me to her car, and I drove to Delaware? to meet them.
And there he was, in his little infant hospital gown. He was tired and the most adorable grumpy “old” man I’d ever seen. I loved him instantly. It was painful not to be able to kiss him all over his cute little face. He had survived his traumatic birth. He’d survived being born with shoddy underdeveloped lungs. He had survived this surgery. Above all, he is obviously a survivor with a will to push on, and the strongest human I’ve ever met that doesn’t even weigh more than my dog.
Our family is so lucky to have the two most amazing babies. Their stories are different, but they are wonderful in the same way. Hazel and Daniel have brought so much joy to our family. I look forward to the day that Erin gets to meet Hazel for the first time, so Erin can experience that “aunty” love at first sight.
Who knows what next year will bring? I’m hoping for smooth sailing from here on out. Hazel has started standing and her personality is really shining through. She likes to “sing” and “dance.” She loves to clap and blow spit bubbles (still.) Daniel is learning to crawl and has the cutest belly laugh. No, seriously. It’s the cutest thing you’ll ever hear. David will hopefully get a promotion and have all his hard work validated. I’m hoping for a lot of Hazel and Daniel time this summer, and I’m looking forward to ringing in the new year in Illinois with family.
The moral of this story is don’t get pregnant at the same time as your sister or best friend. It seems great in theory, but has the potential to be much, much worse. Of course, now it’s pretty great because I can talk to her whenever I’m overwhelmed or overjoyed. But still, heed my advice!!