Welcome to the world Adelyn!
(I wrote most of this the day after Adelyn was born so that we could remember and celebrate the months leading up to her birth.)
Adelyn, I am so grateful you are here. I wanted to take the time to share the story of your journey so that you can know how loved and special you are.
Your mom turned 40 this year and surprised Auntie Dawnie and I when she told us in the spring that she found out she was pregnant with you. Your mom was surprised too! We were amazed because we didn’t think your mom was able to have any more babies. Looking back now, that was the first time you proved the medical professionals wrong.
We started praying for you as we kept the surprise to ourselves for a few weeks until your mom was visiting family in Dahlonega. After she and I went to a super fun and energetic Pound workout that she led, she started having some issues that made us think that we were losing you. I drove her to the emergency room and the nurses and doctors took great care of her. Your daddy was on his way home from a trip with the youth group and he had to rent a car to drive down to Georgia to be with your mom. We waited with heavy hearts to hear the results of the ultrasound, afraid it would be bad news. But it wasn’t bad news! You were fine and your tiny heart was beating strongly! And we found out that you had been around for 13 weeks already. Another great surprise. I cried tears of relief to know that you were ok. We were all praying for you.
You see, 2019 has been a really tough year in our family. Just before Christmas last year, we found out that G-Dad has ALS and that made us really sad. Just a few weeks later, G-ma hurt her back really bad and had to have surgery to help fix it. From that, we found out terrible news that her back was hurt because she had stage 4 lymphoma, a very aggressive form of cancer. She began treatments right away that made her so sick. She was right in the middle of feeling bad when we found out about you. In fact, your mom was in Dahlonega that weekend to help her parents. You were a bright spot in the middle of a lot of big, hard life changing things going on.
Later in the summer, we waited to hear from your parents about whether you were going to be a baby brother or baby sister to Autumn. On the day of the appointment, a long time went by before we heard anything. We were getting nervous. Then we heard that the ultrasound showed some things about you that we didn’t expect. We found out that you were a baby sister but the doctor wanted your mom to go to another appointment to get a closer look at what was going on. Thankfully the next appointment was soon. We were all praying hard.
The news at the next appointment was not good news. There were lots of things about the way that you were created that were different. You were tiny – even smaller than expected. Your head and hands looked a little different. The ultrasound only showed one kidney and only one vessel was in your umbilical cord. All these things together made the doctors think that maybe you had three copies of your 18th chromosome. Some people call that Trisomy 18.
We were so sad to hear about this because the doctors told us that we probably would not get to meet you. We wouldn’t be able to hold you or hear your sweet baby cries. It seemed like more bad news and we all continued to pray for you and your family. They used the phrase “incompatible with life” and that made us sad. We believed that God created you in a special way and that he had a special plan for your life, even if that life was very short – much shorter than we wanted it to be. We worked hard to trust God and sometimes we got very sad and even angry. But we continued to pray.
You continued to grow and you were still very tiny. G-ma finished her medicine and her cancer went away! We were so thankful and she started feeling better after a few months. To celebrate her feeling better, she took our whole entire family to the beach for a week! We stayed in a big house right on the water and we played on the beach all week. While G-ma was feeling better, G-Dad started having a hard time walking and getting around. We were able to use a beach wheelchair to help him get around and we all spent time on the sand that week. During the week we were at the beach, there was a big doctor’s appointment in Charleston. Auntie Dawnie and I spent the day with your mom and dad and we drove to the hospital. We got to see you on an ultrasound and we loved you so much more than before when we got to see you on the screen. We got to see your heart and hear your heartbeat a lot. It was a wonderful sound!
There was a big meeting with a group of doctors all making plans to take care of you and your mom. They were so kind and understanding. They explained some things about your heart that were different and how it may be fixed all by itself or how the doctor may need to fix it. We had to think about and talk about some really hard things, like what might happen if your life was really short. Your parents spent so much time thinking about it, talking about it and praying about it. We left the meeting with lots of questions answered but still had lots of questions about what the road ahead would look like for your family. More and more people kept on praying for you. It was a beautiful warm sunny day and we all went to lunch together after the meetings. We enjoyed being together while your cousins & sister played on the beach.
You kept growing slowly and started to wiggle around in your mom’s tummy. She and your daddy went to so many doctor’s appointments to learn about you and understand how you were growing. Sometimes we got to see a picture of you growing inside your mom. We prayed that God would guide your life and we hoped to meet you.
Thanksgiving came and your parents had to stay close to the doctors that knew so much about you. We missed seeing your family as we got together at G-ma & G-dad’s house. We started making plans about how we could come to Charleston to be part of your birthday. Time was getting closer! We were praying more than ever now!
We found out that your mom was going to go to the hospital on December 16 and the doctors were going to help you be born. Auntie Dawnie, G-ma and I made lots of plans to be there to support your family and we hoped to meet you. It was better news at doctor’s appointments for the last few weeks. You were bigger than the doctors thought you would be. Were you proving them wrong again? We saw a picture of your little face and sweet cheeks. My heart jumped when I saw you and I knew that I would get to see that sweet face soon. So many people prayed in the days leading up to your birthday.
The time came for us to join your parents and we got to your house on a Sunday afternoon. Your mom continued to teach Pound classes all during the pregnancy and she taught her final class on Saturday! She took such good care of her body while you were growing. Even the doctors bragged on how healthy she was! Monday morning Autumn went to school and everyone at home was getting packed up and ready to go to the hospital in Charleston. It was a warm sunny day for mid December and I went for a long walk in shorts & a t shirt. The whole time I walked, I prayed and listened to songs about how God has good plans for us, how He is the King of the World and how we can trust Him. We were nervous and excited.
We ate a big supper at Jason’s Deli in Charleston. Aunt Lynda also met us there. We then found out that there wasn’t space for your mom at the hospital on Monday night. So your mom and daddy stayed with us in a hotel. Your parents and Auntie Dawnie left really early Tuesday morning to go to the hospital. G-ma, Autumn, Claire and I stayed at the hotel. The girls played and your mom got some medicine to help you arrive. Your mom was so strong and brave. We didn’t know what would happen that day. We thought that maybe Jesus would call you to heaven before you had a chance to live on earth. It was hard to think about that. But we also knew that we may get to meet you and that made us excited.
Your mom continued to work so hard to get you here and it took all day. It was taking a long time. Your mom had a great nurse named Kristin who took good care of her. She even wore socks with cats on them and asked to take care of your mom when she came to work that evening. Auntie Dawnie and I went back to the hotel to bathe Autumn & Claire and get them in the bed. We planned to rest, take a shower and then go back to the hospital to be there for your arrival. All of a sudden, Claire and Autumn were in the bathtub and Auntie Dawnie yelled “She’s here!”. At first I thought she was talking about Aunt Lynda coming to the hotel to watch Autumn and Claire but NO – YOU were here! We didn’t know anything else at all. Autumn changed from her pajamas into clothes and she, Dawn and I ran down the sidewalk to the hospital. It was 10:00 at night!
You were breathing on your own but the doctor decided to give you a little tube of air in your nose in case you had trouble but you only used it for a few hours. After a while we got to see your mom & dad and then the nurses rolled you into the room so we could see you for ourselves. You were so beautiful and sweet. You made the tiniest little noises and our hearts melted. The nurse, Kristin, said that you sounded like a little kitten and talked a lot about how feisty you were. We all loved you so much. Autumn got to see her baby sister for the first time. You proved the doctors wrong again! You made it to birth and you were doing so well. It was the best surprise.
You were in a special nursery at the hospital so the doctors and nurses could take care of you and watch you closely. I got to see you one time before I had to drive back home. I touched your tiny head and watched you breathe but I couldn’t hold you quite yet. I was sad to say good bye but I had to get home to my family.
After a few days, you went home! The doctors were wrong again – you were breathing on your own and doing well. Your mom and dad learned to do so many things they didn’t know how to do – take care of a little tube going down your nose to your stomach so you could drink your milk, monitor your oxygen levels, try to sleep sometimes and finding tiny clothes to fit you. You were growing a little tiny bit each day.
Winter faded into spring and now it’s summer. You’ve been to so many doctor’s appointments and even had to have a surprise surgery which you handled like a champ. After so many weeks of waiting I finally got to hold you and it was so special. What an answer to prayers you are! My heart was bursting with pride to be able to see how you’ve grown and nearly doubled in size since the last time I saw you.
I can’t believe it but today is your half birthday. You’ve been with us for six months now. You weren’t supposed to live to be born, you weren’t supposed to live for a long time if you were born. And now we’ve had six months with you. I am so thankful for your feisty nature and your spirit has brought you so far. You’ve proven doctors wrong over and over and over – for well over a year now! You are loved more than you can ever know and your story has reached out to so many hearts all over the place. We are all praying that the doctors can fix your heart up so you can keep on growing even more.
Keep fighting, keep growing, keep proving those doctors wrong, keep living every day to the fullest my sweet Adelyn. You ARE compatible with life and with love.
Happy Half Birthday my niece. I love you.
Love, Auntie Jacque