The Hailey Herald

The Hailey Herald

Friday, February 3, 2012

Not an Ordinary Day

It's hard to explain to people how important this birthday that is rapidly approaching is so important and what it means to us but let me try.

Hailey's first birthday will be here in 23 days...her birthday party in 29 days.  To say I am super excited about this would be a gross understatement.  All first birthdays are exciting...they are special.  So many new experiences, so much wonder witnessed that first year.  A new baby...watching, listening, learning, teaching.  The sweet smells of a new baby...the sounds...the coos, giggles and babbling.  So much hope, dreams, a new future.  

Hailey's first birthday is a compilation of all of the above and oh, so much more.  I'm not a first time mom...Hailey is #3.  Yes, she is my baby (my last baby) but that isn't what makes this birthday so incredibly special.  Her first birthday is crossing the finish line after training for a marathon.  It is like Christmas morning as a child.   It's receiving a trophy for a job well done.  It is a "Way to go!"

This birthday is a celebration for not just Hailey but for me, my husband, and both her brothers.  We have experienced every emotion on the spectrum.  The pain has been hard.  The unexpected diagnosis that we thought was the worst day of our lives.  The ups and downs of life in the NICU.  The joy of taking our baby out of the hospital 19 days after she was born.  Taking her home to her big brothers who were besides themselves with happiness...their family was all together for the first time EVER in their house.  This baby sister that they had waited for so long was actually theirs and home.  The shocking discovery that the tiny baby we had finally attached to was going to have open heart surgery.  The unknown of when she would have surgery.  The waking in the middle of the night, checking for breathing...checking for a heart beat.  Truly worrying every day, if it would be your last with your baby.  Wanting to have surgery to repair her heart but petrified that the surgery would take her away forever.  Watching your child's health, slowly worsen.  Watching her struggle 7 hours a day, to take only 20 oz of formula.  Crying every time you go to the doctor because she actually gained an ounce or two in a 4 week period.  Cheering her on during tummy time because she actually lifted her head for a few seconds.  Hurrying her baptism because you didn't want to wait in case she would fall into the percentage that didn't make it through surgery.  Then surgery day arriving.  Listening to all the "what ifs" and praying to God that she wouldn't fall into that category.  My two hardest moments of my life turned out to be handing my baby girl to the surgical staff outside of her operating room and then receiving the call from surgery telling us that the surgeon "was in".  The thought of our daughter lying on an operating table, her sternum sawed through, her heart stopped....her life in the surgeon's and God's hands was more than I could bear.  It still seems surreal.  The joy of the attending telling me her echo showed no leakage.  The disbelief a few days later that we were taking home our daughter...healthy...a healed heart.  Watching the miracle of her recovery.  Watching the scale numbers raise 2 lbs in 4 weeks!  Working day after day with our baby...teaching her things that come so easy and natural to other children.  Pushing her harder than I've ever pushed the boys.  Expecting more and more out of her every day.  Not listening to skeptics...don't tell me she "won't"...she "can't" because we will keep pushing.  We have received a new education this year.  Insurance lingo, medical terminology, therapy tricks and exercises... a world we had never been introduced to.  Stares...looks of pity...people telling us we have a long road ahead of us... Finding out that in other countries, children like Hailey don't receive medical treatment, they don't receive basic human touch and love.  Their lives have "no value to society". 

With the pain, there has also been unbelievable, pure joy.  Watching two big brothers love and worry about their baby sister.  Watching them encourage her through therapy and cheer her when she reaches her goal.  Watching her eyes twinkle when they talk to her.  The pride we feel when she masters a new skill...rolling, sitting, feeding herself, clapping, signing, and crawling.  We celebrate every milestone like it is graduation.  Getting wet slobbery kisses from a very happy (most of the time!) dimpled little girl.  The joy in her eyes when she masters something.  The twinkle in her eye when she is proud of herself.  The smiles I get when I pick her up or come into her room first thing in the morning.  The giggles...that is the sweetest sound in the world.  Her giggles lead to more by one...the rest of the house giggles.  It is like music!

Her birthday party is also a way for us to say thank you to the people who play a large role in our lives.  Family and friends who helped us through those first few weeks...and through her surgery...through our every days.  Her cheerleaders.

So you see....Hailey's birthday is not just an ordinary 1st birthday.  It is so much more.  We have had a roller coaster of a year and we are ready to celebrate it. 

I wish I had fabulous pics to go with this post but I'm trying to keep her pics for her birthday under wraps for a little while :-)  Her is what Hailey's last audiology appointment did to her...she is wiped!

One of the banners for little monkeys party.


  1. I can so relate to all of these posts about Hailey's first year. I kind of feel like not only was Ben born last year but I was reborn. My emotional journey took me to such a low place and now I'm happy again but with a new perspective and attitude.

    Hailey's birthday is getting so close. Can't wait to see the pics!

  2. This is such a perfect post. It completely sums up how big of a deal that day is. Big for her, but bigger, really for you and your family. I still can't believe our girls are so big. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It's really meant a lot to me to get to share the past few months with you.

  3. That is such a great post!! We didn't have to deal with heart surgery with Madi, but all of the other emotions I can relate to!

    Can't wait to see the pictures from the birthday girl's BIG DAY!!!

  4. This is exactly how I felt about Russell's first Birthday...It was just so much more than a celebration with cake and presents...For me it was an emotional day...Russell's Birthday holds so much meaning for me, it always will...It was the day we found out...The day we entered a whole new world, the day we were forever changed.

    I am so glad you are sharing these feelings because when Russell's first Birthday was approaching I had so many strong emotions, I felt I was reliving everything all over again...I felt I had to revisit that time, those feelings...And I thought I was the only one who did that. Now I know you and others feel the same way I did.

  5. You have such a beautiful gift of writing. You are right, this is more than Hailey just turning 1. There is so much to celebrate and I cannot wait to see pics!