Hazel Eye’d Piece of Heaven
Fall of 2014 Alex and I took up marriage counseling because we needed to learn a few things about each other. Marriage counseling is a beautiful thing, through the laughs and the sorrow, you learn an incredible amount about your spouse. Well during this time in our newly fresh marriage, one thing that came to reality quickly and made my heart very vulnerable, was that Alex didn’t grow up with siblings like I, therefore we lived life differently. I had such a warmed family heart whereas Alex was a little selfish and singly minded. Not saying that in a rude manner, just honest. One thing was brought up was the thought of one day having children. In that moment, during that conversation, a grenade exploded in my heart.. Shattering every part of my being, to hear the person I love so much tell me he “never” wants children. For days, if I wasn’t at class.. I laid in bed and cried. I asked God if this was his plan.. For me to not bear children.. To experience the purest of love, hand picked from heaven.. I was bitter and holding this grudge. I was scared that maybe Alex wasn’t the person I was supposed to be with.. That maybe I had made a mistake. I didn’t know what to think.. Much less say. The counselor told me to accept it.. And that maybe in this moment children scared him and there may be one day he changes his mind. I prayed and prayed for a baby. That one day God would bless me and keep me humbled and vulnerable to the greatest gift. I remember Alex asking me what I wanted for christmas.. And with a shattered and bombed heart, I would faintly whisper “..a baby..”. That answer always came with an attitude filled response. I was scared. Finally.. Alex and I talked. He opened up saying that he was always a single sibling, although he had 4 step brothers, his father only every had 1 child. He mentioned that he didn’t know what it was like to be a father and that if there was ever a prodigy, that he would want better than what he had.
Some time had passed, the holidays were gone, and the new year was in full effect. I was in my last semester before we were to move half way across the world for a few years for the need of the Army. One of the tasks that was needed to be done before PCS-ing (military lingo for moving) was that I needed to get a physical and make sure all my healthcare needs could be taken care of overseas. Well, since October (around the time we started counseling) I had stopped getting my menstrual cycle. The doctor said to let 4 months of irregularity go by before testing for issues. February rolled around and it was time for a physical and thyroid testing. Of course the famous questions of “when was your last menstrual cycle” and “do you think you’re pregnant” were asked. Of course I didn’t think twice about it and I said “I don’t know, probably not”. They asked if they could run some labs. The next day I was using the bathroom when I received a phone call. First they told me about my thyroid labs and how they wanted to change my prescription. Second they said my pregnancy test came back… And… It was positive. In that moment, I was shocked. An overwhelming amount of happiness crossed my body.. Well until I got off the phone. I was scared. Scared that Alex would be mad. He would be mad at me. I wasn’t really sure what to think. Before I told him I was getting ready to head to work and he was off to the gym. As soon as I told him he said “I’m heading to the gym to think about things..”. That wasn’t the response I wanted but I was too happy to care.
After the news finally started to sink in, it was like night and day with Alex. He was excited and would hint the slightest burst of excitement.. But with the excitement came freight. We just found out we were pregnant and moving half way across the world. We slowly began telling family and friends. It slowly because surreal. I started wearing hoodies to class so no one had to see me in that awkward “I’m pregnant but look like a lard” phase. When I found out I was pregnant they said I was 14 weeks pregnant, based on my last menstrual cycle. Well, that was wrong. I was a few hours away from going to work when I started bleeding, heavily. Mind you Alex was 30 miles away in the field for another week, home for a few days and then back in the field for a few weeks. I called Alex immediately. Him and the chaplain came to the hospital to be with me. I was devastated. I questioned God about why this would happen.. Why, when I prayed so hard. Was this to humble me? Tell me it wasn’t the right timing? To learn a lesson? I walked into Womack Army Medical Hospital exposed, vulnerable, scared and in silent tears. I didn’t know what was happening. They took me back immediately for an ultrasound. The worst part of the situation was that the ultrasound tech’s couldn’t tell me anything.. Absolutely nothing. But, the one girl said “there’s 1”. A very very shy sense of relief swept over me. I thought if there was any bit of hope, that the comment of 1 was it. Finally that doctor came in and said everything was okay, that the bleeding could be from implantation. There was one healthy, 6 week 3 day old baby in there with a good heartbeat. From that day on I took everything slowly. Didn’t go to the gym, walked ever so slowly around campus, didn’t stress, but attempted to be relaxed. Off to the field Alex went.. After a few days of being gone, the blood came back in.. Darker and more heavy. Once again, scared to death. We prayed the whole way there. I was checked in by the time Alex got there and by then, I was a little over 9 weeks and Alex’s hair was about to fall out he was soo stressed. Short story, I was fine once again. He told me what to look for the next time and that it was just implantation again.
After those scares, I was ready for the long hall with this little piece of healthy bit of heaven growing inside of me. We knocked out all of our doctors appointments with flying colors. She always was happy and healthy, I was healthy and I was gaining weight well, not too much not to little, right where I needed to be. 40 weeks and 4 days later, I was introduced to a hazel eye’d hand picked piece of heaven.
On October 10th at 6pm my water broke and I had no idea. I assumed it was bladder failure. Haha. Not the least bit classy. On October 11th, I woke up dying to use the bathroom and told mom I think my bladder was shot, that I kept peeing myself. Well, the smart women she is, she told me to call labor and delivery. They said to come in to get checked just to be on the safe side. At 6:15am, the biggest 3 gushes flowed as I folded laundry. I knew then that I may have had my water break. Mind you, like 5% of women’s water actually breaks naturally. So, I went into labor and delivery on sunday and would you look her, I had pooling and my water was indeed leaking. I was super excited! Granted, my water had already been broken for 12+ hours so I knew that at 24 hours, both raeghan and I were at risk for infections and fevers. For 25 hours I slowly labored.. I struggled.. I got mad.. I cried.. I prayed with Nita and Mom on FaceTime. I experience the rawest pain, pain women in the world long to feel but are never able to. The greatest pain anyone would feel. Pain that bonds you to your children for life. Pain that fathers never experience.. I shook and cried out for Reaghan to come out. Unfortunately, after 25 hours of laboring, 5 more hours of pushing, equaling 30 hours of labor, 42 hours my water had been broke, they pulled little Miss Raeghan out with forceps. Mind you for 5 hours I was constantly falling asleep so as soon as she was out I fell into the deepest sleep while everyone cleaned Raeghan and I up. About an hour and half into post-labor, the pediatrician came to me and said “I have some bad news.. We have to separate you and miss Raeghan. The swelling in her head is something we can monitor here.. We just don’t have the MRI machine and the other equipment to make sure that the blood in her head is getting better or worse.” He continued saying how the blood wasn’t good.. It was in a layer that could potentially cause damage. In that moment my heart.. Once again.. exploded into piece. I worked so hard, for this beautiful little girl whom I hadn’t seen yet, much less held. My heart hurt. I cried out to Alex.. I asked why did this happen to us.. Why Raeghan. What went so wrong that she had to be transported to the Italian hospital.. The one place I avoided at all cost.. Taryn, a God-sent nurse, came in after Alex and I had the saddest moment of our marriage, and asked me if how I was doing.. First question I asked was if I could see Raeghan. She ran to get a wheel chair, epidural and all, with all the strength I could muster up, I walked into a wheel chair and headed to see Raeghan. Poor love was crying her eyes out. As soon as I held her, she stopped crying immediately. Those few minutes were the most silent minutes I had ever experienced. Chaos surrounded me but the purest, loved little girl, half of me and half of Alex, slept softly in my arms as I cried.. I apologized profusely.. I told her I was sorry for causing her to have her head injury and the other issues she had. I whispered ‘I love you’ a record breaking amount in those very short few minutes. Alex and a nurse took photos of Reaghan and I, some of us as a family, but I cried and I cried. Well, they took her to the italian hospital and I was without.. Without Alex.. Without Raeghan.. I was alone, in a bare and empty prison. I tried replaying everything over and over again.. As I was sleep deprived. Between the 102 degree fever, her being the wrong facement, her need for intensive medical attention.. For 36 hours I was away from her. On the 14th I was finally discharged. I went to Pordenone and finally held this beautiful little girl. My heart runneth over, big time! I held her. I never wanted to let go. My heart slowly started gluing itself back together. By that time Mom had already ditched the states and made her way to Italy. She was on the other side of that door, every visit, with open arms.. Leaving Raeghan never got easier. The closer I got to her, the more it hurt to leave..
2 months later, I am blessed with this gorgeous, bubbly blessing. Every morning I wake up and tell her “good morning” and she smiles with a shy manner. There is no other love.. than the love you have for your children. Now realizing how much I love little sassy butt, I am filled with guilt and anger for the way I treated my mother as a teenager. She deserved a thousand times more. For the moment when I was a kid and told her I hated her.. Mind you I got soap in my mouth for that one.. It breaks my heart. But, sneaking my mom into the NICU for her to meet Raeghan, in that very moment, 3 generations were overflowed with love. I loved my mama a thousand times more as she fell in love with Raeghan.
A note for Raeghan..
I hope one day you experience this type of love.. The love Nana and mommy have for you. I thank God for you daily.. For putting this joy and blessing into my life. A friend that i’ll have in the loneliest moments.. you’ll be right there.. Someone I can hold when I am sad. For those little shy smiles I get every morning. Thank you for pulling my hair. I wouldn’t have it any other way.. Remember Grandma, Nana, Papa, Grandpa in heaven, daddy, mommy and uncle bubba will love you always. We will give you better than what all of us had. We will raise you as a family, help you walk a straight and narrow path. We will instill the love of God. Help you with life. Show you what love is.. And experience this wonderful life God has given you.
I want you to love life. To learn strength from the women in your life. Grandma, Nana and mommy have gone through a lot. Losing grandpa was one of the hardest thing any of us ever went through, but us women stuck together. I hope you have the strength we have one day. Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t cower in a corner. Speak up for what is right. Voice your opinion.. Even if others don’t care for it. Be independent and free. Don’t conform to world, conform the world to you. Love God in everything you do. Give him the glory daily. Have faith, faith that in the midst of the blur, everything will have a purpose and reason behind it. Never question God.. He has a plan.. And although your plan may be straight, God wants you to see the view, the mountain side, the darkness of tunnels, feel the texture of sand, taste the sea salt in the air. Follow your dreams, even if they don’t turn out the way you visioned them.. At least you didn’t give up! Be rational and smart when making decisions. Whatever you do, love who you are for what you are. When you stop loving yourself, you’re unable to love others. Unable to do what you enjoy. The view of life begins to change..
Remember that mommy and daddy, nana, papa, mema, papa brian, grandma, grandpa in heaven, uncle bubba, uncle michael, and everyone else loves you. Mommy has a church family that is the closest thing to blood. Mama Nita and Preacherman prayed for you just as hard as the rest of us. You will forever be loved. We want only the best for you because you deserve the best..
With love, mommy!