My niece Ella was born on April 9, 2011. I was due with Allie in May of that same year. My brother's daughter and my little girl were going to grow up together. They would share secrets and laughs and stories and dreams. They would share toys and clothes and hobbies and hopes.
On April 22nd, exactly 2 weeks later, that dream shattered.
My niece Summer was born this past Tuesday. We are beginning over again.
Ella's little sister and Allie's little sister can grow up together. They can share secrets and laughs and stories and dreams. They can share toys and clothes and hobbies and hopes. They do not make me sad for what was once but instead make me happy for what is.
I sat next to my sister-in-law just a few hours after she became a mom for the second time and she remarked how great it is that Miranda and Summer are just over 4 months apart. They are going to be so close. With tears in my eyes, I agreed with her. It was what we had always planned for.
When I first found out that there was a new cousin on the way, I burst into tears. I excused myself and ducked into a bathroom and cried till my eyes burned. Pregnancy for me is not sunshine and lollipops. It's fear and anxiety and 40 weeks of panic.
Or at least it was.
A good friend from work had a happy and healthy baby boy in February. The day we went to meet her baby for the first time was the morning after we heard from our social worker that there was a birth mom that was interested in us. Then came Miranda. Then came Summer.
Not all babies are born still. Many, in fact, are not.
Gary stayed home from work with Miranda on Tuesday so I could go in as I had some trainings that I simply could not miss. I went to work and had my phone glued to my hand. A text from my mom that they were stuck in traffic. Another that they were there. One from my brother that the scheduled surgery was delayed. And then the last one that said that Summer was here.
I finished up what I had to do and raced to the hospital. The hospital where Gary and I went a little over 2 years ago to meet Ella. The one where we joked that I might as well stay and have Allie since I was so close to my due date. The hospital that I have pictured over and over in my head wishing I had just stayed there back then. I remember so vividly when I greeted my new niece with my swollen belly very much present.
I was so excited that I barely remember parking. I almost jogged into the Maternity Ward. I got buzzed in and I turned the corner to enter their room. There she was.
Looking so teeny in my brother's arms, all my fears melted away. She is here. She is alive.
|Daddy and Summer|
This baby is our second chance for all our girls to grow up together. She is warmth and light and all that is truly great about Summer.
I held my new niece and stared deep into her face. My mom, knowing me oh so well, stood by my side to make sure I was ok. She knew that it might be hard for me to be back to where I was just over 2 years ago. But it wasn't hard for me at all. Summer made it that way. And while there was no baby in my belly this time, there is one in my heart and one waiting for me at home.
Looking at my new niece, I saw traces of Allie. Even now, several days later, I am not sure what I saw for sure. Maybe what I saw is just what love looks like.
I left the hospital feeling full of love and joy. My heart was full and I could not wait to get home and tell Gary every single detail and explain to Miranda that she is no longer the baby of the family!
Tomorrow we will go as a family to meet this latest addition. It will be the first of many Saturday's we spend together. The first of many play dates between all 3 girls. The second chance too set right what got delayed when Allie died.
For the rest of you that have been experiencing Summer for the last few months, I have got to tell you something. Summer has just arrived.
|Summer and Me|
|Uncle Jeff, Me, Summer and Daddy|