Monday, December 5, 2011

On your first birthday

***After lots of careful thought and consideration I decided to post two sketches of Addison on her first birthday...never done this before, but wanted the people who are loving our girl with us to know the face they are remembering.***

Dear Addi,

I really can't believe an entire year has passed. To be honest I didn't think we would survive's not that I thought we die too, it's just that I couldn't imagine going through each day without you. People say they couldn't do, we couldn't do it either and yet somehow we did. I think back to those early days where I had to force myself to get out of bed, not because I am strong, but because it's what had to be done. With you gone the dogs still needed to bed, the laundry still needed to be done and we didn't have the option of quiting our jobs so we just continued getting up everyday. We were purely in survival mode.

I still feel like that lots of days...survival mode. I'm living this life I hadn't planned on living. I want life to be as good as it can be even knowing without you it will never be as it should.

I go to the grocery store, mall, gas station etc. and see moms and daughters and my heart breaks each time, I keep going because I have to.

This year has been an interesting one because your mama has never been a crier, but this year that all changed. I have never cried more tears. I cry for all sorts of reasons, but it usually comes down to the fact that I love you so much and miss you so badly it physically hurts.

I've learned that my real friends truly are who they are and even gained a few extra because they love you, I love them more than I knew before. I'm surprised that there are not more people who didn't step up, but that was a nice surprise because the few that didn't I will never be able to let in again. If they do not have a place for you in their hearts I do not have a place for them in mine, plain and simple.

I have met so many wonderful moms like me this year and their friendship and support is better than anything I could buy! It is my hope that you have found love, support and friendship in their children as much as I find in them.

You my sweet girl are everything I ever wanted in a daughter. I of course wish you were here with me, but not having you here takes nothing away from what you gave and continue to give to us. We couldn't love you more if we tried. We couldn't be more proud to be your parents and are trying our very best to make sure no one ever forgets how very special you are.

Before you were born everyone would tell me that you love all of your children, but that firstborn is something so special, they were right. I loved you before you were born, but this day of December 5th when I finally got to see your beautiful face was one dreams were made of.

I feel fortunate that the very worst day of our lives was the 4th, but the day you were born was a beautiful one and one I would repeat a million times if I could.

After a long night of very little sleep and feeling like I was in and out of consciousness you were getting closer. Family was back and I remember our nurse was back to the day shift and told me when it was time I would feel like I needed to poop. I remember that moment because it shot me awake, I just yelled "I have to poop" I knew I didn't actually and I don't know why I just didn't say it's time to push, but that's what came out of my mouth.

Originally your birth was going to be a family affair (as long as everyone stayed behind my shoulders and out of the "danger zone"), but our nurse convinced us that this moment should only be for your dad and I. We sent our VERY reluctant family out of the room and just before 10am we started getting ready. Dr. B asked me if I wanted to brush my teeth first...I thought what a weird question and then I thought about it again and was like of course! Daddy helped me as they morphine and lack of sleep was messing with my abilities.

I started to push around was bizarre as I would be in the middle of a push and falling asleep at the same time. Finally I asked to stop so I could get a cold wet wash cloth on my face and for the lights above me to be turned on. Those things helped and we were off! I remember being thankful I was able to deliver you this way since you were turned for most of the day on the 4th it took A LOT of moving me in different positions to get you where you needed to be, I knew you would do it though, you were too perfect of a baby. They really wanted to use the forceps and or vacuum on you and I wouldn't let them. I had seem the bruises it left on a live baby and knew you didn't have time to heal from them. I was doing this no matter what. There was no screaming or yelling. I just concentrated on what I had to do and focused on your daddy and my nurse. I was ready to meet you and nothing was stopping me.

At 10:40am you were here all 8lbs and 21 3/4 inches of you. They put you up on my belly and we just stared at you.

The first time if ever I saw your face...
I wanted to SEE you so I had them wipe you off and they handed you back. I gave you to your daddy because I couldn't wait to see him hold you. I never loved him as much as I did in that moment. Seeing him love you was the most beautiful and heartbreaking moment.

After some time he handed you back. They had wrapped you in two blankets tightly and I couldn't pull them off fast enough, I wanted to SEE you. I wish I would have taken the diaper off they had put on and seen your little naked body in it's entirety, but I didn't think of it at the moment as I was more interested in your perfect little hands and feet, your long legs and kissing your face.

We had our alone time with you and then two by two family came in to meet you. We wanted two at a time so each person got to have their moment without feeling rushed. That part I would do exactly the same. Everyone held you and everyone loved you.

I wanted them to get the rest of the "birth" off you so the other nurse bathed you and didn't do the best job...she was trying to be gentle, but didn't do the job to my satisfaction. I wish I would have had my parents do it. Grandma and Papa carefully dressed you in your Christmas dress. Since they had two daughters they understand all things fluffy. There is one picture of you in just your tights and patten leather shoes (which were almost too small with your long narrow feet). I love that picture. I can so picture you running around half naked like that just before leaving for a party or a picture so we would be sure not to get anything on the dress.

They were ever so gentle with you, we all were.We took pictures and loved you...even with all the pictures we took I still wish we would have taken more, but love you more...not possible...our love for you was and is as full as it can be.

After those pictures we changed you into the outfit you were supposed to come home in. It was the outfit Auntie Alisa bought you before you were even conceived. A perfect pink sleeper with a little snowman perfect for our December baby. Daddy dressed you in that and you were so snugly. We laughed that this newborn outfit was too short for your arms and definitely got that from your daddy and not from me. I was surprised with the amount of hair you had...I was bald and I thought you would be too.

After everyone got to love you and I had you back in my arms we tried to take a few pictures. You can see the progression through the pictures, my face says it all. You can literally see the tears coming. Holding you and having that moment (while beautiful) was also even more heartbreaking knowing how perfect you were, how much we loved you, how much your family loved you and the unfairness that such a great family was being robbed of a life with you and you a life with us. I started crying and saying how unfair this all was, I just repeated it over and over holding you close. Everyone decided to leave at that point and give us some alone time.

I don't remember who suggested a nap, but it was what was needed. Daddy climbed into bed with us and with you between us we slept as our little family of three. It was a beautiful moment and I am so thankful for it.

After our nap we were moved to another room. I tried to take a shower...almost passed out, but my nurse got me before that happened. I barely remember moving, but the next room seemed more relaxed. Family came back and we kept you with us the rest of the day.

That night when it was time for bed they took you away, but we knew we would get you back the next day. We kissed you goodnight and daddy and I were able to sleep side by side as a full bed was set up next to mine.

It really was as perfect of a day as it could be. A whole day with you and just squeezing in as many kisses and snuggles as we could.

Your birthday was the happiest day of our lives, meeting you and loving you, while not the way we had planned was still amazing. It wasn't a day of goodbyes it was all hellos and I love yous.

Today we plan to celebrate you as much as possible. We picked a one year old little girl of the Salvation Army tree to sponsor. While we wish we were buying presents for you, we are using your life to pay it forward.

Your family celebrated you yesterday and will again today. You have gotten presents in the mail from some amazing friends and even a birthday card addressed to you, seeing your name on that card was amazing...I never thought I would get to see mail just for you. So many people are thinking of you today and lighting candles for you, makes this day a little less heavy for your mama and daddy to know you are remembered and loved.

I love you my girl. Happy 1st Birthday, we will celebrate you and what you mean to us. xxxooo


  1. Keleen and Brian, there are no words. This post was beautiful. Your sketches of Addi and the three of you are gorgeous. Even without seeing her in full color, I can see she was perfect and so beautiful.

    Sending you so much love today...

  2. Thank you so much for posting the sketches! I am so happy to see Addi's little face - what a sweetie <3

  3. Such beautiful sketches, I'm sure she as even more perfect in person. Happy birthday Addison.

    And momma, I'm thinking of you.


  4. Oh wow I'm crying... I wish our time with Hayes had been more like this. But I just didn't know any better. Ah, regrets. Those sketches are priceless. Thank u for sharing.

  5. And the tears continue. What a beautiful post and day you spent with her.

  6. Happy Birthday to Addison, you honored her in so many beautiful ways! And I'm so glad to see her picture, she is so perfect :)

  7. Happy Birthday Addi, I hope you enjoyed all the beautiful ways your loving family celebrated you.

  8. I don't cry so often these days but I'm crying now - what beautiful words, what beautiful memories of Addison's birthday and what gorgeous sketches. Addison is precious and perfect.

    I wish you gentle days ahead, Keleen.

  9. So many emotions, Keleen.

    I don't think I've seen a more beautiful sketch in my life than the one of you as a family of three napping together. It melted me.

    Your sweet baby girl is precious to everyone who you share her with. I had candles lit for you and bought TWO cupcakes to share in honor of our littles.

    Wishing things were different, but thankful for her life nonetheless.