As a child, I remember holding my baby doll and dreaming of having a little girl of my own. I recall telling my dad, Daddy, I can’t wait to get married and be a mom.
I have always wanted a daughter. Growing up, I had faith God would bless me with one. He did, he blessed me with two! In high school I would buy little girl stuff in hopes that someday I would be able to give to them to my little girl. I’ve kept those things over the years, and I now have it for them. After graduating high school I remember telling my dad, I’m not going to college, I’m going to get married and have babies. Daddy just giggled. Truth is, I did end up going to college and graduate school, where I met my husband Terry.
I’m telling you, my dream is to be a wife and mother. I am living that dream. I’m living the dream with the person I married. The love of my life. I could never be happier.
Our journey has been full of many blessings, but it wasn’t necessarily an easy one to travel. Our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at twelve weeks. I was at the end of the first trimester and I thought I was over the hump. It was really a tough time, because I yearned to be a mother so badly. I remember sobbing in the emergency room, completely devastated. I asked the doctor what he thought the gender was, and he replied a little boy. He would have come December 27th. So every year on December 27th, my due date, I think of our baby boy.
We waited a few years, and then we were pregnant with Eden. I didn’t have an easy pregnancy or delivery with her. I had developed HELLP syndrome, my blood pressure was extremely high, my liver and kidneys were starting to not function properly. I had to deliver Eden via c-section at thirty-four weeks and five days. She was four pounds and six ounces. I was in a fog. I don’t really remember anything, which makes me really sad. With Mary, our second child, I remember everything.
I didn’t see Eden for two days. I was incredibly ill and I couldn’t go to the NICU where she was being treated. It was tough time. Terry would show me pictures he had taken of her on his phone. But I had no idea how incredibly tiny she was. Not until I went to see her for the first time. That’s when reality hit. Emotionally overwhelmed, the tears just streamed down my face. I could not have imagined what four pounds looked like until she was physically in front of me.
Eden’s stay in the NICU lasted three weeks. I was discharged after a week, and we went home without our little girl. Coming home to an empty nursery was very difficult for us. One thing about that experience, we will never forget, was her smell. If I could have bottled that smell up I would have. It's hard to describe, but forever engraved in my memory. I would take her clothes from the NICU to be washed and I would just sit in our bed and smell her little teeny-tiny clothes. Then Terry would come home and do the same thing. That smell, we’ll never forget it. So much love and hope in just smelling her clothes.
To be honest, I was very scared to take her home, because of how premature she was. I was a first time mom, which made it hard. Even though I was fearful, there was never a doubt in my mind how much I loved her.
I did develop postpartum anxiety after bringing Eden home. I remember my dad coming to visit. We were going to bathe Eden and I said, Daddy, don't fill the water up too high. Jokingly he replied, Oh I’ll just put it up to her nose. I immediately started sobbing. I know he was only joking, trying to make light of the situation. But I lost it. I was scared something would happen to her. I wouldn't describe my feelings as depressed or sad, but I was overwhelmingly fearful. I did seek the help I needed. I alerted my doctor about what I was experiencing and I got help. I was so caught up in the anxiety and the worry of is she going to be okay? I regret not enjoying that time with her. It was hard. Eden had an apnea monitor, she would sometimes turn blue from not breathing, she was on caffeine to help her with that. We were responsible for keeping this tiny life alive. We had a lot on our plates as first time parents.
To other families and women bringing home premature babies, it’s tough and very scary but it passes. Seek the help that you need, from your doctor and support systems. Most importantly, try to enjoy it the time with your child the best you can. It passes so quickly.
Mary, our second was a completely different experience. Mary Caroline was a term baby. I saw her right away. She roomed with me at the hospital. As much as I hate to say it, it was easier to bond with Mary. Eden and I do have something special- she was my first born and is an incredibly amazing big sister. When we brought Mary home, I didn’t struggle with anxiety and I really got to relish those early months worry-free. With Eden I couldn't see her to bond with her right away. Mary was immediate. I was so worried about keeping Eden alive. Mary came, she was a textbook pregnancy and delivery. It was just two drastically different experiences, but I harbor the same amount of love and awe for them both. Completely overwhelmed with love and joy. It’s hard to articulate or describe how my heart felt the day my daughters came. I didn’t know how much I could love somebody until my girls came. It’s beautiful.
I grew up without my biological mother. I want my children to know that all I ever wanted was to be their mother. I want them to see that through my mothering and parenting I only want the best for them, because I never had that with my mom. I want them to be the best that they can be. I want them to understand how important school is. To know how important it is to have healthy friendships and relationships with others. I want them to know that the most important relationship that they’ll ever have is with their spouse. But above all, I want my girls to know Jesus, and put him first in their life. I want them to know they are loved. Not by just giving them things, but by the way I mother and parent. What I struggle with is knowing that all of these things are falling into place. Am I accomplishing and modeling these things for our girls?
I know nothing of my biological mother. I never knew what she wanted to be, what her favorite color was, I never really knew what she liked to eat. Those kinds of things are important to me. The small and mundane all the way to the big stuff. I want them to have and know those pieces of me, and carry them onto their children. Because I know what it is like to not have those pieces.
I want the girls to understand that they are important to me, but their dad really and truly comes first. Terry and I were young kids in love. I knew Terry was the person God intended for me to be with. I knew it, Terry knew it. The first night we talked, we talked about having children, we just knew. We’ve celebrated ten years this past April.
My role as a mother and wife, is to nurture Eden’s and Mary Caroline’s emotional needs and help model what a healthy marriage looks like. The most important thing I can do to accomplish these things is love their dad. The same goes for Terry. Terry always makes sure to tell me that I’m beautiful, how much he loves me, and how wonderful of a job I’m doing as a mother in front of our girls. So they can hear it. With the hope that they will grow up and choose a partner that treats them the way their daddy treats me. He really is amazing in every way.
My vocation in life is to be a mother. It’s my calling. I love waking up to my children, it’s my favorite part of the day. I was meant to be a homemaker. I know some people look down on that. I do have a master's degree, but my vocation is motherhood. I am answering my calling, and staying home with my children. I'm extremely proud of that.
I’ve read somewhere that babies come into people's lives in so many different ways: adoption, unplanned, planned, crazy birth like Eden, or a perfectly planned birth like Mary’s, and everything in-between The way you feel, the love you feel for them, there is no describing it. Such different starts to life, but our love is no different between them. Eden was a whirlwind and I could remember hardly anything from the cesarean. With Mary I was present, I could see everything that was going on.
No matter what entrance they’ve made into the world, these are the children that the person I love the most and I created. That God has blessed us with. I love being a mom, it’s easy for me. My life has never been better and it’s all because of my husband and children.