Our little bundle of happiness arrived a little bit early. 3 weeks early. Actually, she was born at 9:41 pm on July 29, about 2 hours and 19 minutes before she would be considered full-term. Since she was technically "late-term premature" we had to subject her to extra testing. While I hated having her poked and prodded, it was reassuring to have her getting the extra attention.
The day she was born, we definitely felt Reese with us. There are about 40 birthing rooms at the hospital, yet we were put in the exact same room where we had given birth to Reese nearly 2 years earlier. Room 321. The room overlooks the ER entrance. AJ kept looking down at the curb where he sat the day we lost Reese. He told me that that day he sat on the curb and stared up at this window, remembering when Reese was born. And now it had come full-circle, as he sat in the birthing room window looking down at the curb where he sat on the worst day of our lives.
Also, Isla was due on the 20th, but was born on the 29th. Reese was due on the 29th but born on the 20th. Such strange little coincidences, but it made us feel like she was right there with us.
Isla definitely resembles Reese. Sometimes she looks exactly like Reese..but with a full head of dark hair. Josh is on one end of the spectrum with blond hair and blue eyes, and Isla has brown hair and darker skin. Reese is definitely a mix of both kids. The one common trait they all have is the mouth/chin area.
We are so incredibly happy to have Isla, but it is not without some sadness. Today it has been 18 months since we lost Reese. It is the strangest feeling to be so happy and so sad at the same time. We are all terrified of losing Isla...even Josh told me he was so scared now that we had brought her home, and he wanted to know how we could make sure she doesn't stop breathing. It is heartbreaking that he carries that fear with him. AJ has been a big ball of stress. He is definitely having a harder time coping than I am. Perhaps because I'm busy just "doing"...taking care of Isla, trying to keep things in order, etc.
I did get hit with a huge dose of reality last Saturday night at church. It had been about 105 degrees that day, and the church has POOR ventilation. About halfway through mass she pooped, so I took her in the back to change her. There was a table set up on the side in the back, so I laid her out on it. She was totally content laying there in the cool, looking around. I was digging in her diaper bag, and it suddenly hit me. That was the exact same spot where I had last seen Reese's face. During the rosary, we had a viewing, and her casket was right there in that corner. I remember that night, Feb. 16, 2011, staring at Reese's beautiful face, knowing once we closed that lid I would never see her again. I just sat there next to Isla laying so content on that table, and bawled. Man, it was hard. I'm sure that's the first of many moments that are going to hit me like that.
Night time is the hardest because I know I can't supervise her. I've always co-slept. I know my babies are safe, but now I doubt myself. I question everything. Is she too warm? Is her face tilted toward my body too much? I lost Reese during the day, during a nap at daycare where she was alone in a pack-n-play, yet I'm completely terrified that it will happen again...and it will happen with her in my arms. Part of me wants to lay her down in the co-sleeper, but I just can't seem to let go of her. So, I don't. I say my prayers every night as I snuggle her to sleep that I get to keep her.
Here are a few pictures of our sweet little Isla.
Happy Angelversary Reesey. We miss you like crazy, baby girl.