A little over four years ago I became a mom to the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen. She was perfect. She decided to enter this world at only 32 weeks and 6 days. We named her Hayven Grayce Duncan. Hayven (haven) means safe. And it fits her perfectly. She was and is truly my saving grace.
We spent exactly four weeks in the NICU before we came home. I felt like I knew everything. Mothering came so natural for me. It was my true calling all my life to be a mother.
The days were short the nights were LONG. She had pretty bad reflux which required her to be held for thirty minutes after her feeding. So every night I’d wake up, change her, warm up her bottle, feed her, hold her for 30 minutes, go pump for 15 minutes, go back to bed, wake up an hour later and do it all again.
After four/five months we decided we would switch to formula because it was a little thicker and stayed in her belly better than my thinned out breast milk. We were finally getting a little more sleep.
My only regrets with raising Hayven was, I never savored those late nights with her. I was so exhausted and just wished she would just freakin sleep and keep her food down. She was killing me.
If I would have just looked at this situation a little differently I would have realized that I’m never going to get these late nights back. She’s not going to cry for me forever. Shes not going to rely on my milk forever. Shes gonna grow up, shes gonna start walking, becoming independent & doing things herself. She’s not going to be a baby forever and I regret taking those days for granted.
Then, I got pregnant with her baby sister Holland Rhaye.
Thrilled beyond measures we were that we were adding yet another perfect baby girl to our family. I think I had the nursery done half way through my pregnancy.
At our 20 week anatomy scan of Holland we found out she had a heart defect. We were ready, scared, nervous, anxious, but ready for whatever measure we needed to take to correct this. Which was surgery right after birth.
At 28 weeks we did our amniocentesis test and came back positive for a lethal anomaly Trisomy 18 where she would probably not make it her first year of life, which lead to lots of decisions to be made.
She passed two days after birth on February 22, 2017. She truly was a miracle baby. Such a sweet sweet soul that took her last breath in my arms, where I know she felt safe.
We tried for almost a year to get pregnant again. My heart ached to add another member to our family. Hayven talked about her baby sister everyday and it killed me she wasnt here anymore to play with her.
In February of 2018 we found out we were expecting another miracle our “rainbow baby” and we were so excited! Until at 5 weeks on February 18, 2018, two days before Hollands first birthday our little blueberry grew its wings and joined their sister. We were devastated. Not quite sure why this all keeps happening.
In March 2018 we found out we were pregnant AGAIN! By some miracle we were able to conceive another baby. This time it stuck!
It was the best pregnancy and we couldnt wait to meet him!
We welcomed McQuaid James Duncan to the family on October 29th, 2018.
He has been quite the dream. He is the most perfect, laid back baby I have ever met. He is so sweet.
It’s been a little different with him. Somehow my brain is remembering all the tiny little things that probably dont matter but Im savoring every detail.
I feel like I’ve done a complete 360 when it comes to parenting him. Why do i feel like its important to know that he grew out of newborn diapers at 6 weeks old? Or that he grew out of size 1 diapers at 12 weeks old? Why am I remembering all these things when it is probably pointless information.
The way he sucks his tiny hands in the night to tell me he’s hungry instead of crying. The way he whimpers when hes sleepy, how he makes the most disgusted face when I try to give him a binky so that maybe I dont have to be one. Or the way his face lights up and he starts making noises when he hears or sees me enter a room. Those tiny little things that I cant remember with Hayven.
Because I never got to experience any of that with Holland. I never get to learn her little cues for when she’s hungry, I never get to nurse her to sleep and go back in ten minutes later because she realized I put her down and my boobs not in her mouth, I never got to see her smile, or even hear her cry. I never got to teach her how to ride a bike or put her pants on the right way. I never got to teach her to pee on the potty or rock her to sleep. I never got any of that.
I’m sitting here tonight rocking my sweet boy to sleep for the fourth time because he doesn’t want me to put him down. He needs to nurse, he needs to be held, he needs to be loved and I can do all of those things. That’s what he needs.
Im hoping these tears running down my face dont land on his sweet cheeks and wake him up. These are all the moments I hoped and prayed for with Holland but never got.
This week has been I dont wanna say ‘rough’ but its been different. McQuaid going through a growth spurt (or a ‘leap’ if you have the wonder weeks app) has me turning into a milk machine. Constantly nursing. All day.
Do you think I even knew what the hell a growth spurt was when Hayven was a baby? No. Never even heard of it. Do you think I ever noticed she was a little more hungry this week? Or that she’d been a little bit more sleepy? Yeah, nope.
All the things I never got to experience with Holland I am savoring with children now.
Holland made me a better mom, a better friend, a better sister and just a better person in general. Yes, of course I would give anything to have her home with me. But she did her duty and I fully believe she is where she is suppose to be.
Its okay to get frustrated and let your babies cry (i never do for more than 3 minutes). Its okay to lock yourself in the bathroom. But just remember, YOU created those tiny little humans and they need YOU. They chose YOU. They love YOU.
When they’re screaming, hold them, love them. Thats what they need.
I never want my children to think that I wont show up. I will always come, I will always be there…. I will always show up.
Waking up every two hours in the night doesn’t bother me. I savor those 15 minutes I get with McQuaid. I get to nurse him (our favorite thing), I get to hug him and kiss him and rock him. That’s my job. This is what I signed up for.
If I could adopt all the babies, I would. Just so they knew what love was. I never want a child to not know what love is.
I tell my children everyday, several times a day, that I love them.
Yes I get frustrated, but so do they. We’re human. Nobody is perfect. Figure out the problem and find a solution.
So many moms/parents get frustrated when their nursing baby wont take a bottle because they just need a break. I find it the sweetest thing ever. Its so damn cute that he’d rather have me than a bottle. He relies on me for food and I’ll never let him down. The mere thought of not nursing him anymore breaks my heart. Its been the most incredible journey I wish every mother could experience.
Just remember this stage of life NEVER lasts. Savor those late nights with your littles. Kiss them a million times a day, tell them you love them every day.
Watching my kids grow up has been my favorite part of everyday. This is the life I chose and I’d choose it over and over again just to feel this way everyday.
Savor the moments.