A long story starting at the moment you came out screaming in a room full of half a dozen doctors and twice as many nurses. It was the end of one part of your story and the very beginning of the rest.
I will tell you that at first we were told you did not exist, that we rejoiced mightily upon finding you hidden away in my womb a week later, that we thought for sure we had lost you at 16 weeks and then again at 25 weeks and even maybe at 27 or 30. But that you lived.
And not only lived, but came out at a darn good fighting weight for just a 34 weeker.
That you were so strong for your age that your daddy was able to hold you for a few minutes in the operating room and even bring you to my side.
I will tell you that what happened that day was--to us--the unexpected. But that to God, is was all as planned. His mercies were woven into every moment of the day you were born. You and I were protected and provided for. Miraculously.
I will tell you that your siblings came, the ones who had sacrificed all summer long out of love for you.
That they wanted to see you, but couldn't just yet.
That I went home before you, without you, and that was so very hard.
That your brothers and sister got a glimpse of you through a window to tide them over.
And they were enchanted.
I'll tell you that your daddy missed you so much, that he and I took NICU date nights whenever we could and that I came every day to hold you and love you and send pictures to him.
That during your 37 days in the NICU, your grandparents and great-aunt and your uncle and your mommy's dear friends came to see what they could see of you, through windows or from the edge of your crib. That the no-touching rule made your grandmother's fingers itch, but that she spent her days with me, by you.
One day, I'll tell you how they sent you up to intermediate care, but you misbehaved and got yourself sent right back down to intensive care, and for the next six days, everyone who came near you had to wear silly yellow gowns.
But that, eventually, you made it back to intermediate care and stayed, and worked your way on out of that hopsital. Slowly.
Then, I'll tell you how we brought you home and cocooned you in lockdown, protecting you with all our might for month after month.
And at six months old...you were released! To be in and out and among. To see the world.
It is the end of one part of your story and the very beginning of the rest.