its an appropriate time to write all of this down seeing as you are turning two this weekend. two…WHAT?! that has flown, in a way, but then when i think back to where we were in life when you were born it seems like forever ago. this one will be a hard one to write, lulu.
i remember when daddy and i started talking about having another kid. jude was almost a year and a half. he was easy and we knew we wanted another not too far into the future. so we went for it. you came about instantly. i could feel it right away. i was turned off by certain foods. i had to force myself to eat so i wouldn’t feel sick. i couldn’t go far without my water bottle.
brian and leanne and the girls were here visiting. the day they left i took a pregnancy test. it was july. daddy and i sat and waited for the results. i was nervous. then we saw it…PREGNANT! ahhhhh. even though i knew i was already, reality hit me. i was SCARED. and excited. daddy was too. jude was clueless.
aunt megan and uncle nick came over that night. we told them the news and they were happy. we urged them to try for another and i think our excitement stuck because you and emmy are a month apart. we waited a little bit longer to tell other people. gramma and papa were first. papa cried, i’m sure. meme and bampy were next. we were having a family photo shoot so i wanted to save the announcement for then so cait could get it on camera. we were in the back yard figuring out picture scenes and daddy said, “how about we do one where we’re all pointing at gretchen’s belly?” the look on bampy’s face was priceless and i’m so glad cait was there to capture it. we gave hugs all around and meme and bampy were so excited.
we visited the doctor and got pictures. you were growing just as you should. my belly got bigger and i was tired. i was more sick this time around and having a toddler to chase around with you in my belly was hard. we got the news that aunt megan was pregnant and we were so happy that you’d be close in age just like jude and bella.
fall came and bampy got sick. i quit my job, a job that i loved, to work with bampy before it was too late. but his body disagreed and his condition got worse. in october we had a big meeting in boston with the liver transplant team to qualify him for the transplant list. bampy never came home from that meeting. the night before we were supposed to go home he went to the emergency room in the middle of the night because of pain in his abdomen. he was admitted and tests were run. we stayed in boston a little longer. the doctors were shocked at how fast his disease had progressed in such a short amount of time. it wasn’t safe for him to return home so he stayed in boston where he could get the best care. the rest of us went home to get back to our kids and jobs and figure out a game plan.
to make a long story short, we made several trips to boston that fall. some were at the drop of a hat, thinking that it was the end for bampy. other trips were because he begged us to visit. the stress that my pregnant body went through during that time was abundant. i was worried, terrified, sad. i was desperately hoping that these emotions were not affecting you; that you were safe and sound within me and unchanged by the storm i was enduring. at 20 weeks i had an ultrasound to check on your growth and to find out your gender. aunt kate watched jude while i drove to meet daddy at the hospital. i was so nervous. i was hoping for a girl. for something different than jude and for someone to do girl things with. but then again, i was hoping for a boy. i was comfortable with boys. i knew how to be mom to a boy.
we got situated and took a peek at you. then she said it…ITS A GIRL. tears came to my eyes. i was happy…i was intimidated. how was i going to deal with a girl? how was i ever going to love this baby as much as i love jude? i felt guilty; guilty to be bringing a baby into our family and taking my attention from jude. but at the same time i felt excited for a change. i couldn’t wait to meet you in real life and see what you looked like. the ultrasound tech told us that you had hair…tons and tons and tons of hair. more hair than she had ever seen. we laughed.
daddy went back to work and we made our calls. i called meme and aunt megan. i called bampy who was at the hospital in boston. although emotionally and physically struggling due to the disease inside his body, bampy was so glad that i called. he loved it when i called. he was happy to hear that you were a girl and that you were healthy. i told him your name was lucy.
november came it it got cold. i’ll never forget that day. i was out with jude and got a call from meme. her voice was serious. the doctors had called and things were not good. we had to go to boston and we had to go now. i panicked. i cried harder than i’ve ever cried before. i dropped jude off at gramma’s and rushed to meet meme. we got in the car and drove. the car was quiet. our minds were racing. we spoke with doctors and nurses and said we were coming fast. things were not good and bampy’s body was shutting down. he was being put on dialysis because his kidneys were failing. meme drove. we were in crisis mode.
we got to the hospital and rushed to ICU where bampy was. i’ll never forget that place and the sight as we walked into bampy’s room. he was hooked up to a million machines and his blood was running through tubes. he was watching “i love lucy”.
bampy passed away a few days later. those days were grueling, lulu. bampy, meme, aunt megan, daddy and i shared laughs, memories, pictures and songs. we cried a lot. we held hands and hugged. we were thankful and we were heartbroken. my body was exhausted from the turmoil of the situation. when i look back on it all, the only way i can describe my survival is in one word: JESUS. he carried us through. he kept you safe from the harshness of my struggles.
life went on and we adjusted. it was a hard time, lucy. i tried to focus on you and staying healthy and being a good mom. it was hard. i was exhausted emotionally, physically, spiritually. a couple months before you were due i had a conversation with my doctor. i asked that if everything was progressing like normal and i was a good candidate for induction, if i could have you on bampy’s birthday, march 22. she said yes. i was so excited!
on christmas day we got word that aunt kate was pregnant. another cousin! it was a happy time.
march came and things were looking good. i was nervous for delivery and i was terrified but excited to meet you, lucy. my little girl! i made you a million headbands and got ready for your birthday. march 22nd came and it was HOT. like 90 degrees hot. i waited and waited to get the call to go into the hospital. but it wasn’t happening. things were too slammed in the delivery room and your birth would have to wait a day. i was bummed. super bummed. bampy had a thing for birthdays and he would have LOVED sharing his with you. but life goes on.
morning came and we waited for the call to head in. things were slammed, again, but because of the amazing nurse that helped deliver jude they were able to squeeze us in. we left jude with meme who then transferred him to emily. i was sad saying goodbye to him. and i was NERVOUS. we drove to the hospital and my stomach was in knots.
we checked in and got things rolling. holy cow, it was intense. the contractions were so painful and way worse than when i had jude. i got an epidural and that helped until it was time to push. dr. bretta came in to check on me. i wasn’t quite ready to have you yet. she said she was going to go let her dog out and then come back. when she was gone, i could feel you coming. my nurse called dr. bretta and told her to hurry back…it was time. you were coming full speed and my body wanted you out. OH MAN. ouch. i vividly remember saying, “i am NEVER doing this again!” a few minutes later, you were born. you were gorgeous. you had a full head of thick, wild black hair. you weight 8 lbs 9 oz. you had thunder thighs. i loved you instantly. i couldn’t believe i ever worried for even a second about not loving you as much as i did jude. you were PERFECT. our family came in and admired you. i can’t describe how proud i felt to have taken part in creating you…such a beautiful, perfect baby. daddy couldn’t take his eyes off of you.
that night we shared a room with another mom so daddy couldn’t stay. it was just me and you. you slept in the nursery but came in a few times throughout the night. i was tired but slept well and my heart leaped when they brought you in to me. i loved holding you, feeding you, cuddling you. i remember that time in the hospital so vividly and fondly. i was sad that bampy wasn’t there to experience the joy that the family was feeling, but i like to think that he was looking down on us and that he caught a glimpse of your beauty.
there are so many reasons why you are special to me. but first and foremost, lucy, you are the most perfect gift sent to me during the worst time of my life. you are my light. my anchor of hope in the fiercest storm. your sweet little face and perfect personality remind me of god’s amazing love and that he sent you to me when i needed you MOST. i have a special connection with jude because he was my first. he made me a mom and he taught me about love. i never thought that connection could be matched, but you totally made that happen, girl. my connection with you is just as amazing in a totally different way.
i love you, lucy mae keezer. the past two years with you has been seriously awesome. you blow my mind every day and i just can’t get enough of you. “i am the luckiest”. honest and true, girlfriend.
happy 2nd birthday!