Harper Would Have Been Three

Today was a beautiful day. As I was driving home from church I couldn't help but notice how beautiful the sky and the trees were. A perfect fall day, except it wasn't. 

Three years ago today, I was in Gainesville in preterm labor with Harper. I can't believe that was three years ago. Yet, I remember it all like it was yesterday. I remember the desperation I felt as things seemed to get worse, the labor only progressing. I remember the devastation I felt as I realized it was over and there was nothing that could be done to help Harper. Devastated doesn't even seem to be the right word for the moment I realized I wouldn't be bringing this baby home either. I remember the uneasiness I felt when I realized that Harper passed away on my mama's birthday-uneasy because that day would always hurt now. And I was right. October 18-Harper's earthly birthday, October 19-Harper's Heavenly birthday. Both days hurt, every year. 

I saw a little boy today who was born around the same time as Harper. Makes me catch my breath everytime...I can't shake the thought that he should be here, that size already. That I should have 3 years and 8 months old Jonah and 3 year old Harper here with us. That I should have two little boys here, loving on their baby sister. 

So while today was a beautiful, perfect fall day, it really wasn't very perfect at all because Harper was missing from it. There was no birthday cake and giggles, no sloppy wet kisses and smiles. And tomorrow will be the same. 

Oh are so very loved and so very missed every second of the day, my sweet boy...Selfishly I wish you and Jonah were here in our arms. That would be a perfect day.

Everley Meets Dr.Duffy

Today we took Everley to Jacksonville to meet Dr.Duffy for the first time. She did SO good! She slept the whole way there and most of the way home. She was one smiley, happy baby for the most part. 

Look at these two:

I looked over and saw Everley touching Dr.Duffy's face and I about melted in the floor-so precious! It was so good to catch up and to introduce Dr.Duffy to our precious miracle baby. It is so crazy to think that a year ago he was releasing me back into my normal OB's care, the end of my first trimester with Everley. We were sad that Nan, the nurse who has been with us from the very beginning, couldn't be there because of a family emergency. But, we plan on visiting again soon so she can get her hands on Everley, too. 

Looking back, most days the thought of bringing our baby to Jacksonville for a visit seemed crazy and like an impossibility, because we had tried so hard and it felt like we would never have our baby in our arms. It still doesn't seem real to me that Everley is here.

We are so grateful to Dr.Duffy and Nan and all the sweet nurses that God placed in our lives. And Kristi-Lord knows we are so grateful for her and her sweet family. 

Today was so very special to us. 

90's Christian Music

The other day the chorus of a song I used to listen and sing to popped into my head. So, I sang it to Everley and she acted like she loved it. So when she would start to fuss, I would sing it to her again and she would just look at me and make this sound that she makes when she wants you to do something again-a sound that I think I will still hear in my head when she is old and married-I love that little sound. Anyways, I couldn't remember the verses to the song so I dug the cd out and played it for Everley-who knew she would like Avalon! 

Tonight, I was swinging underneath the pecan trees as Everley was drifting off to sleep and staring in my face. I started singing the chorus to that Avalon song she likes so much. The chorus goes like this: 
"I don't want to go somewhere 
If I know that You're not there,
'Cause I know that me without You is a lie.
And I don't want to walk that road,
Be a million miles from home,
Cause my heart needs to be where You are.
So I don't want to go."
Tears began to well up in my eyes as I thought about the millions of times me and Sarah jammed out to that song, as well as a million others. After the journey we have been on the past three and a half years, it amazes me that I can still remember the choruses to songs like this, but then again, I know that is by God's divine mercy and grace. Those songs I sang long ago were just one of the ways He was preparing my heart for the road that was before me. 

I started thinking about the lyrics to that chorus that I hadn't thought of 
in years, and about losing Jonah and then Harper. And then the rough road of IVF that we walked down with Kristi, in all her selflessness...and I just cried (and Everley looked at me like I was crazy) because I know that we would have never kept going if it weren't for God leading us and walking with us every step of the way...that if He had not walked with us, I would not have wanted to go. 

So, when my Mama had heard all the singing she could bear to hear back then,  she didn't realize that God would use it to speak to my heart all these years later as I swing with this precious miracle named Everley. 

My 29th Birthday

Today is my birthday-a day I share with my twin sister, Sarah. I can't even believe we are 29! Last year of my 20s...oh my.

Birthdays have always been special until three years ago. After I lost Jonah, I dreaded the arrival of my birthday because I had so been looking forward to holding my baby boy in my arms on my birthday, and every other day. So, after losing Harper too, every birthday since I have felt so sad. Sad because yet another year had passed and my arms were still empty and Heaven held more of my heart. 

I have found this year that my birthday is still hard, because Jonah and Harper are There and we are here, incomplete until our reunion in Heaven. I am sad that two little boys aren't running around the kitchen wanting me to blow out the candles on my cake. This day is so bittersweet this year.

On my birthday, I have spent the afternoon at Everley's four month well baby check-up. She cried and I teared up and I held her close...and while I hate to see her hurt, I am so glad that I can pull her close and feel her little body relax because she knows her mama is holding her and making things better. And that will get me through to my next birthday.

am thrilled to death that Everley is sleeping peacefully in my arms as I type this, that my day has started and ended with me holding her. This year, my arms are not empty and for that I am so very thankful. 

Everley's First Time in Church

Yesterday we took Everley to church for the first time. She slept through the whole service and did so good! I got a little emotional when we stood up to show her to the congregation as I thought about how long we have been trying to bring a baby home and about how many times I imagined me and Aaron bringing our baby to church for the first time. So many Sundays I have sat in the pews of my church, shedding tears of sadness, overcome by the emptiness in my arms, overcome with longing for the two little boys that I had to give back. I can't put into words how deep the sting and how deep the hurt, the ache. And while the sadness is still here, because Jonah and Harper are not here, my tears yesterday were from my grief but more so from thankfulness. I was overcome with gratefulness that the God of the universe, Who is in the redeeming business, would bless us with this sweet little angel and allow us to raise her and to teach her about Him. My heart will ALWAYS ache for my boys and I will probably always post about that (sorry folks!). But to have been given three beautiful children and to have Everley in my arms right's more than my heart can bear sometimes.

And since Everley is a little angel-it was only fitting that she looked like a precious angel on her first trip to church. Oh I love her so very much! 

We are so very blessed to call Everley ours!

Sweet Everley

Everley is eight weeks old y'all. These past eight weeks have been exhausting, full of joy and full of learning. When we first brought Everley home, she slept, ate and used the bathroom. Now she is awake more in the day and she smiles and coos at us, on top of all those other things. I can't even believe how she has grown. I am breastfeeding and to begin with, we had a hard time getting Everley to gain weight, especially the weight she lost before we got home from the hospital. We met with a Lactation Consultant here in Moultrie (not sure how she feels about her name being used on my blog!) and she has been a lifesaver! I would have surely given up if it hadn't been for her help and encouragement. Don't let anyone fool you: breastfeeding is hard! It gets better, but it is hard there for awhile. Anyways, Everley was 6lbs. 11oz. when she was born, she got down to 6lbs. 1oz. and now, eight weeks later, she is 8lbs 15oz. Just look at the difference in these pictures. I am so proud of us (breastfeeding almost whooped us) but I am so sad to see her grow so quick. The first picture is when we were getting in the car to leave the hospital. The second picture is from a couple days ago. I mean, I can't even...

We have so much fun with Everley. Just being with her and watching her learn the world around her is exciting. I look in her face and it brings tears to my eyes how perfect she is, how much she looks like Jonah and how innocent and precious she is. She has brought joy to our little family and she has made me miss Jonah and Harper even more. I am sad that I have missed (and will continue to miss) so many things with my boys, but I am so grateful that I do get to experience so many things with Everley.
Several people have been asking Aaron when they see him when I'm going to be getting Everley out and about. I promise the day is coming! We do get out some, but we usually go out of town and keep to ourselves. I have been waiting on Everley to get her first round of shots, which is in a couple of weeks. People think I'm crazy, but her pediatrician has even recommended we keep her away from large crowds until she has had her first set of shots. Crazy or not, I would rather be safe than sorry. Afterall, she is a precious gift that didn't come easy! We will be out and about soon enough.
For those of you still praying for us - we appreciate the prayers much more than you know.

Everley Carolina Willis

Last Tuesday, April 21, Everley Carolina Willis made her debut. We are so head over heels in love with her! We cannot believe that she is a whole week old already! This is what we have learned about her so far:

- This girl is a little pistol! She lets you know real quick what she does and does not like. I'm certain she will go far in life because she knows exactly what she wants.

- She does not flinch at all when Ruby or Bingo barks, she is so used to hearing them from the inside, it doesn't even phase her on the outside.

- She is so sweet and precious and she tugs at our heart strings constantly. We just sit around staring at her and crying.

- We have already been telling her about her brothers, Jonah and Harper. 

- She has strengthened our marriage even more. It never ceases to amaze me how much thought and careful planning God put into placing me and Aaron together. I always thought I knew what I would want and need in a husband, but thank God that He knew far better than me. Aaron Willis is quite the catch y'all-I can't even begin to tell y'all all the reasons why I love him so!

So, this is all I have for now. Things are a little crazy around here as we adjust to life with a newborn, but how we have longed for this for so long! Thank you all for your prayers and please keep them coming! Our hearts are so full because of God's faithfulness...three precious babies...three very precious gifts.