“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness…” – Psalm 30:11
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:17
Most of you already know my story. For those who may be reading this blog for the first time, let me sum it up for you: I have faced great sorrow in my young life. When I was 25 years old (almost 5 years ago this August), I lost my first husband, Jake. I remember sitting in the car with my mother before leaving the hospital that night… as I cried in her arms, I managed to say that I have also lost a future with Jake–that future being a mother. From a very early age in life (like preschool days), I wanted to be a mother when I grew up. Not a nurse, or a teacher, or a firefighter. A mother. After losing Jake, I did not think that would ever happen. Then, Jordan Willis came along and proved to me that I could love again.
Jordan and I found out we were expecting on October 28, 2017…. after a handful of negative pregnancy tests, we finally had positive results. The pregnancy was confirmed on November 9, 2017. Seeing that little life on the sonogram was amazing, beautiful, mesmerizing, surreal, and a glimpse of God’s awesome power. Hearing the heartbeat for the first time was incredible as well – words cannot adequately describe the depth of my emotion and love each time I heard her heartbeat. Jordan and I were content with either gender, to be honest, but Jordan really desired a girl for our first child. When we found out the gender (girl!), we both melted, especially Jordan. Brianna already had her daddy’s heart… and her mommy’s as well.
Well, this little girl was originally due on July 6, 2018. However, she decided to bless us with her presence on June 28, 2018… 8 days early. I started having contractions around 1:30am on June 27 – and she was not born until 7:28am on June 28. That’s about 30 hours of labor… I was exhausted. My water broke while at the hospital, and the nurse noticed that there was some meconium in the fluid. I didn’t really understand what that meant, but then she said something about notifying NICU just in case. As soon as my doctor arrived around 7am on June 28, I was ready to push! It only took a short time to push, and then Brianna was here. They laid her on top of me, and my heart soared and exploded. I remember crying and feeling such an incredible love I didn’t know was possible. I could tell she was having some trouble breathing, and she looked a little purple. As soon as the umbilical cord was cut, they whisked her away. I could not see what was going on, but I found out that the NICU team was helping Brianna breathe. She had ingested and aspirated some of the meconium in her stomach and lungs, and she required assistance breathing for a short time. They finally brought her over to me before taking her to the NICU, and my heart broke when I saw her hooked up to oxygen. My sweet baby girl was hurting, and I could not do anything about it.
I finally got to see her that afternoon (about 6 hours after birth) in the NICU. The last time I had seen her she was on a CPAP machine which was providing her oxygen, but when I went to see her in the NICU, she only needed a nasal cannula. And she was pretty much breathing on her own. They allowed me to do some skin-on-skin time with her, and it was the most amazing, magical experience. Brianna and I both needed that bonding time. And, after that first time holding her, Brianna’s condition improved significantly. She continued to get better and better after that. By around 11pm on June 28th, Bri no longer needed the nasal cannula and was able to breathe on her own. In just a day’s time, Bri went from being in critical but stable condition to being able to come to our room. God is so good… all the time. He answered our prayers and helped heal our baby girl.
Jordan and I are completely in love with our sweet Brianna Shea. We both loved the name Brianna, but the meaning suits her so well. Brianna is a Celtic name meaning “strong” or “she ascends.” Well, I think this girl is living up to her name. Brianna truly is a wonderful gift and blessing in our life already. We love every moment with her (even when she decides to get her nights and days mixed up…). She’s beautiful. I can’t help but tear up when I sing to her or when I think about my love for her. She’s going to keep us on our toes, but I know I will love being this girl’s mother.