While pregnancy for many (outside of my family at least) is nine months worth of excited anticipation, purposeful planning and a hint of nervousness, for my sweet little sister pregnancy was full of issues the doctors couldn’t explain, immense worry and cautious preparation. To say things were rough is pretty generous. She couldn’t gain weight (clocking in at oh, one hundred pounds or so on delivery day sounds terrible, right?), she had almost no amniotic fluid and she was on hospital bed rest for the last five weeks of her pregnancy.
But in the end, by the good grace of God, we welcomed my nephew Jay (which became Jay Bird and was eventually shortened to just Bird) into our family just about twenty-one months ago. Sweet baby Bird made his grand entrance into this world five weeks early via emergency c-section and weighing in at only three-and-a-half pounds. With cousin Cookie (born only five months prior) arriving off the charts one week early and nine pounds heavy, Bird was the tiniest thing my family had ever laid eye on. Not only was he irresistibly darling, but he was the most absolutely perfect child I’d seen, and we were immediately assured that the months of worrying were all for naught. This said, baby Bird did have to do some time in the NICU before coming home. And I credit my sister with surviving yet another heart-wrenching test of faith, as having to go home without your baby is just not normal and is certainly not fair. Sister and her mister kept vigil by Bird’s bedside from the minute the NICU opened to the minute it closed until they could finallly bring the little one home to his real nest.
Just before Bird’s first birthday last spring, my sister and her Mister became involved in the March of Dimes. This wonderful organization funds research and programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies (which is close to my heart in many other ways) and babies begin healthy lives. And they bring comfort and information to families, like my sister’s, with a baby in newborn intensive care. In addition to raising funds and donations, they created a team to participate in Atlanta’s annual March for Babies. Last year, our family donned our team “Jay Walkers” tees, loaded up our wagons and brought out the balloons to support sweet baby Bird and all babies born too soon.
Today, Bird is nearly two years old and is just the sweetest, smartest, silliest toddler imaginable. He loves his cousins like brothers, he gives more kisses per minute than any baby I’ve ever known, and he dazzles crowds with the loads of “poses” and tricks that his crazy, doting parents have taught him. We often marvel over how hard it was to get him here and all of the hurdles he has overcome. And we love him with all our hearts.
So, in honor of my three-and-a-half pound nephew, for every comment left on this post between now and February 20, Honey and I will add an additional three-and-a-half dollars to our donation in Jay’s name. This year’s March for Babies is on April 30 in downtown Atlanta and we are just as pleased as punch to support team Jay Walkers in such a great cause.
Knock my socks off people!