As many of you know, I am the extremely proud mother of a beautiful and perfect baby girl! Evelynn Bre is now one year old! Holy crap. Wasn't I just pregnant? The past year of my life has gone by so incredibly fast. Being a mother is amazing, and more than I ever thought possible. But it is also exhausting. Scary. Frustrating. The list goes on.
I am going to be one of those annoying woman and say that my birthing experience was a "breeze." I didn't realize that I was in labor until I was 5cm dilated and told to go to the hospital ASAP. I was admitted around noon, and delivered Evelynn at 3:20pm. I pushed for about 30 minutes and out she popped! 6 pounds and 5 ounces of perfection! They always say that you fall in love immediately and that it is a love that you have never experienced, and they were right. I was just holding her. Staring. Breathing her in. Her scent was intoxicating. I couldn't believe that she was mine; forever. She took to breastfeeding immediately and we never experienced any issues with that. I was very lucky to have such an easy delivery experience. And my brother and sister were amazing. Each holding a leg and encouraging me the entire way, all while Kris watched on the webcam. The three of them were the best support system that I could have asked for!
Kris was obviously deployed for the birth, and the first six weeks of our little girl's life. It was just me and her against the world. I remember our first night at home. I thought I could do it alone, and sent my family on there way. I was so confident. I couldn't wait to sleep with my little miracle in my arms. Ha. That did not happen. I ended up just staring at her as she cried, crying myself. I had no idea what she wanted. I didn't know if I was breastfeeding correctly. I didn't know if she was comfortable. It was so difficult! And that is when I knew that motherhood was going to be much harder than I could have ever imagined. We eventually found our grove, and got to know each other. The six weeks without Kris flew by, and before I knew it, we were a family of three! Seeing Kris hold Evelynn for the first time was amazing. I think I fell in love with him all over again. And even though Kris has been gone here and there for work trips, we have been able to experience all of her firsts together. Her first solid food feeding. Her first time rolling over. Her first steps. And I couldn't love my little family of three any more! Being a stay at home Mom is tough. But each day as Kris gets home from work, and I see them together, my heart is full of such love, joy and devotion. They are my world. And I am so incredibly lucky to get to spend every day with them.
Along with being a Mother, I am a cancer survivor. I am still getting routinely tested and checked for cancer. And I hate to say it, but I don't think I have seen the last of it. It is just a gut feeling. And if you know me, you know my gut feelings are not usually wrong. But I have a whole new reason to fight. SHE is my reason to fight. I remember laying in bed years ago, sick and weak, thinking that if I died, that would be ok. But now the thought of dying completely terrifies me. I have to be here, for her. I want to experience all the things that Moms experience with their daughters. School dances, first dates, boyfriends, weddings, children. If I do have to fight this thing again, I will do it with a completely different outlook. I have beat it twice, and I have complete confidence that I can do it again.
Mother, cancer survivor, and very much still a widow. It has been a tough transition to make from grieving widow to doting Mommy and Girlfriend. I so feared telling Dan's family about my relationship with Kris and about my pregnancy. And not to my surprise, they were incredibly supportive and loving, and continue to be so. I am so blessed to have them as my family, and to have them as an active part of Evelynn's life. We are so loved and supported. My family, Kris' family, Dan's family, all loving on my daughter and welcoming her into their lives. And I couldn't be happier. A part of me is sad that Dan never got to experience me as a Mother. But I know that he would be proud of me. And one day Evelynn will know that her Mommy had a very special man in her life, and that Daddy had a great friend. She will know his story, and what a Hero he was. Kris and I proudly display all of his awards, metals and pictures in our home. I must admit, I always feared what my "new" life after Dan would look like, and how my new significant other would feel about Dan and my love for him. I never thought that I would be so lucky as to fall in love with someone who knew Dan, and respects him and his sacrifice as much as I do.
Whew... that was a lot. So to sum it up, I am a Mommy. A girlfriend. A cancer survivor. A widow. A writer. I have experienced such pain, grief and sickness in this life. I have looked death in the face. More than once. And I have experienced love in so many forms. I have a Hero in Dan, who sacrificed his life for our country. And I have a Hero in my wonderful boyfriend, Kris. I am so loved by him every single day, even when I don't deserve it. I have my good days. And my awful days. But as corny as it sounds, this life is a journey. It has ups and downs. Ebbs and flows. And don't I know it. But if I look at my life right now, as I sit here, wow, good for me. I have a crazy supportive family. Great friends. A wonderful Man by my side, and the best little girl I could ask for. I'd say I am doing pretty good for myself! I don't take anything for granted these days, and know that everything in my life is a gift from God. He is why I am here today. Happy. Hopeful. And ready to continue my journey!