Monday, June 7, 2010

We Are Family

I can recall every time I've had to "break the news" to my parents. There was never an easy-to-follow guide from an older sibling who screwed up since I was the first born. Where is Lindsay Lohan as an older sister when you need her?! Like the time the rents went to Key Largo when I was a youngin' in high school, and threw my first house party that put scenes out of Weird Science to shame. I was such a smart kid, I didn't have to confess until my college graduation after a few celebration drinks. Or the time I had to tell my crowd-cheering dad, after always striving to be the athlete he was, that I was going to leave the college soccer team after a rough freshman year on my GPA...and social life. And who could forget everyone's faces when I told them I was moving across the country to Alabama! With my boyfriend! Without a ring! Even though it was always hard to say the words, I eventually figured out they were there to listen to anything I had to spit out.

Here comes one of the best days of my life, when I get to break the news to mom and dad on if they have a granddaughter or grandson. Guessing games and baby pools were flying everywhere. When you're 3 weeks early though everyone loses! Who knew she was actually listening to her mama in there when I declared "I'M DONE!" at 37 weeks. As she comes out, I now know I get to shout over our cell phones that it's a sweet baby girl and bring on the PINK!Cue the music. Everyone knows what happened in the next hour. Let's not relive it- I just put my makeup on. But shoot, that's out the window because I need to keep going with this breaking the news theme... Just when I thought I would be clawing for my cell phone to spread the word, in rare Jessica fashion I was silent. I had no urge to talk to anyone that wasn't present in that dark, windowless delivery room. Anyone not there would require those pins and needles words to be muttered out about Lyla's diagnosis. Oddly I hadn't cried yet, and I knew each interaction with a new voice was a recipe for tear explosion. We decided we wouldn't ruin the moment for the ecstatic grandparents, so up the front went on the initial announcements. Only "It's a girl!" was tossed around from phone call to phone call. It killed me to not cry to my mama on the phone, keep my sister in the real-time loop like us sisters always do, or ask the typical "What do I do now?" question to my Dad still in Buffalo. Instead, we waited for everyone to arrive in person those coming early morning hours.
I painfully told Troy before the visitors poured in like tidal waves, I can't be the one to say it. I need him to be the rock on this one. Wave one enters. Wave two touches down. Wave three just 12 hours after giving birth. For once in my life I wasn't able to break the news. I felt defeated. I could only keep my eyes focused on fast asleep Lyla as she was passed around the room in her burrito blanket. My heart ached as each family member faced denial like we did as they stared down at the little face searching for the symptoms we couldn't see either.
But my Grandma said something that stuck with me as she held her first precious great grandchild. My accuracy may be a little off thanks to those numbing drugs that resonated in my head but didn't do crap down there for the delivery, but it went a little something like this - "Well she's loved no matter what, and a part of this family now." I don't think I understood the significance of what she said yet. But now I get it.The outpouring of love and support from our family and close friends has been _______ - I have been sitting here for 2 minutes trying to type in a word here and I can't think of one to explain how over the top it's been. I can only give examples to put it into words. The mailman now knows our first names, and thinks Lyla Jane is a celebrity as daily packages arrive for her. We have received 9 crocheted blankets - these things take WEEKS if not MONTHS to put together! Flowers that just make you smile are on display everywhere and fill the house with a fresh start scent. Phone calls full of laughs come in just when you need them. Loads of baby pink cards and handwritten letters arrive with words of heartwarming encouragement. My Facebook family of friends shower my page with hundreds of comments to make me smile during my break time. And welcomed visits give mom's back a break and alleviate the piles of laundry backing up. Ok, piling laundry was always a problem pre-Lyla, but now she's just a scapegoat for it. It proved to me that the support from your loved ones can take you where you need to be, and out of dark holes full of fears of the future where the medical books will bring you.

I just wanted to say in bold and for the world to see, THANK YOU to all of our family and friends for the indescribable love that has been sent our way. I say this repetitively now since my thank you card writing skills are a little slow, and it may take a couple of months for your card to arrive. And I get to pull the new mom card on that one. But it means so much to know all of you are out there to help steer us along the way. Because of this great healing time down our new road I'm no longer afraid to say it, and can informatively fill anyone in on Lyla's little secret with a smile coming from my heart. No more quivering lips. Sometimes we forget how many lives we are linked to, and this new Dolly family is now constantly sent the kindest reminders. As Grandma said, we're all family now, and I'm so fortunate to have such a great one.


  1. As I'm wiping my tears away, I cannot think of a single word _______ to describe you right now. Thanking your mama is not necessary...I have so much more love and support coming your way for my precious Lyla and for you & is endless.

  2. You are one lucky, beautiful Mommy and ONE TOUGH BROAD if I've ever known one! Lyla Jane is so lucky to have such wonderful parents! And I guaranty she knows it!

  3. Hi, Jess! We share a fabulous friend, Dana Massey from Mobile, and she forwarded the link to your blog this morning.

    I'm so glad that she did, because now, I get the opportunity to forward it along to one of my dear friends who is going through a rough pregnancy w/ her 3rd baby.

    She, as I did 5 years ago, is giving birth to a child with hydrocephalus (too much fluid on the baby's brain), and is terrified of the outcome.

    I believe your strength is remarkable and should be shared with those facing adversity.

    For the record, your little girl is absolutely adorable and I can only imagine how much joy she brings to your life. God bless you, and I look forward to reading more about Lyla!

  4. Dear Jessica and Troy, Lyla is absolutelty beautiful and such a blessed little girl to have two wonderful parents. Jessica the story you tell is so descriptve and full of emotion, my eyes were not dry very long. I really can't wait to see all of you and meet Lyla. You are all in my daily thoughts and prayers. God Bless Love, Aunt Theresa

  5. Aww, Jess, you're such a fantastic writer. I'm sitting in the airport, waiting for a delayed flight so catching up on reading blogs - and now I'm crying in public :) you guys are so lucky to have Lyla - and she's so lucky to have you!