Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First Birthday

Yesterday was Naya's first birthday. Sometimes, I think the lead-up to a significant day is worse than the actual day. I've spent the last few weeks shuffling between being extremely anxious, irritable and emotional - all because I knew her birthday was coming soon and I was afraid. Afraid of the emotions that were going to come up on that day, afraid that I wasn't going to do enough to honor her, afraid that I wasn't going to be strong enough to make it through the day. I did but it wasn't easy.

The panic started on Monday evening. I went into labor with Naya around 10pm on July 23 and I tried to force myself to go to bed before then so I would be asleep when that time hit. I took two Tylenol PM (don't worry - they are doctor sanctioned), took a bath and went to bed. I didn't fall asleep though. I sat there and pictured myself feeling those contractions that I felt a year ago. I pictured my water breaking like it did as I laid in the same spot and how excited Dan and I were. I remembered how my contractions started picking up soon after and Dan rushing to get our stuff together and dropping Ty and the dog over at a neighbor's house. I could feel those contractions I was having as he raced to the hospital and lied to me about how close together they were coming. And I cried. I cried because at that point a year ago, I was so excited for the change that was about to happen. And I was so incredibly naive.

The Tylenol finally kicked in and I fell asleep. At exactly midnight, our puppy Buena decided to wake us up even though she has been sleeping soundly through the night for weeks now. I didn't know what to think but they do say that dogs are more observant than humans. Maybe she was here and Buena sensed it - I would love to believe that and I am going to choose to at this point.

We got Buena back to sleep and I eventually fell asleep again with every intention of sleeping in and not waking up until late morning. But my inner-alarm clock woke me up at 6:30. I gave birth to Naya at 7:10am. At 6:30, one year ago, I was getting ready to start pushing. Dan woke up to me shaking and sobbing and we held each other and cried. At around 7, we went outside and sat by our hummingbird garden, holding each other and crying as we waited for her birth minute to pass while two hummingbirds started their early morning feeds.

The rest of the morning passed by quickly as we looked at pictures and video of her and cried. We went and picked up a floral arrangement, balloons and cupcakes and brought them to her grave. We sent cupcakes to the NICCU at CHLA. We also decided to make our contribution to the name gallery by visiting four area beaches and taking a picture of a letter at each one. (This not only made for some beautiful photos and family time but also helped kill time.) Here's what we came up with:

Sand - Pismo Beach, CA

Seawood - Avila Beach, CA

Rocks - Montana de Oro - Los Osos, CA

Drift wood - Cayucus, CA
We actually had an enjoyable time - especially visiting some of the beaches we hadn't gone to in awhile. It was a beautiful day outside and we were able to spend it together as a family.

We got home and were pretty exhausted so we rested with the dogs for a bit, ate dinner and took Chinese Wish Lanterns out to Oceano State Beach to launch. Unfortunately, there was a slight wind so we weren't able to get them to fly but a friend of mine (another grieving mother) went out around the same time at a different beach and also launched one for Naya and her son.

All in all, it was a hard day. I cried. A lot. And I missed my baby and ached for her, more so than I have done in awhile. But I feel like we celebrated her and gave her a birthday that she deserved. We had so many people reach out to us yesterday and remember our daughter and told us how she changed their lives. I am so proud to be her mother and so thankful for all of the wonderful people in our lives that helped make her birthday special and helped us get through it. I don't think I can write anymore through my tears right now, so I am going to leave it at that. Thank you, everyone, for your love and support.

Here's a link to the name gallery again - I am in shock and awe at all of the amazing submissions. Incredible.


  1. Jamie - It's amazing to me that I can read your blog a year later and still cry for your loss. I believe she was there. I believe she wanted to be near you on her birthday to look over you, protect you, and let you know Shes ok! You have inspired me so much this past year as I sat back and watched your strength. You may not have always felt it, but it has always been there. I told Nayas story to a co-worker today. I haven't seen you in so long and seems like another lifetime ago but I think of you and Naya everyday. Happy birthday again to the warrior angel watching over! - Vicki

  2. I started reading up your blogs about a year ago after seeing your heart renching story in the new times....I feel like ive been their the whole way crying when you cry feeling your pain as it has gone by...I belive she was their she wanted you to know she is ok and in a better place that you shouldnt greive for her ...I could only imagine losing a baby ...I am at lost for words But i think about your family all the time and it has affected my life and made me not take the little things for granted ..Thank you for being soo strong!!! Happy Birthday to Sweet Baby Naya!! Stay Strong!!

  3. This is so beautifully written. I cried through the whole thing, and wish I could hug you in person, even though I've never met you (I'm across the country). Happy Birthday to your sweet, beautiful Naya. You honored her so beautifully on her day. Hugs to you all from Michigan.

  4. Happy Birthday Naya! This post made me tear up because they are some of the same feelings I had when celebrating my son's 1st birthday in March. I think you guys had a great celebration and glad that you felt her presence. You and Dan are very strong and thank you for always sharing your feelings. It's nice to know that someone else has similar feelings!!

  5. It's so amazing to me that this 1 little girl has had such an impact on so many people :) Happy belated bday sweet, sweet Naya.. as crazy as this sounds I think about you everyday beautiful angel. Your time here has taught me so many life lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life....

  6. The name gallery is beautiful and I love what you did on the beaches with Naya's name. Belated birthday wishes to Naya and to her mama. I've always believed that the birthday of a child is also the birthday of his/her mother, since you birthed her! Thank you for sharing this day with us in this way.

  7. This IS a beautiful story and I sat here and cried all the way through it. I just can't even imagine the pain. I've suffered a loss but it was at 18 weeks, the pain from that is still so raw and deep, I can only guess how bad your hurt is.
    Thank goodness we have our rainbows.