My baby

It is 4:30am and I am wide awake. My brain is engaged. My thoughts flit from one thing to another. My thoughts drift to my baby girl. They always do. If you are a parent, you get it. 

Even though Alexa isn’t a “baby” anymore, far from it. She is nearly 26 years old but she will always be my baby. Again, if you are a parent of adult children, you get it. My parents would call me their baby until they passed away. I was in my late 40s. 

Alexa was born the day after Christmas. December 26, 1994. I know it is not easy having a birthday this close to Christmas, but she missed being a Christmas baby by a few hours. 

I had some complications with the pregnancy. After a scan revealed Alexa had an intestinal blockage, I was now a “high risk” pregnancy.  I went into labour at 27 weeks. Thankfully they were able to stop the contractions, conduct a few procedures and I was able to go home and put my feet up FOR MONTHS. I had  a one year old running around. My mom moved in and helped. I do not know how I could have done it without her. 

December 26, 1994

Alexa was born four weeks early. Two and half hours of labour and here she was. There was an army of doctors and nurses in the room waiting for her arrival. They whisked her away within minutes. It was a very scary time. I could tell on the doctor’s face that something was not right with me. But thankfully they did what they needed to do to ensure I was going to survive.

Two surgeries and seven weeks in the NICU,  Alexa was able to come home. It was one of the happiest days of our lives. I never complained about a poopy diaper again! 

Alexa was calm. Her big brown eyes always scanning the room,  looking around and taking everything in. She slept through the night right away. She obviously had a lot of practice self soothing. I remember thinking how different she was from her sister. Her sister was either screaming or laughing, no in between. Alexa cried, but only when she needed something. Bree cried when you walked out of the room. 

I would venture to guess most of you parents out there understand when I say you watch them sleep. You feel their chest to make sure they are breathing. If they sleep through the night you wake up in the middle of the night to check they are ok. It is what we do. 

Alexa healing from surgery no. 2

I did this with Alexa a lot. The trauma of having your child in NICU, undergoing two surgeries, not able to eat for five weeks, attached to all these monitors, etc… I spent as much time as I  could watching over her, holding her. It can make you a bit paranoid. Not to mention what I saw in the NICU. Alexa was massive compared to these other babies. She was over 7lbs whilst the other babies were barely 1 pound and some did not make it. Watching a crying nurse carrying a baby wrapped in a blanket as the parents are in the glass room holding each other crying, is nearly too much to cope with. Look down Lisa! Do not look up! Do not register what you just saw! 

After Alexa healed from her surgeries she has never had any issues. The surgeon said, “If your child is going to have anything wrong with them, this is what you want. It is fixable and will never cause her any issues moving forward.” 

It is difficult for me to look at the photos of her in the NICU, even to this day. It is as if I go right back to those feelings, that trauma, that exhaustion, that worry. I do not dwell on this but photos take me right back there. 

 I have always felt something would happen to Alexa. I knew in my soul something was going to happen to her. I told no one. Not a soul. I just knew. My soul knew. I do not believe I was over protective of her, in the sense that she had a good childhood and I let her be a kid. She may have a different view. I would remind her to always look both ways before crossing the street. She rarely did that. She was focussed on other things, like playing with friends or toys! She would jump into the pool when she was a toddler, even though she did not know how to swim yet. She was fearless. I was panicked. 

Alexa was always drawn to amazing friends. I do not think I ever worried about her friend group, at any age, even now. Especially now. 

Exhibit A

Alexa was the light in everyone’s life. She still lights up a room.  She was hilarious as a child and still is. She was the actress of the family. She was the child who would dress up in her princess costume and go to Home Depot with her dad. She would be walking and singing on top of her lungs. Obviously every person in the store would smile. That was and is Alexa. She makes you smile. She also has a rubber face. Like my best friend Krista said, “She is so beautiful and yet she can make her face look so ugly. How is that even possible?”

Teacher handed me the school photos and said, “Retakes are in 2 weeks.”

Alexa lived in her own little world. I assume it was full of fairies, leprechauns, beanie babies and SIMS characters. She would be staring off into….wherever. One time a friend said, “I would like to visit Alexa world, just for a bit. I don’t want to live there but I would like to pop in and out every so often. It must be a beautiful place.” We all laughed and agreed.

We moved to the UK in 2005. Out of all of us Alexa had the hardest time transitioning. She was bullied her first few years at school. I made many visits to the school. Kids can be cruel. All I kept thinking was, “What have we done? She had a great life back in America. She had great friends. She had ZERO problems.” Thankfully Alexa made friends and that was it with the bullying. She had her tribe. She still has this tribe, a tribe of many! They have been by her side. They have helped her through the worst time in her life. They are all hurting. They band together. It is what is saving her. 

Jack and Alexa at Prom

Alexa had her first real boyfriend at 16. Jack Watson. Who is this Jack Watson kid? He came over a lot. We loved this boy. I did think as they were so young, it would not last long. They were only 16. Wrong. They were inseparable. They fit. They were perfect for each other. As one of her best friends said, “It was always Jack and Alexa.” 

Remember I knew something would happen to her. I felt it in my soul the day she was born. 

I believed something would physically happen to her. I was right! Not in the way I thought. I could never imagine it would be her heart and soul that would be crushed. 

November 30, 2019 was the worst day in the history of worsts when Jack had a fall and passed away. Even typing this with tears streaming down my face, my heart shattered, my PTSD kicking in, my actual disbelief. It does not feel real. I do not think it ever will. 

I cannot write about this right now. I will save this for later. I will also not share what I saw or what we all experienced as I do not want to share this trauma. I do not want anyone else to carry this. 

Back to Alexa. She is hilarious. She is resilient. She is broken but mending. She is a warrior and she is my freaking amazing baby girl! 

I love you so much Alexa and I am so sorry that Amazon ruined your name for you. You were here first!