He makes all things new

Today is a very tender day. Hazel is six weeks and one day old. The exact same age that Owen was when he went to heaven. I find myself reliving Owen's last moments and remembering what it was like to hold his lifeless body. The final days and hours of his life were traumatic. I wish I could erase the memories from my mind. I have been anticipating this day from the day Hazel was born. Part of me is still in disbelief that his body went through so much and at the young age of six weeks and one day, his life on earth ended. 

I miss my boy. I miss him for Hazel. I hate that she doesn't have an older brother here to grow up with. I imagine all of the big brother, little sister pictures I would be taking and how fun it would be to watch them interact. I wanted that for her.  As I sit here and type, I have my sweet little girl on my chest asleep. I feel the warmth of her body and hear the little whistle in her breath. She is showered in my tears, but she doesn't seem to mind. It feels good to let myself grieve.

In the last days of my pregnancy with Hazel, my emotions were all over the place. I felt so anxious about her birth. I felt anxiety about all of the triggers I would experience from being back in a delivery room again. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to fully enjoy Hazel's newborn days because they would remind me of what I never had with Owen. The opposite happened, and I am so thankful.

Hazel is the biggest comfort and brings me so much joy. Already this morning she has brought so many smiles to my face. She woke up this morning with an enormous poopy diaper that required a complete wardrobe change. While changing her, she gave us the biggest and sweetest smiles. I heard her laugh out loud for the first time today. She was half asleep while it happened, but it still gave me a glimpse of the real laughs that are to come. On her 43rd day, I am going to hold her a little longer, let her nap in my arms, take even more pictures of her than I do on a typical day, and read all of Owen's favorite books to her in his memory.

A dear friend recently gave me a necklace with these words written on it: "He makes all things new." This is true for both of my children. Hazel is a new little life on earth an Owen was given a new life in heaven. I love these verses in Isaiah about the new heaven and the new earth.

"And there will no longer be heard in her days the voice of weeping and the sound of crying. No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days; or an old man who does not live out his days." (Isaiah 65: 19b-20a). 

Welcome to the family, sweet Hazel!

Almost six weeks ago, we welcomed the sweetest little girl into our family. Hazel Kathryn Parker was born on November 9th, 2015 at 7:51 pm. She weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces (the same as Owen!), and was 21.5 inches long. We fell in love with her instantly.
Before her birth, Brian and I were looking forward to new firsts and "normal" newborn experiences we didn't have with Owen. We certainly got them with Hazel. She has brought more joy into our lives than I knew was possible after such a loss. What a gift.
I have my baby in my arms. I can't even describe the feeling. 
Proud daddy and his little Hazel nut, as he lovingly calls her. He hadn't held another baby since he held Owen. The most precious moment. 
She wore these little pink and white stripe kissy kissy pajamas for her going home outfit. It was the pink version of what we had picked out for Owen to wear going home. There are so many little touches of him in her. 

The most exciting moment for us after she was born was taking her HOME! It almost felt like we were doing something wrong, leaving the hospital with a baby in our arms... I look exhausted in this picture, but I love it. It was the most amazing feeling even just standing outside of the hospital with our healthy little girl in our arms!
Even though Owen isn't here with us, I hope she will always feel a bond with him as her brother. We will continue to incorporate little bits of him into her life. She will always know he is her big brother. Heaven will be a very real place for her from a young age because he is there. My prayer for her is that she will always know how much Jesus loves her and that she will grow to love him with her whole heart. I can't wait to tell her one day how God has used her in my life to provide healing and redemption. My heart is fuller than it was before she was here. It won't be completely full until heaven, but I am so thankful for these moments of joy. We love you little Hazel and are loving the adventure of being your parents!