I’m going to have to take you back 9yrs to understand why this birth was extra emotional for all of us. I’ll try to give you main points but y’all, it’s complicated. 😬After coaching Rachel yr round for a handful of years, we had a great relationship as she carried on with high school. At 16 she called me to say she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma. UM WHAT NOW? She asked me to take her senior pictures before all of her treatment began and who knows what the future held. That was the first of our roughly 15 photo sessions. 😆 We had our “Tuesdays with Rachel” where Nori and I would visit her in the hospital and eventually those shifted into her baby-sitting Nori each Tuesday once she kicked cancer’s ass. WOOT! The day she was in surgery at CCMHC removing her port was the day my sister Ali was in surgery at Christ having her first biopsy to find out she had cancer. To say God was orchestrating all these plans for my life perfectly, is an understatement. Ali passed 8mths later and since then, Britt and I have considered Rach our “God’s gift” of a new 3rd sister. Not a replacement, but a damn good filler if there is such thing. As I kept popping out babies, she kept loading up her arms with them, loving them each as her own. I mean, she even asked to take my 4yo dragons to the Reds parade a few days before delivery! What a saint!
Fast forward to nearing the end of Rachel’s college career when she found out her hormone levels were so drastically low, she was compared to a perimenopausal woman. 🙁 They predicted her eggs by her late 20s would be as minimal as a woman in her 40s. Thinking about babies shouldn’t have been on her radar as she enjoyed her college days but there she was. She went through all the shots of hormone therapy and a couple egg retrievals with little outcome but at least a handful to save for her future husband to make an embryo with, that is, what survives that whole process. Hmmph.
Rachel started getting serious with Chasey pooh. They graduated. I sobbed. They got engaged. I sobbed. They got married on the beach. We all sobbed. Then they take a bunch of crazy trips to enjoy their mid 20s before they even considered starting the daunting process of IVF in a few years. Then God was all, surrrrrprise!!!! Guess friggin what, guys?!?! You CAN make a baby all by yaselves!! Some days are burned in our memories and the day she casually came up to my room while I was getting ready and pulled an US image out of her pocket and handed it to me, was a day I’ll sure as hell never forget. I screamed some expletives and sobbed.
Pregnancy was typical minus the, ya know, residual effects her body has from chemo. Decreased heart function from chemo damage has left her on meds, that of course she couldn’t take during pregnancy. Blood thinner shots daily because of the increased risk of a blood clot as she went through 2 pulmonary embolisms during chemo. High risk monitoring that got up to 4 appointments a week because of the trends they were noticing in her heart function, some preeclampsia symptoms and O2 levels. All of these things just made me Nervous Nelly over here!
They scheduled her induction as to get the heart specialist there and hoping for maybe a little smaller baby to make things less stressful on her heart in delivery. (Reese and her chins were laughing in the womb 🤣) She went in for a slow overnight then long next day induction except it turned out her body was already starting labor on it’s own! It escalated quickly with the epidural from a 3-10cm situation in just a few hrs. Her parents and I hauled booty through rush hour to catch the end of her laboring down. She pushed like a champ for an hour with the last 15min of that having a stubborn head not wanting to be born!
Then at 948a a deliciously chunky, beautiful little GIRL screamed her way onto Rachel’s chest. 8.2lbs and 20″ of a miracle. I mean, all of it was just perfect. Her healthy screams. Zero complications with Rach. And a GIRL! All completely textbook. And guess what? WE ALL SOBBBBBBED. 😭😭 This baby girl is already so loved and she’s not even a week old. I have to pry each of my kids arms off her to pass her along because we all just want to keep her forever! I’m so anxious to watch her grow with my kids but to finally see Rachel’s life long dream of being a mother become a reality!!!??! That’s the magic. The girl has had babies in her arms since she was a baby and I’m incredibly thankful God didn’t take this opportunity away from her as I’ve feared for years. And now…I’ll just sit here and sob some more as I watch this slideshow over and over. Biggest congratulations EVER to the Cowells!! Sob. Sob. Sobbity sob sob. Say it enough? Nope? I know y’all right there with me.
WE LOVE YOU REESE CUP! Love, Aunt Mel.
Ps. Can I just say how incredibly different it is to have a niece/nephew born while I’m not also in the deep trenches of babies, myself. I have so much more energy to give now that I’m not spending all my minutes trying to keep my 4 fed and alive. It’s like an entirely new experience than ever before. Like a touch of being a grandparent, really. 😍 I pray you continue to defy all the odds, Rach!