Bronx

365 days old.

July 26, 2019

Almost two years ago, I was pregnant and then I wasn’t. It was right up there with the top five hardest moments of my life thus far. Experiencing that loss and heartbreak and physical, emotional pain was devastating.

But then, there was a rainbow after a dark storm. A dark line on a test that I almost didn’t take. What I thought was food poisoning was my body telling me that it was growing life – so soon after that previous loss. Before the storm and the clouds had even cleared out of the sky.

There she was. Growing. Heart beating. Limbs forming. I spent the next eight months in a constant state of anxiety and panic. If I spotted, I laid on the floor crying – begging God to keep her safe. If I had any sort of pain whatsoever, I spiraled into a depression that only her heartbeat could pull me out of. Towards the end, there were moments that I wanted to feel peace – as she kicked and moved inside of me. But I didn’t feel total and complete peace until the moment they laid her on my chest.

She was covered in vernix and smelled like heaven. She cried and I cried with her. I cried because I was in love. I cried because after a devastating loss, I finally felt peace. I cried because she was mine and she was safe. And all was right.

She had a rough start and after fifteen minutes of bonding, they took her from me. I didn’t get to see her until 7-8 hours later and the entire time, all of that peace left my body as I was filled with fear and doubt. And when they rolled her back to me, I didn’t let her go again.

She grew. And grew. And grew. Her big brown eyes were the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing I saw at night. She made me so very tired. But through the exhaustion, I felt gratitude. Because she was mine.

Through her first year of life, we experienced two hospitalizations, as RSV season got the worst of her. Both were very scary experiences, but she fought and she triumphed. She overcame, and she taught us to believe once again.

She has changed our lives, every one of us. She has filled our hearts with unending happiness and joy.

Today, she is one. Three hundred and sixty five days of loving her has left me a changed mother, a changed woman. Because she taught me strength, patience, and the beauty of rainbows after storms. She is my rainbow.

Happy birthday, Bronx Elliot Garcia. We love you more than you will ever know, and more than your little heart and soul can comprehend.

Photography by Darrelle Torres

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