Think about that.
On her 24th day of life, her PICC line was taken out. A PICC line is an IV that goes directly into the heart, a serious but protective measure that helps keep safe the tiny, thread-like veins of premature infants.
The measure of life in precarious days.
But the best Christmas present of all was the gift Hailey gave to her mother.
There are three rows separated by walls in the NICU unit. Each of those rows are lined on both sides with the tiniest of babies fighting for their lives. One of Julia's first lessons in the world of NICU was to walk with her head bowed, the only way of giving privacy to the other families in this public place so fraught with worry and suffering. Julia had learned to count isolettes, head down, until she got to number four.
On Hailey's 62nd day of life as soon as Julia saw her baby she knew the countdown was off.
On her 89th day of life, Hailey Rose took her first breath of fresh air, she saw her first tree, felt the first breeze upon her tiny cheek, for the first time she gazed at the clear blue sky, that limitless sky, hers for the taking.
She is on track for her "adjusted age" of two months. Adjusted age goes by the due date. She is starting physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and early intervention so she can catch up to her actual age.
She laughs out loud. She loves to watch the toys dance that hang from her car seat. She smiles and coos and of course, toots. She knows her Mommy and Daddy and Grandpa and Grandma. Her eyes follow her mommy around the room. She practices being a soccer girl like her mommy as she kicks and kicks her legs. She is perfectly formed, an angel from heaven above with beautiful big blue eyes and a thick thatch of her Mommy's dark hair.
The days of one precious life, fraught with so deep of a struggle will now be measured in the joy of a family complete. A mother, father and one fierce cotton-candy sweet, blue-eyed, sprite of a girl.