On October 28, 2011, I became an auntie to a very special little girl named Layla. Layla was born at right around 24 weeks gestation. Her mother, Jeni, developed HELLP during her pregnancy, which is life-threatening to both mother and baby. Jeni also has a 3-year old daughter, Alaina, so they made the decision at 24 weeks to deliver baby Layla. I, along with 305 of Layla’s other aunties, started praying, thinking good thoughts, sending packages and cards, and some even visited Jeni and Layla in the hospital if they were close enough.
Well, I guess I should back up a bit and explain why Layla has 306 aunts. It all started in 2008 when I got pregnant with Cole. I started posting on The Bump message boards and made friends with a wonderful group of women and have been interacting with them via the interwebs ever since. When the rules and arbitrary bannings on The Bump got ridiculous, we eventually formed another message board called the Mean Mommies (and when some fun stuff went down, the Bomb Shelter), a nickname derived from a poor little Bumpie who couldn’t handle a little snark. There we still make our home, talking with each other most every day, sharing our funny stories about our kids, our life triumphs and heartbreaks, and generally offering support, advice, and yes, snark, to one another. It has proven to be an invaluable support system for all of us, and I feel privileged to be a part of the Mean Mommies and the Bomb Shelter.
So that is how Layla came to have 306 aunties. And we have watched her grow from an impossibly tiny peanut to a big 5-pound girl. We have seen her on breathing machines, feeding machines, lifesaving monitors. And yesterday, we got to see her go home to be with her family. We have seen a young mother go through so much over the past few months. Jeni has handled this adversity with such grace and strength. She has been so strong for Layla when Layla could not be strong for herself. Her love and her faith have gotten Layla to this point, to this day where she can come home.
I am one of those people that believes that God has a plan for everything, even though we may not understand it at the time. His ways are not our ways, and sometimes His plan is impossible to comprehend. But God has HUGE plans for Layla. That little girl is here for a reason, and she is going to be a force to be reckoned with. She has already been through hell and back and has proven that she can beat almost insurmountable odds. Yep, Layla is going to do big things. And I and all her aunties will have a front-row seat.
We love you, precious girl!