Happy 1st Birthday, precious child.
When I heard of your birth it was a huge surprise. I was excited, but scared. You weren't due until the end of September!
This is the first picture your daddy (my brother) sent me:
I was elated to know that you were doing great and greatly saddened to hear about your precious sister. We will never forget her, ever. But we were so thankful to have you with us. I prayed many times over for you and your family. My family.
I was way in south Georgia, but we rushed to North Carolina to see you. I was beyond excited to be able to meet you! This was the first picture I took of you. We didn't notice until the nurse came by that you had pulled the tube out of your nose and stuck it in your mouth! We knew right then and there that you would be just fine. Even at your tiny size you were kicking around like crazy!
I sat in the hospital room with your momma and daddy and family as they decided on the perfect name for you. Your mom loved the movie "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken," which is a true story about a girl who did horse diving back in the 1920's. I had never heard of it, but it was her favorite movie from childhood. She named you after her favorite (and main) character.
In the months ahead you wowed us with your attempts to lift your head well before the time you should. The doctors later told us you had cerebral palsy. Oh, Sunaura, the prayers that went up for you. We loved you no matter what any doctor said may come your way in the future.
July 28, 2009- 3lbs!
I knew that the tiny Sunaura I knew that pulled the oxygen out of her nose at less than 24 hours old... that Sunaura would fight through anything.
After a month and 5 days you were taken off of your feeding tube! Your momma was so very excited, and your daddy sent pictures to everyone so we could see your adorable face without a tube!
Most premies do not get to come home from the hospital until at least their due date. But you? You came home early, my dear. While you were still supposed to be in your mother's womb, you were hanging out at the house, 1 month and 10 days old. August 20, 2009. Tiny, but alive and well.
The first time I held you was magical. You had grown so much since your birth. Your chubby cheeks were amazing! And you had more hair than you do now. I got to feed you your bottle and you were already trying to hold it up on your own-- even though it was still a week before your actual due date. It was so great to feel your warmth... I didn't want to let go of you!
I love when your daddy sends me picture messages of you. Growing, growing, growing. That's what you do!
At Christmas everyone in the family passed you around. We never wanted to let go of you, sweet child! You smiled and loved on us right back.
You have three big sisters that love and adore you.
And some aunts and uncles that would go to the ends of the earth for you! And let's not even get started on your grandparents!
Your mom brought out momentos when I was visiting back in April. It was fun to look at your tiny foot prints from the hospital, and to compare the diapers from when you were first born to now! And that tiny diaper was so big on you when you were born!
You may still not have hair, but you'll get it eventually. If the past is an indicator, 2 of your sisters didn't have hair until they were two years old. So you'll be fine by kindergarten!
Sunaura, when you smile, you light up the world. You've had a very busy first year, and I pray that in this next year you grow and begin to walk, run, and jump around! I can't wait to take more pictures as you grow, even if you are terrified of my camera!
Kyah, you are so special to our family. We think of you and miss you. It sounds funny because I never got to hold you or touch your cute little cheek. I think you're probably a pretty mischievous little one, aren't you? You had a smirk on your face in the picture...
Sounds kind of weird to say, and who knows how this all works, but I kind of hope you're hanging out with Whitney and Audrey.
I'm not sure what to get you for your birthday, but I am working towards a goal for you. And for your family. There is an organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It's a group of photographers who take pictures of precious children like you so that their parents can have beautiful memories of life forever. And they do it completely for free. I wish I had known about this when you were born. But I can help other families know about it.
I have a long way to go in my photography before I get there, but know that I'm doing it for you, precious child.
"There is no footprint too small that it cannot leave an impression on this world."