Beautiful, sweet Hazel Winter has been born!!
She was due on Christmas and came a week early, in time to let her parents recover and adjust, and to meet her older sister, Lennon, before Santa comes.
Hazel's Down Syndrome was a big surprise. First I was sad... and mad... because it wasn't what any of us expected, and I was scared. And then I met her. And, oh boy, is there nothing to cry about!
This girl is already a joy. She sleeps easily (which I certainly can't say about my own baby, oh well), eats readily, opens her eyes to look around shifty-shifty style and then snoozes some more. She has big chipmunk cheeks and teensy monkey feet. She does the usual newborn stuff in the usual newborn way. She looks like her parents and her sister and herself. She is wonderful!
She is also incredibly lucky - Jessie is one of the best moms I know. She and Ian are still adjusting their ideas of who Hazel is and will be, but when I took these photos on the 3rd day of HW's life, Jessie was already doing great. Loving her baby, enjoying the newborn period, embracing her new daughter physically and mentally.
Hazel is blessedly healthy so far! She is going to be one of the most doted on kids I know, and her big sister is already so proud of her and so ready to kiss her cheeks forever. She looks a little different than some babies, and will probably develop in different ways than most kids. But I'm reminded that even "normal" babies are never who you expect. I couldn't even know who I was pregnant with until I met Symphony, and I continue to find out who she truly is every day. I think every parent has expectations for their baby, and all of those expectations are wrong.
Each baby isn't who we expect, and yet each one also exceeds all of those expectations, and Hazel is no exception.
I'm not sure I'm saying it all right, but I know: Hazel is so lucky. Jessie is so lucky. And I am so lucky to have met her and photographed her so early!
This is a great opportunity for all of us. Jessie said in "I think Hazel is going to teach us a lot about patience and love." Yes! I'm signed up, and I can't wait (ummm, patience?). I'm so glad Symphony gets to be automatic fakey-cousins with this new baby girl!
And if you haven't read Kelle Hampton (a great photographer with a DS baby, too)'s beautiful writing about birthing a surprise Down's Syndrome baby, check it out on her blog here.
Merry Christmas!! I know I'm gushing but I just know this girl is something special.