Annmarie Jacqueline Hulick

“A daughter is someone you laugh with, dream with, and love with all your heart” ~ Anonymous. 

Born: March 25, 2014; 8:48a
Mary Washington Hospital Fredericksburg, Virginia
Weighing four pounds one ounce
Seventeen inches beautiful

AJH

Her name Annmarie Jacqueline is a combination of all the strong a beautiful women that have helped mold and inspire you along your way. A tribute to your family tree and a legacy for her to admire.

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Ann, after your beautiful soul.  The middle name of my best friend and my person.
Marie, after your patient and kind mother, who has loved me as her own and will surely take a bullet for her special little granddaughter.
Jacqueline, after your sweet, strong-willed, and beautiful mother-in-law. The woman that raised the man of your dreams.

The shoes this little girl will fill.  The mountains she will move.

She will fight, as you do, because it’s in her blood.

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Since I’m telling your story, I’m also telling hers, so when you wake we can take you to that day, as if you never missed a beat.

7:32a, Your husband calls me, I panic because we usually text so immediately I know something isn’t quite right.

He informs me that today is the day. His exact words “It’s go time”.  You were having some serious contractions that Annmarie wasn’t fond of, so the doctors decided to make the call, and bring your sweet girl into this world. Scotty was so calm, he was ready to meet his daughter. Amy and I on the other hand were a mess (naturally).

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I quickly got dressed, grabbed what I could think of and started heading up the interstate to meet my newest niece. It took me some time to get there since your daughter picked a snowy morning to arrive.  I was about 12 miles away and stopped on 95, waiting for the snow to clear….she was born at 8:48am.

I finally arrived to the hospital and couldn’t find anyone. I knew Scotty would be with Annmarie, but where were you, where were Amy, Mark, and the kids…I went to the NICU.  Scotty came out, beaming. I hugged and congratulated him and went to find Amy.  They were in a different waiting room this time, but I found them, and I sent Amy up to meet Scotty, while I joined Mark, Amanda, and Adam in the waiting room.

Amy came back down and informed us that we could go up two at a time to meet Annmarie. I was so excited, I have been with many babies over the years, but I had been waiting for this one for a very, very long time! I waited for Amanda and Adam to visit first. Then it was my turn. I scrubbed my hand for 3+ minutes and waited for Scotty to come escort me back through the NICU.  I finally laid eyes on that perfect little daughter of yours, laying in her incubator, like life was easy, just relaxing. Tough as nails.

She was perfect. Each little finger and little toe. Her precious little lips, and her little tiny nose. You did a phenomenal job protecting your little girl, and when she was ready she came into this world, as perfect as can be.  She may only be four pounds, but she is fierce, you can tell.

After I knew the baby was okay it was my mission to lay eyes on you.  I went back downstairs to ask Mark if he had heard anything. He said he hadn’t so Amanda and I came looking.  You were back in your room, all finished with surgery and resting.

I got to the doorway of your room and was getting ready to gown up when I noticed your monitor.  Your numbers were beautiful (and so were you).  Your heartrate was back down in the 70s, blood pressure had stablized, and your respiratory rate was around 15.  On paper, you looked perfect. You were under general for your c-section so you were sleeping off the anesthesia for most of the day.  We all took turns visiting you until lunch, everyone couldn’t believe how great you looked.

After lunch I came to sit with you and just hold your hand.  I read my book and watched tv and just patiently waited for you to come around. You slept, and that’s okay.  I waited.

I didn’t get to see your beautiful eyes that day.

I had to leave the hospital around 5:30p because my mother (yup) was involved in a car accident (yup).  She was fine, some bumps and bruises, and she was a bit shook up but she was okay.  I rushed to RWRH just in case, because you know how they like to keep her there for no reason.  She was released that evening and I took her home and got her settled.

When I got back to my house (around 11:30p) Scotty had texted me, to ask me if I was still awake. I said yes, thinking something awful had happened (yea, I know) and that I was going to get back in the car and drive back up.

Instead, it was the opposite. Instead, he told me:

“I just told her to give me thumbs up and she did it 3 different times!!!!!”

“Squeezed my hand let go, grab the ball, drop it.”

I danced in my kitchen, and tears streamed down my face. I knew it.

It’ll take time, but you’ll be just fine.

What a day it was, what a day…

I know this isn’t want you wanted, it’s not what you planned. After all the years you spent fighting for that little girl to be in your life you didn’t even get to hold her when she was born.  But you will.  You didn’t get to hear that first cry.  But you will.  It may not be the way you planned, and this may be the hardest deficit from this entire tragedy, but you will overcome this.  You’ll hold her, teach her, love her, and watch her become a girl, a teen, and a woman, you’ll watch her fill the shoes of all the beautiful strong women she is named after.

You will be her best friend and she will be yours (and I’m perfectly fine sharing).

I love that little girl so much already and I haven’t even held her.  I love her because she’s yours, she’s you, she’s Scotty, she’s the best of both of you….it’s just like having a little mini you…the more Kim the better.

I will be there for both of you 100% for all of my days.  I promise to do my best, and I promise to teach her things the way I’d think you’d want me to until you are able to (which won’t be long).  I promise that I will stand by your side, defend your daughter, and protect you both. I’d take a bullet for either of you, but at this point, I think I’d have to stand in line (you both have quite a following).

I love you Kimmy.  Congratulations on your beautiful daughter and the progress you have made. I can’t wait to tell you this story, over and over again, as many times as you want.

 

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Find Strength

It’s been so hard lately.  Everything seems to be slowing down, less visitors and fewer updates; people have been going back to business as usual.  Except you.  You’re still there, growing your baby girl, clinging to life and fighting as hard as you can.  Your family is still fighting, sitting with you everyday, believing.  I am still believing, but it’s hard.  The negative news begins to wear on you, you start to feel hopeless, helpless, things begin to feel like they are spinning out of control.  Then I focus my energy to you. I think of you.  I think of your pain, your struggle, this nightmare. I think of your family, how horrible they must feel, how hard this must be for them, and I realize that I have to get myself together.  I’ve been through this journey before…and now it’s on me to comfort you and your family to pull you through this so we can all see that the best is yet to come. 

I saw this picture while looking for inspiration and encouragement….and I realized that even though it’s just white letters on a black background, it’s true.  The best is yet to come.  

 

One day this will be a stain on an otherwise, happy glorious and successful life.  It doesn’t look like it now, or feel like it, but it will.  We’ll all look back and wonder how we got through it, and some of us probably won’t be able to even imagine that it ever happened or how awful it was when it did happen.  Exactly like, right now, when we can’t imagine that you are going through this, not only that it happened, but it happened during a moment in your life that is supposed to be the most happy, perfect, precious moment, the one you and Scotty have been waiting years for.  

It’s been hard, there are days when I struggle beyond words.  There are days I look to others for strength.  There are days when even others are low and we simply cling to each other until something positive pulls us out of our pit of despair.  Those moments don’t mean that we’ve lost hope in you, or that we no longer believe.  Those moments simply mean this battle we are fighting, this battle you are fighting, is a constant uphill struggle.  In order to beat the odds we have to believe not only in you, but in the doctors and nurses treating you, your little girl, and ourselves.

We all know that positive thing is not something I’m fond of, or even embrace.  You did.  You were the hopeful outlook in most our lives.  You found light in the darkest days and while you take this break, we will find light for you, bring it to you, and guide you through this nightmare.  Together.  Soon you’ll be good as new.  I know it.  Until then, I’m going to keep posting to this blog, sharing memories and your story…for now, you just focus on fighting this battle.  Your army is behind you every step of the way.  No man (or woman) will be left behind, not one. 

 

This is Real

Yesterday I looked over at Josh while we both sat on the sofa and watched TV.  I had tears in my eyes…I could barely speak, but I managed to ask him this: 

“Is my best friend really lying in the hospital now, with a Traumatic Brain Inury?” 

He looked at me, kind of startled and simply replied, “Yes” 

This hell is real…you know it better than me as you are living every second…
This hell is real…but we’ll keep going till we’ve made it to the other side. Together. 

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This hell is real. I was just making sure. 

 

Twenty

Yesterday was day twenty, and I spent  the afternoon with you.  It was a really tough day for me (although, I shouldn’t complain).  It was the hardest day with you so far.  You were awake, you had your glasses on, and you were looking the best you’ve looked.  Your eye wasn’t swollen and little evidence remained of your bruise.  It looked like you put purple eye liner on. Your cheek was swollen ever so slightly from your recent surgeries…but otherwise you looked good.  Your baby belly was much bigger little AJH was moving all around and so were you.  You grabbed my hand and squeezed it so tightly.  I kept telling you that you were okay, and that Kristina and I were here with you, but you didn’t react. You’d move your hand from mine to the bed and back to mine again.  You seemed so painfully uncomfortable, agitated and fidgety.  I ached for you.  I know how you usually love to be so comfortable, always cozy in your big sweaters and sweatpants at home, balled up into the tiniest ball on the sofa, either watching tv or reading a book. I miss that. I’m sure you do too.

It has been twenty days.

Twenty. Days.

Scotty read you some cards, massaged lotion on your hands, and kissed you lovingly on the forehead (I still can’t reach you, I wish I was taller, although if I had a wish, I wouldn’t waste it on that).  He read you one card, I’m not sure who it was from but it had a puppy on it, he turned the card to show it to you and you took it from him and tried to open it.  It made us all smile that you did that.  It was the first time that happened. He’s working so hard to care for you, so loyal and so overwhelmed with his life right now that I can’t even imagine his pain.  I’m sure he’s in a fog, just going through the motions, he has no time to plan or think of the future right now…we are all that way. Just holding our breath….and…waiting.  It has been twenty days.

The trauma doctor arrived to check out your shoulder, she said you seemed well. (You weren’t you were uncomfortable, anyone that knew you could tell).  Your shoulder was, for now, in place. Another trauma doctor told us today that you were making ‘Incredible Improvements’ – that gave me a shred of hope to cling to. He mentioned that your injury, to him, seemed more like a stroke injury then a DAI (Diffuse Axonal Inury) and that most of the damage seemed to be on the left side.  You’ll get better.  It was only day twenty.

AJH is 29.2 now…everyone’s hoping she stays with you till 34 weeks…I hope that you are better by 34 weeks. So you can hold your baby girl and smile.  We have time. It was only day twenty.

Everyday you’ll face struggles, you’ll be pissed, you’ll want to scream, and quit, and just give up…everyone says you won’t because of that little girl.  I think you won’t because you are you.  Please don’t give up. Don’t let this thing, this one thing, be the thing that breaks your spirit.  You are bigger than any of this…you will overcome this, because you are the only person that can.

Just rest.  It has only been twenty days.

It has been twenty days…since I’ve seen you smile or heard your laugh or talked about my day with you.  It has been twenty days…since we’ve planned for the arrival of your daughter and her baby shower.  It has been twenty days, twenty, and I just miss you.

Our last picture together 1/4/14

Our last picture together
1/4/14