Happy Birthday, Everly!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Our family of five. Didn't occur to me until after the party to have the boys wear their "Bodyguard for my sister" t-shirt. Oh well, love the picture anyway!

Days after we found out the diagnosis for Everly, we decided we wanted to host a one month birthday party for her.  We knew that even at a week old, she was already defying all odds.  We wanted to celebrate her life and her strength and everything that she is.  So, with those plans in mind, we began mentally preparing for her one month party.

Fast forward to the week of her party...the days leading up to the party were tense due to her coming down with pneumonia and her collapsed lung.  We debated canceling the party for this reason but opted to ask her doctor and Hospice nurse their thoughts.  We were so looking forward to an opportunity to allow those who pray for her and our family and love us finally get to see her.  With the medical advice, it was determined guests should stay back a bit, wear a mask and avoid touching her.  So, masks in hand, the party was on!

The beautiful cake

The day of the party was gorgeous!  Sunny and bright.  My mom...thank you!!!...spent the day before single handedly gathering all the party supplies and ordering the cake.  With decorations in hand, the boys, my dad, my mom and my mom's friend began the arduous task of sprucing up the pavilion at the park.  My friends, Heather & Courtney, arrived early as well to set up and take pictures of the special day.

It was such a sweet day for our family to receive friends and introduce them to our sweet pea albeit under the guise of a hospital blue face mask.  We were thrilled and so elated to spend a little time saying hello and showing off our new baby.  We think she's the cutest thing to ever grace the planet, you know!

Preparing for friends to come see our precious baby girl!

Our pastor and his wife, Jerry and Jeanna, surprised us by bringing one of Grace Family Church's photographers to also take pictures of Everly's special day.  Pastor Jerry said a wonderful prayer for her and for the day before we cut into the cake.  They brought her a beautiful pink bible with touching messages inside.  Everly also received several handmade gifts including a quilt that I know took months to complete (thank you, Sandy), handmade adorned socks (thank you, Chris) and a hand sewn doll (thank you, Luwina).  She also received numerous cards with meaningful messages for her big day.  I even got a special surprise visitor who I had not seen for years!!  Love you, Shannon!

So many people took time out mid-week, mid-day to come say hello.  Some drove quite a distance to be there for the party and had an even longer return drive home with traffic.  Some left work early to join us.  I know due to distance, many were unable to join us physically but were with us in spirit and sent cards and touching messages in their absence.  We want you all to know just how much your presence (including those from afar) meant to all of us.

Sweet pea with her birthday dress! (Her headband was too big and kept slipping.) She's so adorable in her tutu!!

It was a special day.  Our daughter, Everly, was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition that for all intensive purposes is touted as being "incompatible with life" by mainstream medicine, literature and statistics.  But she, however, was and is here to show that while the medical professionals know so much, they do not know all.  They do not know His plan.  Only God knows what His plans for our daughter are and it is our job to love her and not question His plan.   As I type this, Everly Marie Hopkins is now 35 days old and just hit the 5 lb mark!  You read the statistics...50% pass in utero, half of the babies born alive do not live past one week, less than 10% do not make it to their first birthday.  I believe that she is fulfilling a plan so special that He picked her to carry it out.  While the selfish, human part of me wants to keep her, I know that she is called for something so much greater than what we can ever fathom.

"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? Job 11:7

So, we will continue to love her everyday, get to know more about her personality and just spend those precious moments with her.  We are grateful everyday for her presence and for our gift because she is giving us so much more than we could ever hope to give her.  Happy birthday, sweet pea!

Most of the guests gathered for a group shot...some had gone, others were coming later and a few were with kiddos on the playground. Thanks to all who made it!

If you would like to find out more about Trisomy 18, please visit this site:  HERE

 Please continue to get the word out about this rare genetic condition.  The more we are living with the diagnosis, the more we realize how little we all know about it.  Knowledge is power and with that power we can help these babies and children.  There is no known cause or cure but it does not have to stay that way.

Please share her website and Everly's Facebook (Love For Everly) page with friends, family and anyone who might be interested in learning more.

With love and appreciation,

Crystal & the Hopkins family

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