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Happy Birthday to our little hero, Waylon
Bopper turns one
PAPA CHASCA holds the Waylee-Bopper and the birthday cake. The one-year-old seems mesmerized by the flame on the candle. Maybe when he turns two the cake itself will be the main draw.

GAYS MILLS - Can you believe it? My tiny little baby Waylon will be a whole year old this Saturday, November 30! 

Time has just flown by. Maybe it’s because I know in the back of my mind I am counting the last few days, hours minutes of the very last infant I’ll ever have to call my own. 

Sweet little Waylon came at a time when we needed him most. His presence guided us through the hardest year that Chasca and I have ever experienced.  

There were times being pregnant with him during so much intense emotional pain, when I didn’t know what to do. This was supposed to be a time to rejoice I often thought to myself, to celebrate new life, not to be shadowed in death. But, this sweet little baby was to be our comfort, our safe harbor at the end of a violent storm, we just didn’t know it fully until we held him in our arms. 

 I found out that I was pregnant with him just days after Chasca’s dad died. The discovery of his existence was coupled with feelings of our profound loss and profound excitement. Waylon was something we had been hoping for and it gave us another reason to keep our heads up.  

By accident, Chasca’s mom, Abby, was the first person we told of his arrival. I, convinced this time I’d get a little girl out of the deal, had bought a couple of vintage baby girl dresses at a thrift store. 

Abby, never one to leave a cluttered mess in her wake, discovered them in a pile of stuff she was sifting through. She held them up, trying to act serious and asked, “So…is there something you’d like to tell me?” and then immediately broke into a delighted and sincere smile. Laughing, she told me, “I’m sorry to break it to you, but it’s going to be another boy.”  We found out shortly after losing Abby that he was, in fact, a little boy. 

My loving Aunt Barb, who served as my second mom following the loss of my own, was able to rejoice in our news as well.  When I cautiously made the announcement of his name to her, she exclaimed her delight in her distinct, confident tone. “I LOVE IT!” She said, “It’s perfect.” Although she too, never was able to meet Waylon in person, recalling her delight and approval over this baby will always be a special memory for me. 

My labor and birth with Waylon was, like the rest of my year, unexpected and at first emotional and difficult. I had hoped to birth out of hospital at the birth center in Prairie du Chien, but after some medical complications (thanks high blood pressure) I was forced to birth at Crossing Rivers Hospital. 

It made me so, so sad in that moment. I felt so guilty because every time a nurse would come in to check my blood pressure, I’d bawl. But as things progressed, I got in the zone. It felt like it was just Chasca and I there, I hardly noticed the teams of midwives, nurses, and my friend who was my birth photographer. 

I moved past my sadness and emotions and lost track of the rest of the world completely. It was one of those intense, raw, wild moments you read about in novels. It was as though all of the emotional pain we’d experienced all year culminated into one bubble and it all burst with his birth. We cried over the fact that so many people we loved so dearly would never know Waylon. But we also cried tears of happiness because, here, laid before us was this amazing new life we created. 

Wayls, unlike his brother who is my twin, has continues to look more and more like his daddy. He has enormous hands like Chasca and a tint of red to his hair. He has sweet blue eyes and the cutest four and a half gapped teeth you’ve ever seen.  He’s a darling, sweet, funny, happy little boy. He is so loved and adored by everyone he meets and just radiates warmth and love.  

If you would have asked twenty-year-old Emily if she ever thought she’d get so much satisfaction out of having a second child, she would have laughed in your face. “A second? I’m never even having a first!” would have likely been my reaction. But, when I look at them together I know that they are the perfect combination. Thatcher and Waylon are like two peas in a pod. Their love for each other is clear in their laughter and the look in their eyes.

 Waylon has always fit into our little family just right and has given us the feeling–as though we haven’t had a life without him. We are all so very lucky to have him and each other. It's been a great first year with the Bopper and I can’t wait to see where his life takes him and the rest of us.  Happiest of first birthdays to our sweet little Waylon!