Lindsey Moretz Blundetto of Gilbert, a sweet gal I've known all her life, wanted to get pregnant on her honeymoon. Her new husband, John, was able to convince her to wait a few years. But just barely.
"I've always wanted a family of my own. I wanted that connection that I felt with my family growing up. We've always been close. I wanted that for John and me," says Lindsey.
They celebrated their second anniversary in October and shortly there after learned they were going to be blessed with a baby. The due date was July 4.
It was not an easy pregnancy. She was sick almost constantly from six weeks on. Then they had a scare when she had a quad screen to check for abnormalities. The baby was at risk for Down syndrome. Feb. 1, at 18 weeks, during an ultrasound, they learned all was OK and they were going to have a girl.
The names they were considering were Lily or Gracie.
On April 26, Lindsey was scheduled to have another ultrasound. During the exam, the baby measured small for where she was in the pregnancy. Lindsey's blood pressure was 150/121. She was diagnosed with preeclampsia at 30 weeks.
"I was really amazed because I've always been healthy. I exercise and eat right. I was shocked!"
She was admitted to Lehigh Valley Hospital right away.
Her doctor told her that she would be there until she delivered, which scared her. This was not the way it was supposed to be.
Over the next few days, John and Lindsey tried to accustom themselves to being the parents of a preemie. They were taken on a tour of the NICU to see what preemies looked like and observed the care they were given. They talked to the nurses and parents of the other preemies.
By Friday morning, they knew the baby would be born within the next 24 hours.
"When I found out I was going to deliver early, the name Lily seemed too fragile. I knew her name had to be Grace," says Lindsey.
Grace Ann Blundetto was born by cesarian section May 1 at 9:52 a.m. She weighed 2 lbs. 2 oz. and was 14 1/2 inches long.
"I heard her before I saw her. That was so great because I didn't know if I would hear her cry. They showed me her little face and I tried to memorize it. I got to kiss her and talk to her before they whisked her away. John went with her to the NICU. Our families got to glimpse her as they took her to the NICU. John taped everything. I'm glad because I was so ill from the magnesium sulphate they gave me that I could hardly function."
A little later, Lindsey was wheeled in to see her.
"The whole event had been surreal. I wanted to see her, to have proof she was there. I felt cheated. I couldn't hold her, but I put my finger next to her little hand and she grabbed it. It was a sweet moment of bonding."
The next few days were difficult and joyous. There were a lot of ups and downs-an emotional roller coaster.
Mother's Day arrives. Lindsey's first Mother's Day. It is one she'll remember all her life. It's the day she first held her infant daughter, nine days after she was born.
"I felt like a piece had been ripped out of me and now I was whole again. I felt complete."
She adds that it's so hard to know that other people can do more for your child than you can but she's very grateful for the excellent care Grace is receiving.
Lindsey has been able to hold her daughter every day since for an hour at a time. They are magical moments for her.
The young parents are very grateful for all the support they have received from their families and the multitude of prayers sent their way from family, friends and strangers enlisted through prayer chains.
But the one person she is so very thankful for is her own mother, Connie Moretz.
"I don't know what I would have done without her. She's been my rock. And my cheerleader. She's been with me every step of the way. If I can be half the mom she is, I'll be lucky."
"I read somewhere that motherhood is like walking around with your heart out of your body. It is like that. I'm learning that motherhood is a lot of ups and downs. But I look at Grace, and even with everything we went through, she's worth it."
Grace has to pass some milestones before she can be released to go home. She has to be able to suck on her own, (she does it occasionally,) she has to be able to maintain her own body temperature (right now she isn't doing that) and breathe on her own (which she is, most of the time.) At two weeks old, she weighs almost 3 lbs. and is doing well.
"The nurses say she's feisty. I like that," says Lindsey.
They have been told, she might be able to go home by Father's Day.
John, a physician assistant, is on hand all the time as he is doing his rotation at Lehigh Valley and pops in to see his daughter as often as he can. He is the epitome of everything the new modern dad is today-very involved with all aspects of the care of his child.
So it would be kind of like poetic justice that Lindsey was able to hold her daughter for the first time on Mother's Day and John gets to bring his daughter home on Father's Day.
But no matter who gets to do what and when, I know this young family will never take parenthood for granted and they will always adore their Amazing Grace.