"Growing up, I knew I always wanted to be a mother. When my siblings started having kids, I was okay with being the cool aunt. Then, thoughts of having my own children were not so often anymore.
In 2013, I was told I had a 10cm tumor on my ovaries and needed surgery ASAP. I went to the doctor for a cough that wouldn't go away and ended up having surgery a week later. Then, I was told that every six months I would need to be screened with an ultrasound and blood work because I had boarder line ovarian cancer. I was only 30 years old. That's when I knew I wanted at least one child before I had to get a hysterectomy.
I tried to get pregnant and nothing was happening. My hopes were slowly diminishing and thought it would never happen. Then one day in December 2015, I felt really sick. I’d never felt that way before and my mom said, "you're not sick, you going to have my grandbaby". I didn't think so because I didn’t think it would happen for me. I went ahead and took a pregnancy test on January 1st, 2016 and it was positive. That day changed everything.
On a Monday morning at 10:25 am, August 8th, 2016, my world changed forever. Soraya Morgynn Stevens was born! Here I was, a mother, and I had a daughter. From that moment, I knew I had the best job in the world. To love, nurture, protect, honor, and set an example for her.
Soraya loved to play and laugh, she was truly her own person. As a Leo astrology sign, she shined through with her little big personality. She would share her food with you only after she was done eating, lol, but she shared. She loved watching her ABC Kids’ TV shows and her French cartoons. Her hugs and kisses were the sweetest thing ever. I watched Soraya like a hawk, I wouldn't let her just run off on her own and do what kids do. I often was told, "let her explore, let her be a kid". I wanted to make sure she didn't get into anything she wasn’t supposed to and protect her from other children being mean to her.
Soraya always loved the water from the moment she took her first bath. She would fuss when it was time to get out of the water. We have a pool at the house where we would swim together, and she hated getting out. The gates were always locked. So was the patio door and the door leading into the patio, before you even made it out to backyard. That's when I knew it was time to get swimming lessons and survival lessons. She was 22 months when I signed her up for her first lesson. Little did I know, or ever imagine, that one week before her 1st swimming lessons she would have gained her angel wings into heaven. I went from planning her second birthday party, the theme was "Twotti Fruitty," to having to plan my only, miracle child's funeral.
Sunday, July 22nd, 2018 started off like any other day. She woke up being as vibrant as always. That morning we were supposed to go to My Gym for her gymnastics class but decided not to go. She ate her breakfast and we watched her shows. Around noon, she took a nap and do did I. We both woke up around two. I was going to go to a lunch for one of my coworkers but decided not to because Soraya was in chill mode, I didn't want to disturb her. At four my mom took her for bath, I went to get something to eat. When I returned, my mom and her were in my room and my mom asked me to dress her because Soraya never wanted to stay still. After getting dress, I said " baby, you can wear this dress one more time and then we'll put it in the ‘Soraya-out-grew basket’". I put her hat on, but she didn't want to wear it. That's when I started taking pictures of her because she was being a diva not wanting the hat. Then she left the room to eat with my mom.
Since it was Sunday, there were many people at our house. My cousin and her kids, my parents, my dad's sisters from New Jersey and a family friend who comes every Sunday. Around 4:40 pm Soraya came back into the room with a box of cereal and I said to her, "now you want cereal?" She said "no" because that was her favorite word at this point. Then she called out to Baileigh our Yorkie to come with her. I said, Soraya come watch TV with Mommy, and she said "nope" and walked away closing the door behind her saying 'bye bye" which I replied to her "fine then". Little did I know that was going to be the interaction I had with my sweet baby girl ever in this life.
I heard playing out in the front for about five minutes. Then my niece came into the room asking me for her tablet, so I gave it to her. Then, it was quiet. I thought “well she has her tablet, so she is content” as she usually was when she had it. As soon as I thought that, I heard the most gut wrench screaming in my life and I ran out the room. By the time I got outside, I saw our family friend laying on floor passed out. I initially thought the bees got to him because we had some bees in a tree. That's when I saw my cousin running, holding my daughter, my world, my heart, in her arms screaming.
I took off running for my phone to call 911. It felt like hours for help to arrive. We had neighbors helping with CPR, her little body being worked on. She had water coming up, so I thought if we could just get her to the hospital, she was going to be fine. She wasn't fine. From the moment I took her what would be her last picture and the moment they told me she wasn't coming back, it all went so fast. I've never been the same.
Since her accident, I have blamed so many different things and people, including myself. Why didn't I just go to gymnastics class, why didn't we just go to my friend's luncheon, why did I let my mom take her for her bath, why didn't I go out to living room when she came into the room with the cereal, why didn't I go make sure she was playing with her tablet when my niece came to get it, why wasn't my mother watching her because she was the one who came and got her to go feed her, why didn't I start her swim lessons earlier in her life. Why did all these people that was in the house let her go unnoticed. Still to this day, I haven’t gotten an answer on why and I don't think I ever will. Everyone has said “the doors were locked” but she was able to get through three different doors and a house full of people.
I blame myself every single day because I had the best job in the world, and I failed to protect the one person that gave me my reason. What will forever haunt me is knowing how scary it was for her and I wasn’t there to protect her. Kids are quick and smart we can never put anything past them. They watch and learn everything you do.
On August 4th, 2018 my Soraya was laid to rest. On August 5th, 2018 she had her birthday party that I was planning for her, only now it was a celebration of life for her. She was 23 months old, only two weeks shy of her 2nd birthday."