Happy birthday, my darling girl!
When you were placed in my arms, you weighed just over 6 pounds. You retain your nickname of “Peanut” with you weight hovering around 18 pounds while your height is a full 10 inches taller.
In comparison to your brother, my pregnancy with you was easy. Hardly any sickness. Hardly any acid reflux. I was able to work out the entire way through (most memorably working out the morning of your due date when you still hadn’t appeared). And when you still weren’t here by the new year, we left Henry at your grandparents’ house and went in early in the morning on January 2nd for me to be induced.
Birthing you was, dare I say, also easy. In part because I’d already gone through induction before so I knew what to expect and I knew to get my epidural early this time. So at 10:00 AM when my nurse came in to start pitocin, the anesthesiologist also came in to get my epidural going. I ended up only having about 10 minutes of severe contractions before the epidural was in place and kicked in, which was sheer relief in comparison to what I was anticipating.
Unfortunately during all of this, you had flipped face up instead of face down (you head was down, but your body and face needed to be towards my back as well). The epidural was working marvelously on the left side, but I could feel contractions on my right side still, not fully, but enough that I had to breathe through them with some tears. I was laying on my right side to try to get the epidural to gravitate that way for an hour and it just wasn’t doing anything. Finally, at 11:30, my nurse, Hannah, had me roll to the left side to try to get you to turn face down. You flipped and as quickly as you did, the epidural kicked in on my right side! Finally, complete relief!
My doctor came to check me at 12:20 PM and said I was getting close, dilated at 8 or 9 already. That had happened with Henry too, but I remember resting for the afternoon before he actually came right before 5 PM. So I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I didn’t certainly expect you to be born less than 25 minutes later. She left the room and I suddenly started feeling pressure on my low back. Hannah pointed out that on the monitor as my contractions were peaking, your head was getting lower with each one so they looked like an X on the monitor that still had just a bit of space cut horizontally through the middle.
Ten minutes later, at 12:30 PM, my doctor popped back into the room and said, “It looks like we are going to have a baby!” Suddenly, there were a couple extra assistants in the room, the bottom part of my bed was pulled away, Dr. Smollen gowned up and I was instructed that on the next contraction, I’d start pushing. Sooooo…that escalated quickly.
I started pushing at 12:39 PM through the first contraction, took a break, then pushed again through the second contraction. Everyone was saying, “You’re so close! She’s right there!! Keep pushing!” I thought they were all just being encouraging. But at 12:44 PM, you came out, on only my third push, and I was so shocked, I didn’t even know what to think. I hadn’t in my wildest dreams imagined you’d be here already, so quickly, and so easily.
They put you on my chest and you were flailing about, out of your cocoon and into the bright room, wailing as loud as you could, with all 6 pounds, 1 ounce of you. I couldn’t have loved you more if I had tried. Your daddy and I both just stared at you with tears in our eyes. You were perfect. You were everything. You were ours.
This past year has been a blur. The first few months—weeks especially—were an adjustment to figure out the balance of two kids. I didn’t have enough hands. But as you got older, it became easier. And somewhere along the way, we’ve gotten to witness the magic of a sibling relationship blossom.
You and Henry are two peas in a pod. You make him crazy when you try to play with his toys and he drives you mad when he wants to hug you and you want him to leave you alone. But when you two are playing together, you egg each other with giggles and you are both incredibly silly, bouncing off of each other. It makes me laugh just watching you two laugh. Just the other night, you were both on our bed, climbing the pillows, then falling backwards, rolling around, laughing, then randomly you would cover your eyes for peek-a-boo and all the shenanigans continued.
While I love seeing you and Henry together, it’s also fun to see you growing into your own. You have a unique personality (already strong-willed, which can serve you well in the future), a fun-loving spirit (as soon as I say, “Perrrriiiiin,” you turn and take off, laughing and crawling to get away from me as quickly as possible), and an incredibly lovable heart. You’re really cuddly, but only when you want to be. Otherwise, you throw your arms up and arch your back and make it impossible to hold you. But when you want to be cuddly, you are soft and squishy and better than any teddy bear in the world.
You had your first Christmas and, while fairly uneventful and low-key, it was nevertheless such a joy, to have our little family all together. I am already looking forward to next Christmas when you can hold your own with with opening gifts. As it was this year, Henry opened everything for you because you just wanted to play.
We had your birthday party last Saturday, smack between Christmas and New Years. It was a small affair, this time of year is always busy for people, but it was special to celebrate you. You liked the frosting on your cake, but you hated taking a bath afterwards and that frosting was a mess to get off of you.
You’re close to walking, I think. You took a tiny step two days ago, but I think it surprised you because you quickly sat down and haven’t tried it since. You’re getting very brave with standing on your own though and you readily let go of support to stand by yourself. You still climb stairs like a wild thing, so quickly I have to chase you up (which only spurs you into moving even faster), but you have no interest in learning how to crawl down.
Things I’m especially love about you right now:
- Your fake laugh
- How you “run away” whenever you think I’m chasing you
- How you get especially goofy in the evening and even more so if you’re in just your diaper
- How you stand by yourself and then bounce up and down a little bit to “dance”
- How you light up when you see your daddy
- How you point to the pictures on the wall above your dresser in your room: turtle, kitty, ladybug
- Your little voice; so far, “baby”, “mama”, “dada”, “all done”, and “go”
I could say all the cliches of how sweet you are and how much I love you, but, darling, I hope you already know that. You are a treasure, worth more than anything in the whole world. I want to raise a daughter who knows you don’t have to choose between dirt bikes and red lipstick. Who understands you can be gentle and kind while also standing up for yourself and your values. You can love yourself without vanity and love others with abandon. You can choose your closest friends, while never excluding the lonely around you. I hope you see the positive in the world and the good in people’s hearts. I hope you look for truth and always trust your instincts. I hope you love Jesus and reflect His light to everyone you meet.
I love you, my sweet baby. Happy birthday.