Today is a special day, my baby girl turns one year old, and my mind has been a year away all day. Last year today I got a wonderful gift, a tiny, reddish, warm, cuddly gift.
Fair warning: the following few paragraphs describe my labor and her birth. If this is too much information for your delicate dispositions scroll on down and just check out the pictures of the birthday girl.
Last year on Sunday the 22nd at 6pm I started feeling cramps, I was tired from lugging around my enormous belly, my back hurt, my feet were swollen and I had missed my afternoon nap. The baby boy was whiny, he wanted my attention, he must have known something was up, though I didn’t yet. I’d been crampy all week. I just wanted the stupid Braxton Hicks contractions to stop already cause I needed to relax and watch a movie. So, I put the boy to bed, took a bath (hoping the damn contractions would stop) and settled in bed to watch a movie (17 again, a masterpiece of cinematography starring Matt Perry and Zack Efron, that is now inextricably linked to one of the most important days in my life). But damn, were those contractions bothering me. At around ten pm we call our midwife (I had decided that I wanted to do as much of the labor as possible at home. Yes, crazy pregnancy hormones), she says try and get some sleep, there’s plenty of time, it’s probably false labor, call me when they’re three minutes apart. And at 12.30 am we call. She gets to my house and announces the torture won’t end until at least 2pm that afternoon. 14 more hours…. I can do it, it’s not so bad. At 4am I was lying in my bed hoping for death, after having done everything short of a ritualistic rain dance to relieve the pain naturally, and mentally kicking myself for not having a scheduled c-section. By 5am I was screaming at the midwife to call the hospital and find out if there was an anesthesiologist available for an epidural cause no way was breathing going to get me through the morning. (Of course I was only mentally screaming at the midwife, in reality I was doing that really emphatic whispering one does when pissed but unable to make noise, cause I didn’t want to wake the boy up in the next room). Of course, she didn’t call the hospital because I had insisted to her, the husband and everyone else I know throughout the entire pregnancy that I didn’t want another c-section, I wanted a vbac and an epidural greatly increases your chances of having another c-section, hence I didn’t want an epidural. Note to self, when pregnant avoid giving the people around you directions regarding labor that you will come to greatly regret during the actual event. At six she notices a change in me (how, I will never know) and decides it’s time for another exam (the second one since her arrival as I was not letting her or anyone else near me, the only thing I could tolerate her occasionally doing was checking the baby’s heartbeat, for a few minutes) and I will never forget the look of surprise on her face, nor the calm voice with which she said: you’re at 8cm, we need to go NOW.
At this point I need to take a second to clarify for those who have never given birth drugless or at all, that if you tell a woman who is twice her regular size, carrying what feels like a hot air balloon in front of her and who’s been in active labor for what feels like eons to get up, get dressed and get in the car to go to the hospital now, now, now the only reaction you’re likely to get is hysterical laughter, or a fireball in your face from the intensity of the hatred in her glare.
Suffice it to say that I got up, almost mauled the husband when he couldn’t find my pink sweat pants (without which I evidently could not give birth), got dressed and made my way to the car, in the midst of massive, body breaking contractions, cause the baby had decided it was time to GET OUT. All I remember of the drive to the hospital was the midwife yelling DON’T PUSH at me repeatedly, that I hadn’t put my seatbelt on cause I was in too much pain, that she was driving so fast that I had to hold on with both hands, and that I really, really wanted to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, but was afraid the baby would pop out in the car and we really couldn’t have that. Finally, we arrive, the OB on duty examines me and catapults me to the labor room as I am now at ten centimeters and it’s time to start PUSHING. Bizarrely this part was less painful than what preceded it, though way, way more surreal. (but I’ll spare you the description)
I walked into the hospital a little after 6am the girl was born at 7.08. I held her in my arms as soon as she was born; she fell asleep right away, not surprising, after all the work she did to get out.
And today she walked. Four steps to come to me, not by accident like the other times, but purposely and she didn’t fall on her butt when she got to her destination. She now gives me kisses. Not when I ask, of course, but random, big, open mouth kisses. She says Mama (to me!), and Pa-pà (to her daddy) and pàppppppa (that’s food), and eh, when she wants you to look at her. When the boy doesn’t pay enough attention to her, she gets right in his face and whacks him open handed on the chest. She wants to taste everything you’re eating, she pulls at her hair when she’s frustrated, she loves dogs, from afar, she loves technology (from up close!) especially my iphone and ipad. When we call her, she shakes her head no, with a mischievous smile on her face, and makes big dramatic scenes when we say no to her. She plays peek-a-boo with me while she nurses by covering her eyes with her hand. Today I looked at her, sleeping in my arms, and thought back to the first time I held her. She’s so big already, where does the time go? Today someone said to me, “she’s only one year old!” , but all day I’ve been thinking, with a knot in my throat and a weight on my heart: “she’s already one year old!”. She’s a toddler. She’s my baby.
Happy Birthday, baby girl, you make my heart sing, your smile lights up my life, and I’m so lucky to have you.
|Can I touch the cupcakes?|
|A year ago today|