Friday, March 09, 2012

One Year Ago Today


Your father and I were enjoying lunch at the Cheesecake Factory one weekend in 2009 when I brought up the subject of having a baby. Your dad was used to my occasional maternal sparks, but I assured him this time was different. I had gone over my mental list of reasons not to have a child and none of it mattered. I knew in my heart I wanted you. We agreed though to revisit the subject a month or two down the road. Maybe the feeling would pass like it had before. Only, this time it didn't. And this time, your father was ready too.

You grew inside my womb for nine amazing months. I watched and felt my body change. As painful and difficult as it was at times, I knew it was for a purpose and that made it more bearable. I still remember those early days when I was always famished, often nauseous, and would go from a state of euphoria to being exhausted and oh so tired. As the months went on, I sang and talked to you endlessly while you were inside me, hoping you could hear me. I learned--and felt--what a round ligament was (Ouch!). I loved seeing you during the ultrasound, watching you transform into who you are today.

The doctor assigned your due date as March 8. I felt sure you'd come earlier somehow and yet a part of me hoped you would hold out until March 9th. It was your Great-Grandfather John's birthday and my half birthday. Truthfully, any day would have been fine. We were anxious to meet you.

I was determined to work right up until I went into labor. My coworkers had even come up with multiple plans to get me to the hospital should that happen. I remember one day, late in my pregnancy, when one of my staff requested to speak to me privately. We found a private office to meet in. As I was walking back to my desk after the meeting, someone approached me to say everyone was worried and looking all over for me. Evidently my cubicle mate thought I had gone into labor and was on my way to the hospital all on my own. To be fair, I had told her I might do that--but I had only been joking. The whole office was in a frenzy and were glad to see I was okay.

It was getting harder, however, even to work. I often joked with my coworkers that I should set up an office in the bathroom as often as I was running to use the toilet. I used to take lots of walks up and down the halls as sitting for long became uncomfortable. But then, so did being on my feet for long. I was constantly trying to find a good balance.

And so, I decided to take my doctor's advice and go out on maternity leave before you were born. The reason I was so hesitant, admittedly, was because I didn't want to waste any of my maternity leave. I had so few days as it was and I wanted to spend them with you after you were here. So, on March 8th of 2011, I began my maternity leave. And, on that same day, you decided it was time to start your descent into the outside world.

At 6:32 that morning, I felt my first contraction. It was mild, and I didn't think much of it. I must have known it was significant, however, since I remember so clearly the time. I went about my business. I had planned to run errands, sneak in a trip to Dairy Queen for a Peanut Buster Parfait (those things never seemed to affect my blood sugar level, thank goodness, so I cheated on my gestational diabetes diet every now and then), and maybe make a trip to the bookstore. First there was the visit from the man from a moving company though, who was there to make an estimate on the cost to move us. I showed the man around the house, the contractions getting stronger and becoming more frequent, coming about every 10 to 15 minutes or so. I wonder now what he would have thought had he known I was in labor at that time. As far as I was concerned, it was most likely false labor.

The contractions intensified and continued to get closer. I decided to stay home and forget about errands. I showered, hoping that would help. I guzzled down a bottle of water and walked around. I tried lying down for awhile. Nothing seemed to help. At some point, I decided to keep track of the contractions and so grabbed a piece of blank paper. Your dad, whom I was texting through it all, kept asking me if I wanted him to come home from work. I insisted he didn't need to.

Whoever says real labor means contractions come evenly spaced lies. For two hours, I documented my contractions, some coming 8 minutes apart and others 3 minutes apart. Fortunately, your dad was able to get off work early and we went to the hospital. It was 4:30 in the afternoon on March 8th.

In the pre-admitting room, the nurses hooked me up to an IV and monitors, one for you and one for me. The hope was the fluids provided by the IV would hydrate me enough to get my body to progress further than it already had. Sure enough, after a few hours, it was decided I was ready to go, and so at around 9:30 p.m. that night I was admitted to the hospital.

My midwife predicted you would come around 5 or 6 the next morning. I mentally prepared for the long labor. She set me up with pain medication and shortly after I was given an epidural. I am so glad I decided to go that route. It made a world of difference. Evidently you had turned somewhere between my last ultrasound and my going into labor and were facing the wrong direction, hence the excruciating back pain. The midwife was able to turn you, however. I don't remember too much after that as things seemed to happen so fast. The midwife broke my water and the next thing I knew I was told to push. You came into this world at 1:21 a.m. on March 9, 2011. I reached for you almost immediately and was told to wait while they wiped you down. Then you were placed in my arms. It was love at first sight.

This first year of your life has been an adventure like no other. Those early weeks were quite a challenge as we got to know each other, and your father and I adjusted to being parents. We took turns staying up with you at night because you refused to sleep unless being held. You and I spent hours on the couch, cuddling, nursing, and you sleeping. We played in the spare bedroom of the old house, the sunshine streaming in from the windows. You loved that room more than any other. I think it was the brightness of the room. You loved the sunshine even then.

We moved into the new house, and you adjusted well. I wish I could say the same for the cats.

You continued to grow and come into your own. I will never forget the first time you lifted your head, rolled over, spoke your first consonant, ate your first solid, crawled, and then walked. There is nothing more beautiful than your smile, my dear Mouse. Nothing I love to hear more than your laughter.

I have watched you become more independent: from sleeping only on your dad and me to sleeping in your bassinet and then in your crib. Where once we had to feed you, you now insist on holding your own spoon and feeding yourself. You own your own at daycare--those bigger kids know not to get in your way. You aren't afraid to run off on your own or take a risk.

Your risk taking is never without thought, however. You observe the world around you in such a thoughtful manner. You seem to be taking its measure, determining where to go next and who to trust. You aren't afraid to let us know when you are ready to go forward or want to change directions. You have a quiet determination about you that makes me so proud.

I love holding you close, whether nursing or cuddling with you, your warm body against mine. I love how in the middle of the night you can go from sleepiness to being wide awake, greeting me with a grin.

Meal times are an adventure all their own. You've always made it clear what you want and don't want, even it's taken your dad and me a bit longer to figure it out. Your father and I learned quickly to hold onto any plate or bowl we give you or else it will end up on the floor. I have lost count of the number of times you have thrown your food off your tray and onto the floor. You love bananas and your dad's white rice with teriyaki chicken. And, of course, Thin Mints. I can't help but think back to before you were born, how strict I felt about what you would and would not be able to eat. And I think how things are now--it's a good lesson in how reality and intentions don't always line up exactly as planned.

One of my most favorite times of day with you is bath time. You hated baths initially and upon the suggestion of a friend, I joined you in the bathtub. Now it is our nightly ritual. I read to you and sing to you as you play in the water. You especially like it when the animals come to visit.

I love how you have taken to the animals. You adore those cats and the dog. Even when our dog, Riley, has been less than tolerant of you, you haven't let it dampen your enthusiasm and love for him. I think your perseverance is beginning to pay off--all those times you throw his bone to him and offer him a bit of your food. Just this past weekend I watched as you leaned in and gave Riley a hug.

I've seen how our cat, Parker, seeks you out and purrs when you cuddle up next to him. Oh, and remember that time you were upset and crying and he came into the room to check on you? He stood on his hind legs, stretching as far as he could, just to make sure you were okay. He might wish you didn't grab at his ears and tail so much, but he knows you are still learning to be gentle. And Anya . . . I will never forget how she would curl up next to us on the couch, especially when you were upset, during those early days.

We have faced many illnesses together, some worse than others. You were always such a trooper when you were sick, rarely letting it keep you down for long. The nights were the hardest, some of which I kept you close to me. You made it clear you didn't want to sleep in your own bed as awful as you felt. I didn't mind too much, even it meant I got little sleep. Making you feel safe and secure and comforted was my top priority.

There have been tears. Lots of tears. On both our parts. I haven't always been at my best with you despite my best intentions. I have lost my temper, cried along side you, and become frustrated when I can't figure out what you want. And yet you always run to me, offer me hugs and kisses, are ready with a smile when the tears have been wiped away.

You have blossomed from a beautiful sweet tempered baby into a beautiful and determined toddler. You are smart and funny, kind and thoughtful. You are oh so active! You inherited a double dose of stubbornness thanks to your dad and me. Do you know what I love most about you, my little Mouse? Everything.

Today you are one year old. I couldn't be more proud. I couldn't be happier to call you my daughter. I love you, Mouse.

Happy Birthday.


© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

32 comments:

  1. I hope you can hang onto this post until she can read it someday! Love the story! Even though I've never actually met your little girl, I can tell from the pictures that she has such a personality! It is amazing from my end to watch her grow.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a beautiful post! Happy birthday to Mouse!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy Birthday to mouse! The first year goes so fast, it's shocking.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a beautiful post, Wendy!
    Happy Birthday to Mouse!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. This makes me cry. So, so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Happy 1st Birthday to your beautiful daughter!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This was such a great post, and it really touched my heart. Your little Mouse sure is one precious girl, and I am so glad that you shared this with us, and that someday, you share it with her. Happy Birthday, Mouse!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Aw Wendy, this post is so happy making! Beautiful! I'm so happy for the joy Mouse has brought to your life. And my gosh she's so adorable!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Happy Birthday Mouse! Love hearing story about you :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lovely, just lovely. She is so beautiful, I just love her dark hair and eyes. Congratulations.

    (I had my friends bring me a Peanut Buster Parfait to the hospital after my first baby, and the gestational diabetes that came with him. It's the ultimate treat!)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've "known" her since before she was born. I've seen her grow into an inquisitive little lady. Such a special time. Thanks so much for sharing the journey with us.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gorgeous post. Keep it till she can read it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a wonderful post; I wish I'd thought to write something like this when mine turned one. This brought tears to my eyes, and sent me down memory lane in a most satisfying way. Thank you Wendy.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Such a sweet post :) Definitely keep it so she can read it some day!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Awww geez, you aren't supposed to make me cry. This is beautiful Wendy and I hope you save it for Mouse so she can have it one day. It'll mean the world to her.

    ReplyDelete
  16. (Wiping tears) What a beautiful post, Wendy! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Happy (Belated) Birthday, Mouse! What a wonderful post Wendy. Blogging really has opened up a whole new world...

    ReplyDelete
  18. Happy Birthday to Mouse!! What a precious post and those pictures...I love the one where she is laying with the cat. Too cute! I can't believe that she is already one...how fast the time goes!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I really loved reading this post. Your love for your daughter shines through. May you write posts like this for her every birthday (and in between too) for her to read when she is old enough to.

    ReplyDelete
  20. BTW, I too am a March born female and love being one!

    ReplyDelete
  21. This was pure heaven and thank you so much for sharing it with us. Loved those pictures of her as she has grown this past year!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Happy Birthday sweet Mouse! What a beautiful love letter you have written to her. She will treasure this so much when she gets older so be sure to save it for her.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Aw, what a post! It's beautiful, and I'm sure she'll enjoy it herself one day, many birthdays from now. =)

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is precious, Wendy! Happy Birthday to your sweet little Mouse! She shares her day with my big 'ole husband. March 9th, the best day to be born. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a beautiful post! And a great idea to write it down now for her to read some day.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you everyone! I do plan to share this with my daughter when she's older.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hooray for Mouse! Three cheers and happy birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I've got tears in my eyes after reading your beautiful words. And what a wonderful legacy she will have if you write a letter like this to her each year. Happy Birthday, Mouse!

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a beautiful post, LF. Truly beautiful and I didn't realize Mouse was born on my niece's birthday! You can bet she's going to be something extra special!

    cjh

    ReplyDelete
  30. Oh Wendy. I am reading this post with tears streaming down my cheeks. What a beautiful letter to Mouse--one that she will adore reading once she is older. But I also know it is something that you will always treasure as well. Thank you for sharing this with us. Happy birthday to sweet and beautiful Mouse. :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. What a gift to Mouse! I loved reading your story and reliving some of my own :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to visit Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Don't be shy! I would love to hear from you. Due to a recent increase in spam, I will be moderating comments for the foreseeable future. Please be patient with me as it may take a few hours before I am able to approve your comment.