10 March 2015

Of That Itty Bitty Girl's First Year

While this past year has definitely been a difficult one for me, it has also been an absolute treasure watching my Itty-Bitty Pretty grow - well, maybe not grow a ton, but definitely mature. She has been such a blessing.

Her smile brightens my day - and she was an early smiler! Many were impressed to hold our wee little one and see her flash that grin that seems to fill her whole face. And now that she has five little pearly whites in there, the charm is irresistable.

Her army crawl was another early development. Her curiosity pushed her to get herself wherever she wanted to be so she could explore and make discoveries on her own.

She is most certainly a go-getter.

These days, she crawls with ease, pulls up and cruises around the furniture and can even bring herself to let go and stand on her own tiny two legs for about a minute or so (though no steps, yet, which is not at all unusual for our family).

She is fearless and so rough and tumble. She loves the cat and still doesn't care that he has made it clear he's not always a fan of her. She still chatters and smiles big when she sees him - grasping for handfuls of hair. If she falls over, she picks herself up without even a whimper, ready to keep going.

She is so smart and is a problem solver. All of our children have found themselves trapped under our bar-height dining chairs - stuck among the four horizontal foot rails joining the four legs, having crawled under, sat up and not having the space to lay back down to crawl again. So when she found herself stuck in that position for the first time, I went to grab my camera - but she had crawled right over one of those foot rails before I could even turn it on - without batting an eye. At her age, she is still supposed to believe if she can't see something it has disappeared - but not this girl. If something drops out of view, she searches for it. But then, again, I think she figures if she drops her peas over the side of the high chair they're gone for good.

Because she does not like vegetables.

This girl is all about the protein. She adores meat (unlike her wanna-be vegetarian big sister who has never liked meat). She'll turn up her nose at green beans and carrots, but ham and chicken will disappear in a flash. Cheese is a big favorite, too. And, of course, appleasauce - which she can suck out of a pouch in five seconds flat.

She says Mama, Dada and Hi (with the accompanying wave, of course). We also swear we've heard some other words in there (like the occasional "Aunt Da-ya"), but those are unconfirmed.

She is such a delight to everyone in this house. Her big sister can't get enough of her and her brothers love to lay on the floor with her and watch her play (though the younger-older one is still close enough in age to be jealous of her toys). She lights up when her Daddy walks into the room and the feeling is clearly mutual.

I have truly savored every moment with this precious girl more than I can honestly say I have done in the past. Before, I had been too rushed, too ready for the next stage. But I'm now at a place where I can see it all ends so fast - these moments are irreplaceable and I wouldn't trade them for another clean dish or un-cluttered counters.

I so love this beautiful girl.

Happy Birthday, my Princess Pea.

Her birth-day. It was rough work, but I was already smitten.

Her first smile - at a week old. Too cute.

This is still my computer back drop. It was her first bow.

Getting ready for the big move at only two weeks old!

Friends who nap together stay together.

That funny grin (Two Months)

My sleeping beauty (Three Months)

That precious grin!

Visitng Gram and Grandy in Nebraska - she sure does make me happy!

Matching with Daddy (Four Months)

Finally fitting into the beautiful dress Grandma crocheted for her. (Five Months)

Stop it.

What a big milestone - sharing birthdays! (Six Months, of course)

Some of her bows were a little more unconventional.

Her first Halloween costume - that little party dude. (Seven Months)

Dressed up for church! And that grin! (Eight Months)

Celebrating her first Christmas (Nine Months)

First New Year

Fish Faces with Mommy (Ten Months)

Love our Silly Girl! (11 Months)

What?! My first year is almost over?!

09 March 2015

Of Being Done

A year ago today, I was waddling around this very neighborhood, willing this baby to come out. At that point, she was 11 days past the predicted due date per the midwife calculations, only five days later than the ultrasound had told us. And I wasn't really complaining.

Because precisely one week before she was "supposed" to come, we sold our house. And in the following two weeks, our house had been un-sold and then un-un-sold. And we'd had inspectors and a buyer, and realtors and another isnpector all in and out and around that house - the one where we were planning to have a homebirth. So, if she could just stay in long enough to make sure all those people were done and out of here, that would be swell.

She followed directions beautifully.

But then we were getting pushed from the other side, because if she didn't make it out soon, they were going to have to send us to the hospital for this delivery. There were multiple reasons I wanted to avoid that possibility, but I'm gonna be honest, the main reason I did not want that outcome was because I'm a frugal gal - and we'd already given these midwives all the money we had budgeted for this baby - so the idea of giving an amount equal to (or greater than) that sum to the hospital, well that just stressed me out. Particularly because, did I mention? We were buying a house.

So we went for a walk.

A long walk. In and around our soon-to-be new neighborhood. Admiring our soon-to-be new house from afar and deciding however far I could walk in this bulging state would be perfectly reasonable for our kids in the future. Which was great, because I made it a long distance. Much further than I'd anticipated.

But that baby wasn't budging from her bulge.

I went home. I stared down a bottle of castor oil - one a friend bought for me because it had worked wonders for prodding out her stubborn boy. But the midwives had not recommended that route. And I'm a rule-follower at heart. So I couldn't bring myself to break the seal.

We did what we could think of and time was running out.

It was Sunday night and we had an appointment with the midwives on Tuesday morning to have them try their methods. We were disappointed.

And then things started happening.

We got excited.

I had tested positive for Strep B - which is a bacteria that can be harmful to the baby if transmitted at birth, but can be held off by antibiotics - ones that can't be given too early, but need to be injected at least four hours before birth to be effective.

Her brother made a speedy entrance into the world at only 3 hours and 20 minutes, and that only because I delayed in calling the midwife. Everyone anticipated this little girl to practicallly shoot out of me - so I was given strict instructions: call the midwife at the first sign of action.

So we did.

And we called the grandparents who were in town waiting and we called the friend who happened to be in town and had so wonderfully assisted at the birth of our son and we called the sister who was going to be photographing everything.

And they all came.

And they all waited.

I have had much time (a year, to be exact) to consider how this birth went - the long hours of labor, the exhaustion, the desire to just be done. Overall, there were a lot of factors that led to my emotional state just not being the in the right place to simply allow my body to do what it needed to do. There are many who will admit that if a mother is not pyschologically ready to bring her baby in the world, her body will respond accordingly.

And I don't think I was psychologically ready. I had a lot on my mind, but very little of it had to do with a baby. It had to do with home loans and paperwork and house guests and all those people waiting. They were waiting for me. And I felt the need to perform (though not by fault of any theirs) and I was failing. And my body was holding on, keeping my baby safely protected inside until I was ready to let her go and focus on her needs.

But we didn't want her inside - we very much wanted her outside - ready or not. So my body and my mind quarreled and by the time she was finally pushed out 22 hours later, I was done - physically, emotionally, intellectually - even, in some ways, spiritually. Done.

It was the first out of four births, when I had that blessed moment of my baby sliding out and not feeling joy and exhileration. All I felt was relief. And not even just sweet relief, but exhausted, ready to shut out everything and everyone and be done, relief. Ready to close this womb - and be. done.

And this year has been quite the roller coaster as I continue to recover from the psychological strain of that month and even that day.

But, as we all know, in the end, she was worth every bit of all of it. And I'll never be done with her.