I wake up this morning because your father has plopped you on the bed beside me. You grin, you laugh, you make a beeline for me and cover me with your open-mouthed kisses. The clock says 7:30.
This time one year ago, I was pacing through empty hospital corridors, trying to increase my contractions from the 3 minutes apart they are at. There isn’t a delivery room open yet, and the nurses are skeptical that you are actually coming today. But I know.
I heft myself out of bed and carry you downstairs to greet your sister. You squeal when you see her: she is your favorite person. You spend your days chasing her, mimicking her, trying to steal her Little Pet Shop figures and Barbie shoes. She tires of you occasionally, but never misses an opportunity to tell anyone who will listen about ‘her baby’. We all dress and head to the grocery store. The clock says 10:30.
This time one year ago, I was finally checking into a room. I had been in various stages of labor for about 9 hours at this point, and told the nurse to get the epidural ordered as soon as possible. You dad settled into the couch beside my bed to watch the Powder Puff Girls and lament the fact that he hadn’t bought more tacos on our stop on the way to the hospital. I adjust my bed and think, “This has got to be over soon. Second births are faster. She will be here soon.” Little did I know that you do things on your own time.
Today has passed in a blur. You are so active, so busy, that the days fly by. You started walking in earnest last week, and have already progressed to running. You don’t talk much, but you squeal with joy, you chortle, you snort…you are a little bulldog. Your father let you walk through the store today, and you smiled your huge, gap-toothed smile the entire time. People cannot resist you; I am often told how blessed I am. It is true. Now, I put lotion on your freshly bathed tummy, and give you a raspberry; you laugh, dimples flashing. You gulp your sippy of milk in record time; you know you have precious few moments of play time before bed. It is now 7:30.
This time one year ago, I am finally dilated enough to push. I am only at 9.5, but the midwife is sure that won’t be a problem. And it isn’t. At least, I think it isn’t, until many moments have passed, and I am still pushing, pushing. At one point, my midwife won’t give me a break; I don’t just push through a contraction, I push for a solid ten minutes, grunting, gasping. I ache, I beg Jason to make her stop, but he keeps coaxing me as well. I find out much later that your head was stuck, and you were turning a bit purplish. But your mama’s kegels paid off, and with the help of my vigilant Tanya, and my calm-in-the-storm Jason, you were free. And returning to a normal color. And as is the case with most babies, the rest went rather quickly. And soon you were on my chest, lovely and slimy and squeakily squalling. Gazing at me. And I fell in love.
My life is richer because of you. You make things shiny; you remind us to smile. I adore you, baby turtle.