Saturday, January 26, 2013

Birth Story

My Dearest Olivia,

I am writing you this story on your very FIRST birthday. It is the birth story of Olivia Winter.

A few days prior to that day, at my 40 week appointment, the doctor noted no progress.I guess you weren't coming early. I already had my bags packed and they had been packed for weeks. I unpacked and repacked 10 times making sure you had all the right matching hair bows, booties, and blankies. I made sure your baby book was tucked away in my bag so I would remember to get your footprints stamped! The doctor told me that she would think about inducing, and would call me if she could schedule me in. It hadn't been 10 minutes after your Daddy and I got in the car that we received a call back. We had a date set! We were going to start the eviction induction process on Friday! Your Dad and I were so excited we called family with the news. We were going to meet you in just TWO days!

By this point, I worked from home and was able to get things ready all day. And by 'get things ready' I mean pack your Daddy's bag. Why doesn't anyone mention this part? Do people assume your husband, baby daddy, doesn't need clean clothes or toiletries? Or maybe it's assumed he doesn't stay the whole visit. Well, this Mama was on top of it!...and I was quite sure he wouldn't be leaving my side. When Friday came around with much anticipation, your Daddy came home from work to pick me up. Sydney's bag was packed, and she was ready for Grandpa to come pick her up for a few days. Mama was emotional about this because I knew that when Sydney came back home her world would be flipped upside down. We met your Mimi, Poppie, Aunt and Uncle out for the 'last supper.' The doctor told me to eat something good, because it was not known when I'd be able to eat again. I hope you enjoyed those crab cakes. I tried to hide the painful contractions I was having all through dinner. Olivia, I think you were going to come on your own anyway. If you're anything like your mama, you don't like being told what to do. .

There were a lot of tears on our drive to the hospital. I was scared, nervous, anxious, and realizing then & there it was our last car ride as just Daddy & I. As nervous as your Daddy may have been, he never let it show. Never. Ever. God love him for that. Throughout this entire pregnancy I was NEVER scared of the actual BIRTH part. I actually thought it was quite alarming at how NOT nervous I was.

We checked into the hospital at 7 pm. Thank god for pre- registration because I think by that point I wasn't even sure what my last name was. Daddy and I settled into the room. I was hooked up to an IV, and after the third stab, I was pretty convinced your Daddy was going to knock the nurse out and do it himself. Daddy laid down on the couch, we texted family with updates, and I flipped on the Jersey Shore. This lasted about 10 minutes, the clock read 8 pm and Daddy and I were admittedly bored. How long were we just going to sit here? Am I supposed to stare at the clock all night? The nurse came in and administered a drug to induce labor. UH OH, game on! About 15 minutes later the Doctor walked in and informed us that while the nurse administered the drug she did not feel your head. Oh. My. Lawd. She then wheeled in the ultrasound machine to get a look. Sure enough, sweet, stubborn lady of mine.. you were breech. Upside down! Let's rewind...three nights prior to this day I was up all night with horrible contractions. We believe this to be the night you flipped, dipped, and yeehawed yourself breech. Now, go figure, this exact moment the doctor confirms your whereabouts, I begin to have terrible, painful, holy crap, contractions. She said we could try to flip you, or go ahead with a c-section. Jersey Shore had ended. Daddy was bored. Giddy up, we're having a baby! Phone calls were made.

I never imagined this would have happened so fast. As they prepared the room for surgery, your Daddy got dressed in his scrubs, hat and mask. Guess what? Mama forgot to pack him shoes. Picture this- hospital garb & black dress shoes. Funny, right? He didn't think so. Anywho, they were wheeling me in to surgery and panic began to set in. I had googled, read, studied EVERYTHING about childbirth, EXCEPT c-sections. I have no idea why I glanced over this whole chapter, but I did, and I had no idea what was about to happen. As I sat in the hall waiting, and waiting, my contractions kicked up a notch. I wanted to slap your Daddy, kick a nurse and throw something at a window. There are NO words, and NOTHING to describe what this feels like. Nada. I give a lot of kudos to women who have a natural childbirth, but I lasted about an hour and thought my life was ending.

I am so very thankful for all of the nurses by my side at that moment. It was like having 10 Moms in the room, when you can't have your own. Your Daddy stayed by my side at every moment. He snuck a few peeks at what was going on (which is gross by the way), and snapped a few photos (which is even grosser by the way). We waited...and waited... and finally, out you came on January 26, 2012 at 11:21 pm. I yelled from behind the curtain, "Is it a girl? Is it? Is it?" They confirmed that it was true, all 7 lbs 12 ounces of you was a girl, who gracefully peed and pooped on her way out. It took a few back slaps to get your breathing regulated. You were soon bundled up and handed over to Daddy who showed me your sweet face. Whoaaaah, back it up! All that work and you look EXACTLY like your Dad. Pfft! Your Daddy was wearing a mask, but his eyes were red, and watery. Those are tears, sweet Olivia, Daddy tears. Few and far between, so these moments are EXTRA special. They whisked you off for your bubble bath, and some testing. Daddy scurried right behind. I knew you were in good hands.

The recovery process for me was a long one. I waited nearly 3 hours before I was able to see you again. The. Longest.3 Hours. Ever. When I was finally brought back to my room, you were brought in right behind. There is no sense of time in a hospital. Midnight quickly became 3 am, and 3 am quickly became 8 am. Nurses were always in and out, poking this and pinching that. A lot of the next few hours, and even days were a blur to me, my little princess; for some reasons I can explain, and for others I can not. As I laid in the hospital bed your Daddy slipped a bracelet around my wrist, and held up a page in your baby book with two little ink-stamped footprints. He remembered. At that moment, my eyes filled with tears for the first time. He was my knight and shining armor that day...and you were my itty bitty princess.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dear Olivia

My Sweet Olivia,

I can not believe you are ONE year old this month. Where has the time gone? I swore I'd never be one of those Moms who said that because I was always secretly hoping you'd grow up real fast and start changing your own diapers. Did I ever tell you that you'll ONLY poop in a clean diaper? What's up with that? Your OCD tendencies are already making their debut, just like Daddy. I am writing you this letter to tell you about yourself, in case I forget with old age, and to show you how much we've overcome...together.

When Daddy and I first brought you home I cried a lot. You cried a lot. I couldn't figure you out. Google couldn't figure you out.I didn't think I could do this. I was certain I was NEVER doing this again. Ever. We had a hard first 6 weeks; the actual SIXTH week being the most mind blowing, challenging thing thus far. Baths started to soothe you at this point, along with the 5 S's. This was a technique I secretly researched then told Daddy I was the baby whisperer, and wasn't willing to share their meanings. We swung you, dangled you, bounced you, sang to you, fed you, gas dropped you, swaddled you, strangled you, etc etc etc. You. Were. Not. Happy. I desperately needed you to have a personality, something I could connect with. I blamed myself a lot. I blamed the caffeine I drank. I blamed my high strung personality. I blamed Daddy's loud voice. Whatever I could blame, I blamed. Sometimes I cried on your nursery floor. I was angry. Angry that I couldn't make you happy and angry that I was doing this alone. You hated riding in the car, which meant I never left the house. I resorted to using an AM station as 'white noise' which eventually would lead to you falling asleep. Which would eventually lead to you springing awake at the sound of the car doors unlocking. *sigh* You enjoyed your 'white noise', and still do now. One particular day sticks out in my mind when we were driving home from a friends and you were screaming so bad in the backseat that I had to call Mimi and ask if a baby could die from screaming too much. You. Were. Not. Happy.

Things started to get insane again around your 3 month birthday. Daddy and I had a lot of military events to attend and a lot of running around to do. This is about the time you learned how to scream. And scream. It wasn't until halfway thru this month of rage that we saw them, two little teeth poking thru. How could we be so stupid? OF COURSE our three month old baby had teeth! Why wouldn't she? She could hold her neck up from day one, and could stand on her entire body weight at 2 months. Soon after those 2 teeth, came 2 more...and 2 more...By 5 months old you had EIGHT teeth! The screaming subsided the day Daddy left.

Right after you turned 5 months old we came to live with Mimi and Poppy while Daddy went away to war. There are not enough 'Thank-You's' in the world for what they've done for us, but that's a separate letter.

As I reflect on this entire year, and the little girl you've grown to be, I start to get emotional. The little personality that shines through your face is breath taking. You look just like your Daddy, but the way you smile and scrunch up your nose is like looking in a mirror. Just like myself,you smile with your eyes. You snort when you're scared, nervous, or excited. You think frogs are hysterical and you shriek whenever you see a dog. However, you haven't really noticed that you have your own dog. You point at everything saying 'mmmmm?', wanting to know what everything is. I find myself saying 'dog' and 'bird' around a thousand times a day. You love Disney Junior, especially those weird singing pirates. Tubby time has always been your favorite. It used to be used to calm you during fussy times, but now it has the opposite effect. You love your after bath time of reading books and dancing around. You are attached to your 'blankie', which unfortunately is an 8 lb fleece blanket that is a hazard to your walking skills. You were wrapped in this blanket the moment you were born. You will sign "more". You all of a sudden love pacifiers, but most of the time they are in your mouth upside down. You can find your nose and toes. You've figured out how to feed the dog. You hate being spoon fed. You like car rides, as long as you are fully equipped with snacks. You give kisses, high fives and we are working on hugs. You like your night-night time; no later then 7:30! You have molars. Those were fun. You love Mac & Cheese, but hopefully that changes soon because I can't STAND having to eat your leftovers. You love books. Watching you flip through your books is one of the most precious moments of my day, and you can actually identify (by pointing) to several objects in your books. You don't do too much talking but call me "Mom." Which is totally normal!?! You say Dada, mehmeh (Mimi), Papa (Poppy), kk (book), quack,bye and baba. You have taken a few steps but still aren't too sure. You are an absolute joy Olivia. You make my heart melt. You make me laugh. You make me feel like I'm doing it. Like WE are doing it. We've come a long way.

We've had to do a lot of this alone, just the two of us. We made it through the toughest times just the two of us. We've conquered a lot of firsts together. A lot of things I was terrified of doing alone. We need to make him proud Olivia. I am writing this letter to you for your first birthday but I am writing it for another reason as well. For your Daddy. I want him to know you. I want him to know all about you. I don't want him to feel like he's missed a beat. He's your Daddy; You're his little girl. My heart explodes at the thought of the bond you two have, just because you're his little girl. Let's make him proud. I want you to show him everything you've learned this year, show him everything you are. He deserves to see everything I see. He deserves to feel your soft kisses. He deserves to feel the touch of your little fingers. We have a few more months to learn and grow before we see him; before we welcome him back into our day. I want you to put one foot in front of the other and greet him. Hug him. Show him you love him. Because you know what boo? That exact moment is what Mommy thinks about to get her through each day; it's what puts one foot in front of the other. It keeps her going. We are going to make him proud. Just as proud as he's made us.

Happy FIRST Birthday my beautiful Olivia Winter. You are Mommy and Daddy's angel, and the prettiest girl I know.