On the morning of November 11, 2007 you were still in my belly. I was in the hospital, doing everything I could to make sure you were healthy. But, things weren’t going well that day. I had a lot of stomach pain. My perinatologist felt my abdomen and when I groaned, he said labor was close. Then my OB came in and gave me a sterile speculum exam, one of the most painful exams I’ve ever had. She said I wasn’t dilated and I should relax.

Then I started bleeding. My OB was called again. The blood came out in gobs. I wasn’t scared, because the doctors had told me to relax. I was alone in the hospital room, talking to Jackie! on the phone, when my nurse came in and said I was going to have a C-Section and you’d be here ASAP. I called Daddy and told him to come back to the hospital right away.

When I was wheeled into the operating room, everyone who already loved you was waiting with baited breath for you to arrive. The neonatologists came in and told me and your daddy not to worry if you didn’t cry, because your lungs had been through such a hard time. As I laid there on the operating table, I said a prayer to my grandmas and great grandma, asking them to give you air in your lungs.

When you were born at 4:22 pm, you cried, and your daddy and I cried, too.

I wanted them to put you on my chest, but you were very small and sick. Daddy and the nurses took you to the NICU, but before they left they told me to give you a kiss. Because of the way they held you, I only managed to kiss your little hat. I didn’t get to give you a kiss on your soft skin for two weeks.

While the doctors worked on us, your daddy took pictures so I could see you. He came back to where I was recovering and said how beautiful you were. Your daddy and I were so happy. Then your doctors came back and told us how sick you were, so sick that you needed to go to another hospital. And even though I’d known for months that you were likely to be sick, I still cried. I cried as hard as my sewn up body would let me, and I cursed it for letting you down.

The nurses said I could wait in the hallway outside of the NICU, so when the transfer team wheeled you by I could get a glimpse of you. They said you’d be out in 15 minutes. It took two hours for the transfer team to get you stable enough to be moved. The nurses offered to take me back to my room, but I waited for you in that hallway. When they wheeled you by, I told you to be strong, and that I loved you. I didn’t know if I’d see you alive again.

Since that day, your strength and bravery have amazed me. You made me a mommy, and it’s been such an honor to be YOUR mommy. You’ve been through so much but you are so happy, it blows me away. You have a smile for everyone – you bring out the best in people.

On November 11th, I stopped loving the idea of you and started loving you. Happy birthday, my beautiful, smart, happy little girl. You’re my dream come true.

looking tough

November 11, 2007 - 3 lbs, 1 oz, 15 3/4 inches

one

November 11, 2008 - 13 lbs, 14oz, 26 1/2 inches, giant head

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