As I write this entry, you are asleep; snugly enveloped in your beloved blanket, pacifier in your mouth, breathing (oh, how I love to hear you breathe...) steadily, and skipping happily along in dreamland. You cannot understand - or, maybe you do - that your birthday is nigh. And not just any birthday; your very first birthday on Earth, and quite a special occasion for all of us.
Exactly one year ago today, God made us a family and the well of love in our hearts became bottomless. Your name means "gracious gift of God," and we chose that name for you because you are the greatest blessing in our life. I hope whenever someone asks you about the meaning of your name you will always remember that: YOU are the greatest blessing and gift in our life.
As I reflect on the last year, my heart overflows with gratitude and love. Gratitude to God: He said to Pop and me, "you are to be parents; but trust in me." We did, and he gave us you. You, the love of our life: a sweet, happy, confident, loving and content child who has filled our life with more joy than we ever imagined was possible. And Love. To our lives you have brought love in its purest form; unconditional, unrestrained, say-it-loud-and-act-all-proud love!
December 12, 2007, a Wednesday, was a beautiful day: clear, sunny and warm with gentle breezes. It started as any other day: Pop got out of bed early, made coffee and sat down to email and the Today Show. I slept late, following advice to "get as much sleep as possible before the baby arrives." Thankfully, that was never a problem. I had a dream pregnancy until the last three, scary weeks. But, back to that Wednesday. You were due to arrive, via scheduled c-section, on Friday, December 14th. Pop and I were very excited to finally meet you. But, first, there was one last visit with Maternal Fetal Medicine, at 3:45pm on Wednesday, December 12th. A formality, really, since we already had a date in the OB/OR with Dr. Stubbs.
Auntie Ashley drove me to the doctor, and we both ooohhed and aaahhed listening to your strong heartbeat and gazing at your perfect face during the sonogram. Mama's vital stats: 37 weeks, 4 days, 140 lbs, BP 155/100. The meeting with the doctor went something like this:
- Dr. Salamat: "How are you?"
- Me: "I'm great!"
- Dr. Salamat: "No, you're not. You're sick. You're blood pressure is high."
- Me: "Well, yeah, but it was the same as it was yesterday and Dr. Stubbs let me go home. Besides, I'm having the baby on Friday."
- Dr. Salamat: "No, you're having the baby tonight."
- Me: "Are you serious?"
- Dr. Salamat: "Yes."
At that point I started crying and the room began to spin. They asked us to wait in the office while Dr. Salamat wrote up admission orders for OB Triage. Orders in hand, Auntie and I walked from Maternal Fetal Medicine directly to OB Triage.
When Pop arrived he presented me with a book of well-wishes and messages from all of our family and friends. We read the messages as day turned to evening, and finally it was time. What happened next is blurry but, in the end, in a quiet operating room, at 9:13pm, you emerged from me, took your first breath and cried. It was, to that point, the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.
Pop never left your side as the medical team performed the necessary tests - you scored 9s on the Apgar tests, and you weighed 7 lbs, 3 oz. After your very first bath, Pop took you into his arms and introduced you to Pappi, Auntie Ashley, Uncle Kevin, Kyle and Todd. When I was finally settled into our room, Pop laid you in my arms and you nestled close to me as we both slept.
And so, my sweet child, that is how your life began. And we have enjoyed every single, solitary minute with you: the middle-of-the-night feedings; the diaper explosions; the tummy gas-induced crying at 7:30pm every night during your first 8 weeks; the thousands of expressions your stunningly beautiful face can make; how you always snuggle up to us when we are sleeping; all of your sweet little yawns; all of your smiles, your laughs, and your tears; everything. We are so proud of you, and how you are growing. You are healthy, and happy - oh! so very happy! - and a true joy. It's a little bit hard to say goodbye to infancy today, but our life with you just keeps getting better!
So, Happy Birthday, my little buddy, sweet bean, honey bunny, darlin' bean.
We love you. xoxo.
-Mama and Pop