To the baby bird and the littlest peach,
You will turn three years old on Monday. Is it hard to believe? Yes, in some ways it very much is. In others, it seems just right. Three years. 1,095 days with you on this earth. With me. The world in which you were born in to is confusing and terrifying at times. Just yesterday a young man opened fire in Oregon and killed seven people. Seven people who once were children-who at one time celebrated their third birthday. I fear for you in this world and I long for the days in which you lived inside my body, where I could keep you safe.
The night you were born was electrifying. The night before was your daddy’s birthday and we celebrated with dinner out. That night I couldn’t sleep. My body ached, my skin burned, my ankles and wrists were swollen and throbbing. I knew that you wanted out. I felt you pushing your way through. We had a doctor’s appointment the next morning (October 5th) at 9am with the perinatologist. I waddled in wearing black stretchy pants and a giant tee-shirt. It was hot outside and I forced myself to walk up the flight of stairs as opposed to taking the elevator. Upon entering our doctor’s office, I glared at him and said “they want out. there is absolutely no way they are staying in until 37 weeks”. I was 33 weeks that day. He replied “It’s amazing what your body will do when the safety of your children is at stake”. Your daddy jumped up and stood in front of me, fearing I would rip this man’s eyeballs out, and said “Doctor, she is in bad shape, let’s check her blood pressure”. Soon thereafter, this idiot realized I was showing signs of preeclampsia and he immediately admitted me into the hospital. We weren’t sure when you were coming, but we knew it would be soon.
At 10:00pm that night, my OBGYN came in and said flatly “Sweetheart, these babies are coming tonight. You need to call your husband and tell him we go into surgery in half an hour”. I remember exactly how I felt. I was so profoundly aware that you would both be physically in this room, in this world in just a few hours. I would see you, I would meet you, I would finally have you.
While I waited for your daddy to get there (damn Braves game traffic almost made him miss it), I stood in the bathroom alone thinking about the gravity of what was soon to happen-of what I was about to become. I called my mother who said “You can do this. There are things that you cannot do but this is not one of those things. You-you specifically-can do this”. It made all the difference in the world.
Your daddy got there in time and we wheeled into surgery just before 11pm. I received my epidural and immediately felt nothing below my waist. Movies imply that epidurals make you loopy and silly but they don’t. I was as present and aware as I have ever been. Your daddy said I had never looked more beautiful. I didn’t believe him.
Several minutes later, the doctor began rocking my body back and forth. It felt like there was a volcano inside my stomach ready to erupt. I knew it was coming. And then I felt it. I felt elbows and feet and shoulders-body parts that I had felt inside of me everyday for the past several months-move through and out of my body. And in just an instant, I heard my baby boy enter the world.
There are not words suitable to describe how I felt.
I looked at your daddy and we knew it was you. When I thought I couldn’t feel anything more, that I couldn’t possible love anything else as immediately or completely as I did in that split second, the doctor began pulling my baby girl through my body. My sweet girl, you were so much smaller than your brother, my tiny little peach. I felt your fingers and the small shape of your head as it vacated my body. And then I heard you cry. I heard you separate from me and breathe in life for the first time. It was utterly and completely perfect.
What came next was hard. You both stayed in the hospital for several weeks. Daddy and I came everyday. And every second that I sat with you, I loved you more than the second before.
As we prepare to celebrate three years…more than one thousand days with my little birds, I want to thank you for choosing me. God knows that getting you was a painful and difficult battle. In my darkest hours, when I dreamed of holding you or feeling you move inside of me, I gritted my teeth through the tears and the anger and the doubt and kept going because I knew, I just knew that you were out there in the universe somewhere, just waiting to be mine.
Happy birthday little bird.
Happy birthday little peach.