My daughter Taya is one year old today and as parents tend to do as their children grow older, I’ve been reflecting on all of our memories from this past year….all the way back to when I was anxiously awaiting for our little girl to arrive…
It was about a week away from my daughter’s due date and I was on maternity leave a little earlier than expected due to having high blood pressure. I was supposed to be on somewhat of a bed rest, trying not to overdo it. I remember sitting in the rocker in her nursery thinking, “Will there ever actually be a baby in this room to rock?” I was wistful and just wanted to hold her in my arms.
I started singing Christmas songs while I rocked. One of these songs was Breath of Heaven. I actually started crying and couldn’t finish the song. I was feeling emotional and felt I could relate to Mary’s long journey of pregnancy and how she wanted God to be with her as her delivery day approached. Unfortunately hormones are a very real part of pregnancy.
About 12 months ago, I posted a photo on my Facebook wall to commemorate the waiting game that seemed to pass so slowly. I was longing to meet the precious little girl who had been nestled in my womb for the past 9 months and it was proving to be quite challenging the longer my pregnancy continued and December 1st, 2015 (due date) came and went and still no baby.
Early in the morning on December 3rd, I awoke with what I thought might be the start of contractions. They passed and I carried on with my day. Early evening came and I decided to bake some cookies. I posted a photo to my Facebook wall to commemorate that my husband and I were still waiting for our little girl to arrive:
This picture was taken around 5 pm. Little did I know that contractions would start up again shortly after I started baking and we would be heading to the hospital around 12 am because I was in labor! We ended up packing these freshly baked cookies in our hospital bag before we left the house. 😉
As my husband and I walked down the hall of the OB department at our local hospital, we waved to my mother-in-law who was rocking with a newborn in the nursery. Fun fact-my mother-in-law is a nurse there and was scheduled to be in OB the night we arrived. 🙂
I predicted I would be in labor for about 6 hours. I wish….it was 29 and that’s not the only prediction that didn’t turn out quite the way I had planned.
I really wanted to try to push through the pain without an epidural. However, after being in labor for several hours without much progress, my OB suggested I might want to consider getting an epidural because the pain was becoming quite intense and she said I still had a long ways to go and that my blood pressure was a concern. These are not the words I wanted to hear.
My contractions were coming close together and growing in intensity pretty quickly and I had been at the hospital for maybe 6 hours. I decided to heed her advice and welcome the relief of an epidural. Unfortunately, I had to be injected several times throughout my labor because my body was metabolizing it pretty quickly and it was wearing off rather fast.
My memory is a bit foggy, but I think it was somewhere around hour 25 or 26 that I was finally ready to start pushing. I was surprised at the lung capacity that was needed to do all the pushing and breathing. I was very out of breath and had to have an oxygen mask during the last part of pushing.
At one point, the room got very quiet and I couldn’t make out what the doctor and nurses were saying, but they were speaking in hushed tones and the OB had a concerned look of contemplation on her face. I was at the point during delivery where the baby’s heart rate was increasing due to being in the birth canal for a long time. For 45 minutes, I endured some very painful contractions and was told not to push because the delivery was becoming too stressful on the baby. She was going to need to come soon or I was going to have to have a C-section.
Thankfully, after the 45 minutes were over, the OB said she wanted to me to start pushing again in one last attempt to deliver the baby. I was running out of breath and stamina and I was exhausted from the past 29 hours of labor. I said, “I can’t do this anymore.”
My husband and the nurses encouraged me to keep pushing and with all the strength I could muster, I pushed one last time and there she was! She made her grand entrance with a loud cry the minute she reached the nurses awaiting hands.
I was so excited to see her face. I couldn’t see it right away because they had to unwrap the umbilical cord that had gotten around her neck. Then the nurses lifted her higher so I could see her face and she looked right at me, as if to say, “So you’re my mother. Here I am, please hold me, I’m bewildered!” My husband and I shed a few tears of joy and were so thankful to be able to welcome this beautiful miracle into the world and into our lives.
Unfortunately I only got to hold her for a minute or two before they had to take her down the hall to be washed up and checked for vitals. I was torn very badly and was losing a lot of blood, so they had to stitch me up for an hour before I could hold Taya again.
It was such a joyful time. Taya nursed very well from the start and I was able to get some sleep in between feedings. I watched my husband give her, her first real bath and we had to watch several parent informational videos about newborns, fill out paperwork, and watch a car seat demonstration over the next couple of days.
I was very low on iron when I left the hospital and Taya was somewhat dehydrated, but we chose to go home when we were given the opportunity versus staying an extra night. We had to return for a follow-up appointment the next day to make sure everything was going ok, but we were in pretty good shape. Matt returned to work the day after we were released from the hospital and was notably glad to be home with his new little girl after work that first day away.
From then, it’s been a journey through one milestone to the next. Here’s what I remember from my first year of being Taya’s mom, written to my daughter:
During my maternity leave, I remember you wanted to nurse every 30 minutes between the hours of 12 am and 3 am. This wasn’t ideal, but I loved the bonding time and the feeling that I was the only one that could satisfy your needs at this time. It made me feel needed, responsible, and special. Luckily, you slept for a good 7 hours after 3 am, so I was able to get some good sleep after being up with you during the night.
Becoming a mother felt very natural to me, but I had to get used to spending most of my days nursing or pumping, or a combination of both. At friend and family gatherings, it was hard sometimes to go into a room and close the door behind us so that you could nurse-this meant I had to miss out on all the conversation and laughs going on in the other room. I would do anything for you though, and missing out on things like this is just what mammas have to do sometimes. While on maternity leave, I often did not have time to get dressed for the day, brush my teeth, wash my face, or shower until 2 in the afternoon-newborns are very dependent on their mamas!
When my 8 weeks of maternity leave were up, I was looking forward to going back to work simply because I wanted to feel like I accomplished something tangible during the day. I was grateful for the chance to take you to daycare in the same place I work-right across the hall from me 🙂 I was encouraged by the fact that you adapted quite well to your daycare environment. I remember pumping at work and coming in to your classroom to replenish your milk supply each day. I loved being able to see you from time to time when I popped in and out of your room and looked forward to hearing about your day from the ladies taking care of you 🙂
I remember all the blow outs too. We always had a basin of warm water and Borax in our kitchen sink and would add to it as each new blowout occurred. I spent a lot of time using SHOUT on your clothes to try to salvage them. The laundry was in great abundance at all times!
You loved to sleep for large parts of the day, to be in your swing, and to snuggle in to sweet slumber on your daddy’s chest. Your dad was the best swaddler! We were so excited when you started to coo. We laughed every time we un-swaddled you from your sleep sack in the morning because the minute the velcro was undone, your arms would shoot up and you would streeeeeetch for the longest time. I miss you being so brand new, fragile, and tiny…and a little lighter to carry too 😉
Around 3 months, you began smiling at us a lot more, and not just in your sleep! You liked to look at mirrors and loved to eat. Your daddio and I caught you sleeping with your hand raised up in the air a few times and it gave us a good laugh. You had been going to daycare for about a month at this point once mommy returned to work. It took you awhile to adjust to all the new noises and a little longer to try to get to sleep during the day with all that was going on in the room around you.
I walked in to the infant room to pick you up one day after work and you were giggling on a staff’s lap! This was the first time I ever saw you laugh and I couldn’t believe it! I asked if this was the first time you had laughed while at daycare and the gal taking care of you said you had been doing this for about a week! I got all emotional because I wasn’t the first to see you giggle, but it brought me so much joy to hear your precious laugh and see your face filled with so much joy 🙂 We also got excited to see you roll from your tummy to your back and vice versa.
I was in the regular routine of pumping 2 times a day at work by now. I would bring in fresh milk to restock your supply in the infant room and found it hard to keep up with your growing appetite! At 5 months I wasn’t producing enough to keep up and it was taking me crazy long amounts of time to pump what I did produce, so I called it quits and we started giving you formula. It took me awhile to find which formula agreed the best with your tummy, but after about 2 months, we finally did! We saw an immediate improvement in that you weren’t spitting up so much anymore 🙂
We started feeding you oatmeal infant cereal at 6 months. It was messy and you loved it! Once you got the hang of it, we started feeding you pureed baby food. You liked most everything but mashed avocado and Gerber turkey gravy (I don’t blame you-it looked nasty!).
You grew quite a bit of hair at this point-blonde and beautiful with little curls like your dad’s when he was little! By 8 months, you had been sitting up for some time. You started trying to crawl by sticking your bum in the air and rocking back and forth on your hands and knees. At first, you would face plant, but then you got the hang of it and started crawling all over the place!
You liked to suck your thumb, jump in the door frame bouncer and exercauser, to eat (started holding your bottle around 5 months), to clap, chew on things, observe everyone around you, put everything into your mouth, and pull my hair. You hated being strapped into your car seat, getting dressed, waiting to eat, and getting your nose suctioned with the Nose Frida. You had your two bottom teeth by 8 months and your top 2 were starting to peek through, so you drooled a looooooot! 😉 You also loved to swing at the park, to kick and splash in the tub, and first started hating to wear bibs. (now because you tear them off all the time, we are back at square one with having to wash so many of your outfits, little lady!)
At 10 months you had five teeth and loved to open all the lower kitchen cupboard doors and spread tupperware all over the floor. It was also around this time that you began to develop your love of pulling clothes out of the laundry basket and onto the floor. You’ve discovered how to open your diaper disposal (unfortunately) and how to shut your bedroom door. One day you even managed to flush the toilet-you are brilliant-we didn’t even show you that yet! You love to reach your little fingers into any garbage can you can reach and get into general shenanigans when you go out of our range of view, thus we have started closing all bedroom and bathroom doors when you are walking around! You can be hard to keep up with sometimes because you are always on the move and keep us guessing what you will discover next. Sometimes you just want to be held while I am cooking in the kitchen, so I’ll put you on my hip and show you (at a safe distance) what’s cooking on the stove top.
You are very territorial about your bottles. If you want your bottle and you want it NOW-you let us know, and quite loudly I might add. If mom or dad goes to another part of the apartment, you are curious and usually follow us to see what we’re up to. You are a very fast walker and love to explore new things. You still take 3 naps a day-way to go! You quite enjoyed your first smasher cake when we celebrated your birthday at Grandma Ash’s. You looked pretty cute with a frosting beard 😉
I can’t wait to carry on a conversation with you, but for now your “Ma ma ma ma” will suffice. Your jabbering is very entertaining too! We love you SO much Taya and are so glad you are in our lives each and every day. We are learning how to be more patient and less selfish as we grow in parenting wisdom. Thank you for continuing to love us when we make mistakes! Happy Birthday, dear one!