It was one year ago. It was a Friday night and I couldn't sleep. I woke up Mike and told him I was going downstairs to lay on the couch. That's where I was the most comfortable and I could watch tv without keeping Mike awake too. I slept off and on but had some cramps that kept me tossing and turning.
Saturday morning sunlight filled the house and Mike came downstairs. He asked how I was feeling and if I had slept. "I feel ok. I've been having some cramps - I think they might be contractions, but I'm not sure. It feels kind of like a charlie horse." How was I supposed to know what contractions felt like? I'd never had them before. I had expressed my concern to my midwife, doctor and lots of my friends - they all replied with the same response "You'll know." Well, since I wasn't sure, I just kind of brushed it off as being part of the uncomfortable part of the end of pregnancy.
Mike started timing my charlie horses and they ended up being pretty consistent. We decided to call the midwife and ask her what she thought. We had the midwife, Jennifer, on speaker phone when one hit. And that's when she said "Yeah, you definitely sound like you're in labor. And given that you are past your due date, I'd say that this is more than likely NOT false labor. Why don't you go ahead and head to the hospital and I'll meet you there." Believe it or not, I actually asked if it were ok if I took a shower. She agreed and said to give her a call back when we were on our way.
I took my shower and then went tee-tee for the 360th time that morning. As I was sitting on the toilet, my water broke. Mike stuck his head around the door - "What was THAT?!?!" "Uh...I think my water just broke!" At that point I was so thankful it had broken while I was in the bathroom - I had some serious anxiety about cleaning up a mess. Now, my anxiety was on the fact that we were definitely going to become parents very very soon.
We finished getting ready and snapped one last picture before we headed out the door. Once we were in the car, I made a few phone calls and shared the news that I was in labor and we were headed to the hospital. Once we made it to the hospital, we were checked in and put in a room. At this point I was 100% sure that this was labor. I wasn't able to speak or walk during a contraction.
We got in our hospital room and I changed into the gown, climbed up on the bed and tried to relax. Jennifer came in the room and checked me. I was 7 cm. Everything was going perfectly in line with the birth plan I wanted.
Well, after 20 hours of unmedicated labor, flipping positions, pushing and then a c-section - our beautiful baby girl was born at 11:57 pm. It was that very exact minute, 11:57 on April 16th 2011 that our lives changed forever. I was a Mom and Mike was a Dad.
Brooke was born and she was perfect. She had beautiful blue eyes, beautiful blondish-brown hair. She was the most perfect 6 lbs 15 ozs I'd ever seen. Becoming a parent is the most life changing event and I am so so thankful that God chose us to be Brooke's parents. What a wonderful gift he gave us!
And here we are...one year later. We were warned that the first year would go by so fast, and I tried my very best to slow it down. But - it went by FAST! Blink your eye and she grew an inch, fast. It's exciting and yet sad all at the same time.
It's been a whole year and Brooke is completely different now. I spent quite a bit of time just watching her today (eating cheese eggs at Waffle House, playing at Toys-R-Us, swinging at the park and demolishing a big cupcake) and I'm just fascinated with her. She is independent and soaking up life like a sponge. Our house has toys scattered throughout the living room floor. There are crumbs from Ritz Crackers and goldfish everywhere. My car is messy and cluttered with baby toys, books and a really big stroller. I have puffs in the bottom of my purse. Our perspective on life is different and our priorities are different. Even my clothes fit different. Everything is just, different. Wonderful different. Beautiful different. Good different.
Tonight as I put my baby girl to bed, I hugged her a little tighter. Because, tomorrow we will start a whole new year - and I can't help but wonder how things will be different. I just hope she has the best second year. And I hope she knows how much she is loved.
Happy First Birthday, Brooke!