Yeah. Right! Moments later I was being whisked into surgery to repair my 4th degree tear and Brad was feeding Emma her first bottle. Well, her only bottle. It was right then that I realized that I had absolutely NO control - God was holding the reigns, just as He always has. Emma's blood sugar was borderline-low and she needed to eat right then. I was bleeding so badly that they couldn't wait for me to nurse her before stitching me up in the OR. They tore her away from me before I was even able to hold her. I didn't get to see who's nose she had, what her eye color was, how she smelled. Brad didn't know which direction to go - follow me, or stay with Emma. I told him to stay with her, no matter what. I later found out, it was in those scary first moments when he was alone with her, her sole caregiver for a little while, that he and Emma found their niche. He felt true responsibility for the first time. He fell in love. After I was out of recovery and in a room, they brought her to us. I held her for the first time, and nursed her. I stared at her for hours. I wouldn't put her down until I decided that after well over 36 hours with no sleep, I had to give in. She was mine, and I was her's. And Brad sobbed like a baby. It was all so real all of the sudden. We were a family and we were in charge of another helpless human life. And it was magnificent. She was absolutely perfect - hairy ears and all. ;)
It has been very difficult for me to accept the fact that once she was conceived, I was no longer in control. I couldn't control my morning sickness, my heart rate issues, my water breaking IN THE BED! I can steer her and I can lead her, but she's got a mind of her own and she steers her own boat. It's becoming more and more obvious that our little girl is hard-headed and determined. She knows what she wants and will do what she has to to get it. And I love it. I love that I have no control. She makes up her own mind. She knows what she likes and doesn't like. And I love it. It amazes me to think that we have raised this awesome little one year old with such strong opinions and such an incredible spirit. She's just perfect for us. She fits in our family so perfectly.
She arches her back when she doesn't want her diaper changed, she makes the funniest face and shoves my hand away when I feed her something she doesn't want, and she will look at me and make the cutest little guilty noise before she does something that she knows she's not supposed to. And I love it. I love every BIT of it. I love her.
And here she is, a perfect 1 year old. I'm planning to have this blog printed into a book very soon, and have been thinking for months over what my last post would be before I print it. I want very much for this to be Emma's book. I have written these blog posts for many reasons - for family, for me, but mostly for her. I want her to be able to look back at this as a woman and know how very loved she is and has always been. That's why I've decided to share with everyone a letter that I wrote to Emma when I was pregnant. It's a personal letter, but one that I want included in her book.
I hope that you all enjoy reading it and that she will one day look at it and realize just how much she means to her Daddy and I and how much I have always loved her - with my whole heart. I love you my sweet baby girl. Now and forever.
Enjoy your book. It's the first of many, as my special gift to you on your birthday.
Written: May 11, 2009
My sweet Emma Claire,
I’ve been meaning to write you a letter for months now, but have spent so much time getting ready for your arrival that I just haven’t sat down to write it. You’ll learn that I’m a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to most things. I WOULD be handwriting this letter, but that would be yet another reason to put it off – typing is much quicker.
I wanted to take a few minutes and tell you a little bit about life for your Daddy and me right now. We’ve been waiting so long for you – only 2 more months now! I’m 32 weeks pregnant this week. It seems like it’s been a long journey, although it’s only been 8 months. In truth, it’s been a much longer journey than the past 8 months. Let me tell you a little bit about that journey.
Your Daddy and I got married on October 1, 2005 at Forrest Hills Mountain Resort in Dahlonega, GA. We had been talking about having children for years – we met on November 13, 2000. In fact, we had already planned your name before we had even gotten married – we knew that you would be Emma Claire if you were a girl. A boy, we weren’t so sure about boy names! After I got pregnant with you we decided we liked Jacob Thomas or Ryan Thomas. If you ever have a brother, you may hear those names again! Anyway, we waited until your Dad had a job with Dekalb County Schools and we had purchased our first house before we started trying to get pregnant.
We had no idea what we were in for. No one on either side of our families had ever had a hard time getting pregnant. We were expecting for it to happen quickly and easily and follow our “plans.” We were wrong. After well over a year of “trying” we were getting nowhere. I had always had irregular periods and discovered that even when I DID have one, I wasn’t ovulating. I used ovulation test strips, took my basal temperatures to chart, and kept lengthy records of my monthly cycles. After a year, my doctor decided to do some tests. It was discovered that I had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and that was what was likely causing my irregular cycles and not ovulating. I began taking Provera to induce my periods. Each month I would take Provera for 7-10 days and then wait. Once my period started, I would chart my temperatures and use test strips. I still wasn’t ovulating. That was when the doctor prescribed Clomid, a fairly strong drug with nasty side effects that is supposed to induce ovulation. I did 2 rounds of Clomid, 2 months in a row. After the second round, I was pregnant! I was thrilled, as was your Daddy. We told our families right away, sure that everything was perfect.
Unfortunately, I lost that baby after only 8 weeks and 3 days. It was the most devastating thing that I’ve ever experienced. Your Daddy was so supportive, but it was something that I really had to deal with on my own. At that point, I was certain that I’d never be able to get pregnant, much less carry a baby to term. The doctors assured me that it was likely a genetic defect that caused the loss, but I was unsure. I had to go back to the doctor every other day to have blood drawn to check my HCG levels until they were low enough – about 2 weeks. As part of the blood work that was done after my miscarriage, a thyroid panel was completed. That was when they found the real problem. I had hypothyroid disease. Your grandma has hyperthyroid, and your great grandma had hypothyroid. It’s considered to be genetic, though I hope it skips you. It causes several things, including irregular periods, blood clots in the umbilical cord, and most likely, my miscarriage.
I went to the endocrinologist and started on synthroid, to correct my thyroid levels. The doctor told me to not try to get pregnant for at least 6 weeks. At the time I thought, “I just miscarried. I’m not trying again for a LONG time.” I was so afraid of losing another baby. Needless to say, within 5 weeks I was pregnant with you! We decided to let whatever happened happen, no testing, no charting, and no stress. And then you happened!
From day one this has been the perfect pregnancy. You have always measured ahead of your gestational age (the other baby always measured behind). I had horrible morning sickness, mostly in the morning when I brushed my teeth and occasionally at night. Do you want to know the truth though? I was grateful for every bit of morning sickness that I ever had. I told God that if I had to throw up every single day of my pregnancy for you, then I would do so happily. God had better plans, and I was over the nausea by 16 weeks. It’s recently come back, but not very strongly. I have also had symphasis pubis dysfunction, something that happens when your body produces too much relaxin and your pubic bone actually separates. It was painful, but worth it.
This pregnancy has been the happiest time of my entire life. I have everything that I have always wanted. I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful house, a nursery that’s almost all ready for you, and a precious baby bump. As I sit here now and look down, all I can see is baby! You weigh about 4 ½ lbs right now. You kick all the time and it’s the best feeling in the world. I think all the time about what you’ll be like when you are born. Will you have hair? Will you look like Daddy or me? Will you be big? Right now you are in the 66th percentile of height and weight. You are the most precious thing to me in this world and I would do anything in the world for you, even though you haven’t been born yet. I just can’t wait to meet you.
Let me tell you some things that I’ve already learned about you. You hate it when I lay on my left side in particular. You kick me hard and fast and it scares me sometimes because I’m afraid that I’m hurting you – the doctor assures me that I’m not, you just have “attitude!” You like to kick Lucy in the back when she lies against my stomach. When I sit down for too long, you like to kick me in the ribs to make me stretch out more. You hate it when I lean over the counter in front of the sink to wash my hands or do dishes. You love it when I play loud music and take a bath – you kick so hard! You really love Matt Nathanson and Sublime. You kick back when your Daddy pokes my belly – he loves to play with you because you only kick him back. When I had a rented heart Doppler, he was the only one that could find your heartbeat – he used to have to chase you around in my belly because you could feel the pressure from the Doppler and would run! You love to kick my bladder – I could live without that one! You have definite sleep patterns. You usually wake up when I get to work in the morning, around 7AM. You sleep off and on throughout the day, waking up very much around 7PM to play. Your Daddy and I love to sit around and watch my big belly move as you kick and do somersaults. You often lay upright on the right side of my belly looking like a big lump. It makes me laugh, and Daddy says it looks like I have an alien in there. You hate it when I wear pants with a band that goes across my belly. You kick the band all the way around my waist over and over and over again until I change. You’ve given me the best figure I’ve ever had. I lost 5 lbs throughout the early pregnancy and have only gained 7 lbs so far (2 over my pre-pregnancy weight). People tell me all the time how cute I look – I’m only big in my belly, nowhere else. I have you to thank for that! I think I’d like to be pregnant forever. It’s just the best. There is one bad part – sleeping. I wake up once an hour (not exaggerating) to go to the bathroom and readjust in the bed. I have to sleep with one leg over a pillow to keep from rolling onto my belly. You and I don’t always have the same idea as to when bedtime is, so I often get woken up early in the morning to you kicking me because I’m on my side. You have a mind of your own – you WON’T stop kicking until I turn over. I’ve even tried waiting you out. No luck! I’m looking forward to you getting here so that I can get MORE sleep – even if you wake up every 2 hours, it’s still better than I’m getting now!
There are so many things that I’m looking forward to. I can’t wait to hold you, smell your sweet baby smell, and cuddle you. I can’t wait to see your Daddy holding you for the first time. I can’t wait for your grandma to meet you – she’s almost as excited as I am, though she would say more. I can’t wait to breastfeed. I know, it may sound weird, but I can’t wait. It amazes me to think that my body will be making everything that you will need to survive for the first year of your life. It’s such a bonding experience and I’m so excited. I can’t wait to be not only your mom, but your friend. I hope that you will always know that you can come to me and talk about anything in this world, without judgment.
I am planning to cloth diaper you. My mom did the same with me, and it’s a gift I’d like to give you. It’s more complicated and much more time consuming than disposables, but I’m devoted to it. I will have enough time to do the laundry because I’ll be at home with you.
Speaking of being at home, I have 2 more weeks of school until I’m done. I’ve decided to take off a few years to be a stay at home mom. I want to be the one to raise my sweet baby and wouldn’t dream of daycare. We will be on a tight budget just to make ends meet, but things will work out. I’m a little scared about our finances, but I know that God will provide for us. He always has.
I can’t wait to meet you sweet girl. You’re going to make me the one thing in this life that only you can – a mother. Thank you for allowing us to be your parents. I hope that we won’t let you down. I had the best parents in the world and I can only hope that we can be just as good of parents to you. You can always know, without a doubt, that you have always been wanted, loved, and desired. We love you unconditionally and without end. We always will.
With all the love in my heart,