You Were Born…

Dear Soph-
Exactly one month from yesterday my baby girl turns 1 year old. I can’t believe it. And here comes the cliched line… Where did the time go?

I decided to write down the story of your birth. It’s something you will undoubtedly ask me about one day, so…why not?  I’ll try to keep it short. Here goes…

Your due date was July 9, 2014. You were born at 11:58pm on July 9, 2014. I read somewhere that only 4-5% of babies are actually born on their due date. So that’s pretty cool, huh? While I wish I could take some modicum of credit for getting you into that 4-5% statistic, the credit really goes to the doctors and surgical team that so skillfully – and hurriedly – plucked you into this world.

You see, kid, your birth was a bit traumatic – for you and for us.

Let me back up a little…

I was scheduled to be induced on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Your dad and I left for the hospital about 10:30 that night. I cried. We listened to Sara Bareilles’ “I Choose You” as we drove. I cried some more. I was so nervous.

By the time they got the induction process going, it was about 12:30am on July 9. I told your dad to go home to get some sleep. Despite my nerves, I also managed to fall asleep… only to be woken up about 5am by a room full of nurses. They were quite obviously panicked. One was strapping an oxygen mask to my face…one was hooking up an IV…one was adjusting the monitor that tracked your heart beat…one was telling me to turn to my other side. I stared wide-eyed, looking from one nurse to the next until one of them met my frantic gaze and calmly told me that your heart rate had dropped suddenly.

Thankfully, your heart rate soon started going back up and everyone relaxed.

Unfortunately this happened about 3 more times. It would drop to about 90…I would change positions and strap on an oxygen mask and your heart rate would go back up. Add to that, despite being on Pitocin for 12 hours, I was making no progress. Horrible contractions? You bet. But I was not progressing. The nurse told me that my doctor would give me another 5 hours and if i still had made no progress then I would have to have a c-section.

And then all Hell broke loose. I noticed our nurse was suddenly on the phone, looking panicked. The next thing I knew the room was full of doctors and nurses…throwing scrubs at your father, pulling cords out of the wall…it was sheer chaos. I was told I had to have a c-section immediately. At this point, the way everyone was acting, I wasn’t sure you even had a heartbeat anymore. No one was really telling us exactly what the problem was. But people were panicked. They were running…RUNNING…down the hallway… RUNNING to the operating room.

I have never been so scared in my entire life. I thought “this can’t be happening…this can’t be happening.” And I kept repeating (in my head, I think…but maybe out loud): “Please God, please protect her. Please don’t take her. Please God, don’t take her from me.”

It was more chaos in the operating room. They let your dad come in and sit next to me…he held my hand while I cried (he told me later that he sat, alone, in a room while they prepped me for surgery. He said he cried. Your dad never cries. He cried for me and for you). There was tugging…and pulling…and pressure. I tried to stay calm.

And then I heard them suctioning out your little mouth. And I went from despair to sheer joy and relief in a flash. One quick suction and you let out the loudest cry I have ever heard. It filled the operating room and I cried and said (actually I may have shouted)ß “Oh thank God!” You were ok. You were breathing…and had quite a set of lungs!

It was hard for me to not get to hold you right away. I had to settle for listening – gleefully – to your loud cries as I cried right along with you – my arms strapped down stretched out to each side. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Patel, kindly answered each of my tear-filled questions.

Is she ok?
She’s perfect!

Does she have any hair?
Yes, and it’s brown!

Is she big? They thought she would be over 8 pounds.
Oh no…she’s very tiny!

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, a nurse brought you over to me…all bundled up…and held you near my face so I could give you a kiss.

“Hi angel,” I remember saying to you.

I later found out that your heart rate had dropped down to 30. They said the umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around your neck. Your dad and I are forever grateful to the doctors and nurses that acted so quickly and brought you into this world safe and sound.

And here we are…one month away from celebrating your first birthday. Remembering how you came into this world makes me even more grateful…we are so incredibly blessed…and it is truly my privilege to be your mother.

Love, Mom

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Dear Soph-
I saw a sign outside of your daycare room when I dropped you off this morning asking parents to sign a form if they wanted their kids to wear sunscreen when playing outside.

Naturally, I immediately tracked down the Director of the center and requested a new form, where I could write in the exact brand of sunscreen I wanted you to wear (rather than have them use whatever they stock up on at the center). Not only did I write down the brand, but – being the long-winded type of gal that I am – I took it a step further and used all of the extra blank space they so kindly left at the bottom to elaborate on exactly what I expected whenever you are taken outside. Part of those instructions included that you are to wear a sun hat at all times when out of doors. Sorry, kid. I am that mom.

Your dad took one look at the form, laughed, and said “After reading this they probably won’t even bother taking her out.”

While I hope that’s not the case, I admit I went overboard on my instructions. I own it. But I don’t feel bad about it at all. There are certain things I am particularly sensitive about when it  comes to your care and sun protection is very high on my list. I am that mom.

So I thought I should prepare you, kid. Here is a list of some additional things you have in store for you as you grow up:

I am that mom…who will probably tear up (or weep openly) when I watch you do something you love, or achieve something new, or learn how to read, or go to your first school dance, or…you get the picture. Have the tissues ready because I can be an emotional gal.

I am that mom…who will act like a total goof in front of your friends because, not only do I think it’s funny to embarrass you ever so slightly, I’m also hoping it will ensure you don’t take yourself too seriously.

I am that mom…who will make you write thank you notes after receiving gifts – for any occasion. Because, gratitude is important.

I am that mom…who will not let you stay home from school unless you are REALLY sick. I come by it honestly, kid. I grew up with an ER nurse for a mom – an ER nurse who worked the night shift – so unless I had a disturbingly high fever or a much-needed appendage dangling by a tendon, I went to school. As my mom always used to say: “The walk to school will do you good.”

I am that mom…who will arrive an hour early to your recitals (or performances of any kind) to ensure I am seated in the front row, on the correct side of the stage (or sports field?) so we have an optimal viewpoint of my baby girl. In dire situations, when I’m concerned about jockeying for the best seats, I will not be ashamed to have my mother fake a minor asthma attack – as she had my grandmother do – to allow us even earlier entry than the rest of the parents so your dear sweet Grammy can sit down in a comfortable chair to rest and catch her breath. And if that comfortable chair just happens to be stage right in the front row, then so be it.

I am that mom…who will not allow you to have a cell phone before junior high (I prefer high school, but I realize I must pick my battles), nor will I really believe that the absence of said cell phone is costing you friends.

I am that mom…who, upon hearing you have been invited over to a friend’s house for a party, will call your friend’s mother to thank her for having you over and to ask if you can bring any refreshments – no matter how many times you INSIST your friend’s parents are aware of the shindig and will be home to supervise. My sister was caught many a time with this little trick I learned from my mom.

I am that mom…who will insist on family traditions – like bedtime rituals, game nights, Christmas Eve activities, secret handshakes with your dad, summer reading competitions and the like. I love thinking back and remembering things we did as a family when I was growing up and I want the same memories and traditions for you to pass on.

I am that mom…who will make you volunteer when school is out for the summer. Nursing homes, hospitals, animal shelters – you can pick the what and the where, but it’s happening.

I am that mom…who secretly wishes you grow up with the same passions that I did – playing the piano, singing, writing, reading – and I may ask that you TRY some of these things, but I will be your biggest supporter no matter what strikes your fancy.

I am that mom…who will never let a single day go by without telling you – out loud – how proud I am of you and how much I love you.

Love, Mom