Exactly one year ago; on a beautiful hot Summer day I was pacing the house... up down up down up down the hallway for hours and hours. Sometimes I walked outside and rocked on my yoga ball. Mostly I just paced. And baked a banana cake. I'm not sure why. I remember the cricket was on TV. But mostly I remember that feeling. That this was IT. That the wait was over. That I was about to meet you at last.
Here I am, my labour day, but clearly not yet in active labour. We actually stopped at the store TO RETURN A DVD on the way to the hospital... clearly I had no idea of what was to come:
When we arrived at the hospital at 5pm, the nurse said I was 6cm dilated (yay!) and promised I would have you in my arms by midnight. This wasn't so bad! I took a bath and tried to relax. No drugs, no gas was my mantra. But you were posterior, and gradually the pain in my back got worse until I was struggling to stay calm and no longer able to open my eyes. Eventually, hours later after I gratefully accepted an Epidural I had the bittersweet realisation that I was immune to it. What was the point of drugs if they didn't bloody work??
Everything was in slow motion until the Obstetrician finally arrived at 3.30am and at that moment, everything sped up. Lights people machines noise telephones stretcher fluorescent lights and the teeth chattering shivering freezing cold. I dimly registered the words 'emergency Caesarian' on my way down to theatre (but this wasn't in my birth plan!), but by this stage I almost forgot and barely cared that I was having a baby. All I could think about was the pain the pain the pain.
What I remember out of my tunnel of consciousness is the doctor saying "oh, hello!" and then the sound of a cry, YOUR cry and then I saw this tiny, squirming, thing lifted over my body and my first thought was "she's so long!" and then immediately afterward "and she's so beautiful" and that. was. it.
I was overwhelmingly, devastatingly, passionately in love and right then and right there, I would have died for you.
Here I am immediately afterward, almost recognisable (my face was so puffy I didn't have a neck!:
And a day later, still puffy and unable to walk (or laugh or cough) from the pain:
You were cheeky, right from day one:
... and a cuddly little koala. Even now, you cuddle yourself into us and wrap your chubby arms around our neck. This is the day you came home from the hospital. Your third going-home outfit. You soiled the first two!
Here you are, the day you came home from hospital in the pajama top your daddy bought you -- it was like a dress. You wear that top to bed now; it's getting almost too tight for your fat little belly:
Oh my beautiful blue-eyed girl. You have turned my world upside down! Pink plastic bicycles, dollies in baskets, wooden blocks have taken over my once-pristine home... I have pumpkin permanently smeared into my floorboards... I have kilo tubs of Napisan in my laundry... there are little coloured icecubes of puree taking up my whole freezer... there is a pram, and wraps, and toys, and bottles and wipes in the boot of my car where boutique shopping bags used to be...
And you have your own personality now.
- You have a tantrum EVERY morning after your milk, just for 10 seconds because you think we should have given you more.
- Then, you remember where you are (our bed) and a look of glee appears in your eye as you climb up to see what's on the beadhead.
- You love sitting in the shopping trolley
- ... and eating the shopping list when I'm not looking
- You can eat a banana faster than your daddy
- You laugh like a hyena when your tummy is tickled
- You love animals
- You point intently at everything now, and jabber away sometimes for hours on end in your own language
- You are so sensitive and cried once when I spoke sharply to the dog
- You would eat a whole punnet of blueberries if I let you
Baby girl, the last twelve months have taught me everything about love... and responsibility... and sleep deprivation. I keep waiting for the novelty of you to wear off. But it doesn't! Somewhere along the line we became more than just mother and daughter. We became best friends. And our bond is stronger than glue. I'll always be here for you. And I wish you nothing more than fulfilling all your future dreams whatever they might be. Because you're going places, baby. I love you.
Happy birthday Fern...
Here's some snaps of Fern I took monthly in my pink Eames rocker since she was born:
... and one year: