***WARNING: This entry is EXTREMELY long. But I was on a roll and wanted to get this stuff down for my daughter to read someday. So proceed, if you wish. If you're not up to it...my feelings will not be hurt. :)***
You are FIVE years old, girlie!! How in the WORLD did you get so old, SO fast?!!
Thinking back on your little life makes me smile....
Your Daddy and I felt like it was time to invite you into our family after being married for just 7 months. We had planned on waiting until we had been married at least one year, so I could finish my first year of nursing school.
But there was one week where both your dad and I felt like someone was missing from our new family. I specifically remember walking to the post office to check the mail, which was just around the corner from our tiny garage apartment in Thatcher, Arizona and feeling like I SHOULD be pushing my baby in a stroller. Except I didn't have a baby yet. After a week of feeling like this, but not talking to your Dad about it, I finally brought up the subject. He admitted that he, too, had felt like someone was missing whenever we went somewhere.
We decided we should pray about how we were feeling and after finishing our prayer together I remember both of us smiling and feeling SO good inside about inviting a baby into our home. We were SO excited, thinking about it and knew it was the right thing for us to do.
We found out that I was pregnant in October of 2004. I bought multiple pregnancy tests just to be sure and there was NO doubt about it, after seeing multiple sets of pink lines! I had a relatively easy pregnancy, not getting sick in the beginning much at all. I did feel a slight nausea all day for the first trimester but it wasn't bad as long as I snacked often. I only threw up twice, and it was just because I had a hyperactive gag reflex that happened when I brushed my teeth!
I was very busy, when I was pregnant with you, because I was in my first year of nursing school! When I was newly pregnant with you I did a rotation through the surgery department. I was observing a surgery and suddenly felt VERY lightheaded, like I was about to pass out! Not because I was grossed out by it but because I hadn't eaten enough that morning and my blood sugar was low! One of the nurses took my to the break room and gave me some orange juice and crackers and I confessed to her that I was pregnant. I also remember being able to REALLY smell all the smells of the nursing home I did my clinical at, YUCK!
The 2nd semester was SO great for me, since I got to learn all about pregnancy, labor and delivery, and child development. I soaked up all that knowledge like a sponge! I loved doing my rotations in labor and delivery and in the nursery, just dreaming about how I would soon be in that same place, delivering my first child!
When I was about 20 weeks we got to see an ultrasound of you, to make sure all your parts were working correctly and....and find out if you were a boy or a girl! I really felt like you were a girl from the beginning and...and I was right! We were so happy to be having a girl!
I loved feeling you move around inside me. It was so special to know you were a living little person in there. You got the hiccups all the time! When you got really big you had your head down and loved to pushed your little bum up into my ribs, ouch! I was always pushing you back down, out of my ribs. We could also feel one of your little feet and could move it around, when it got to be close to your due date.
I got to have THREE baby showers before you were born! One in St. David, hosted by your Grandma Mayberry, another put on by my nursing school class for me and two other girls who had babies around the same time, and one more hosted by my Aunt Carol at my Aunt Celeste's house in Thatcher for my friends there. I got LOADED up with so much fun stuff! I don't think I had to buy many clothes for you for a couple years!
When I was 6 weeks away from my due date your dad and I moved from Thatcher to Silver City, NM, which was about 1 1/2 hours away, so your dad could start working on his bachelor's degree at Western New Mexico University. I couldn't do much, moving wise, so I just did LOTS of packing and cleaning. We were so excited to move into our new apartment! It was quite a "step up" for us, moving from the garage apartment to a 500 square foot, two bedroom apartment! Having an actual bedroom with a DOOR was GREAT! We got your room set up pretty quickly, using hand-me-down or 2nd hand EVERYTHING, including a crib and changing table from one of my science professors at EA (your dad says I was a teacher's pet :); a dresser from my parents, which used to belong to your Uncle Jacob; a rocking chair from my Aunt Lori; a high chair and bouncer from my Aunt Martha and a swing from my cousin, Esther. I think the only things we had to buy new was a carseat and stroller!
About 2 weeks before my due date, which was July 9th, right before your dad went to one of his summer school classes I sneezed....and thought my water had broken. So we went to the hospital to have it checked but....nope! I had just wet myself when I sneezed! Embarrassing! A week later, though, on Sunday, July 3rd I started noticing some unusual cramping at church. They were pretty far apart and weren't very strong but they started to get more and more regular as the day went on. After dinner we went for a walk around the neighborhood to see if we could get things going more. That helped a bit. We went back to the apartment and played Yahtzee (for the first time) and waited to see if things would get more intense. After about an hour of having fairly strong and regular contractions about 5 minutes apart we decided to head to the hospital. It was around 7:00pm. I was so excited!
After we got checked in to the tiny labor and delivery department at Gila Regional Medical Center (it only had four L&D rooms!) the nurse, who was the only one there and was a travel nurse (so was new to the hospital) came to see how far I was dilated. I was only at 3cm, darn! But my contractions seemed to be getting stronger and were now 3-4 minutes apart so I was admitted. The nurse advised me to walk around the hospital to see if it would help move things along. It did, to me anyway! I had to stop and breathe through contractions more by the time I had walked a couple laps. So I went back to the room to get checked again. Still 3 cm. That was disappointing, since I really felt like things were getting more intense! The nurse called the doctor around 11:00 pm to see what we should do. She told me that the doctor felt like my contractions weren't strong enough of close enough together and that I should just go home and come back when things picked up more. That was SO disheartening to hear! I asked if I could talk to the doctor but the nurse told me that I shouldn't wake the doctor again. I didn't have the greatest feelings toward that nurse! I felt like she had downplayed my status to the doctor. But this being my first time in labor...I just did as I was told and didn't stick up for myself.
So the nurse gave me some pills to help me "sleep" and discharged us. We went back home to find my whole family asleep at our house. They had come straight from a family reunion at Mt Graham near Thatcher so they could be there to see their first grandchild/niece! Your dad and I got ready for bed and....your dad had a great rest that night! I, on the other hand.....not so much. I took the sleeping pill and dozed in between each contraction, which were still coming every 4ish minutes. I felt really groggy from that pill but it didn't help me sleep at all. I spent the whole night laying in bed and thinking of each contraction as a big, dark cloud, full of black smoke and as each contraction ended I would blow all that black smoke out and think, "I don't ever have to feel THAT contraction again." I did that all night until 7:00 am, since I refused to go back to the hospital if that nurse was still on shift. So at 7:00 am sharp I called the doctor. The midwife, Gail, who worked with the doctor called me back. I talked to her as I knelt at the edge of the bed swaying my hips back and forth, hardly able to talk to her through the contractions. I BEGGED her to PLEASE let me get an epidural! I was SO tired and didn't think I could take the pain much longer! She assured me that, yes, I could definitely get an epidural if that was what I felt I needed.
I quickly brushed my teeth and gathered my things and hobbled to our car. Even though it took only about 10 minutes, that car ride to the hospital was NOT comfortable! When we got there I didn't feel like I could get out and walk into the hospital so your dad had a wheelchair brought out and I was wheeled into L&D. I was definitely admitted that time, for good, because I was now dilated to 7 cm! And I found out later, after talking to my midwife, Gail, that I probably shouldn't have been sent home the night before!! GRRRR.
A nurse anesthetist came in soon after I got there and I professed my love to her profusely! The epidural got placed pretty quickly and I felt immediate and complete relief from the contractions! It was GLORIOUS! I did start to get a little lightheaded, though, after it was placed so I lay on my left side and had an oxygen mask on me for awhile. I labored quite comfortably for a couple hours and got checked again and found out I was fully dilated and could start pushing.
Miss Priss.....you had a BIG head, plus with the epidural I couldn't feel how to push AT ALL, so you took 2 1/2 HOURS to push out!!! It really wasn't too bad,since I couldn't feel anything. I did get pretty tired, though! Your dad and my mom held my legs as I pushed. Gail, the nurse midwife was AMAZING and did a really good job at encouraging me and massaging me so that I wouldn't tear as much. I joked as I was pushing, using a line from "The Princess Bride"..."Slow going?" because I would push and you would come out a little, then go back in. But FINALLY you decided to come out and what a beautiful moment that was! You were a big girl, weighing 8 lbs 9 oz and 21 1/2 inches long! You looked little to me, at the time, but now I didn't have anything to compare to! Now I know that, yep! You were a big girl! You were so beautiful, with dark hair and deep gray eyes. The first thing I noticed about you was your cute button nose, with a wrinkle of chubby skin above your nose. You were so sweet and your Daddy and I were just in awe that you were OURS, forever!
Oh, and did I mention that you we thought it was SO fun that you were born on the 4th of July??! We think it's one of the coolest holiday birthdays! I'll never forget sitting in my hospital room, snuggling your little body, while watching the fireworks go off outside my hospital window!
Fast forward FIVE YEARS and you are a smart, sassy, funny, thoughtful, compassionate little girl, with beautiful brown eyes, long dark eyelashes, rosy cheeks, red lips and long legs! OH, you have led us on quite an adventure in parenthood, Miss Priss! You have stumped us too many times to count and have left us wondering what on EARTH to do in this or that situation with you! You have been so alert and curious about the world around you, asking questions that I usually don't have a good answer to. Bedtime has NEVER been your favorite and you just think that life would be SO much better if you never had to sleep. You are just missing out on SO many exciting things when you have to sleep. BUT...we have learned that you NEED to sleep 11-12 hours every night in order for you to be pleasant to be around. You will do everything in your power to stall bedtime. Every night before we walk out you will say, "Mom, Mom, Mom!! Ummmm....(thinking just ONE more question to ask)......***insert odd, off the wall question*** Then in the morning you are the perkiest thing alive, ready to conquer the world!
You feel all of your feelings VERY deeply! If you are mad...you are VERY mad. If you are sad....you are VERY sad. But if you are happy or excited or concerned about someone you are very happy, VERY excited and VERY concerned about that person. We are hoping to help channel your ability to feel things deeply into something that will be of great use in your life.
I hope and pray, every day, that I will be the best mother I can be to you. I know that I fall short OFTEN, not being as patient or attentive as I should be. I hope you'll still turn out okay, despite my faults as your mother.
You are about to start kindergarten and I have VERY mixed feelings about it! I worry that you will be overwhelmed by the large class sizes in this school district. I don't want you to be "lost in the crowd" and have your ability to learn suppressed by that. I worry about kids being mean to you. You are my baby girl and I don't want anything bad to happen to you! I'm hoping there will just be an adjustment period and then you will be fine after that.
Well, Miss Priss, I just felt like I should write some of my feelings about you, in honor of you turning 5 years old and express to you my love and commitment to and gratitude for being your mother!
I love you, Baby Girl!
Your Mommy :)