as i was rocking you to sleep tonight and feeling nostalgic, i tried to remember what i felt like on this same night two years ago. i tried to recall what i was doing at each particular moment in the day, what i was wearing, or even what i was thinking as i carried out my normal routines. was i nervous? was i ready? did i have any idea of what to expect?
i knew our family would be expanding soon, but i didn't know it would be the next day. i knew adding another baby to our family would change us in many ways, but there was no way i could have known just how wonderful those changes would be.
if i'm being honest, i can't remember anything extraordinary about the day before you were born. it was a tuesday and i was pregnant and uncomfortable. that's about as much as i can recall. nothing too noteworthy.
but ask me about the next day, your birthday.... and i'm full of details.
i was wearing a pink shirt when they admitted me to labor and delivery. i wasn't nearly as nervous as i thought i would be. just mostly excited. i watched episodes of law and order while i waited for things to progress. i asked for an epidural early, because i learned with libbi that i didn't want to wait too long. i remember discussing boy names and girl names with your daddy while we waited to find out which ones we'd be using. while we were anxious to see if we were having a girl or a boy, we were more anxious just to see our baby.
when you were good and ready, you came out all on your own. i distinctly remember my doctor telling me to "stop pushing" and i could feel you push off of my ribs with your own feet. i pushed twice. you did the rest. before we could fully see you, the doctor asked, "what's your guess?" and i remember saying without a doubt in my mind, "girl."
and there you were. our beautiful baby girl. i had just enough time to look at you, before the NICU team was called in and you were whisked away to the other side of the room. they were concerned about your breathing and (lack of) crying. i could see the team surrounding you as i lay in my hospital bed. everyone around me was talking and bustling around. i remember straining to hear what the NICU dr's were saying. i was trying to read their facial expressions, listen to their conversations, get a glimpse of you, and remember to breathe all at once. i don't think i did very well with any of it.
thankfully, they decided that you were basically just taking your time. we should have known then that you would be our independent little girl. you would cry when you were good and ready.... and believe me, you exercised that skill PLENTY of times over the next few months. :)
it's hard to fathom how a particular day can be so full of memories, yet such a clean slate all at the same time. i remember every detail about your entrance into this world, and yet it really was just the beginning. while we saw glimpses of your feisty personality and even your stubborn streak on that very first day, we still had so much to learn. i knew i loved you. i knew i'd do anything to protect you. i knew i'd thank God for every moment He gave us together. but there was also so much i didn't know. couldn't have known. after all, we'd only just met.
i didn't know that you'd love cookies, dora, babies, or green peas as much as you do. i was in no way prepared for the overwhelming feeling of gratefulness i'd get each time i'd see you and libbi play together.
how could i have known that you'd love to sing "Jesus Loves Me" every night before bed and request, "one more Jesus..." over and over and over? how could i have known the way my heart would melt when you'd say, "you too, momma!" and put your head on my shoulder to tell me that you love me?
the past two years have been full of beautiful, wonderful, challenging, humbling lessons in love. lessons on laney. and we wouldn't change a minute of it. we love you more than ever laylay and can't wait to see what this second year of life holds for you. no matter what, i'm sure you'll make it memorable.
happy 2nd birthday!