Having a baby is better than being pregnant. I can say that with complete confidence now. I have had a baby longer than I was pregnant. At about this time on this day a year ago I was crying. Why was I crying? I was begging for an epidural. I had failed. I had such a great birth plan. I wanted to feel the high that was promised to me by all the natural birth literature. I wanted to do what most women in history had done, vaginal birth with our the aid of drugs. I had failed. A restful nap and three hours after that I had a baby. At 1:39 AM on May 17th, 2012 I, and not a minute too soon, Mirah was born.
Flash forward almost a year. I had a plan, to always protect my baby. For the first time as a parent, I did so by calling poison control.
As any parent can tell you, there is a steep learning curve in that endeavor as the things that hurt them change as they grow. Kids Mirah’s age love to discover new things by putting them in their mouths. Mirah has mostly stopped eating things off the floor but when she sees something new, or something she thinks is food she just can’t help herself. The other night, she found a bird dropping on the side walk, and before I could stop her, she sunk her two brand new teeth right into it.
Then yesterday while watering the garden, she ate a ranunculus flower. She loved it, and even bit my finger (and it really hurt) as I tried to get it out of her mouth. I felt impressed to see if it was poisonous. Turns out it is. Long story and a bunch of phone calls later she is fine. She didn’t eat enough to give her too much trouble.
Still, between a brush with poison and Mirah’s first birthday I have been thinking about how fragile life is, how every day is a victory. How even though I had to pull up my remaining ranunculus it was ok, because it meant it was one more thing I could try and do to protect my precious child.
Here they are, in a bottle, on my windowsill.
What a year. I am grateful for every day. Even when I am not. I am grateful. Sometimes I look at her and think, she could be it, my only chance to be a parent. This thought is usually followed by me scooping her up, kissing her face and neck (while she struggles to escape) and me telling her how much I love her and how happy she makes me. These are the days she won’t remember. She’ll just remember the times I embarrassed her in front of her friends or when I lose my temper and made her feel bad. (Two things that I am SURE will happen.) Not that I was able to breastfeed for a whole year (yeah, she is down to one feeding at night and we are planning on cutting that off tomorrow night.) Or that I stayed the night in the hospital even after I was discharged to be near her in the NICU. That sometimes I stay up late watching her on the monitor, or I wake her up a little early because I miss her so much.
Even though she won’t remember those days, I hope she will know that she is loved, valued and treasured by her parents. That despite all the ways I know I will fail her, that all my plans of being a perfect parent will fail (sometimes) that she will know that I love her.
Mirah, if you ever read this, I hope you know that I loved you from before you were born, and I will love you forever. I am so thankful that Heavenly Father let me be your mom and that you can be mine for eternity.