Exactly ten years ago this evening, I sat home with a big bowl of cookies and cream, a big belly and even bigger hopes, dreams and anticipation.
Hours before at my routine prenatal visit I was told to expect a good sized baby (7 pounds or so), to not be surprised if I went past my expected due date of February 11th, etc. and she'd see me in a week.
Later that evening as I sat with my one craving (ice cream), the thoughts swirled in my head...3 more days of work, a week at home to make final preparations, pack my bag for the hospital, prop my swollen feet and daydream about the day I finally got to meet my baby girl. Perhaps I'd get a Valentine's Day baby!
Little did I know as I fell asleep that night to HGTV, as I often did when Ben was working overnights, (an old, creeky house can be a little spooky alone at night), that I was about to get a reminder of how things don't always go according to plan, in my time or under my control!
Around 2:30am, I was awakened by "pregnancy bladder"...you moms out there know just what I mean! I made my sleepy trip to to the next room and back to bed. As I climbed back into my bed, I just felt "funny"...it soon became apparent that IT WAS TIME! There would be no more working, no time at home to "nest", no waiting for an overdue baby or even my due date! It was time to call my husband home from work, grab what I could into a bag and head out the door to what would be one of the most challenging but wonderful times of my life!
As we arrived at the hospital, I didn't know what to think or feel. Tiredness, fear, excitement...pretty much any emotion you could imagine was present...ALL at once! I won't go into details about the day (those of you who really care know all about it and I'm sure the rest of you would prefer to be spared of the details!). I must say that true to her style, my girl was on her way then decided...hmm...I'm not quite ready. Please wait!
So after being at the hospital nearly 8 hours with no food (aside from 1 measly red popsicle), no sleep and lots of anticipation, the decision was made to start meds and try to convince her out!
As I struggled with contractions, pain medication side effects like nausea, craziness, etc...I watched the hands of the clock twirl and the hours passed. Finally, after what seeemed to be the longest day of my life, 11:29pm came. Along with it came the most precious 5pound 4ounce baby girl! Emily Claire had entered my life and stolen my heart!
It seemed that things didn't follow my plans at all, but the reality is that it was never about MY plan. In exhange for control over the situation, I was given the most beautiful gift. Eleven extra days! Eleven extra days to hold my baby girl in my arms, to stare into her eyes, to kiss her, to feel her soft skin, and to smell her sweet baby scent.
My life soon became a mixture of long days, sleepless nights, spit up, dirty diapers...but amidst it all was a love greater than I could ever have imagined.
Sometimes her birth seems so long ago and some days it seems as if just yesterday, I watched my tiny girl, swaddled and sleeping in her cradle. As the days, months and years have passed, my girl has changed, the routines and struggles have changed, but one thing has remained the same...my love for my daughter and my love and appreciation of being the lucky one who was chosen to be her mother.
Although motherhood isn't always easy, Emily has brought unspeakable joy to my life. I am proud of the accomplishments she's made, the "little lady" she's become and I am so glad she's mine.
In ways, as I sit here at my computer a whole decade later, a mixture of emotions wash over me once again. There is anticipation and excitement of what's to come, fear of the unknown, sadness of how quickly the time and stages have passed, pride, and most of all love. My heart is bursting at the seams with love for my sweet girl.
I hope and pray that as she opens her gifts tomorrow, she'll remember that SHE IS THE TRUE GIFT!
HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY, EMILY CLAIRE!