Five-year anniversary

Five years ago today I was on my second day of contractions, wondering at what point I would have my first baby. I had read all the books and taken all the classes, but somehow my baby wasn’t listening to any of the rules. After you have your first baby, you realize there are no rules and that babies run the show.

Her first love, Daddy.

Her first love, Daddy.

My baby, my first baby, is turning five on Wednesday. Five. A whole hand of fingers, a whole half a decade, a whole bunch of moments and memories and tears and nonsense and happiness and terror and pain and love and light. A whole lot of growing. Five.

It marks my five-year anniversary of being a mother.

She, my Sophie, made me a mother.

Her first bath. She hated water.

Her first at-home bath. She hated water.

It was a rough start. There were days (Literally. Four. Not a whole hand, but FOUR days.) of contractions. There were multiple midwife visits, including one where my midwife at the time slept on my couch overnight. She was impressed that there were freshly-baked cookies in the house. I was wondering when the hell my baby would show up.

Not her first (or last) conversation.

Not her first (or last) conversation.

Then there was the drive to the hospital at four in the morning on the day she would be born, the 30th of April. Ben drove through red lights and I was barely aware of where we were. My mom was in the car too. It was her idea to go to the hospital – she didn’t want me screaming and sleeping in the tub anymore (go figure).

Her first (and still) best friend, Elora.

With her first (and still) best friend, Elora.

There was the couple outside the hospital that congratulated us (it was pretty obvious why we were there) as we went in through the ER door. I wanted to punch them. At that point, I didn’t know what they were congratulating us for – so far this motherhood thing sucked.

Too cute. Always.

Too cute. Always.

When we got upstairs to the obstetrics floor, the nurse asked my mom if I wanted an epidural. My mom said, “Ask her.” Love was in short supply between them. The. Whole. Time.

Her first big-sister gig.

Her first big-sister gig.

When I finally got my epidural, and my break from the days-long contractions, I napped. That nap lives forever in my mind as the most blissful because I was by far the most exhausted when I got relief from the pain and was left alone in a quiet room for what seemed like hours.

Her first hair cut.

Her first hair cut.

At 5:00 p.m. my mother-in-law got to leave work ‘early’ on tax deadline day – the first and only one since she became an accountant. She took over for my mom in the delivery room because my mom wanted to kill the nurses (difference of opinion would have been an improvement on the situation). Thus began the insane intimacy I have with my mother-in-law.

Her first of many crowns.

Her first of many crowns.

At 6:00 p.m. I was finally fully dilated with my rule-breaking baby. And I was ‘allowed’ to push. Woohoo. My mother-in-law held one of my legs in the air while I did so. Yes I pooped. Yes I pushed. Yes she was there the whole time. Yup.

Still her first love.

Still her first love.

At 8:00 p.m. I was told that Sophie’s heart rate was dropping during contractions and that I had a fever. That if those things weren’t true, they’d ‘let’ me push for another hour. How nice. The obstetrician strongly suggested a C-section. All I heard was, You get more drugs! I said yes.

Do you want to build a snowman?

Do you want to build a snowman?

We were then told that some poor man fell from scaffolding twenty-feet high and that the anesthesiologist was busy in an operation with him. I was told we were waiting and that I wasn’t allowed to push anymore through my contractions. *sob*

She's only a little crazy.

She’s only a little crazy.

Finally, blissfully, I got to the operating room, I got my more drugs, and my baby was born at 8:50 p.m. They said what it was, but I couldn’t hear them. I asked my anesthesiologist (the one I took away from dinner, I was told) what it was and he said, What do you think? I think people in the hospital were begging for punches that night. He told me a girl after I refused to answer him.

Her first wheels.

Her first wheels.

A girl.

My girl.

Her first day of school.

Her first day of school.

Ben got to go with her to get cleaned up, go with her to meet the family and tell them we had a Sophie, go be her person first while I was getting sewn up. It’s a privilege I never got with my babies. I was never the first to hold them, or carry them, but that’s okay. I was the first to feel them, the first one to hang out with them, and the first one they heard. I was that first.

Feeding her baby.

Feeding her baby.

And she was mine.

Second-gig as big sister.

Second-gig as big sister.

Happy, happy, happy fifth, my beautiful first. Happy, happy fifth to us.

All grown up.

All grown up.

Love, Mama

~ Julia

I’ve found the love

I’ve been working on being more loving and happy.

I know that the first step is loving yourself as you are, even if it is at your worst. And beyond being just okay with yourself, I think that you should have a little bit of vanity in you and have at least one thing about yourself that you love. I have quite a few!

And yes I am going to list the things I LOVE about myself.

My eyes: They are green with a splotch of brown in the middle, and have dark grey on the outer ring. I share them with our Memere; we have the same eyes. They are also like my mood ring because as I am working through things, or not feeling like myself, my eyes seem to change.

My scar: I have a chickenpox scar at the left-hand corner of my mouth. It is shaped like a small eye, and although it is weird, I have had it for so long that I look for it every time I look in a mirror. I have about six of these eye-shaped scars. I think I may be the only one to notice them and I definitely think they are funky and awesome.

My hair: I like it when it is all poofy, all curly, or silky straight. If it is up in a ponytail or a bun, I have been thinking a lot about something. If it is down and curly, like a lion’s mane, it means I am feeling sassier than usual. If it is straight, I wanted to take the extra time to feel and look pretty. I love every bad hair day ever since the day when I was younger and got a hair cut I fondly call ‘The Rachel.’

It was not a good look for me, and I so couldn’t pull it off like Jennifer Anniston could. My hair is crazy wild and not perfect, but hey I think I give a pretty good hair flip when I need to.

And last on today’s list is…

My smile: After years of my sisters trying to get me to smile in pictures, and actually just brighten up, I have grown to love my smile. I like that it isn’t all the time, and that to see it I have to be happy. My smile is picky. It is as though in order to see it I have to actually be really happy, and more and more I am using my smile.

I am learning to love myself and learning that I need to accept my flaws and make changes on the things I am not happy with. I am slowly getting to be a better me and it is a timely and fantastic transformation.

Eclectica Photo

If you feel up to it, tell me something you love about yourself! And remember to find new things every day to love, just because they are yours.

~ Andreah