Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Vigil

Tonight is the Vigil of Lily's first birthday. When Moses turned one I felt like I had been his mother forever, and one year had been a tremendously long time. I didn't really believe that "they grow up so fast" - each stage of his development over that year had felt like its own era. Probably stemming from the fact that with your first you don't actually believe that they'll ever sleep through the night or stop throwing food on the floor - that seems almost too good to be true the first time around. But Lily's first year has zoomed past in a blur of pink and purple.
Last year at this moment it was my due date and I was going to be induced the next day at two o clock if nothing happened by itself. At 2:45 am my contractions started. I knew with the first one that this was the real deal - partly because Moses had started up his labor at exactly the same time 2.5 years before. There's just something about sharp pain in the middle of the night that assures a person that the stork is really trying to land this sucker tonight. Since the labors started at the same time I figured that they would be similar in duration, although a few hours shorter since this was my second and apparently the body becomes a pro at this human delivery event after the first time round.
I was thinking, "oh, a baby by dinner! Or maybe even a baby by lunch!" So, I calmly woke up my husband and my mother-in-law (that blessed woman!), and asked for some pancakes while I finished up a last minute planning. Then, in a rush of amniotic fluid, my plans changed. Never got a bite of pancakes. In fact, by the time I was walking down to the car the labor was so intense, oh who am I fooling?, so painful (no "sensations" or "pressure" for me, thank you - I'll just call a spade a spade) that I was totally unaware of who was helping me to the car. I have vague memories of someone saying, "it's OK, take your time. You can do it" but I can't remember who that person was. I do remember having at least 4 contractions just while walking to the car. Well, I got to the car eventually and somehow survived the wheelchair going over the bump, which felt like a giant pot-hole, to get into the elevator. I had abandoned all hopes of another natural labor because I could imagine what was coming next and couldn't imagine, "getting ahead of the pain". All I could think about was how freaking fast this was going! Moses took a leisurely 18 hours to wiggle his way down but Lily was more like a torpedo bent on causing as much damage as possible on her way through. I was in the delivery room by 5:30 or so, about 3 hours after my first contraction, and the doctor was telling me he didn't think that there was any time for medicine. I just begged the nurse to tell me, "you have to do this" - because I had to be totally convinced of the fact that there was no way out, no going home.
BUT (cue Bonanza theme music) the anesthesiologist came riding in on his white horse with a big needle and saved the day. And I gave birth at 6:46 am to a beautiful, huge, loud baby girl. The first girl on either side of the family (after 8 boys) in 26 years. Since, in fact, me.
One year later this little pumpkin has taken her first steps, is starting to give very unappetizing kisses, claps with great gusto whenever occasion permits, uses a little bit of sign language, has 7 teeth and is in-love, IN-LOVE with her brother and her daddy. She has had more colds this one year then I have had in 5 years combined and she even had a really bad unexplainable rash once (not a pleasant experience for a mommy who's own father lost a limb to a "bad rash" once...). She is silly, goofy and loves wrestling. She can also be a very good hugger, stretching her chubby little arms around your and snuggling her head into your neck. If you get one of these hugs you feel special for days afterwards. She makes going to mass a real...challenge.
She is a major dumper. I do not mean solely a "dumper" in the diaper, although that is also true. I am referring to her favorite form of entertainment being to dump baskets of blocks, books, magnets, dishes, dolls, clothes, kleenex, toilet paper and food onto the floor and then moving on to the next thing to dump. I didn't realize how much I appreciate it when a kid dumps a basket of blocks on the floor and then proceeds to build with them for 5 or 10 minutes. A person has a chance to catch up with the messes then. This stage of serial dumping is one that I will not mind saying goodbye to. For both dumping habits she has earned the title, "The Pink Stink".
I am incredibly grateful for our little lady and for the place that she fills in our lives. Happy Birthday, Lily-girl!

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