A year ago, we walked into the E.R., the only door of the hospital open in the middle of the night, and sat down amid the people who had been too enthusiastic in their celebration of Independence Day. A man nearby bragged about the bar fight he'd taken part in. I still think I'm counting wrong, I whispered to Matt. The nurses are going to laugh at the first-time mom who panicked and came in with Braxton-Hicks. We should go home. He shook his head, no, as a nurse from the Women's Center came out and said my name. She smiled, walking quickly, leading us upstairs. See, she doesn't think I need to be here. She could walk a little slower, though.
A year ago, a nurse, many years' veteran of the Women's Center, stared at me. Honey, you should have been here hours ago. How was I almost done with transition? Those little contractions couldn't have done this. It didn't make sense. Nurses ran around, preparing for the birth, while I stood in the shower, letting the hot water hit my lower back and ease through the last centimeter of dilation. It was distinctly uncomfortable now, occasionally painful. But not terrible. Wasn't transition supposed to be terrible? Was something wrong with me? Was something wrong with the baby?
A year ago, the midwife smiled and handed me a slippery, screaming baby. Come in earlier next time, okay? Big blue eyes stared up at Matt and I, a little pink nose wrinkling above the perfect little mouth. And so much dark hair!
How in the world has it been a year? A whole year, and only a year? It cannot have been that long... and at the same time, a year couldn't be long enough to transform that perfect, tiny baby into the playful little boy who spent hours playing tag and building towers with his daddy today. What happened?
We love you so much, Little Bear, and are so incredibly blessed to be your parents! Happy first birthday, little one.