Wow. Our baby is a full year old. What an amazing and surreal feeling. This tiny little person that was once building her body inside mine has been in our home, in our life and in our arms for 12 full months. It’s so amazing for me to watch her develop and grow and learn every single day. She literally changes every single day. I love the person that she is. She has such a spunky, energetic, happy, silly, loving personality and I love watching her become her own person as time goes on.
Surreal. That’s going to be the magic word probably throughout this entire post because it’s the only word that even comes close to this feeling. It’s even hard for me to put into words what I’m thinking… but I’ll just keep writing and see what comes out. Sometimes I can’t believe how blessed I am to be this girl’s Mother. So often I find myself looking at her, amazed that she is here and she is mine. Ours. I can’t help but think about how different it felt to wake up this morning, knowing that today marks the day my baby was born, and not feel “sad” the way I do on Dustin’s birthday. That probably sounds bad, but it’s true. I feel sadness on his birthday’s. Obviously it’s sadness for myself, but regardless, I’m not excited for that day. Maybe someday I will be. I was excited this morning. I woke up super early (no idea what time is was… I specifically made myself NOT look at the clock, but the sun was not up yet ) and just waited for her to wake up. The second she made a noise, I got out of bed and checked the monitor. Long story short, she slept in until almost 9:15 (SHEESH!) so I just sat around and waited for her for hours! LOL When she finally woke up and I was sure she was actually awake (standing up, bouncing on her bed, babbling “mamamamadadadadadababababababa”) Bart and I went into her room and as I normally do in the morning, I went in and said “wheeeere’s Ameeeeelia?” and I got a squeal and this face in return:
Well? What can I say…?
Oh how amazing it feels to be able to hold and hug and kiss my baby on the anniversary of her birth. Something about it is just indescribable and I had no idea how it was going to feel, but she is real, she is here and she is mine and there are really no words that exist to adequately describe this feeling.
Of course there is a part of me that feels “sad” that this baby is growing up so, so quickly, but there is a huge amount of joy that comes from watching it happen. It’s also nice to know that WE are responsible for her and the ridiculously awesome little person that she is. We did that. We’re doing that. LOL It’s amazing.
Bart took today off, so the three of us went out to breakfast at Denny’s together. Amelia got a celebratory (FREE) bowl of banana slices for reaching such a momentous milestone in life and we enjoyed our morning as a family. I don’t think I will ever get tired of being with these two.
We went to Petsmart and visited the kitties and of course Amelia’s favorite, the fish:
Then we went on a drive for a while, saw cows, horses, sheep and birds and made sounds for each of them, then came home and with a massive energy boost, climbed up and down the couches (which she has only been able to do since last night) and giggled like crazy until nap time.
We had a birthday party with all the Kroeber’s on Saturday at Heather and Christopher’s house (I’ll try to remember to post pictures later on when Heather is able to go through them – THANK YOU Heather for being willing to be an unpaid photographer) which was so great for me. I know that Amelia isn’t going to remember it and I know that Bart didn’t really think it was necessary, but of course he was supportive and went along with what I wanted to do because it really meant something to me. And I was so grateful to be with my family to celebrate it. They are the only people that really understand me and why something like this would mean something extra to me. I was pretty proud of myself for not being overly emotional about it, but I admit I did start to tear up pretty heavily in the middle of everyone singing “Happy Birthday” to her… That was just when it really hit me and I was so overcome with happiness that I was actually having a birthday party for MY baby. Harmony made a delicious cake with cupcakes surrounding it (it’s a clock, because Amelia is pretty obsessed with clocks!) and Amelia LOVED it.
I was pretty surprised that when she dove into the cupcake, that she didn’t seem to mind the frosting stuck on her hands. Normally she does not like things stuck to her fingers, but she just kept shoveling it in and smashing it into her mouth until the whole thing was gone. I had told myself I wanted to get a video of it, but of course while it was happening, I didn’t think about it. I am hoping Heather got some decent pictures of the process. As usual when Heather tries to take pictures of Amelia, she (meaning Amelia) was pretty tired and not super energetic (bless Heather for still trying, even though the Photographer in her probably cringes at NOT getting perfect pictures!) but it was very fun and overall Amelia was happy the whole time.
Tonight Lisa, Zack and Xoe came over and we had a little party, just the 6 of us (7, including Gideon, of course). It was a lot of fun and of course, she got tons of stuff from them. Lots of awesome books (with the thick pages that are easy for her to turn herself without ripping) and as usual, lots of clothes! I think between Lisa and Zack, we’ll probably never have to buy Amelia clothes until she’s a teenager. LOL Really though, I appreciate them so much. And I love that they love Amelia so much. Since we had an entire cake left over from her party on Saturday (since Harmony made tons of cupcakes, the cake itself wasn’t touched), I had just kept it in the fridge and we had it tonight. After thought: I should have taken the cake out of the fridge a while before we intended on eating it because the frosting was cold, so kind of firm. It still tasted just as delicous, but would have been a little funner for them to see Amelia swim in the frosting the way she did on Saturday. Heh. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. She certainliy made enough of a mess that we just hosed her down in the tub (thank goodness for the shower “hose” extension ) and put her in one of her many new sets of jammies. BIG kid pajamas with no feeties! (I tried to get a picture, but she wouldn’t hold still long enough… but the ones she’s wearing right now in bed are Care Bear ones.)
What a crazy, loving, fun filled weekend this has been. Now it has passed and our baby is 1 year old. Before we know it, she’ll be 2… and 20. LOL What an amazing adventure.
It’s funny how memories of past dates in your mind just never lessen. The memories stay just as clear as they were the day after they happened. I’ve thought a lot about specific memories that have stayed clearer to me than others. Not necessarily significant ones, like one time when I was a kid, maybe 10 years old, I was laying on the livingroom floor doing my homework and my Dad came in and started tickling me. I don’t know why that memory is so vivid, but it is. It makes me wonder how our mind chooses what to hold in higher priority than other things. I know this all probably doesn’t make sense, but I’ve had a couple sleepless nights lately (as you can probably tell… ha) and these are things that I think of. lol
I remember very clearly the morning of January 10, 2002. My parents and I left our house in Santaquin fairly early, around 6 or so in the morning. I was being induced and was supposed to be there around 7. We stopped at McDonalds in Payson and I got a breakfast bagel, hashbrown and orange juice in preparation to not eat for God knew how long (Since they don’t let you eat while you’re in labor!) I don’t remember the process of eating it, although I know I did because my Mom urged me that it was important to eat something. Just a small piece of the memory that my mind chose wasn’t important to keep. LOL I remember feeling really shakey and scared. I remember sitting in the back seat and hugging my belly, trying not to cry. I knew that as soon as he came out, he wouldn’t be mine anymore. I remember thinking that if I could keep him with me for just one more day, I’d be grateful. I didn’t want to let him go. I didn’t want to stop feeling his love in my belly. I was the only person in the world he knew and loved. I was important to him and he needed me.
I remember getting to the hospital way faster than I thought was normal. I also don’t think I was really “there” for most of the drive. I don’t remember my parents and I talking, but I can’t be sure. When we got to the hospital, my parents checked me in, they brought us back into a room and told me to change. I remember that I changed into the ugly, stiff hospital gown and that at one point one of the nurses told me I was supposed to take my underwear off too. I hadn’t. I didn’t know it was necessary until the baby was to come out. I remember them starting the IV and that it hurt a lot because they had to try multiple times to get it in the top of my hand. I don’t remember much about the initial setup other than that. I seem to recall being kind of “out of it” and not paying much attention. I don’t remember when, time wise, but my Midwife broke my water with a thing that reminded me of a crochet hook. Everyone seemed a little concerned because my water was filled with meconium and talked about the risk of the baby having possibly inhaled some of it. When the contractions started, I remembering throwing up a couple times. My Mom held one of those tiny little hospital “pans” (not a bed pan, but those tiny ones that I believe are meant for throwing up) and I remember thinking that was the stupidest thing I ever saw and that if I was going to throw up, that little thing wasn’t going to hold all my puke. (It held it just fine because I didn’t throw up that much, but the point is, I remember thinking it…)
I remember after a few hours of labor, my Midwife kept checking my chart and looking concerned. I remember words like “heart rate” and also words like “blood pressure”, “baby not responding”, but mostly I remembering feeling very scared at the tone in her voice and the creases between her eyebrows. They had warned me before inducing that at any point if at any point the baby was in danger, they would do an emergency c-section. (At the time, that was extremely scary to hear… at that point in my life, I didn’t know that they basically say that to EVERY woman who goes in to be induced… you have to agree in advance to allow them to do an emergency c-section if it becomes necessary.) I remember thinking I would do ANYTHING they told me to do if they could just make sure my baby was ok. I think she realized that she scared me at that point, because I started crying and she came to me and reassured me that it would be fine. They’re probably trained to say that to people who are freaking out in situations like that. Heh. But hey, she did well. They told me that their best suggestion was for me to get an epidural to lower my blood pressure and hopefully the baby would respond better if my body wasn’t “panicking” as much. I remember being annoyed at that word, because I did not feel like I was panicking. I was in pain, but I thought I was doing well. The mind and the body are NOT “one” when you’re in labor! lol The mind is a powerful thing. They knew beforehand that I did not want an epidural. I even told them not to give me one even if I asked for one during labor. Usually when I tell people that, they think I’m crazy. No, I’m not a hippy, nor do I believe epidurals are evil. Keep in mind that when I became pregnant at 15 years old, I was also addicted to cigarettes, cocaine and probably alcohol. I was doing almost every drug that you can think of that didn’t involve a needle. If it was smoke-able or snort-able, I was doing it. When I found out that I was pregnant, regardless of how dumb of a teenager I was or how selfish a person I was, there was zero hesitation in my mind that I could not be doing those things while I was pregnant. (Maybe it was because I was being raised by a Midwife/Nurse and was no stranger to knowledge of the potential effects…) My point is that as a 16 year old girl in recovery from drug addiction, I did not want drugs to help me bring a person into the world. I didn’t want to not have control of my body, as was my personal experience with many drugs that I had done that put me in horrible, damaging situations that I couldn’t prevent because I was not in control of my body and mind. So, while the epidural is a great option for many, it was not desireable for me. - At this point in the labor, when she suggested the epidural, I became very frustrated and basically asked what my other options were. She felt strongly that nothing else was going to help. They had already put an internal monitor into Dustin’s skull because his heart beat was hard (nearly impossible) to read through the “strap” monitors (I don’t know what those are called that they velcro around your belly.) Still, his heart rate was barely better than a flat-line and he was not responding properly to contractions. I remember her saying some other things (I was in the middle of having contractions, so I don’t think I can be blamed much for not remembering much of this ) and then the words “risking the baby dying” were said. I agreed to the epidural. I remember the man having a really nice face. He looked kind. I remember the shot hurting a lot more than they said it would. I felt like I was being electracuted, or like a thousand bees were stinging me, starting at the middle of my spine and shooting outward like vines. I felt nauseous and light headed. They said it would take just a few minutes before I lost feeling in the lower half of my body. I was extremely nervous. To add another piece of information (that I admit contributed to my “fear” of epidurals), I had a friend who had a baby just a few months prior to this who had an epidural and described that she was SO numb, that when it came time to push, she could not. She couldn’t feel when she was supposed to, nor could she feel or control anything in her body TO push – basically when they told her to push, she would… or so she thought. Nothing would actually happen. She described the nurses having to basically push on her belly to get the baby out. I will say that it wasn’t as bad for me. Once I became numb, obviously I didn’t have control over my legs. I also remember farting once, which for some reason my mom and the other nurses thought was great (no, seriously… they seemed pleased…..) but I thought it was so funny that I farted without me knowing it. Usually you’re aware when it’s gonna happen… so it’s weird not feeling it! Regardless of being numb and not being able to control farts…. I was still feeling the pressure of my contractions (they just didn’t “hurt”) which I was grateful for. It meant that I was going to know when my body was contracting without them having to TELL me. Hours of this went by and Dustin’s heart rate was still fairly concerning. After about 14 hours of labor, my Midwife came in to check me. I was dilated to a 4 and had been for about 10 hours. I was at a 2 before I was even induced, so I had only progressed 2 centimeters in over 10 hours. She told me that she was going to talk with the Doctor and that we needed to start discussing a c-section. I have no recollection of who the Doctor was, but she had consulted with a doctor many times throughout the labor because it was turning out to be high-risk and Midwives generally bring a Doctor in when there are medical concerns. He came in with her to talk to me and my Parents. Again, I don’t recall who the Doctor was. I don’t remember anything about him (his face, his build, hair color… nothing. But I do know “he” existed and was there…) they talked mostly to my parents about what would happen with a c-section and what to expect, etc. I do remember very clearly at this point looking up at my Dad and him telling the Doctor that he needed a few minutes alone with me. They agreed and everyone (including my Mom and I also think Lena was there) left the room. I don’t remember us talking or anything particular, but I do remember, more clearly than almost anything, my Dad’s hands on my belly. I don’t remember the words he said, but I remember looking down at his hands as clearly as if they were there right now. I remember his tears, although I don’t remember actually seeing him cry. I was focused on his hands. He wasn’t talking to me, he was talking to Dustin and he was praying. The only way I can describe the way I felt is that if I were to ever in my life doubt my Daddy’s love for me, all I would need to do is recall this memory and it would be impossible. I could feel all of his pain, strength, weakness, dedication, heart, soul and every ounce of love in this moment. I don’t talk in detail about this particular memory very often because it’s so indescribable and private, but I needed to write it now in more detail than I have in the past. I’m not sure how long we were in there alone, but the Doctor and Midwife came back in, as did my Mom and probably the nurses (seemed like there were suddenly a lot of people). My Dad talked to them and for some reason the Doctor agreed to give me 30 minutes. If I hadn’t improved in 30 minutes, they were going to do the c-section with no further delay. 30 minutes later, I was dilated to an 8. Everyone was in such shock, there was no speaking for a couple minutes. The Doctor and Midwife were talking and looking over the chart. The nurse updated the chart (which they later printed and gave us a copy of) that showed “Emotional Support from Family”. Immediately after that, Dustin’s heart rate improved. About an hour later, it was time to push. There were a lot of people in the room. There was a “team” waiting for Dustin (there was a little bit extra caution because of my water being filled with meconium) of about 4-6 people, my Midwife, my parents and Lena. My legs were numb and I could not lift them into the stirrups OR hold them there, so my mom held my left leg and Lena held my right. My Dad stood up by my head. I remember my Midwife asking me if I wanted a mirror to watch the birth and I partially yelled/snapped at her and said “NO!”. Everyone thought it was funny and I think it was my Dad that said “Well, I think she’s sure about that!” When she told me to start pushing, my Dad was counting to ten with each push. He thought it would be funny to start saying “booorderline ‘leven!” (Have you ever seen “Gone Fishin’”? Well, if you have, you’d know…) about 50 minutes later, Dustin was born. She flopped him on my stomach as she took care of the cord, placenta, whatever else she was doing. All I know is that it literally felt like she threw him on my belly and it felt so weird (physically weird… my stomach was mush and after being used to a solid mass for 9+ months, it was a very strange feeling). I remember looking down at him in utter shock. I remember thinking he was enormous. Everyone talks about how they see their baby and think of how tiny they are. I thought he was huge. His skin looked gray and was covered in goo and snot and blood and making a very strange sound that I thought was choking. He was only there for a very, VERY brief moment (it felt like a little longer at the time because I just stared and felt very scared) but they took him as quickly as they were able and suctioned him out. When I heard him cry, I immediately started hysterically sobbing. It’s actually really hard for me to describe this moment and as I’m recalling it, I’m having a hard time typing because my eyes are filled with tears. The relief that he was ok was overwhelming. Immediately following this relief was sadness that he was no longer inside me and the deepest sorrow I’d ever felt, knowing that he was no longer mine. I don’t like to admit that because it was a very selfish way to feel, but it’s true. Words really cannot adequately describe this moment. Most women talk about this moment in such a happy way, hearing the first cry of their newborn baby and the happy release of tears. I truly felt, more than I had ever experienced up until this point in my short life of 16 years, that I wanted to die. The pain inside my chest was so severe and so very real that had I not acknowledged where the pain came from, it’s possible that I could have confused it with a heart attack. It’s the only time that I had actually understood the term “heart ache”. They gave him to me a few minutes later, wrapped up in a blanket and with a little beanie on his head. This is one part where the cliche fits perfectly: He really was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. He was so perfect, so beautiful, SO cute and chubby. The gray had gone away and he had the brightest rosey red plump lips and pink cheeks. He looked up at me and I held him to me and sobbed. I’m really not sure how long I stayed there and held him and cried like that. I was vaguely aware of a LOT of other things going on. People in between my legs and around the bed, touching me, moving me, moving things around… but it’s as if the world had muted. You could have been speaking directly to my face (for all I know, people may have been… I’m really not sure) but I didn’t fully see, hear, or feel anything else in the world. I had a moment of not thinking about the fact that this baby was not mine. My mind emptied of everything going on in my life, in the world, in existence. I didn’t think of anything but this little face looking back at me. I have NO detailed recollection of anything else for quite some time. I don’t remember people leaving or anything else happening. I actually, many times, have even wondered how much of this memory is real or if it’s something my suconscious created, as if pausing a memory and putting it on endless repeat. That sounds crazy, but that’s kind of the only way I can describe it. That’s why I don’t know if the memory is real and we really did lay there for a very long time, or if my mind has just held that small bit and has stuck it on repeat forever. Because logically and in normal situations, at some point fairly soon after the birth, they take the baby for feeding (since it was advised that I not breast feed) but I don’t remember. The next memory I have is in the morning in a completely different room than the one he was born in. I think I sept for a little bit after they took him (I don’t necessarily remember that, I just know it from other people’s accounts of the night) and that at some point when the nurse came into the room and asked if I needed anything, I asked if she could bring him to me. I know a few select (authorized) friends came to visit. I do remember that when Melissa, Hillary and I believe Daniel came to visit, they had told them I was not there. This is because I checked in under an alias name (my Mom’s maiden name) and forgot to tell them that they needed to give that name. The nurse had come in immediately to tell us and when we figured out who it was (by her description) my Mom ran out to the parking lot to get them before they left. Other than that, I only remember vague details about people kind of coming and going, but nothing in particular. My next vivid memory is when my case worker came. I know that this particular memory I have told many times before and in detail. Of how she had come to give me the relinquishment papers. I was later told by my parents that she had told them she’d never seen anyone as strong in that moment, which I found surprising at the time because I didn’t think I was strong at all.
I’ll be honest, I started writing this blog today because I hardly slept at all last night thinking of all of these things… and this morning I thought if I wrote, I could get my thoughts and feelings out and it would help. Accepting and acknowledging my pain is the best way for me to then let it go and continue with my life. Right now I’m struggling to continue typing as it’s proving to be much more emotional than I thought it would be. It’s hard to describe something like this. Reliving the memories isn’t necessarily the thing I’m struggling with. I’ll just say that I really thought this year would be easier. This is the first time in 12 years that I am actually a Mommy on his birthday. I’ve finally been able to experience the sheer joy and awesomeness that is true Motherhood. I thought that because of this, maybe this year on his birthday and these “anniversary” dates, it wouldn’t affect me as much. It’s hard for me to admit because it’s so much easier to pretend I’m strong, but this year has been harder and more painful than almost any birthday that I recall, other than his first. The memory of these days I had with him and the day (13th) that I last saw, held, touched and felt him in my arms are always a little emotional… but this time, I’m finding that because I DO know now how it feels to watch a child grow, to hold her and kiss her and witness her changes and personality growth, I am so strongly, painfully aware now of what I have missed. I had nothing “real” to compare it to before, so the pain was simply missing the baby that grew inside me. Now, I’m feeling the true, very strong, very real pain of KNOWING all the amazing things that I did not get to see or feel or be apart of and the result is… again… indescribable. (It is very difficult to describe feelings that you’ve never before had to people who have also never had them…) All I know for sure is that what is also “indescribable” is the love that I have for Amelia and how grateful I am to have her. I know how it feels to miss moments in a child’s life and not be able to watch them grow. Because I know how this feels, that is why I cannot put into adequate words how grateful I am to be apart of this little person’s life and how blessed I am to be able to watch her be. That is why I can say with 100% honesty that I am grateful for all the moments that I have with her. I know that many women say that anyone who is grateful for ALL moments is either in denial or just trying too hard. For someone who has felt one of the worst pains that there is in the world, I AM grateful for the hard moments. Even in the frustrated moments, I can feel myself smile. I think too many people take for granted that they get to witness their children breaking things, or going through obnoxious, exhausting phases. People take for granted that they’re living LIFE with their children and that the very “real” things are the things that some people wish they had more than anything. A broken glass or colored on wall or stitches or hearing your kids fighting… I’m not saying that you should logically be standing there, listening to your kids scream and cry and say “aw you guys are so beautifully amazing!” but I wish for you to be able to take a breath and say “They are real. They are here. They are mine.” and be grateful. Not grateful for the negative or frustrating *thing*, but for the reality.
Yesterday Amelia said “Dada”. I’m not 100% sure that she was using the word in reference to Bart, but he was playing with her and she was saying it over and over and over. Normally I would just think they were sounds, but “d” is not a letter she normally jibbers with her normal squealy talk. So her using the “d” sound so clearly was new… and she was excited when she was saying it. We’ll have to pay attention over the next few days to see if she really knows that “da-da” means “Daddy”. Either way, it made me so happy to watch Bart’s face light up as she was saying it over and over. He was even trying to record her. Dunno if he got anything worth sharing, but we’ll see.
Today, Amelia climbed the stairs all by herself. She has barely shown any interest in them before other than maybe crawling up to the bottom step and looking up. A few weeks ago, she “stood” on the bottom step (used it to stand up, didn’t actually stand ON it), but that’s it. Then on Sunday, out of nowhere, she started climbing them and she did. All 14 of them. It was so fun to watch. The first few steps were slow and shaky and then she just had it down and sped up them as fast as her body could keep up. I really love watching her learn new things. I didn’t get a picture though because I was too excited to think about it at the time. LOL
Oh, and she also turned 9 months old today. (SHEESH!)
It has been quite a while since I’ve updated and I can’t believe how fast time has gone by since Amelia came into our lives. It seems to have sped up so much, our baby is already 8 1/2 months old and all I did was blink. She’s such an enormous blessing in our lives and I will never stop saying it, but I am so, so grateful that I get to be at home with her every day and watch her grow and learn new things (which sometimes is a minute to minute basis!)
One of my favorites moments of every single day is first thing in the morning, when she first wakes up. She normally wakes up before we do and I wake up to the sounds of her squealing and jabbering coming through the baby monitor. I will lay in bed for quite a while and just listen to her, because it makes me smile. When I finally get up and go into her room, the second she sees me, she gets super excited and scrunches up into a ball and then kicks and laughs and grins non stop. Seriously, can you think of a better way to start your day?! Recently, (over the past few weeks) she started pulling herself into a standing position, so now when I go into her room in the morning, half the time she is already standing up, grinning as big as she can. All I can see over the edge of her crib are her eyes and the tops of her cheeks. She is just so funny.
She has developed the awesomest personality (as if it wasn’t already awesome before!) she’s definitely a character and is starting to make silly faces and do silly things to make us laugh. When we do laugh, she gets so excited and breathes really fast and grins so big her eyes nearly shut (sometimes they do!) She has the coolest laugh ….really, not so much like the average baby’s laugh… hers is… I don’t even know how to describe it LOL Well, it’s like a big person’s laugh in a teeny body. LOL She is now getting into anything and everything that’s possible and constantly crawling around and exploring. She likes to go through things, hardly ever around things… such as climbing over and through the dining chairs, table, high chair, etc. she’ll just climb over the base pieces and flop on the other side when it’s too high. This often results in her calling for help because she gets stuck in places she doesn’t fit in, or her body is too small to make it over such big obstacles. She just doesn’t know that yet. She’s extremely independent and doesn’t hold still much, unless she’s very tired. She makes me laugh every single day and I love not knowing what adventures (trouble) she’s going to get into every day. This week she discovered that she could lift and dump Gideon’s water bucket… and she thought that was oh-so-hilarious. HAHAHA Even with the huge puddle of water I had to clean up, I couldn’t help but laugh and kiss her because of that grin on her face.
She is growing so, so fast!!!
Amelia has never been a thumb sucker, or a pacifier sucker, but she sucks on everything else. Like her arm, her hands, your face, neck, etc. and a month or so ago, that evolved to sucking on windows, walls, cups (the outside of them), floors, etc. which has rightfully earned her the nickname “Suckerfish”. You know those fish that clean the tanks by eating algae off the glass? You normally see them suctioned to the walls of the fish tank with their mouths wide open… I’ve always called those little guys “Sucker fish”. Well, that’s why we call her that. That’s what she looks like. LOL And she does this with everything. Her tongue sticks out first and then her mouth suctions around whatever she’s got her eye on. It’s hilarious and yes, sort of gross because I’m totally aware of how dirty and germy the sliding glass door must be, not to mention the kitchen floor. *Sigh* (“Immune system, immune system, immune system!”) but it sure makes us laugh. Bart even played a joke on me by somehow setting my phone to change the name “Amelia” to “Suckerfish” every time I type it. I still don’t know how he did it, nor do I know how to change it back… so yeah, it’s still like that. (He also, the next day, changed his own name to say “My Love” every time I start typing his name – Man, I love him.)
Today is Amelia’s first Halloween! No, we didn’t buy a costume for her… Maybe next year when she’ll have a small understanding of Halloween and dressing up (and we can actually take her trick-or-treating) we’ll do one… but this year, this was sufficient. And she’s freakin’ adorable. :)
This past week Amelia started rolling. I can’t quite say rolling over, because she can’t get past her arm yet but she rolls from her back to her sides and then to her back again. She’s rolled over onto her belly once, but with a little assistance from me haha. I’m really glad that Bart was here for it too. I often think about how grateful I am to be able to stay home with her and witness these things and because of this, I also often think about how hard it must be for Bart to go to work every day when I’m sure he’d rather be with us. I don’t want him to miss all her “firsts”, but so far he hasn’t missed any. Of course it’s kind of hard to pin point an exact date when she started smiling, because it was a gradual thing, but he is so involved, I certainly don’t feel like he misses anything. He was here when she rolled onto her side and he seemed really happy knowing that it really was her first time doing that.
It’s so amazing to watch a person grow. It’s even more amazing when it’s your own child and you see everything, every single day, 24 hours a day (ok, maybe like 14 hours a day, since she has been sleeping about 10-11 hours straight at night now!) but really it’s amazing. I could go on and on about it, but I won’t. lol
She still hasn’t really laughed, although I’m always trying to get video of it. She makes the initial sound like she’s trying to laugh (so we certainly can tell when she IS “laughing”) but hasn’t actually made the full sound yet. I gotta say though, it’s certainly funny and heart warming when she tries.
For those of you who don’t know, the bear is something that Bart bought on our last trip to Vegas (when I was about 6 months pregnant). He was Amelia’s first gift from her Daddy, therefore I began calling him “Daddy Bear”. Until she’s old enough to name him herself, that’s what I’m going to refer to him as. Chances are he’ll always be referred to as such, but it’s up to her. ”Daddy Bear” came into our family on November 14, 2012 from M&M’s World, Las Vegas. I won’t even tell you how much he cost. HAHAHA Lets just say Bart’s purchase of this bear started a discussion of “oh my goodness, you are not buying her a car too!” We spent like $80 on M&M’s there (and really it was not a huge quantity at all), so you can imagine what the damn bear cost
The yellow chair is a classic, but I know I won’t be able to fit her on that chair forever… *Sigh* (She probably doesn’t fit on it laying like this anymore anyway…) Pretty soon she’ll be standing on it! Speaking of which, over the past week or so, she has really developed quite a bit of strength in her legs. Before, she always wanted to be sitting and now she prefers to stand. It’s really funny too because she’s just so teeny and she stiffens up and doesn’t want to budge until she gets tired, then she relaxes for a few seconds and quite literally JUMPS right back up. It really does make us laugh. She seems to think she’s pretty cool though because she gets all excited and “laughs” …still no real laugh sound though, which is why that word continues to be in quotations… yes, I’m aware that I use quotation marks too much. LOL
I was thinking this morning that one of the things I miss about “old fashioned” cameras (like actually taking your film to be developed) is that they had time/date stamps on them. The downside to digital (at least the ones from my phone and honestly my phone is the only camera I use anymore) is that they don’t have dates and often times I can’t pull up a picture that I took weeks ago and know exactly what day that I took it. I need to somehow track this better, otherwise years from now I’ll be looking through pictures and have no idea when they were taken and how old she was. Anyway, just thinking out loud. This is a picture I took on Friday though. The hat was a little too big for her, so every time she wiggled (which she is doing constantly, of course) it would slide to the side more and more. Believe it or not, when I put this on her head, I had put it on facing forward. LOL She’s ridiculously adorable.
Oh… and I love these overalls and am very sad to say that I’m pretty sure they’re too small. They’re size 0-3 and I basically stopped putting her in 0-3 a few weeks ago, but since these were a little roomier I thought I’d force them for a few more weeks hahaha. I will be sad to see them go, but I’m probably going to squish her into them at least one more time. I know it’s really silly (at least I think it is!) but I have a hard time letting go of her clothes. When she had officially grown out of “Newborn” sizes, I boxed up all her clothes and gave them to Taisha and I was seriously almost tearing up as I was putting them in the box. I did the same thing with Newborn sizes…. squished them on her until they physically wouldn’t snap anymore. I’m not doing it on purpose necessarily, I just seriously don’t comprehend how fast she’s growing until suddenly all her clothes have shrunk! Damn dryer.
I’ve been wanting to post an update for the past week-ish, but more important things have been consuming my time. LOL Amelia has hit a stage of not wanting to sleep as much (during the day – I’m lucky that she still sleeps well at night), which I admit can be physically tiring, but I wouldn’t trade the smiles and non-stop jabbering for anything in the world! We have had some difficult days (I’ll just say Tuesday’s meltdown in Sam’s Club was SUPER AWESOME… and no, I am not talking about Amelia, although she was crying too :P) but I continually remind myself that these stages are going to go fast. Too fast. She’s already grown so much since she got here and I know she is not going to be a baby for long. Even when I’m tired and don’t know why she’s crying, I look at her and let the overwhelming love that I have for her take over the frustration. I am not perfect and confess that on Tuesday, I ended up hugging her, kissing her cheeks and laying her in her crib to scream for about two hours straight. I laid on my bed and cried while she did and seriously stayed that way for about two hours… but I am still very grateful to be going thru this experience. I’m not saying it to sound all Hallmark-y, I really am beyond grateful. I’ve always wanted to be a real Mom… and this is it… and I love it.
Amelia is now three months old (12 weeks on Mother’s Day, I believe) and she has grown so much, it boggles my mind. She has such an infectious personality. Since I didn’t have a chance to go to Heather’s for pictures (I certainly wasn’t going to ask her to set up all of her stuff while she had our entire crazy loud Kroeber family in her house) I took a few pictures just to mark the age.
The quality isn’t nearly as nice as Heather’s, but regardless, the goal is to save memories before I blink and she’s 20!
So….. I got to experience my very first “real” Mother’s Day last week. I kind of dreaded the day and actually tried to pretend it was nothing significant. Just a Sunday. *Meh* no biggy. Well, the Saturday before Mother’s Day happens to be Birth Mother’s Day (most people don’t know that… Now ya do) and on that day, I found myself thinking about Dustin even more than usual. I thought with a lot of detail about how he might have been as a baby. I wondered if he slept well and how often he’d wake up at night, if at all. I thought about how Amelia is not laughing yet, although most babies her age are… I wondered when he started laughing. I thought about a lot of simple things like that. This of course is not the first time I’ve thought about those things, but it’s a little bit different now that I have a baby of my own that I get to watch change and grow every single day. I wonder if they are anything alike. I also wondered if he’s been told. Granted, I have not yet sent a letter to Magui and Geary updating them of Amelia’s birth (and name, etc.) but I did send them a letter when I found out I was pregnant and another when we found out her sex. I wonder if they told him and if so, how is something like that addressed? This year was different in a lot of ways and one very positive thing was that I didn’t feel nearly as sad as I usually do. The pain is still there, but it’s not nearly as sharp. Amelia has NOT replaced Dustin in my heart. Nothing and no one can fill that space… but I feel like she has allowed the wound to heal just a little bit more. It’s not as prominent.
For the past 10 years, Mother’s Day has not been a good day for me. I generally do my absolute best to set aside the pain and focus on the wonderful Mom’s in my life that deserved to be acknowledged. Although I genuinely enjoy being with my family on this day and celebrating not only MY wonderful Mother, but also all of my Sisters, without them I would not be an Aunt! Despite all of that joy, the pain of being excluded from the feeling of being a Mother was always on my shoulder, whispering that it was not me. I am not a Mom. I am not to be celebrated. I would watch all my nieces and nephews running around, playing with their cousins, celebrating their Mommy’s… and I would see what I was missing. SO many times have I gone into another room to take a deep breath, sometimes let myself cry a tiny bit, before returning to the loud, happy festivities. So many times I’d go home after the dinner and quality time with my family and close myself in the bathroom and cry. Even though I only spent 2 days with him, only knew him for that short time… only kissed him for a few hours, I miss him terribly. I miss all that could/would have been. When it comes down to it, I cry because I’m jealous. I’ve been selfishly jealous of what I didn’t have. But it was my choice. Don’t misunderstand my pain and jealousy for regret. These are human responses that can’t be controlled. I have heard SO many people over the years say (in regards to Birth Mothers) that if a Birth Mother cried about these things (Birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, oh hell… ALL holidays for that matter) that they must have been unsure about their decision, or really feeling regret for what they did. I was even once one of those people that thought the same thing. My sister Heidi once had a roommate/coworker who had placed a child for adoption (before Dustin was born) and she told us about how often she cried. I remember saying the same thing. ”She must regret her decision.” This is ridiculously untrue. I realize that it’s not anyone’s fault that they see things this way, because it’s impossible to understand from an outside perspective, but do NOT misunderstand my tears for regret. I’m allowed to have selfish emotions. What I do with them however is what makes the difference. I let myself cry a little and then I let go of that emotion and focus on what he gained (and continues to gain) from my pain. That was the price I knowingly paid. That doesn’t mean I can’t let myself feel it sometimes. This year still had those feelings. I miss him. I often wonder about what he looks like and what his personality is like. I often imagine what it would have been like to be his Mommy… but this year, I looked up and saw Amelia. It was almost a tangible thing. I was in her room doing the same daily routine of getting the day started, when I stopped what I was doing and just looked at her. The feeling that came over me in that moment was almost beyond description. It overwhelmed my entire being in that moment and as I was standing there looking down into her sleepy eyes, she looked straight into my eyes and grinned so big her cheeks squished up and I laughed and started sobbing. Like I said, the pain still exists. Dustin still exists. The fact that he came from my body and left with a piece of my heart will never go away… but THIS is my focus. This little girl… she was given to me. I get to be her Mommy. THAT feeling is indescribable. THAT blessing FAR outweighs the pain of missing what I let go of. I let myself stand there and hold her and cry for quite some time… and it felt so good. In 10 whole years, I have never cried happily on that day. I had no real idea how it was going to feel and any feeling I could have possibly imagined didn’t even come close to this.
While Bart was outside doing the regular Sunday routine (mowing the lawn), I continued with my regular things… playing with Amelia, washing some bottles, cleaning up dishes from the night before, etc. Bart came in when he was finished and asked what I wanted for breakfast, just like any other weekend. I was on Facebook for a few minutes and scrolled thru at least 3 posts of my friends, complaining about not getting breakfast in bed, or help with chores, or that their husband’s didn’t even offer to take over baby duties to give them a day off… and it made me sad. Why do people choose so often to focus on negative things? Why do people focus on this unnecessary sense of entitlement? Just because it’s a day meant to celebrate Mother’s does not mean that you and only you should matter. My sister in law posted something in her blog (in regards to Mother’s Day) about my brother apologizing that she had to do so much work on Mother’s Day… you know what her response was? ” What better way to spend Mother’s Day than happily mothering?” How true! Really! Why would you feel like because it’s a day to celebrate you as a Mother, that it would be a day to NOT be a Mother?? How on Earth does that make sense? I refuse to allow myself to be one of these people who gets upset at their spouse because they don’t get everything they put in their own minds. And Breakfast in bed just sounds like a mess waiting to happen, by the way. I’m clumsy enough on a solid surface, thank you very much. Bart did make me breakfast though – comfortably at our dining room table. While he was preparing breakfast, I went upstairs for something and when I came back down, I found this on my place mat:
It’s Amelia’s birth stone. Oddly enough, this is the exact charm I wanted to buy for myself right after Amelia was born. And no I never showed it to him or said that I wanted it. He chose it on his own. He looked at me and said “You didn’t think I forgot, did you?” Of course I cried. I hugged him and cried for at least 2 whole minutes. Cried and cried and cried. LOL (and maybe he wouldn’t like me saying so, but I’m pretty sure he teared up as well.) And I did say, for the record, I knew he didn’t forget, but I certainly didn’t expect a gift in a box. After all… he gave me that little girl. After I excitedly went back upstairs to grab my Pandora bracelet and came back to put my new charm on, he served breakfast and as we sat at the table eating (again – solid surfaces people!) Amelia was asleep in her swing and I just stared at her. A few seconds later, I looked at Bart and he had been watching me and he said “She’s still here.” I continued to cry just a little more as I was eating my favorite french toast, feeling amazed. So… “this is what it feels like”. I am so grateful to have Bart in my life. He is an amazing person, an amazing friend and a beyond amazing Daddy. I’m even grateful for the struggles we have been thru together. We are so much stronger because of them. It’s a comforting feeling to know that no matter what we’re faced with in our lives, I don’t ever worry that we might not make it thru our challenges, because I know that we can and we will.
Later in the day, we went to Heather and Christopher’s as we usually do (we tend to have family get-together’s there). All I can really say is that it was a significantly different feeling as we were walking up to their front door. I could hear all the usual noise coming from inside the house, the kids squealing and playing and everyone talking and laughing… it was the same as every year… except that this year my heart was pumping excitedly, almost as if I was going to show off my beautiful baby (as if they’d never seen her before LOL) but it was such a happy feeling. This would be the first time I walked in on this day and felt like I was PART of the celebration, not just there for support. I admit I felt slightly silly (only slightly) because I’m pretty sure I had a permanent grin on my face the entire time. At least I felt like I did. I am sure most people would just consider it a normal family day, with dinner and conversation and laughs… but it was so much more for me. Not only do I now know what it feels like to be a Mommy, but I get to share it with my entire family, who has been there for me my entire life and has walked thru the pain of placing Dustin for adoption since day 1. When Heather came in and saw that we’d just gotten there, she came up to me and hugged me. I know I have said it many times before in my blog (and even more often away from it), but she has always been a huge support to me. Sometimes she doesn’t even HAVE to say anything and I just know that she is thinking of me, as if she doesn’t already have enough going on in her life to occupy every second of her brain power LOL. I know that she is one of the very few that thinks of me during Mother’s Day and more specifically, on Birth Mother’s Day (most people don’t even know it exists – understandably). I don’t care how often I say it, but I am so grateful to have her in my life. I am so happy that I got to share my very first happy Mother’s Day with her there. I only get one sister in law and I’m pretty sure I got the best one out there. I really do have an amazing family. Every single individual member.
I am grateful for my Mother. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to understand her more and more (not to mention that I become more and more like her). I’ve thought about all that I put her thru when I was younger and it makes me admire her strength so much more. With everything I did to myself, I never once felt her love me any less. I pushed her and pushed her and abused her and lashed at her too many times to count and all I can recall in my mind is her constant hugs and kisses, her tickles and laughs and her never ending beyond unconditional love. She was there for me and took care of me every second of my pregnancy with Dustin and cried the most painful tears when she kissed him goodbye the day he went home with his parents. She has the strongest empathy of any person that I know and takes on the pain of everyone around her so that they don’t struggle alone. I KNOW that she is not a perfect person. She makes mistakes and is aware of her flaws and is self conscious about them. Sometimes she cries when she gets frustrated or overwhelmed (like me) and she talks a lot. She doesn’t realize how beautiful she is and sometimes focuses too much on her flaws. She isn’t very good at Math, is quite scatter-brained and gullible and is not the best chef in the world….. but no one in this world has her heart and I love her exactly, EXACTLY as she is with no edits, changes or additions. Any woman who can carry, birth and raise 5 children and 30+ years later have every one of them feel this way about her…… is nothing but an absolutely AMAZING Mother and no words that can be said or written would ever be sufficient to portray what she means to me. I truly hope to be half the Mother she is.
I know that this is kind of silly, but there have been SO many times over the years that I have felt like the lyrics of this song came out of my heart and was written for my Mom. I certainly don’t listen to them very often, but this song pops in my head more often than you’d think and every time I hear it, I cry. I’ve wanted to send it to her many times, or burn it onto a CD for her to have, but I never do. So, I don’t care how silly it is, but I’m going to share it with her before I let something else get in the way.
(I hope the link works….) Click: Mama I Love You
I love you Mommy. Thank you.
What can I say, other than: Being a Mom is amazing. I’ve had some people tell me “you were already a Mom!” The fact is: I may have been a “Mother” for the last 11 years because I gave birth to a child, but… No. I have not been a Mom. I’ve never experienced raising my own child and getting to hold and kiss him/her any time I wanted to. I’ve never experienced breast feeding and changing diapers all day and all night and cuddling a fussy baby and knowing that baby just wants her Mommy. Me. And this experience so far has made my love for Dustin even stronger, knowing without a doubt in my mind (not that I had any doubts before…) that I made the absolute right decision for him. There is no way I could have handled raising him on my own or given him everything he deserved. I wouldn’t have been able to handle being responsible for him on my own. Taking care of a baby is difficult and during those difficult times when I’m overly tired and emotional, having the other parent is a huge help, but even more than that, when I look at Amelia’s smile, particularly when she’s grinning up at her Daddy, I can’t imagine having my child grow up without their Dad around full time.
When Bart and I stand side by side and Amelia looks up at his face and then mine and then back to his… and smiles… I can’t even really describe what that feels like. Dustin would not have had that if I’d chosen to raise him myself. I’m so grateful that he had/has that, even though it wasn’t with me. And I’m so grateful for Bart. He’s such an amazing Daddy. I knew he would be, but there was no way I could actually know how he would BE with a baby. His obvious and overwhelming adoration for Amelia brings tears to my eyes often… and his natural connection with her was instant. Someone actually warned him that with newborns sometimes the Dad doesn’t get a real connection for a couple months and that couldn’t be further from fact. Bart was hooked the SECOND she was born. I could practically see the shift in him the very moment she made her entrance. lol Truly, can’t really describe it.
So… we are now 2 1/2 months in to this adventure and we are loving it. She is amazing and has so much personality. She makes me laugh every single day and sometimes I admit I still get tears in my eyes just because of the overwhelming love I have when I look at her. Sometimes I look at her while she’s asleep and think “she’s still here… and she really is mine”. I hope that I never let myself take this for granted… being a Mommy. I hope that I never take for granted how big of a blessing it is that I am able to stay at home with her. A lot of people are not as fortunate and I am so grateful to Bart for not only making it possible by how hard he works, but for being so amazingly supportive and wanting the same things for our child. We both felt strongly that it was best for her to be raised by US, not by a daycare… but I would be lying if I am not a little selfish in it… it’s not just for her. It really is for me as well. When I made the decision to place Dustin for adoption, I promised him that someday I would be the kind of parent I was unable to be for him. It wasn’t a silent promise… I spoke the words and held him close and promised that I would do my best. I know it might sound like a strange promise because me being a mother to another child doesn’t benefit him personally, but to me it was something I needed to promise him. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to keep that promise on my own and I’m extremely lucky to have such an amazing partner in my life.
It really is amazing how fast Amelia is growing. I can literally see changes every day. Sometimes when I get her out of bed in the morning, I feel like she’s grown half an inch overnight! (Hey, she might have!)
Sometimes when I’m holding her and she’s asleep on my chest, I think that this little thing was in my belly not too long ago and that she wouldn’t fit in there with how big she’s gotten! As of Sunday, she was about 10 1/2 lbs. Holy guacamole. It really is a bitter-sweet thing. Of course I want to see her grow and be healthy and progress in life, but I sure wish she could stay this little and cuddly.
Amelia is a super happy, smiley baby. Over the past couple weeks, she’s been discovering more and more that the sounds she’s hearing are coming out of her. LOL She “talks” all the time and smiles while she’s talking, as if she’s proud of herself. She’s been trying to laugh and the sound cracks me up and I can’t stop grinning. I can’t wait for her to really laugh, but just knowing that she IS laughing (just not making the sound) is almost indescribable. I could just burst with the amount of love that overwhelms me every single day.
This, my friends, is what we refer to as “Stretch Face”. She does it every single day when she is waking up (morning, nap, etc.) One of the reasons this face makes me laugh SO much is because it is the EXACT same face that Bart makes when he’s stretching. Literally, the exact. same. face. Picture it on a 27 year old man… Are you picturing it? HAHAHAHAHA I love them so much. Along those same lines, Amelia is the stretchiest (is that a word?) baby I have ever seen. This is a source of my laughter EVERY single day. When she wakes up in the morning in particular and I un-swaddle her, she stretches SO dramatically and groans and growls SUPER loudly for a good 2-3 minutes after waking up. I will just sit there and laugh and laugh and laugh until she’s done. Even me describing it doesn’t do it justice. I’ve attempted to get it on video a few times (which I don’t have on this laptop, so I’m going to need to upload them at some point… maybe create a “Stretchy Melia” montage. LOL My oh my, it’s one of the funniest things in the world. Trust me.
Her smiley face cures almost ANYTHING that ails me, almost instantly. Seriously, how can you look at a face like that and not be on cloud 9? LOL
This is one of my current favorite outfits. I think bright colors suit her personality really well. (Those pants are BRIGHT orange, but I notice they don’t really look it in this picture). And her hair has started doing this on it’s own. It grows to the side so sometimes it almost looks like she has a comb-over. I love it. LOL
Well, I’ve been trying to post this for 2 days now and I have to stop again, so I might as well just post as is. LOL I’ll update more later
For those of you who don’t have Facebook, I figured I should probably post something here as an “announcement”
Yup, she’s here. Amelia Grace Moorman was born at 8:28 PM on Sunday, February 17, 2013. She weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz. and was 19 1/2 inches long. Despite our mental preparation for her to be in the NICU, she was perfectly healthy and didn’t have to go there at all. We really feel like she’s a miracle, with all the stress and complications we had during the last month of pregnancy. We’re so grateful, I don’t think words can really describe it. She is amazing and every moment with her makes my heart throb.