I honestly cannot believe that an entire year has past since I went to the hospital that day to have Brittain. I don’t think I even allowed myself to think about what this first year would be like. Would I be a good mother? Would I survive? Better yet, would she survive under my care and supervision?
I’m not sure if I can even begin to describe to you how excited I was about celebrating Brittain’s 1st birthday. Perhaps this just goes to show you what my life is now like, or maybe it shows the depth of love I feel for my child. Whatever the reason, planning her birthday was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a while. I wanted it to be perfect. Not perfect for me or “showy” to others. I wanted it to be perfect for her. I knew she wouldn’t realize it now, but years down the road when she looks back at pictures and the video, she will be able to see the love that surrounded her this day.
For me, the most special part in planning the party was the video that Dan and I put together of Brittain’s 1st year of life. We worked together in choosing the photos and editing down video footage that had been taken during this first year. It was amazing watching everything that we captured on camera. Neither one of us had any idea we had taken the amount of footage that we had. We had filmed me packing my hospital bag about a month before my due date (before I found out I was having a c-section). We filmed the night before I went to the hospital to have her. We filmed the first time I held her in my arms in the hospital, and then the first time every family member saw her.
As I watched the footage, and while Dan spent countless hours putting together this amazing video, it took me back to a year ago – my thoughts, my feelings…everything that I experienced during the time of Brittain’s birth.
If you haven’t heard this story before, you’re going to hear it now because I realized that this is not documented anywhere, and it’s just too good to be forgotten! Although Brittain’s due date was July 18th, my OB advised a c-section at one of my final appointments because the ultrasound said she was going to weigh 9 lbs. 6 oz. I heeded the doctor’s advice and we were scheduled for the c-section on July 13th at 12:30. The day before, I went into work. I was determined that I wasn’t going to be nervous. Women have babies everyday and I wasn’t in the least bit afraid. That day my boss took me out for a nice lunch and we talked about how life was about to change. (His wife was also pregnant at the time with their first child and due a couple of months after me.) It was a delicious lunch and very fun conversation, but my nerves had subconsciously gotten the best of me. Before I even finished my meal I was sick. The sight or smell of food (or even drink) made me nauseas. When the midnight hour hit and I could no longer have any food or drink, I had nothing left in my system. Dan and I got in bed that night and he fell fast asleep, but I was wide awake thinking about what the next day would entail. At about 2:30 in the morning I woke him up in hysterics (and dry heaving over the toilet). Poor Dan, he had NO idea what to do with me. I began to tell him (in a not so calm tone) that I was NOT going to have the baby. He did what I guess he thought was best by telling me that I had to. But, that was not the right thing to say to a person in my state of mind. I told him that he better tell me I didn’t have to and that was that. Eventually Dan called my mom to help and we ended up at my parents house at about 3:30 that morning, everyone sitting with me and trying to calm me. 5:00 we all finally got in bed. And much to Dan’s dismay, I wanted him to sleep with me…AND my mom. So, this is what we did. I can remember being on my side and my belly being up against my mom. I can remember her saying, “Brittain, I feel you kicking. We’re going to see you tomorrow.”
I don’t think any of us really slept at all, but we still managed to make it to the hospital by 8:30 that next morning. I made it through the surgery and Brittain was born at 1:36 p.m. Seeing her…holding her…watching the reactions of our entire family was everything I ever dreamed it would be. I held her in my arms knowing that I had done the most important thing that I would ever do. And I was about to embark upon my most important job in life with raising her. It was thrilling and scary all in the same emotion.
My hospital stay was longer than planned when we learned that I had a spinal leak that had to be “patched.” The 5th day was when we were finally scheduled to go home, and that morning at 4 a.m. I woke Dan up saying that I was ready to go. We packed up, put Brittain in her carseat and headed to our new life that neither of us knew anything about. I remember being in the car riding as Dan drove extra cautiously on that 4 mile ride. Who knows if it was fatigue or just the fear of the unknown, but I believe it hit both of us at the same time. What the hell were we going to do when we got there? I immediately called my mom who was supposed to be going into work that day. “Mom, you can’t go to work. You have to come help us.” She met us there to help us with the transition.
The fatigue had obviously gone straight to Dan’s head because when we arrived, Dan made a beeline to the bed, having no regard for anyone else. Brittain was asleep, so Mom and I sat and waited for her to wake up. It didn’t take long. And when she did, she didn’t wake quietly. The screaming almost pierced our eardrums and we were suddenly faced with how to get her out of the carseat. Dan was the only one checked out on it and we were clueless. I guess Dan had been deafened during the hospital stay because he never emerged from the bedroom to assist us. I honestly think that both mom and I considered cutting her out of the carseat at a few different moments. Fortunately we figured it out and we were able to remove her without breaking an arm or two.
We made it through that first day and then the days after that. Things were definitely not easy. In fact, saying that they “weren’t easy” is putting it extremely lightly. We struggled with breastfeeding and just constantly wondering what we were supposed to be doing with this little person that was relying on us for everything she needed. During that first month I had a friend of mine from college email me (she has 2 kids of her own) and tell me that “the first 3 months are the hardest. It’s after that that you begin feeling like a normal human again.” She couldn’t have been more right and those words got me through. Almost 3 months to the day I woke up and suddenly felt like I was going to survive. Life was never going to be like it was, but was instead going to be better.
So here I am now. I’m now a different person. I feel emotions that I didn’t know existed. I feel love that I didn’t know was there. I finally know my purpose in life.
We’ve made it a year and what an awesome year it’s been. Thank you to everyone who came to help celebrate Brittain’s 1st year of life. (There were about 40 people at this house!) It was great!
I should mention that my mom and I decided to hand-make party hats for every person who came. We were quite insane, but it was SO much fun. Here is Mimi standing by all the party hats. (She also got this ladder out of our garage and decorated it so that we could display the hats on it.)
Here are twins, Steve and Will posing with the hats:
And then Mommy and the birthday girl:
A few pics of some of the guests:
After eating and doing some visiting, everyone headed downstairs for the big moment. Kate Evans made Brittain’s “smash cake.” It was delicious (yes, I ate some, too):
Brittain was thrilled to have all of her favorite people at her birthday party…and also because she was about to have her first taste of cake!:
So, what does Brittain do? As we all waited on pins and needles, she inserts her finger, gets some icing and hands it to her mommy. What a giving child!:
Brittain finally indulged…and thought, “Yeah, I believe I like this stuff.”:
Brittain giggled as she got Gramy messy (when she was trying to clean her up):
Everyone else feasted on the other birthday cake:
Before opening the gifts, some of the kids got together for a picture in Brittain’s new wagon:
p>And the opening of the tons of gifts. Couldn’t help but include ALL of Brittain’s expressions:
I believe that Daddy was more excited than she was about the Magiq DVD (from Bradley, Alison and Emma-Kate):
Along with making some delicious food, Aunt CC and Uncle Matthew surprised me with providing the favors. Each box was adorned with “B’s” and the inside contained a petit four with a “B” as well. How special!:
After most of the guests left, a few special friends stayed around to enjoy a little more relaxing time together. It was so enjoyable after the hectic day:
Okay, maybe just a little more cake:
Ava tried her hand at playing the drum:
Robert was mesmerized by the ceiling fan:
After a fun-filled day, Brittain waves good-bye before she heads to bed to dream about being 1 year old: