Two years ago yesterday I awoke around 5am to two contractions, only minutes apart. I was one day past my guess date and had been having contractions for months. These were a bit different as they woke me up, but I did not think much of them. Then I got out of bed and was surprised with a gush – my water had broken. I sprang from the bed as quickly as a very pregnant woman can; we had not yet put the waterproof cover on our mattress. I woke your dad who jumped up, excited, and grabbed towels. I waddled to the bathroom, a towel between my legs.
Contractions began quickly after that, steadily increasing in frequency and intensity. We rested with your sister for an hour or so, knowing what a big day we had ahead of us, then told your Grandma Janie, who was visiting to help during your arrival, what was happening and called our midwives and doula.
Soon, our house was crowded with people awaiting you. Contractions slowed, then began again in earnest. There was no puttering around the house with your labor; it was intense from the start. Grandma Janie whisked Aria off for a day – and eventually night – at the hotel across the way and you and I got busy working you out. Your Dad was amazing and helped me so much through the strong belly squeezes. He was as eager as I was to meet you.
Your birth taught me that my body worked. I birthed you at home, in the bed in which you were conceived, with no drugs or interventions. You breastfed right away, receiving protective antibodies and the nourishment you needed from colostrum I made. Since then – to this day – you’ve continued to receive mama’s milk. It changes with you, giving you what you need when you need it. (I’ve been committed to nursing each of our babes for at least two years, per WHO recommendations.)
You were a mellow baby, often content to watch your big sis – whom you adore and who adores you – play and run around you. You slept well from the beginning, contentedly turning over and going to sleep in your co-sleeper when placed there. Mostly, though, you were in my arms or on my chest.
Today, at two, you are becoming an independent little girl. No longer a baby, you are still shy in new situations but you venture a little farther and a little higher than you used to. You always check in with Mama or Daddy, though. You are learning new words every day and trying so hard to join the conversation around you. You have made friends of the other younger siblings at Aria’s school and you hold your own in Aria’s more complicated play. You are imaginative, already pouring me coffee from your tea set and bringing me food from the play kitchen. You are daring, climbing high on the playground or a new set of stairs. You want to buckle your own seat belt and put on your own shoes and even your own diaper. Sometimes you are interested in the potty, sometimes not. You like to read and for the first time last night pretended to read to me (from Little House in the Big Woods, one of Aria’s current faves). You like to color (we have the doors to prove it). You are sweet and cuddly (still and always my Cuddlebug, from the beginning) and funny and silly and active and observant. You are both stubborn and patient, though not always at the same time. Sometimes you are quiet but you also have a voice of your own, which commands attention. You babbled happily and loudly from a young age; now, you sing the welcome song from Aria’s school, talk and recite “H, I, J, K” and “No more jumping bed”. You don’t eat much – you are a little peanut compared to your sis – but you love fruit (especially citrus) and still breastfeed often. You sleep best next to me. You still suck your thumb. It is still very cute.
You are a joy and a blessing and I can’t imagine our lives with you. I love you, Ani Kathryn. Happy 2nd Birthday!