Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy (Almost) Birthday to My Daughter!

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This time of year is always rough for me. Well, I'm only two years into this journey, so maybe the word always is a little dramatic, but you get the idea! Halloween is a tough holiday for me now. It's difficult to have a holiday centered so much around little kids so close to her birthday.

It's 8:19pm (my time) right now. Two years ago at this exact time, I was pacing around my house, trying to move my labor along, while the last few trick-or-treaters came by. I remember, oddly enough, that "Knocked Up" was on TBS while I was walking from the living room to my bedroom and back. I had laid down to take a little nap when my back started really hurting. I had been having contractions throughout the day, but suddenly they were like waves of fire down and across my back. My mother and I began timing them, and before I know it, around 11:30pm on Halloween night, I was headed to the hospital.
My labor was fairly long, and when I got there, I was only about 4cm dilated. They decided to keep me, and I remember realizing that I was in for a long journey if this was how much pain I was in at 4cm. I could not imagine getting to 10cm. I couldn't even think about it. The next day and a half are a blur to me now, so thankfully I have them written in my personal journal because I know one day I'll need to remember, or my daughter may want to know. Those are questions that only I can answer for her, and I want to be able to answer them honestly.

I remember around 11pm on November 1st (after I had been there for almost 24 hours), my doctor came in and started discussing a c-section. He said he would wait until noon the next day (November 2nd), and if I hadn't given birth by then, then we would have to seriously consider it. Luckily, around 4 a.m., my water broke and woke me out of a drug-induced sleep (probably due in part to my epidural). About two hours later, the pressure became unbearable and I buzzed the nurse in. She said she was going to "check me," and she lifted up my gown. Without even touching me, she said "oh my God," and paged my doctor. I distinctly remember saying to her immediately after, "will I have my baby sometime today?" She replied, "honey, you're going to have a baby in about 30 minutes." And sure enough, little Arianna was born at 6:31 a.m. Could my nurse have been more amazing?

Last year, I don't remember her birthday being so hard. I think I was expecting it to be extremely painful for me, so when it really wasn't, I was almost relieved. This year, though, I think I felt more brave. I think I figured that since I handled the first birthday (what I thought would be the hardest), I could definitely handle her first birthday. However, for some reason, this year it seems much harder. Maybe because she's no longer a longer just lying around or crawling around. No longer stumbling around learning how to walk, or babbling as she learns how to talk. Now she's a toddler. She's not only walking around, but running. Not only talking, but articulately calling herself by name, and someone else "mama." The magnitude of what I've lost has really sunk in in these past few days alone. I didn't just place my baby to be raised by another family. I placed my toddler, my little kid, my young adult, my adult.

I've found myself wishing I could go back in time. Wishing I could rewind the clock back two years, so I could be pregnant again at this very moment, unaware that I would get to meet my baby in less than 36 hours. Unaware of whether she would look like me or her birth father. Unaware of how much I would love her the very second I laid eyes on her curly head of hair and heard her cry for the first time. I would give anything to be that naive again. I would give anything to go back and have the chance to leave the hospital with her. That's not to say I regret my choice - but it's definitely not easy. And definitely not at this time of the year. 

How do you cope when birthdays roll around? Especially if you don't have visits with your child on or around their birthday, just like I don't?



  1. I haven't hit the first birthday yet, but tonight was significant to me too. My daughter was conceived on Halloween last year. Her adoptive parents knew this and that it was going to be a rough day for me, so they were really nice and invited me over to take her trick or treating, have dinner, pass out candy, and they even put together some Halloween themed craft projects.

    I know I won't always be able to be there for all of the major events in her life, and I'm already bracing myself emotionally for those times, but I'm so grateful I was able to be there tonight. This tough journey began exactly one year ago today, and it helped so much to be able to be with her as this year came to a close.

  2. This for sure made me cry. I felt the same way this year and this was the first birthday. I thought it would be so hard. And I was crying everyday many times a day before his birthday. And then his birthday came and then I was numb. I just wanted it to be over with. I know how you felt. When I took my oldest son trick or treating this year, it was very bittersweet because I was pregnant last year and hoping I would go into labor. But 2 days later he was born. And I sometimes wish I could go back in time.

  3. In a few days my son will be 11 yrs old. Every year is hard I will not lie. This year I will be getting a tattoo for my son on his birthday to celebrate my love for him. All I can say is keep talking it helps to have support.