Today is our Juniper Love’s first birthday. I’ve spent much of the last month reflecting on what I was doing at this time last year. I remembered the weekend we had a birthing class refresher, the afternoon Adelaide had the “big sister class” at the hospital. I remember how sick I was around Christmas and New Year’s last year, the awful cough that caused me to pull a muscle on my right side. I spent the two weeks I had off work for Winter Break just sitting in one spot on the couch. I watched a lot of TV, kept my feet propped up, and felt miserable.
When Adelaide was born, she surprised us at 37 weeks 5 days. I thought (hoped) June would also come earlier than her 40-weeks due date on January 9. When I left work for our Winter Break on December 19, I was prepared to go straight into a maternity leave. I had done the math and for this pregnancy, 37 weeks 5 days fell right on Christmas Eve. I worried that I would have a Christmas baby or that her birthday would be super close to Christmas. Friends joked that we should have her before the new year so we could get the tax break.
When Monday, January 5 rolled around, I reluctantly showed up at work. I didn’t want to take time off before the baby arrived because I didn’t want to “waste” the sick and vacation days I had banked to get me through my 12-week maternity leave. Most of my projects had been handed off, but I spent that week finishing up little things and answering questions. My due date arrived that Friday and still no baby.
I remember wanting to meet her so badly, knowing these were our final days as a family of three, but not feeling well enough to do much to appreciate them. I remember Tim saying “it will be nice to have a baby around again,” and feeling it hard to believe that in a matter of days we would indeed have a tiny baby in the house. I would be breast feeding again–I could hardly remember what it felt like–and up in the middle of the night again. It all seemed surreal.
I remember going in to the midwife practice for my 40-week check up on Monday, January 12. The midwife said she didn’t think I would make it another week, that I was “ripe.” She said that if I was brave I could try castor oil, and I vowed to give it a try if the baby hadn’t come by say, Thursday or so.
I went to bed Monday night. Almost exactly one year ago as I type this. I didn’t know that it would be THE night, but it was. Cramping woke me up, and my water broke around 1:45am. I immediately awakened Tim and told him to call his brother and our sister-in-law who began to make their way in from the suburbs. The contractions came strong and fast, and I knew we needed to get to the hospital. We called the midwife on call and told her we would be headed to the hospital soon. It even crossed our mind to just leave Adelaide there asleep. She was safe in her room and Ben and Adrienne would be there soon. We waited for them to pull up in front of the house and did a quick “hi/bye” as we hopped in the car. It was 2:30am and we made it to the hospital in about 10 minutes only to find the front doors locked. I remember the pain, standing there in the cold, and the security guard slowly getting up to let us in. The quiet hospital, the elevator, the quick visit to triage where they attempted to put in an IV and monitor the baby’s heart beat with a belt.
“She doesn’t need all that,” the midwife said as she sent me to the birthing suite.
Juniper was born at 3:01am. In the same room where Adelaide was born nearly three and half years earlier.
I don’t remember feeling quite so sappy about Adelaide’s first birthday. Maybe it’s because this has been a particularly hard year with a cross-country move and that celebrating this milestone feels like the bookend to our big year. Maybe it’s because June is baby #2, and I know how fleeting this all is. Or maybe it’s because I know our family is complete and I won’t be doing this again.
This weekend we will have a small party for June, and while I realize first birthday parties are more for the parents than for the kids (yay! we kept her alive an entire year!), I’m looking forward to celebrating my little blondie, her scrunchy-nose smiles, her giant appetite. I’m looking forward to the next year as she begins to walk and talk and her personality develops even more. Happy Birthday, Junie. I’m so glad I get to be your mom.
Tuesday afternoon, about 12 hours after June’s birth, Uncle Ben and Aunt Adrienne brought Adelaide to the hospital. Tim is behind the video camera and our friend Helen was there to capture the photographs. This is a video of Adelaide meeting her sister for the first time, and I’m so thankful to have it documented.