Happy birthday and 4 days, Dear Ellie...
Well, today's her birthday PARTY, so it still counts.
Of course, for Maddie's 1st birthday we went nuts and packed the house with people. And this poor 2nd child gets close family only. Because Mommy and Daddy are burned, tapped, and partied out. And unlike Miss M., this kid doesn't subscribe to the notion that "a stranger is just a friend you haven't met". ("Streetcar!" Anybody? Anybody?) Yeah, E would just as soon have quiet to methodically empty containers of blocks all afternoon.
When I went back to read E's birth story, I was treated to such a familiar yet forgotten slice of reality, I ended up shaking my head in wonder. Ironic that my whiney little self experienced all that NICU, RSV stuff (let's not even get into the heart surgery stuff 3 months later), and yet I went on to complain about pathetic nuisances of today's daily life, like getting up at 5:30 on weekdays. Wuss.
I am So. Darn. Lucky. And my kiddo, she was a extremely lucky kiddo, as kiddos who grace intensive care units go. I remember seeing really truly tiny or sick babies in the NICU, beautiful daily reminders that it was a darn good thing that all my kid was really getting over was a bad case of jaundice and some breathing issues. I remember a nurse at duPont asking, "What are you here for? PDA? Pft! You'll be fine." Phew. Thanking God, family, friends, and medical professionals for this past year, with my whole sometimes-whiney heart.
So I thought I'd tell E just how fortunate she is, in case she wants to inherit Mommy's whiney streak later on:
Dear Ellie, (Ellie-Bean, Little Project, E, Sweet One)
When you were born, you had a few issues that most "normal" babies don't have. You couldn't breathe very well. Your liver, though it turned out to be ok, wasn't helping your body exactly like it should. Your tummy hurt and you threw up a lot. And your heart wasn't working like it should either. That was your biggest problem, as it turned out. With the help of some awesome doctors and nurses, your body started working fine in most ways after a while, and we were so grateful to have you home.
But your heart still didn't work quite right. It got worse. You got pale, you were tired all the time, and you couldn't stay awake enough to play, or to eat enough to be healthy. Your whole family was sad and worried about you. Our family helped us a lot by talking to us to make us feel better, and taking care of some things, especially big sister Maddie. When you were 3 1/2 months old, a doctor decided your heart wasn't going to get better on its own, and that you were getting sicker. So you were sent to a kid's hospital. The special doctors and nurses there made a cut on your back and fixed your heart (which is why you have that white line on your back, and a healthy heart today). It was scary at the time, but our family trusted the doctors, the nurses, and God that everything would be ok.
Don't ever fret about that little line left over from the cut on your back. You are lucky to have had this little cut, because it means your heart works better now. You are so very lucky to have been born in a time and a part of the world where there are great doctors and nurses who can do so much to help babies who get sick. Not everyone, everywhere is so lucky, and we need to remember that, and be thankful.
You have many, many people who love you; Mommy, Daddy, Maddie, Nana, Pop, Grammy, Granddad, Heidi, Uncle Nick, Aunt Cait, Aunt Laura, and lots of family members, church family, and friends. And Maxy Doggie loves you too. You drop food a lot, after all.
Right now, at one year old, you have learned so much! You don't lie stiller than still except your tummy moving up and down while you breathe too fast, sleeping all day. You crawl and kneel and bounce and dance and snuggle and know how and when to say "Hi" and "Bye" and "Dada" and wave and play Peeky-Boo and throw your cup and spit out chunky food and give kisses and blow kisses and take every toy out of every bin one by one, every day. You do so much! I can't believe you are already one year old! I also can't believe it was only a year since you were born, since so much happened, and since you shook up our lives! You seemed to say, "I am not just ANOTHER baby girl. Oh no, you will remember my birth, you will remember my first year!"
So Happy Birthday, my sweet baby. Wow, will I ever remember your first year.
I am so lucky to be your mom.