57 months ago, I held this in my hands:
55 months ago, I held this first picture of the baby growing inside of me:
52 months ago, I held this picture of my daughter:
48 months ago, the day had finally arrived; the day I would finally get to hold her in my arms, and not just in my belly.
It was a Monday.
I was scheduled for an induction, a week before my due date.
After arriving at the hospital in the morning, I was hooked up to the machines, and I waited. In the afternoon, the contractions were strong and consistent and the on-call doctor came to break my water.
Things changed almost instantly. I wasn't surprised when they checked me and I was seven centimeters dilated. I told them to call my doctor, as I had had two very fast deliveries in the past. (You can read about them here and here.)
They smiled and nodded and basically ignored me. And then, it was time. For real. I asked to be checked again. I was ten centimeters dilated and she was coming. Quickly. They told me that my doctor was on her way, FROM THE OFFICE.
Really? This was happening again?
Don't push, they said. Just breathe, they said.
So there I was, breathing through contractions, holding back the intense desire to push, again. There I was, cursing the nurses for not listening to me, again. There I was waiting, again.
Somehow, finally, the doctor appeared.
And just like that, she was here.
A tiny, bald, beautiful baby girl. Alayna.
The little sister Emerson had been waiting for.
The next 36 months turned out to be quite a roller coaster. There was a broken leg, a move to Tennessee, a move to Ohio. Through it all, Alayna was Alayna. Although shy upon first meeting, she'll quickly warm up to you and hit you with her infectious laugh. And that hair? That hair turns heads everywhere we go.
The last 12 months have been spent living in Ohio, but with frequent trips to Michigan and a spring trip to Florida. She had her first day of preschool, enjoyed dressing as a bumblebee for Halloween, caught her first fish, debuted her first pair of glasses, and became a big sister to Nash. No matter where she is, or what she is doing, Alayna is a character.
She turned four over the weekend. When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she answered right away: A penguin. A real, live penguin. And then she added that she'd also like a watermelon, with a knife to cut it. She is quite sensible.
Alayna has always been a Mama's girl. If I'm cooking in the kitchen, she's on the counter helping me. If I'm changing a diaper, she's there next to me, ready to assist, if needed. If I'm painting my nails, she's there, waiting to have her nails painted, too. If I sneak away to take a bath, somehow she's there, stripping down to jump right in. While I enjoy my alone time, I enjoy my time with her, as well. I know that soon enough she'll be too busy and too "cool" to hang out with Mom. So, I'm taking what I can get, as long as she'll give it to me.
Happy 4th Birthday, baby girl. Mama loves you.