A long, long time ago when you were little more than a few cells I decided I would log my pregnancy and hoped I would continue that throughout the early part of your life. Now as we celebrate your first birthday I want to write to you so in years to come you can read back on this, and all my other posts, and get a real sense of what your life as a baby was like. Hopefully you will one day write me letters too and mine and your dad’s shared love of writing will have passed on to you!
When we decided to have a baby, I could never have imagined what a journey we would go on to get to this point and just how emotional, rewarding, terrifying, crazy, happy and lovely it would be! It was back in October 2014 when we were on our first weekend away together in the Lake District – that weekend we went to the zoo and I got to feed the lemurs, we took a boat out across the lake and we ate a lot of chocolate! I’m sure we’ll take you some day and we can do all those things and many more. Back then your daddy and I were incredibly happy – but we knew we were both ready to be parents (me for the first time and your dad for the third!) and we thought we’d do an okay job of it together.
We expected it would take a long time but less than three months later we found out one Sunday lunchtime that we were going to be your parents! We had so many hopes and dreams for you, some we still hold with many more added into the mix now. I was convinced you were a boy until halfway through we had a scan and the man told us you were going to be a girl. Although I’d been looking at all the blue clothes in shops, before I was ever pregnant I’d always wanted a girl so it was a shock but a good one! I love being a girl mommy, girls are the best!
As you grew, we revelled in seeing you move, kick and roll around but I was so incredibly tired all the time and I couldn’t wait to not be pregnant anymore! I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience but it was more than worth it in the end.
I expect you’ll know by now that we had a pretty traumatic time once you were born. I didn’t really feel like your mommy for a long time although I already loved you so much. When I was in hospital all I wanted was to get back home to you. I stared at your pictures on the wall 24/7 and felt equally delighted and sad to hear tales of how amazingly you were getting on. Right from the word go, you were the most contented little baby (and you really were tiny! 6lb 7 and the smallest of your little friends by a whole pound), even the midwives used to talk about how lovely you were. One of the healthcare assistants in particular, Mel, used to come in and cuddle you all the time. I think she would have taken you home had we let her. Even Jane Pannikar, the consultant, used to come downstairs to the postnatal ward to hold you!
There has always been something very captivating about you that made everyone go gooey – even people who don’t normally like children – and made strangers stop and coo at you. Of course, we’ve always been biased and thought you were the prettiest and best thing ever!
Meeting you again when you were eight weeks old was the best moment of my life. At one point I was convinced I would never see you again so just to get to see your little face (which had changed so much from how I remembered you) was something I will never forget. Daddy would have done such a good job with you on his own (with plenty of help from everyone we know of course) and you are incredibly lucky you have him as your dad. But right from that moment, my determination to get back to you just increased as the days went on.
I learned how to use my silly hand to change your nappy, it took a few goes to get there but we did in the end. When we were finally all home together, I got strong enough to pick you up and then to carry you up and down the stairs. After a few weeks I was well enough to be left on my own with you and that felt a bit terrifying. All your little friends’ mommies had been looking after them for months so I felt like they knew exactly what to do whereas I was still completely clueless. I worried that you’d always prefer daddy over me, I worried you’d never smile at me the way you smiled at him and your nanna. I worried I’d missed out on so much and I knew we’d never get that time back.
But being together 24/7 from Christmas onwards has been an experience we’ve both grown throughout. You have changed beyond belief and learned so many new things in your first year, and so have I. Every day I feel incredibly proud to be your mommy. You’re already a courageous, funny, strong, cheeky, ambitious little girl and every day you learn to do something new. You make us laugh endlessly with your little sing-song voice, you make us worry constantly with your fearless attitude to everything and you make us so incredibly happy.
Life has completely and utterly turned upside down and sometimes I still feel overwhelmed when I think of how much my life has changed since you were born. Sometimes I think back on simpler times when I didn’t have to remember a million and one things to take with me when I left the house, when I didn’t have a little being stealing my food or distracting me from things I need to do. But being your mom, whilst the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, is without doubt the most rewarding.
The first time you came to me when you were crying is a moment I’ll remember forever because it symbolised to me that we’ve got a bond now, a bond I will never break, a bond that it took a lot longer for me to make than some other mommies. But a bond that will forever mean so much because we nearly didn’t get to make it.
Keep being you, darling baby girl. Keep being the kid who dances like an idiot and doesn’t care. Keep being the kid who has enthusiasm for everything. Keep being the kid who looks at your daddy like he’s the best thing she’s ever seen (he is!).
You are so, so beautiful and I love you beyond any words that I could ever manage to write or say.
Love you endlessly, completely and totally,