*Disclaimer: Long and sentimental post follows.
I remember the day, three years, as clearly as it is today. September 21st, 2007 was a gorgeous fall day in Lexington, Kentucky. There was just something about being pregnant with my firstborn that made that fall oh so lovely. It didn't matter that it was still fairly warm out - all of my maternity clothes were summer ones anyway. I had an appointment with my midwife that Friday, the second appointment of the week. Since 35 weeks, I was being monitored more closely due to a very small baby and borderline low fluid. Much to Chad's dismay, extra ultrasounds and stress-test monitoring meant more co-pays. At 38 weeks, we started trying everything recommended to help this baby come. Let's just say Chad even had me drink a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar. We surely thought the baby would come (I was dilated and effaced at 35 weeks with a very low baby). My midwife wouldn't strip my membranes until I entered that 40th week, because of the baby's small size. Part of the concern was the fact that my measurements kept getting smaller and smaller. At my 40 wk appt, I measured 31 weeks. So, at that point, the attending doctor wanted me to come in on Friday to discuss induction. Friday comes. No baby yet. Since I was measuring so small and was already dilated to 4-5 cm, my midwife suggested we just head on over to the hospital so she could just break my water and get things moving. Plus, the labor/delivery ward was pretty empty so we could have a big room with a tub.
I couldn't believe it was finally happening! We checked in, got our room, filled out paperwork, and started goofing off while we waited. My midwife came in and broke my water right after 1 pm. Nothing really started happening for a while, so we just ate, hung out, and laughed a lot. I was having mild contractions, but they weren't painful or very consistent. Besides, I had Braxton-Hicks since I was about 25 weeks pregnant, so this was no big deal. Things started to pick up a little, and my midwife came back to check me around 6 pm. I was still only dilated to 6, and the baby was actually turned with her face up instead of down. So, they had me get on all fours for a while, and then switch to lying on my side. Around 8 pm, I was feeling the contractions and having to really concentrate and breathe through them, but I still hadn't dilated any further. My midwife asked me to consider getting the tiniest amount of Pitocin just to get things moving a bit more. So we did ... and still no drugs! That seemed to do the trick, because around 10:30 I was finally ready to push. I remember this part so vividly still - my contractions were only coming about 4 minutes apart, so we were still cutting up in between them. It took about an hour and half of pushing, and finally just after midnight our first child was born ... a GIRL! I was so excited!!!! We had just decided the week before on her name, Juliana Piper.
She was so tiny, weighing just 5 lbs and 15 oz, but she was perfect. Right away her huge, dark eyes and long, black eyelashes were so evident. It was such a dream. Those first days, and even the first months, with our firstborn were so special.
I look at her today and wonder where the time has gone. I can still see my baby girl in her little girl face. I can hear her addictive baby giggle in her spontaneous little girl laugh. I love my Juliana Piper so much - it literally brings tears to my eyes. Sometimes I just hold her and breath in the scent of her, knowing that the days are fleeting. God has given us such a special gift by entrusting this child to us, and I pray so desperately that we honor God in our parenting of her. Happy 3rd birthday, Juliana ... we love you.