Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcoming 2013

As I sit here on the final morning (or afternoon now) of what has been a very, very eventful year, with my morning coffee and sleepy-eyed Jax, it's hard to believe I wasn't doing just this same exact thing one year ago.

But that girl, her morning was nothing like mine is today. She crawled out of bed late afternoon, hungover and ready to cure it with something greasy and more rum and cokes. She slipped on a mini skirt, some gray tights, and a black top covered in gold sequins. She spent her night sampling Ryan's beers, and hauling a half gallon of cheap vodka around with some friends. She peed in a very dark room of a very sketchy, shabby, and decaying warehouse, into a bucket set underneath a chair with a hole cut through the seat while a band pounded away (illegally) down the hall. She fell and ripped her tights to pieces as the night came to a close, then spent some time hovering over the bathroom toilet at home before falling asleep. Happy new year!

That girl learned so much this past year. Though sometimes she misses those very classy and eventful nights of her past, she's learned way too much to settle for just those anymore.

That girl didn't know how it felt to stare down at an unexpectedly positive pregnancy test.

She didn't know what an abortion clinic looked like, nor how it felt to run out of one crying. Twice.

She didn't know how self-conciousness she'd feel standing in front of her college class in a baggy shirt, trying to hide what wasn't even a bump yet.

She didn't know she could cry so much on the half an hour drive to and from college every day for two months, while an unwanted baby grew inside of her.

But then, she did not know how amazing it was to feel her unborn baby move for the first time, or hear his heart beat.

She didn't know how cute baby clothes were.

She didn't know how cute a bowling ball size belly could look in a bikini.

She didn't know how it felt to have ultrasounds done every two weeks to check her baby for congestive heart failure.

She didn't know that ultrasounds could ever be anything short of magical.

She didn't know that a pregnancy could be anything less than perfect.

She didn't know what "poor biophysical profile" or "late decels" meant.

She didn't know how terrifying the words "emergency csection"could be, especially six weeks early.

She didn't know how empty she could feel just moments before meeting her baby.

She didn't know how important it was to hear that first cry.

She did not know how it felt to hold her baby for the first time, the baby she thought wasn't going to make it.

She didn't know what hypotonia, or almond shaped eyes, or a sandal gap meant.

She didn't know what a newborn with Down Syndrome looked like.

She did not know how it felt to grieve for the death of a child that was alive just across the hall.

She didn't know of the heartache and despair a simple diagnosis could bring.

She didn't know how a smile from a tiny, thriving, little baby boy that looked just like his daddy, could quickly turn that heart ache to guilt, and then to the deepest love.

She didn't know how to read a heart monitor, or watch oxygen saturation numbers like they'd suddenly disappear.

She didn't know what an ASD or VSD meant.

She didn't know how to put down a nasal-gastric tube in a three week old.

She didn't know what a normal platelet count was.

She didn't even know how to change a diaper, or give a sponge bath, or bottle feed. And she certainly didn't know how to be patient enough to wait three months to finally get her baby to nurse. She didn't know it would be so important to her.

She didn't know anything about milestones, therapies, ENT visits, echocardiograms, or fine and gross motor skills.

She didn't know how much she'd love getting her baby out of his bassinet in the middle of the night when he greets her with the biggest smile through all of his tears.

She didn't know how it would feel when strangers cooed over her baby, she didn't know it would make her anxious instead of proud.

She didn't know how it would feel to want to hide her innocent baby away from a world of skepticism and harsh realities.

She didn't know she'd ever want to punch a nurse for simply doing her job.

She didn't know she'd find a baby's cry so cute, or praise him for pooping.

She didn't know she could be so proud of stretch marks.

She didn't know that a night spent in with her son would trump any party she could ever attend.

Mostly, she didn't know she'd ever be a good mother, or even a mother at all.

As I wave goodbye to this year through a warm haze of close friends and good music and all of the love in the world, it's bitterweet. I'm sad to see such a great year of personal growth and love come to a close, yet excited to welcome another year of what will continue to be a learning experience. A new year of motherhood, poopy diapers, therapy sessions, milestones, doctor appointments, scary moments, tears, hugs, and the biggest baby smiles. And soon enough, baby laughs too (I've been waiting and tickling away)!

Cheers to the new year! May all of your 2013's be as fulfilling as mine is sure to be!

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