It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since I was sent home from the hospital sobbing.
I knew I was in labor and shouldn’t leave. I begged the nurses to let me stay. I knew Hildie was coming and soon. But I was too disoriented and deep in labor to be able to put up a fight and I just cried all the way home only to realize things were farther along than either Daniel and I realized (“I think that was a pushing contraction and I’m not trying to push!”) and rushing back. (You can read the whole story from start to finish here.)
While the details of my other labors are hazy at the end (because I was, ya know, having a baby), I will NEVER forget the last moments of this one: Daniel holding me upright as I walked from the car–barely able to take a step as he scanned the area for a spot to deliver our baby girl. Miraculously making it into the doors of the hospital and into the elevator. Then as we stepped out of the elevator toward labor and delivery screaming.
She was coming and I couldn’t stop it. A wild ride on a rolling office chair (seriously–a sit com delivery story) into a room praying the Hail Mary, being rolled onto the bed, and pushing out a baby immediately as I screamed at the nurses that they should NOT have sent me home.
My water never breaking and the baby being born inside the intact bag of waters, the mermaid’s purse, still swimming even though she was no longer in my womb. Her grey eyes, her ginger hair, her gorgeous face.
The relief that it was over, that she was safe, as I cried tears of joy. Euphoric as I nursed her for the first time. Never have the postpartum hormones been so good. If only I could bottle them. I’ve never felt such peace and sense of wellbeing.
Never have I cherished the newborn stage so much. Never have I been so deeply in love with my baby. It’s been the best year of my life for many reasons, but mostly because she is in it. My Hildegard Rose.
She was born into a stressful, crazy room with a screaming mother, harried nurses, no doctor present, her Daddy reaching out to catch her. Chaos.
I never should have been sent home. I knew. I begged to stay. The people in charge let us down.
But then she arrived, radiating peace and joy into the mess that had been made. I know I’m biased, but there has never been a baby with such sweetness as Hildie. She brings joy and peace everywhere she goes. And perhaps that is her calling. She was born into a chaotic world. The “people in charge” have let us all down. What a mess we are all in. Having children motivates you to make this messy world a more beautiful place. But having children also gives me hope because I know she will bring peace and joy and sweetness into this ugly world.
Only one out of 80,000 babies is born “en caul” inside the bag of waters like Hildie. But like every baby, she is one in a million, one in a billion, unlike any other. Pure magic.
Maybe it’s something about her being my fourth little one and having such a gap (5 years) between her and Gwen, but the gift of her has not been lost on me for a moment.
Amidst the sleep deprivation and constant demands of caring for a baby, I have each day (often, admittedly, with exhaustion) just revelled in the Hildie-ness of her. I told myself I would do this year right. That I would soak up every second. And friends, I have. It feels like for the first time, I did it right.
I spent hour after hour just loving on my baby. After the big kids fell asleep at night, I would let her nod off in my arms and then just stare at her beautiful face–for hours. I couldn’t tear myself away. I didn’t want to miss a second. I wanted to slow down time. And I couldn’t do it. It didn’t work. The moments rushed by as she grew bigger every second, growing older before my eyes. I felt like I was chasing a runaway train–I could see it in the distance but knew I could never catch up. Her babyhood evaporating before my eyes.
But I would do all over again. Holding her in my arms for hours, staring into her eyes. Soaking it all up. But even doing it all right, I couldn’t keep the days from slipping away. It’s the beautiful, heartbreaking reality of babies. They don’t stay babies.
So here I am a year later with the sweetest one-year-old, toddling around the house. Chasing the cat. Snuggling with the dog (he tolerates his tail being held in her little dimpled fist as a comfort object). Laughing at her siblings. Filling our home with peace and joy.
The utter delight of her smile–her expression when we lock eyes, a look of complete security and peace and happiness. When do we lose that look? I want her to keep it forever.
Thank you, Jesus, for this baby–this precious girl with a wild start to life. She has already transformed me. How will she change the world? I can’t wait to see. Happy birthday, Hildegard. I love you with every beat of my heart.
? Thanks for the life giving beauty of all this wondrous joy and seeing the next generation with hope! Hallelujah! Happy birthday, Hildie!
I felt the same with our fourth. There was a gap of four years between our last two, and it did make it super sweet. It was like my first in many respects, since there were no toddlers who needed my constant attention. And knowing that she would likely be our last, added to the savoring of each moment.
Aww! Sweetest post! Happy birthday, sweet girl. I have enjoyed watching you grow this year.
Happy Birthday, Hilde! What a wonderful reflection. I too had a baby born en caul—after a similarly crazy labor and euphoric birth—and he is such a special little guy. He brings happiness whenever he goes, living up to his name (Felix). I don’t believe in superstitions, but I have to say, these en caul babies are something else! Love to you and your family.
Happy birth day, Haley! And happy birthday to sweet Hildie! My pregnant self cried through this one. Babies are so precious and that first year goes so fast. (And I’m still a little mad that my oldest WOULD HAVE been born en caul, but the doctor broke my water when her head came out! Whyyyyyyyyyy?!)
Robin Mureiko says
Amen and amen! I’ve loved it too. I’d go back in a heartbeat to do a day (or many days really) with each one I’ve had. But time does march on and it’s all good. God bless you and God bless Haley!
Happy blessed 1st birthday, Hildegard Rose!!
Happy Birthday! I feel the same way about my fourth child. He was a pure joy and I cherished each moment, I think I was just better at it. He has kept that joy and even at 26, he lights up a room! God Bless!
Happy Birthday, Hildegard Rose! She is such a beautiful baby girl.
I still try to soak up moments with my youngest. There is a 14 year difference between my girls. Isabella was a surprise & a blessing to our family. She keeps us on our toes & we are constantly trying to keep up with her. As her older siblings are off living their own lives we are starting over with Kindergarten & yes, it is a whole new world this time. So many times I feel like I am a brand new mother because things are so different. Plus, I find that there are times where I’m just more able to enjoy her childhood where, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do so with the other kids.
She is one of 6 in a blended family so she has helped to bring us all together even more. A true blessing.
Enjoy every minute with your beautiful children. 🙂
Happy birthday, Hildegard Rose! Reading this, I can absolutely understand why your Mommy wanted to cherish every minute! Time really does fly by so fast!
Blessings to Hildegard Rose. Wishing you a year of happiness and love.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HILDEGARD ROSE
Joan,Marion and Marilyn
Erin H says
Can’t believe she is one already!! Happy Birthday to Miss Hildy xx