Well, it happened. I don't know when, or how, or how come I didn't notice, but my babe of sweetness and light has turned one year old.
Yesterday we celebrated Leila's First Birthday. I suppose as birthdays go, it was good. She did(still does in fact) have a fever (poo on spring sickness) and so she wasn't her usual charming self and since she's one she doesn't *really* understand the whole situation anyway. But she seemed to enjoy the giraffe cake that Adam and I created for her. I made mac and cheese and roasted vegies for dinner, as she really enjoys those two items. I think she also really enjoyed when we were all singing "Happy Birthday" to her; she LOVES to have everyone singing together. She didn't really *get* the presents and was just interested in playing "thank you" (a little game we play where she hands someone an object and they say "thank you" and then hand it back to her and she says "ankoooo" and hands it back) with the small pieces of tape and bits of wrapping paper she would tear off. The olders were all excited about helping and so there wasn't much of a chance for her to figure out the presents. But she did get appropriately excited (enthusiastically shrieking) when something new was opened up. It was a nice day, but so weird that she's already one.
Leila's recently started holding both hands, outstretched, palms up, when she's on the floor (or in the highchair) and wants up. It is the cutest thing. I could also swear that I've heard her say "up" and "bye" clear as day, but just in passing and I've not been able to get her to repeat it. All of a sudden she's been cruising like mad (walking with the shopping cart and strollers) but still refusing to take any steps. She'll figure it out in her own time, I'm sure. But she is a BIG climber and will climb up ANYTHING now that she has figured it out. She seems to have very good bodily awareness and we have yet (fingers crossed) to have a big crash or fall. I'm sure it's coming though. Most of the damage that has occurred to Leila has been perpetrated by inattentive older siblings who aren't looking at what they are doing OR who are being a bit too rough while "playing". She's still working on getting the four molars all the way through and is finally working on cutting her fourth tooth on the bottom. I'm glad about the fourth tooth because she looks a little lopsided with just three in there! Oh and one more exciting development is that she is getting very proficient with a cup. She'd still rather we hold it for her, but she is drinking now with very little, or no, spillage. It's nice that she's not taking a bath every time she wants water.
I don't think I ever wrote down Leila's birth day story and I'd like to do so here. So, warning: what follows is a graphic, personal version of the birth of my daughter.
On Sunday the 8th of April it was cold and VERY windy. My parents were here for a nice long visit, hoping to be present for the birth of their fourth grandchild. I very much wanted them to be present and so I was a bit antsy that I was a bit overdue. But we were just taking it day by day and enjoying the visit. That day we had decided, despite the blustery conditions, that we would walk around Manassas Battlefield. We bundled everyone up and out we went. We had a great time! We walked around and read the signs and joked and laughed. I had lots of little contractions, but nothing major and nothing any more intense than I had had previously. Mom and I stopped off at the bathroom and after I had finished and was wiping, there was mucous plug on the tissue! I was immediately excited, so this baby was not going to stay in there forever. Someday (soon) a birth would, in fact, take place. Mom tempered my exuberance by saying that it could still be days, but I was excited none the less.
We finished up and went home. It was a long day and I was tired. I started having some more intense contractions, but they were spotty in regularity. We got the kids to bed and I was still having contractions, more regularly, but still not so intense. I remember that I was feeling really tired and worn out, but I really wanted to have the baby (and soon!). Contractions got more intense and so we decided to call the midwife and the assistant to come out. I was having to walk through some of the contractions and was trying to stay on my feet to help them become true labor. I remember going through a brief panic that the house was a mess and so my parents and Adam helped me to clean it up. Then Adam and I went for a long walk around our neighbourhood. I was trying to relax and allow myself to go into labor. I remember feeling like I needed to release and let go; not much of a surprise that control freak oj was having trouble with those things! We got back to the house and our midwife, Alice, and the assistant, Hillary, were there, chatting with my parents.
As soon as we got back my contractions petered out, almost completely. Alice asked me what I wanted to do and I said "I just want to get some sleep." She asked if she could check me and I consented. I was barely a fingertip dialated. I was very dissapointed. I felt like I was *in labor* and that I was for sure having the baby that night. It was close to midnight by then I was exhausted. So everyone went home and to bed.
It was a strange couple of hours. Talia was restless and came to join us in bed. I was having contractions while I was sleeping, but they were just enough to disturb my rest and not enough to wake me up completely. At 2:30 I had had enough and got up to get in the shower. I did not feel well and thought that a hot soak would help me settle down enough to get some good sleep. I got in the shower and after a few minutes found that I was having contractions. A few minutes more and I was having to moan through them. Suddenly Adam came in and asked if I wanted him to call the midwife. I had woken him up with my moaning! I said I didn't really know, but asked him to wake up my mom. Things get a little hazy for me, as I was having lots of contractions. I remember Adam saying he was calling the midwives. I remember sitting on the toilet and trying to wipe the bloody show, only to have it get stuck to my hand and having a little panic attack about that. "Get it OFF!" I yelled at Adam. Back in the shower I went then out again to barf and sit on the toilet. Back in the shower again. Alice arrived, asked if my mom could come in (I'm not sure why she was out of the bathroom.....I wanted her to be in with me, but didn't say so, I don't know why). I started to feel pushy. I remember that my vocalizations got deeper. Alice asked me if I wanted to get out of the shower. I did and so we went into Adam's and my bedroom. I leaned on the yoga ball and threw up some more. I got the shakes, I got the sweats. Alice was concerned because my pulse was racing. Somewhere in there Elie and Isaac were woken up because we thought the baby was coming soon. But I felt like it would be ages before the baby came and so I sent them down stairs with my dad as I went into the crib room to see if rocking on the rocker would give me any relief. No such luck. I turned, crying out "I don't think I can do this. it hurt. it hurts." I turned to my mother, held her arms, and I pushed. Ah sweet relief, my water broke! Holding on to my mom, I buried my face in her neck and I pushed as hard as I could. I rember using a few choice curse words, I remember Alice telling me to slow down and stop because the cord was around the baby's neck. And then the baby slipped out of me. I reached down to grab a hold of her and saw that it was a girl. I held her to my chest and leaned back against Adam, together we sat down on the floor. Elie and Isaac and my Dad came rushing upstairs and my Mom asked them to tell everyone what the baby was. They gleefully announced "A girl!" "It's Leila Naomi!" She was born at 5:43 in the morning, April 9th, 2007. She weighed 8lbs 3oz and was 21 1/2 inches long. A few minutes later, Talia woke up and joined us. The sun was rising, the birds were singing. It was a glorious spring day. We were a family of six!!!