12 months ago on this day, a tiny baby named Dashiell was born.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a full year, but there you are, walking across the room to me to prove it. Your Dad and I have spent the last day retracing our steps of the day before your birth when labor began; grocery shopping, seeing one of our midwives (she just happened to be at the grocery store), and reminding ourselves of when the major milestones occurred; “It’s 10pm and we would have just gotten to the hospital!” It’s been a nice time to reflect on the past year. Going through the many many pictures we’ve taken (a shocking amount, really) brought back all kinds of wonderful moments.
Our lives have changed a lot since your birth (Understatement). Every day it seems there’s something to illustrate this point for us. Take today, for instance. I had planned to write this post out around 10:00, while you took your morning nap. When 12:00 rolled around and you still hadn’t stopped walking around, exploring every corner of our house, I kind of figured our schedule was going to be off. You were a little cranky about it, but we played on. We ate lunch before your nap (a first) and played some more. And then when 3:00 rolled around, you were finally ready to curl up on me and fall asleep. Didn’t take more than a full minute- you zonked out and I sat there thinking about how you can make all the plans you want, but sometimes those plans are going nowhere. And that’s ok. And we both might get a little cranky and that’s ok too. Just one of the many lessons you’ve taught us, Dash.
So now you’re sleeping, I’m exhausted, but I’m going to write this out. I haven’t yet shared your birth story like your dad did here, so I think I’ll start off with that.
The Birth Story (abridged version):
… After about six hours of labor, you arrived. I found it wasn’t half as bad as the movies say it will be, even without drugs. Ok, one annoying part about the birth process was when you kept turning your head from side to side while you were on the way out. Once is fine, seventeen trillion times had me asking our midwife in frustration, “Why does he keep doing that!?”
It was shortly after that that she realized that my/your water never broke and that it was kind of keeping you in. She let me feel your head, still covered by the membrane, like a little wet melon ball. One quick poke solved that pesky water problem and you came right out with a yell. Your cord was unexpectedly short, so instead of placing you on my chest for some skin-to-skin contact, you only reached to my belly. I have to admit, Dash, that I was kind of on another planet at that moment so I was kind of with you but kind of elsewhere too. But I remember perfectly your little body with all the right parts and your reddish blond hair that in the dimmed hospital lights looked a little curly.
I thought your skin was a looking a bit yellow, but no one said anything until the end of the day when everyone agreed that you had a raging case of jaundice. This was where we learned lesson number one from you (listen to ourselves). We knew that breastfeeding would be the best way to get rid of it, but the hospital really wanted you under the bili lights. We could have just gone home at the end of our two day stay, kept you on the boob, sat you near a sunny window, and watched you trade in the yellow for a healthy pink glow. But instead we stayed at the hospital for five days, tried to make you stay under the lights (ha!), and got stressed out over something that was seemingly out of our control.
Lesson number two (how appropriate!) had to do with you, poop, and bili lights. A scary and then hilarious reminder of how important laughter is.
A few days later you got better and we all went home, you arriving there for a very first time as a separate being, and wearing the little red-hooded sleeper that I wore home from the hospital some thirty years before.
We learned lots more lessons over the next few days, weeks, and months. You’re a pretty good teacher. And you grew strong (holding your head up almost immediately and wanting to stand all the time).
I has the legs of a chikun.
You passed through a bad skin stage earlier than we expected, breaking my heart.
Please don’t take my picture. I implore you.
You slept in our bed from the beginning and to this day you love it so much you don’t want to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time. I’m… um… glad you love it honey, but sleep is good too. Some day, right? Right?
And now you laugh at jokes, eat regular food, have teeth (two, right on the bottom), walk, scoot around on your butt, chase the dog around, eat cat food, play with electrical cords and everything else you can get your hands on. Your curiosity and enthusiasm seem never ending (especially when you skip a nap) and I can’t get enough of you. Sometimes I just want to eat you up.
This has been an amazing year, Dash, and it’s all because of your presence in our lives. When we celebrate your birthday on Saturday, know that all that fuss is for you. It’s your day, marking the end of one year and the beginning of another. There’s a big world out there just waiting to see what you’re going to do.
It’s your day, and that’s your cupcake. Dig in.