Six years ago today, we were waiting and waiting for our first baby girl to arrive. You were already nine days overdue. The Easter outfit I purchased for you sat waiting in the nursery (and was now deemed your Baptism outfit instead) since you did not arrive by Easter (which was five days past your due date). I was big, tired, cranky, and all done wiith being pregnant. We scheduled an induction with my OB for this date, but I just knew you would arrive before then. Well... you did not.
As we checked into labor and delivery at 7:30am, the nurse informed us that we should have received a phone call postponing the induction since the L&D floor was full. I almost lost it then. There was no way I was going back home. My baby was coming out TODAY! Once the nurse realized I was nine days overdue, they set me up in a teensy curtained area in pre-op. There was barely any room for Shawn to sit never mind the four anxious grandparents milling around. I refused to let my OB break my water in that little space, but the Pitocin was started, and the induction officially began. What a crazy day! (As if any labor and delivery is not crazy!) Things went slowly, I finally was transferred to a real room with a real door that closes and a real bed. I kept making progress, but slowly. I was at 7cm for what seemed like days and days and days. But I kept telling everyone that she was coming. I knew she was coming. At 8:30pm, my dad had to leave to catch a plane for a business trip, and both the nurse and OB told him this baby was not coming before midnight. So he left. But I knew she was coming. They kept checking me and telling me I was only at 7cm and not to push. I was on no pain medication, and I just knew she was coming. Those were the words I kept saying over and over. "She's coming, she's coming, she's coming!" The last time, those words were screamed at the top of my lungs. My OB was down the hall, and (she tells me after the fact), she said, "That's my patient!" and ran in. Sure enough, you were coming. When you were ready to come, you didn't care that I was not fully dilated, that no one else was prepared for you to be delivered (except your mother!). 8:52pm and Clare Therese was born!
I fell in love that day with my first baby girl. The nurses could not get your temperature up even under warmer lights, so I begged to hold you skin-to-skin and nurse you. We cuddled under the blankets, you latched on as if you had been nursing forever, and your temperature shot right up. The world was a perfect place, and we were on Cloud Nine. For about 16 hours.
When I think back, I wish I could hold on to those 16 hours of ignorant bliss forever. When our two-year old son came to the hospital the following morning to meet his baby sister. When I thought over and over what a perfect little family of four we had become. When I could not believe I had been so blessed with a gorgeous son and daughter. When all was right in my little world, and I felt so much at peace.
Then we heard the words "she has a heart murmur." And bigger, scarier words were thrown around - pediatric cardiologist, echocardiogram, pulmonary valve stenosis, congestive heart failure, sudden death. Over the next few days, then weeks, our entire world was turned upside down by what is now an everyday part of our life - Williams syndrome and congenital heart defects.
But there is a happy ending. Because we have you, Clare Bear. We have had your beautiful, loving, joyful person in our lives for six years now. I would walk this road all over again. How could I wish it otherwise when it would mean I would not have you? I love you so much, my sweet girl. Happy Birthday!