Around this time last year we were anxious, impatient, and inexplicably excited about exactly when you were coming.
I remember that I was half-hoping you’d make it to March, but then we can hardly wait to see you (we’ve been waiting for a good three weeks and it wasn’t particularly easy.) I remember how that weekend went on as usual, and then at dawn the following Tuesday, you were breathing the same air we do.
It’s been a year, my love, but the memory of you coming into this world runs bright and vivid in my mind.
Sunday night I was no longer able to sleep continuously because of the waves of teeth-clenching pain which came in 20-minute intervals. I was scared, but I waited until the sun came up to tell your dad that I was feeling pre-labor pains. On Monday morning, Daddy and I still walked around town and watched a movie at home. Contractions were already five minutes apart while we had dinner before checking at the hospital, and shortly after arriving I was already being wheeled into the delivery room. Turns out I was already 7 centimeters dilated. It’s all happening too fast, your Daddy and I thought, but we were wrong.
Three whole hours later of pushing and howling and shouting and crying and giving it all the strength I’ve got, the doctors had to do an emergency C-section to get you out.
It was just in time, too, for when you came out you were not breathing and almost blue.
As soon as I woke up in the recovery room, I asked Daddy how you were. He said you were okay but something about his wan smile told me not everything was fine. This motivated me to stand up as quickly as possible so I could get to you in the Newborn ICU. Twelve hours later, enduring the feeling of having the wind sucked out of me, I was finally able to stand with Daddy’s support.
The morning after, I held you for the first time. You looked so frail and fragile, and seeing the cannula up your pretty little nose broke my heart. It was not pleasant, that experience of birthing you, and on top of the trauma, I worried endlessly if you were going to be alright. I felt guilty about the distress and I ached all over, but seeing your tiny face took it all away. You were too weak and tired to latch or do anything but sleep but we kept trying until you took my breast the very day we were about to leave the hospital.
On your first night at home, we couldn’t stop watching you. We were careful with every move and uncertain if we were doing things right. We had no rhythm, and you did not come with a user manual so we had to rely on instinct and good old Google.
The rest, as they say, is history.
365 days with you, love, and each one is made fuller because you are here.
On your birthday, I pray that you emulate the meaning of your two given names: God is Gracious, and Wisdom. May God always be gracious upon you, and may you, in turn, share that graciousness to everyone to meet. Always remember that you are a testament to God’s wisdom and perfect timing, and I pray that as you grow older you will bear the same wisdom in all your decisions. I wish for you to grow up to recognize what God placed you in this world to be, and I promise that your dad and I will try our very best to get you there.
Since you came into our lives there are so many things we’ve done less of–like sleeping and eating out and going to the movies–but loving is not one of them.
Dearest Yanni, my Gianna, never have I loved more in all my life.
I love you more than I could ever have the words for.