It's a date I think about often, especially lately.
It's the last time I had a baby, and as I near the end of this pregnancy and get ready to give birth to another child all over again, I can't help but think back on that day and remember what it was like, how it all happened, even as I wonder what this time will be like.
I woke up that morning in March over three years ago, a Sunday, and cried in the shower as I began to get ready for church. Why, you may ask? Because I woke up still pregnant, and this was just too much. (pregnancy hormones make a girl crazy, you know.) Even though my "official" due date wasn't for another two days, I was just so done. I was barely getting any sleep at night, my body hurt and I was uncomfortable, and my doctor had told me at an appointment the Monday before that I would most likely be back that night for labor and delivery (I don't think doctors should be allowed to tell very pregnant women things like that.) Not to mention, Annabelle had come down with pink eye earlier that week, and it had felt like the longest week in history for a variety of reasons.
(funny side note: Emma came down with pink eye the day before Annabelle was born. No joke. I keep wondering if Rosalie is going to get pink eye anytime soon, now that the birth of this baby is imminent... it seems to be a standing tradition of ours.)
Anyway, so there I was, ridiculously crying in the shower, and simply praying that I could get through the day, praying that our little girl would make her appearance SOON.
Little did I know!
We went to church as usual that morning, and that's when it happened. I stood up for one of the songs at the beginning of the service... and there was a trickle. I froze. I didn't just pee, did I? No. That was... something else. My water had never broken on its own before, so this was new to me, and I just wasn't quite sure. I excused myself to go to the bathroom. Still not sure. But every time I stood up during that service, there was more trickling. By the end of it, I was fairly certain my water must have broken. And so, we quietly and unobtrusively skipped Sunday school and left to go home, so we could get ready to go to the hospital.
For as much as I wanted to be in labor and have our baby, I think it was hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I actually was. I wasn't having any serious contractions yet, just that trickling. I didn't feel any different. I made my kids lunch when we got home from church, changed my clothes, got a few extra things together, made some phone calls telling people what was probaably going on, watched TV with Jeremy and my sister, who was visiting from Colorado at the time. It just felt too unreal that I could have a baby in a matter of hours; it was just so different from my previous labor experiences, which came on hard and fast.
Finally, around 2:30, I started having a few contractions and we decided we might as well head off to the hospital. They confirmed that my water had indeed broken, that I was in labor, and we were admitted. I remember being in our room as the afternoon sun filled it with light, waiting for the contractions to get hard and wondering how long it was until we'd meet our little girl, thinking that it was weird to be there at that time of day, instead of in the wee hours of the morning.
After this, things get a little bit more hazy. I know labor picked up and I started to really feel the contractions hurt as they got closer together sometime in the next hour or so. I also remember starting to panic, oddly enough since I'd done this two other time, as they got really hard. Annabelle's birth, which was painful like nothing I'd ever experienced before, was somehow fresh in my mind, and I just didn't want to feel that again.
And so, partly because I was curious what it might be like, partly because I could since this labor was taking longer, but mostly because I was finding it increasingly hard to not panic, I decided to get an epidural, which I hadn't ever done before. And even though I know I actually could have gotten by without it, that it would have been fine, I'm glad I did. I relaxed. Jeremy relaxed. I got to have a good phone conversation with my mom, who was in Colorado and NOT practically on the other side of the door like she had been the last two times, which was so different and rather sad to me.
Sometime around 10 that night, I realized things were moving along and I was starting to feel it. We had wondered if Rosalie would be born on her grandma's (Jeremy's mom) birthday, which was the 16th, at the rate things had been progressing... but it soon became clear that she would claim her own day. And at 10:55 that night, out she came, our Rosalie Hope, perfect and healthy, all 6 pounds and 3 ounces of her.
She was so tiny, and I still remember her babydays, some a little more clearly than others, and what it was like to have a new little life in our home.
This peanut of a child has now grown and changed into a three-year old, a kid, a girl with a personality all her own.
I've discovered, as she's become more independent and vocal, that she is a challenge. Really, believe it or not, this sweet little thing makes life positively difficult sometimes. She's stubborn (oh, SO stubborn), defiant, willful, headstrong, quite often disobedient, can be a little bully when she doesn't get her way with her sisters, and has a temper that results in meltdowns and tantrums at anytime. She fights and argues, sometimes just for argument's sake, and she refuses to give in, always thinking she can win. I'm learning to choose my battles with her carefully-- but also realizing how important it is, once a battle has began, for me to stand firm and not give in, for me to "win". Consistency is exhausting with this child, but so important. I'm constantly humbled as a mother when it comes to her, and I pray for wisdom and strength and grace quite often in our days. I pray for her, too, that all that spark and fire she has will become a beautiful and lovely glowing, shining life throughout the years, by His grace.
Yes, she's a challenge. But on the other hand, she is pure joy. She is funny and hilarious and keeps us laughing with her spunky little attitude and bold ways. She is sweet as sugar, generous and unabashed as only Rosalie can be in her affection, when she so chooses- her big kisses, bear hugs, loud proclamations of love, and spontaneous snuggles are some of the best things ever. She is adorable and darling, with her blond curls and big brown eyes and charming voices that she uses when playing. She is creative and imaginative, drawing and dancing and dressing up every day. She's not afraid to get dirty and grimy, but she loves lip gloss and pretty painted nails like the very girliest of girls. She is a total ham, loud and crazy and loving to make people laugh; and she is thoughtful and smart, always taking in the world around her.
She makes us smile, and our lives would be less lit-up without her, that's for sure. Even on the roughest days, I am so thankful to be mama to her, just as she is-- a true blessing.
I can't help but think how she's been the baby of the family for over three years now, the littlest in our group of girls, the smallest of us all. And soon, perhaps very soon, she won't be the baby anymore. She'll be a big sister, and probably seem older and bigger than ever before with the presence of a tiny newbie. I can't wait to see her with our baby, to experience her being a big sister, to see the ways in which she will continue to mature and change, even though my heart whispers a little of the bittersweet to me as I watch her grow up every day.
But, baby or not, she'll always be a baby of mine. Always and forever my Rosalie-roo.
I meant to use these pictures and write a story about her birth way back in March as a birthday post, when she actually turned three... which of course never happened, thanks to my blogging procrastination tendencies. But, I'm actually glad it worked out that way, because I think writing this post now was the perfect thing for me. As I always say when it comes to blogging, better late than never... and sometimes, even better later rather than sooner! :)