One year ago today I was being taken to an operating room, my face red from crying. I felt defeated and exhausted. I remember apologizing to my doctors, to the nurses, to anyone who would listen because my body couldn’t perform the basic function I was told it could. I remember hating myself. I remember not feeling confident enough to even look at John. I remember praying that this was really the best decision. And I remember her cry and her tiny nose. Out of everything, for some reason, I remember her nose. The first time I saw it, it crinkled, as if to wave to me via nose. And as soon as I saw that crinkle, the anxiety, the failure, and the exhaustion just vanished. And I just counted the minutes until my arms were no longer paralyzed so I could hold that beautiful baby and kiss that beautiful nose.
It’s strange. The first time I held Abby, once the anesthesia wore off, I don’t remember being scared, or anxious, or worried. I just felt…peace, as if this was the exact place I was supposed to be. I stared at those eyes as they fluttered and kissed the beautiful nose, and I took in that sweet smell of my newborn baby girl. It took a long time for us to finalize her name. Abigail came almost suddenly to John, but we didn’t decide on her middle name until I was breathing through contractions. But I remember looking at that beautiful face and thinking, how could you be called anything else. You are Abigail Lynn and no one else.
I can’t believe it has been a year since that terrifying and exhilarating day. Abby has been with us for 365 days and I can’t even remember life without her. We’ve been through sickness and smiles, outdoor strolls and snow days, first real food and first real spit ups. And now that a year has passed, I can honestly say, with every being of myself, this has been the hardest year of my life. Becoming a mother felt difficult, but no where has hard as actually being one. Nothing will ever be the same, not my mindset, not my marriage, and certainly not my body (especially not my body). John and I have had to redefine our relationship and continue to do so as the time passes. We’ve been together more than a decade. We know almost all of each other’s stories. I can read him like a book. But everything changed when I saw her placed in his arms for the first time. Watching John become a father. Watching him with his little sidekick has been breathtaking. While she has my eyes and my hair, she has his faces and his sense of humor.
Every day this year has been different than the last. She’s learning new things every day. Any day now, she’ll take an independent step. Followed by her first word. And before we know it, 18 years will have flown by. I’m looking forward to the adventures of every day. Abby changed my life. She showed me what it is to love a new kind of love. She showed me what it is to truly worry about someone on a new level. Abigail made a mom and I’ll never be the same.