After having you on Tuesday morning, we spent two more nights in the hospital (which is normal, before you get worried!). It was a very full 48 hours which seemed to pass in a blurry haze. I remember little parts of those days so vividly. Then there are other parts that I wouldn't believe ever took place if not for the stack of photographs that document each hour. That first night after all of our visitors had gone home, your dad and I realized that we were totally exhausted! We hadn't really felt tired up to that point...but once we slowed down for a minute...we were both groggy and drunk with love. The nurses suggested we send you to the nursery so that we could get a good nights rest. We hesitantly agreed and watched them wheel you away in your tiny see-through bed. Even though the lights were turned down in our room, the hallway and nurses station continued to buzz throughout the night. I could hear the muffled sounds of babies crying and I prayed it wasn't you. I heard other mothers being wheeled up from labor and delivery and I related to the utter joy that they were experiencing. After lying there for a bit, I finally joined your dad (who had been snoring since his head hit the pillow) and fell fast asleep. It seemed like only a few minutes passed before there was a faint knock on the door and I awakened to see you being rolled back into the room for your feeding. You were so very warm...all swaddled up in your blankets. Your tiny eyes were nearly covered by your hat and the bracelets that linked us together as mother and child swallowed your fragile wrists. The nurse was gone in a flash and left us to ourselves. You ate while I breathed in the scent of you and tried with all my might to hold my eyes open. Even after you were safely back in the nursery that night I must've woken up twenty times...jolted awake by a nightmare that I had fallen asleep with you in my arms and that you were about to roll off of the bed. I would sit straight up and look all around to make sure you weren't there.
On the second night we decided that since we would soon be on our own at home, we should try keeping you in the room with us. Not too hard, right? Wrong. We were inexperienced swaddlers and I think you could feel us trembling with a lack of confidence. You cried and squirmed and popped right out of the blanket we wrapped you in. I cried and wondered what we were doing wrong. After several attempts at getting you to sleep, I finally pushed the call button. To the rescue...a nurse, and coincidently, a seasoned mother of three young boys. She came in and sat on the edge of the bed. With my head in my hands, I explained that I seriously thought we'd need to extend our stay in the hospital based on the fact that we couldn't soothe you. It was a sob story she had heard one hundred times before, I'm sure....but she listened on anyway. She found the perfect words for the moment and assured us that no one knew you better than we did. She wasted no time swaddling you up tight and putting her magic-post-partum-nurse spell on you and you drifted right off to sleep. We whispered to each other for a few more minutes. She gave us advice as a veteran mom and shared a bit about her children. We were lifted up by her kindness. We all three slept soundly for almost two! whole! hours! before your little voice cried out. Your dad and I both swung into action...armed with all the advice we had been given just a few hours before. Only nothing was working. I rocked you, spoke softly to you, patted your back. Your dad changed you, held you close, swaddled you. And still you cried. This time though, we didn't hit the call button. We were determined to do it on our own. Afterall, the very next night we'd be in our house where there certainly wasn't any help working 3rd shift outside our bedroom door. We kept trying. One of us would think of something and say Oh, let me try this while the other one looked on from the opposite bed. After more failed attempts than we wanted to keep track of, and as a sort of last resort, we swaddled you tight and inclined your bed a bit and just placed you gently inside. With your cart positioned right in between our beds we were both able to watch your every move . We were both trying to be so quiet. We breathed into the pillows so as not to make a peep. We would look at you, then look at each other, then look back at you in total silence. Ten minutes later your eyes closed and you slept. We waited a few minutes to make sure it was real (you had tricked us before with the whole fake sleep thing!) and when we were fairly sure that you were really asleep and that we as your new parents had helped you get there, we celebrated! We both raised our hands in the dim light and gave a thumbs up . We had done it....you had done it! It was a small victory, but it was one of our firsts and it is burned onto my heart forever.
I tell you this long story only because I want you to know that we have raised our thumbs to you so many times in your eighth month. It seems like daddy and I are always looking at each other and shaking our heads in amazement. You just learned to sit up...and there we were, right behind you with our thumbs in the air. You traveled here and there and everywhere and held it together on an airplane with a broken air conditioner...and again, we held up our thumbs to you. You spent hours and hours on the beach in Florida in some seriously hot weather without so much as a complaint. You took all of your naps right there under the umbrella....and you couldn't see us because you were sleeping...but our thumbs were in the air. We blew in your face and dunked you under and you came up smiling from ear to ear....big time thumbs up for that one! You delighted people at tables all around us each night at dinner and daddy and I gave a discrete wink to each other which meant the same thing...thumbs up, baby girl.
I bet we'll be doing this your whole life.
Know why...because no matter what, we'll always be your biggest fans.
You've never stopped making us proud since that morning when we first met...eight months ago.
Two thumbs up to you...for who you are growing up to be, for all of your little victories, and for all the many ways you've taught us how to love.