Today is Hannah’s fifth birthday. Five years ago, I held her tiny (tiny!) little body in my arms for the first time, and my heart grew bigger than I thought possible.
Five years ago, the day before Thanksgiving, we went to the hospital in a major snowstorm. I was scheduled to be induced, and because of the storm, we had to wait at home until the hospital staff knew for sure there was enough room for me. The drive that normally took 10 minutes took nearly an hour, and we passed several accidents on our way. Once we got there and checked in (it was the seventh trip to the hospital in about two weeks), they broke my water and started pitocin. The first epidural didn’t work, so after an hour, I had another one. (At that point I didn’t even care. I could NEVER do a natural childbirth.)
Hannah’s birth was a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean), so I was monitered really closely, and when it was time to push, the doctor used the vacuum to make it easier on my scarred uterus. She came out in one or two pushes, and she was sooooo teeny! Her “official” time of birth was 3:09 PM, but we were sure she was born closer to 2:45-ish, and they just didn’t call it until after she’d been cleaned up. She weighed in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces, and measured 18 1/2 inches long. (She’s still tiny, which is why we call her “Pixie”.)
From the beginning, she was the perfect baby. She slept through her first night, and the nurses got mad at me for not waking her up. (Hello? I’d just given birth. I was sleeping, too!) She had a soft and delicate little cry, more like a mew, and when she slept, she made little squeaking sounds. I called her my Hannah-mouse, and she was our angel baby.
The next day was Thanksgiving, and my doctor came to check me out. He told me he had written discharge papers in case I wanted to go home early, but I was determined to stay in the hospital for another day and enjoy the peace and quiet. (Isn’t it sad when you look forward to giving birth just so someone else takes care of you for three days?) Alex and Kendra were infatuated with their tiny baby sister, and because my parents live down the street from the hospital, I had lots of visitors that day. I ate my hospital-food Thanksgiving dinner, and while the food was certainly not Mom’s, it was good enough. One of the food service workers had her child(ren?) make cards for all the trays, and then they made a special trip to who knows how many stores to find me a Vanilla Coke, to make up for being “stuck” in the hospital on a holiday. (Little did they know…) It was a sweet gesture, and that extra attention combined with alone time with my beautiful new baby girl made that Thanksgiving very special.
It will probably always be my favorite Thanksgiving.
Right around her first birthday, my sweet baby turned into a little stinker. We called her “Hannah the Hurricane” because she could completely destroy a room in seconds. She threw tantrums, she yelled and screamed, and she was generally a handful. She walked at 14 months, and she was unstoppable. (She was so busy running around that by lunchtime, she crashed. Almost every day, she fell asleep on her high chair.) We taught her how to sign, and she picked it up really quickly. She still talks with her hands when she’s excited or frustrated.
Since we are celebrating her fifth birthday today, I want to list five things I love, love, LOVE about Hannah.
1. She loves to snuggle. Even when she was at her worst toddler stage, she still loved to cuddle with me. She gives me hundreds of hugs and kisses in a day, and because she’s so small, she still fits easily onto my lap for stories, songs, and rocking. I hope she never outgrows this!
2. She has a great imagination. She invents such wonderful stories to tell me, as well as scenarios for her dolls and toys. Her favorite stories to tell are when she was with her “Great-Great Grandma and her Great-Great Grandpa”, and they usually consist of something she did with them that closely resembles something we are driving past or discussing. For example, when we were on vacation this summer, and we passed a gorgeous mansion nestled into the foothills of Midway, I commented on how I’d love to see the inside of it. Hannah piped up, “One time, when I was with my great-great grandma and my great-great grandpa, we went in it. You would love it, Mom. It was bee-you-ti-ful inside!”
3. Her voice. It is such a tiny, squeaky thing. It fits her little body perfectly. I love to hear her sing, and when she chatters (which she does, often nonstop), it reminds me of birdsong. She sings to her cousin Abbie when she cries, and most times Abbie will break off mid-wail to listen to her. Her song choice? “You’ll Be In My Heart”, probably only because it starts with the line, “Come stop your crying/ it will be alright.”
4. She is always so quick to help out. She loves to help me around the house when it’s time to cook. (The cleaning part? Not so much…) She loves to help with the laundry, and is a whiz at getting the clothes into the washer. (Not an easy feat when you’re only 3 1/2 feet tall and 34 pounds.) She is really good about doing her weekly jobs and marking them off.
5. She has a great sense of humor. For months, we’d go through this routine where she’d put her hands somewhere cold, tell me how hot they were, and then put them on my arm to freeze me out. Then she’d giggle maniacally and scamper off to do it again.
On this eve of Thanksgiving, as we celebrate her birth (just as we did five years ago!), I am so grateful that this sweet spirit chose to join our family. I don’t know how I’m going to let her go off to Kindergarten next year, and I’m especially grateful that I still have 10 months with her. It won’t be enough. 😀
Happy Birthday, my little Pixie! My Belle-loving, sweet-voiced, energetic bundle of joy. I hope I make you as happy as you’ve made me. I love you!