One year ago today, I awoke thinking, "I am going to be pregnant forever!" I sent my husband, Steve, off to work, despite the "bad gas pains" I was having and loaded Kaetlyn up for daycare. Fortunately, I took my Mom, who was in town for the impending birth (though I was sure it was never going to happen!), with me to school. As we rounded the corner into daycare, I said, "Wow, I really should not have eaten those beans and pork last night!" And I was becoming suspect of the pain that really was sitting in my back, not so much my stomach...but I didn't vocalize it.
We took Kaet into her classroom and one of the Dads (whose wife is an OB/GYN) said, "You don't look good. Are you feeling ok?!" I assured him I was fine, but thought maybe it was good I brought my Mom to daycare to show her how to get there! I kissed Kaet Goodbye and whispered, "Soon you will be a BIG sister. You don't know how special that is!" My Mom and I headed off for home - it was my first day of maternity leave, though the baby had not yet come, and I thought I was just going to work from home.
Half way through the parking lot, it hit...the first *real* contraction. I will never forget that moment...7:25a.m. on Monday, August 29th. My denial that my "gas" was labor was shattered. I could not MOVE. If I could have curled into a ball right there, I would have. "Ut Oh." I thought. It's really real. Kaet IS going to be a Big Sister sometime in the next few days.
With Kaet, there was always the wonder of having your first child, the fear of the unknown, the added concerns and worry of knowing she would be born special. With Grace, there was the excitement of a second child, the fear of how can I do this, the joy of knowing there would be SISTERS, the worry over how do you love two...how can I take care of two with one who has special needs? That morning, in the parking lot of Bright Horizons, Joy. Excitement. Fear. Love. Surged through me. Oh. And pain. OUCH!
Thankfully my Mom drove home. I know I could not have. All I could think about was the documents I *HAD* to get loaded onto SharePoint before I left for the hospital. We got home. I finished packing my bag. Booted up my computer. All the while, denying that things seemed to be getting closer and closer FAST. I mean, Kaet took 36 hours...this was going to be drawn out, right?! By 8:00, I texted my husband, Steve: "You should come home." "OK. When?" "NOW." His office is 12 minutes away. He was home in 6. He walked in and I was frantically posting documents to SharePoint, amidst "UGH" and "OH GOD!" moments. He closed the laptop. Apparently I was done. This baby was coming regardless of my denial of labor!
We called the hospital. I said, "I think it could be gas, but maybe it's labor?" They said, "You should come in." So off we headed. Rush hour traffic. In Seattle. Steve was, let's just say, flustered. Hospital arrival. LOTS OF PAIN. Why is this going so fast? I insisted we head to the clinic to get checked out, which was at least 1/4 mile walk at the other side of the hospital. 10 steps into the hospital, I nearly passed out from pain. Steve said, "WE ARE GOING TO TRIAGE NOW." He had been timing contractions on the drive in. They were 4 minutes apart. I didn't resist. First smart thing I had done all day!
At Triage, I said, "I am not sure if this is labor or not." The nurse said, "This IS your second child, right?!" I said, "Yes, but with my first child I was in labor for a LOOOOONG time. This is going too quickly. I'm pretty sure it's my dinner from last night." She looked at me like I was nuts. She checked. "Ummmm...are you planning an epidural?" "Yes. I am." "We should get you admitted NOW. " "Really? Am I in labor?" "Yes. You are 6 centimeters dilated." SCORE!!!!!! Guess I am going to have this baby after all. OH. MY. GOD!!!!!
Fast forward 4 hours, 3 pushes, and one Moment. THE MOMENT I met my Baby Grace. 2:17 p.m. August 29th, 2011. OH MY LOVE. OH MY JOY. Hello beautiful girl. My heart grew two sizes that day (sort of like the Grinch, but totally different :)) I looked into the eyes of generations. I saw in my girl my Mom, my Grandmothers, Steve's Mom...even sweet Jesse looking back at me...strength, courage...yes, Grace. I knew she had told us her name all along during my pregnancy (that is yet, another story!). And when she looked at me, when she stared into my eyes, I felt so in love. My sweet baby was HOME in my arms. And oh GOD, how I loved her.
So, we are now one year later. Gracie is a funny, smart, contemplative girl. She expresses herself with eyebrows raised, quizzical looks and smiles that will melt you. I mean MELT YOU. Her Big Sister Kaet adores her. Moreover, she ADORES her Big Sister Kaet. She is stranger wary, but if Sissy Meg or Brother Brian walk into the room, she's ALL OVER them. She knows her kin. She has an old soul in those eyes. And when she looks at me, sometimes I see my Grandmother, Margie, whose name is her middle name. Her giggle...oh if I could listen to it all day...
All those fears of being able to love more than one kid...HA! So easy. So right. Most importantly, Gracie is...AMAZING. She fills me with Love and Joy. Seeing her and her siblings play together...it's a cliche, but it completes me. Truly.
I feared how I could have two children, and one "special". I ended up knowing LOVE from two children...both special. They challenge each other. They love each other. They challenge me. And my life will never be the same. My heart has become so full.
Grace Margaret Spivey, one year ago today you joined our family and I have never been so happy to meet someone. To know a soul I feel I have known for years. To hold my sweet second, and last baby. YOU were a surprise...the best one I have EVER had in my life. And today, on your first birthday, I celebrate all that is YOU. Happy Birthday, my girl. Thank you for GRACEing our lives.
Love you... ~Mommy