Today my little one turns five -- it's hard to believe I'm the mother of a child half a decade old. This is a special day for her, but it's pretty special for me, too. I don't know what children's birthdays are like for other moms, but for me it's an intense time of remembering the events surrounding K's birth and infancy, and the important events of her life and of the past year in particular. Sometimes it's kind of hard.
The night K was born was scary. I didn't even realize I was in labor till the nurse told me I was 3 centimeters dilated -- I'd been sure it was gas pains -- I wasn't due for another two weeks. How naive can you get? So I had an emergency C-section (she was breech and we'd planned to deliver that way anyway.) People did various painful, frightening things that caused me to yell and cry. I was terrified. And exhausted. And too loopy to hold my new baby girl for more than a minute. That was how it started.
Combine that with deep, intractable postpartum depression and a case with DYFS (because the PPD was so awful that I scared other people) and you've got a recipe for serious misery. When I look back on those days I can only be grateful for the many people who helped us out -- our families, our friends, our parish, the various medical and mental health professionals -- and got us through day after impossible day. I'm so astonished that I can sit here calmly and safely typing at my keyboard, with my daughter in her little fleece snowman jammies snoozing cozily in her bed upstairs. I give thanks every morning for that.
So today we will put up our new birthday bunting and get out the goofy paper hats and cuddle and kiss and love our little one to pieces. And if her excited antics drive us batty, which they will -- well, for one day a year that can be part of the fun.