Preface:  It seems like just yesterday was July 6, 2010.  I was sitting around at home, trying to avoid all the work I needed to get done.  But I felt justified in not doing work because my due date was July 3 and in my mind, I was supposed to be in my room, sleep deprived, holding my new little baby girl – so working seemed very unimportant at the time.  Instead, I was blogging on my baby blog I had created to document all that I was feeling during pregnancy, reviewing the signs of true labor, reading up on how the next couple weeks of my life were going to change, and checking my email every now and then to make sure I had no pressing matters that were work related.

I feel like I was pretty blessed knowing with about 99%  in my mind that my baby was going to be born on July 7.  I was hoping it would be a different day, like at least July 3, but from the beginning, July 7 stuck out in my mind.  It could have been because July 3 was so close to July 7, a birthday of someone else I really didn’t want my baby girl to share a birthday with, but I think sometimes moms just know things … and this was something I knew.

I was at the store with my husband July 6 around 11 am, talking to an old friend of ours, and I began having some intense contractions and knew this was it.  I was on my way to have a baby!  Being July 6, I was really excited because I figured I could have a baby before July 7 – I had plenty of time!  But as the day went on, my contractions were becoming more intense but not intense enough to warrant a visit to the hospital.  I sat around and watched “House Hunters” and other random television shows, just like I had planned to.  Around 5 pm, I went to pick up my husband from work and he took me to my work to go to a staff meeting.  On the way to my work, I decided that I probably shouldn’t go to the meeting, just in case my water broke, so we went home.  His dad came over to help him with the car, we went to drop off oil at a car store, and we went to get burgers and shakes (an awful idea if you’re in labor, just so you know).

It was 1:30 am on July 7 and I was still at home … of course.  The babe had to wait until July 7.  I finally decided we should just go to the hospital.  I wasn’t going to sleep and I wanted just to make sure that the baby wasn’t going to fall out because it sure felt like she was going to.  On the way there, every bump in the road was awful but I also remembered I had left my phone at home.  How was I supposed to let everyone know that our babe had arrived without my cell phone?  So we turned around and went back home.  We debated if we should just stay home since apparently my phone was important enough to turn around for, but we went to the hospital anyway.

I walked in and the security people asked me if I wanted a wheelchair.  And look like I’m about to give birth if I’m really not?  Heck no.  So I walked to the elevators while they gave me a look that screamed, “If you don’t want a wheelchair, you’re probably not in labor and should go back home.  We’ll see you in a few minutes as you walk back to your car.”

our new little one a few hours after she was born

But I never returned.  I was 8 centimeters dilated (out of 10) and was rushed into a labor and delivery room and nurses were in and out making sure I was hooked up to everything properly.  They decided I could probably be given an epidural still so they rushed the anesthesiologist in as soon as he could.  Little did they know, I still had 7 hours until I would actually give birth to my beautiful little girl.

One year later:  And now it’s been over a year despite it feeling like it was yesterday.  My little girl can roll, crawl, walk (she thinks she needs help, but she doesn’t), stand up by herself, get into almost anything and everything, babble, and do all sorts of thing I never thought a one year old could do.  And it’s exhausting.

Despite everyday actually being different, I feel like everyday is the same.  At breakfast, she eats until she’s full.  Once she’s full, she picks up her bowl and hangs it over her high chair, spilling all the contents left inside.  She splish splashes in her bath and is always sad when I tell her it’s time to get out.  She points at trees and cars on her walk.  She tries to push her stroller when I take her out of her stroller.  She fusses before her nap and cries if I leave the room before she’s asleep.  For lunch, she’ll eat cantaloupe until it comes out of her ears.  She loves to sit on the toilet and give me kisses and point to everything she sees with a cute little “oooh.”  I follow her around the house as she takes every book off of every bookshelf she can reach.  She gets into drawers.  She wants to climb onto my bed and roll.  Then she pretends like she’s going to drop herself off the bed, just to turn around, look at me, and smile and laugh because she’s not actually going to do it.  She unrolls the toilet paper and then flushes the toilet as many times as she can before I can stop her after re-rolling the toilet paper roll.  She pulls all of my husband’s receipts off his night stand.  She drops all the food onto the floor, one by one, that she doesn’t want on her highchair tray anymore.  I pick it all up while she watches me.  She plays in the water while I try to wash her hands off.  She cries when I leave her for her next nap.  She loves her dad and wants to walk around with him as soon as he gets home.  She crawls around and picks up all the food off the floor that I haven’t cleaned up.  She loves sitting on my lap to read books.

And although she can be really frustrating at times, I would not change this past year for anything. It seems like this past week, her birthday week, she has picked up on so many new things.  It’s as though all of a sudden, she is trying a bunch of new things and finding out that she can do them.

I watched her take 2 small steps all by herself yesterday for the first time and it reminded me of how amazing she is.  She’s continually learning new things and I hope I can learn a thing or two from her.  It probably won’t be something as simple as walking by myself (for obvious reasons) but continually learning is something that should be a part of everyday life.  There are so many things to learn and discover.  So thank you, baby girl, for encouraging me to improve myself daily.