I remember the day I found out about you like it was yesterday. A warm June morning, an early morning trip to Walgreens, a plastic kiddie pool for Giovanna and a pregnancy test for me. I remember the light in the powder room where I took the test. Afterwards, reading the pregnancy chapters of Nourishing Traditions and making myself a fried egg and an avocado and taking a picture of it. Giovanna splashing in the new plastic pool. Running around the yard to get my steps in. Rainbow Natural Remedies for prenatal vitamins. Your daddy coming home and seeing the vitamins on the counter and, without missing a beat, asking if I was pregnant.
My pregnancy with you was a happy time. Your big sister had been asking for a little sister. Your big brother was thrilled. I was very nauseous throughout the first trimester and for weeks I couldn’t cook or drive by Ezell’s Famous Chicken on 23rd Ave. I craved soup, but I couldn’t stomach all soups, so I would call around to my favorite cafes to find out what they were serving.
You were quite active and I felt you swimming inside early in my pregnancy. I knew I loved you before you were born, but I couldn’t really imagine having another baby, I couldn’t predict how fully and deeply I would love you from the first moment I held you.
You were born in Giovanna’s lavender-pink bedroom in our majestic central Seattle victorian, the perfect house to welcome you. We set up a round birth tub in the turret and hung over it the garland I’d made for your big sister’s mermaid-themed 4th birthday party. Images of mermaids over your water birth for my Pisces baby girl.
Your birth was powerful and blessed, supported by my dream team of 5: my midwife Dr. Chenelle and her assistant, my two oldest best friends—Solveig as my doula and Jenna as my caretaker for little Gigi—and of course, your dad. Your big brother was not home that weekend. As for your big sister, she slept through the whole thing.
On February 22, 2014, after a day of Braxton-Hicks contractions unlike anything I had experienced, I went to bed early that night. I was surprised when I awoke around 11:30 pm with your big sister sandwiched between Daddy and I, enjoying what would be her last night in this sacred space. She was still coming in our bed every night as we slept, but usually closer to the wee hours of the morning. She made things easier by transferring beds early that night, leaving her room—where we’d set up the birthing tub—vacant.
I can’t remember how long I was awake before I knew for sure that you were coming. Maybe it was seconds, or maybe it was an hour later when I alerted the midwife. My labor with you felt calm and unhurried at first. There was music and candles and pure loving kindness. Dr. Chenelle napped on Emile’s bed. I didn’t know it then, but she was in the midst of delivering something like four babies in three days. Since I was so calm when she first arrived, she thought I would be laboring all night. But then my water broke with a small pop, and things progressed rapidly. You were born on 2/23/2014 at 4:24 AM. I reached down and brought you to my chest myself.
I’ll never forget the look on Gigi’s 4-year-old face when, at around 6:30 in the morning, she opened the door that connected the two bedrooms, already disoriented because she woke up in an empty bed, to see me in her bed, holding you. Later she would say, “I woked up, and the baby was born!” I handed you over to Daddy and she climbed on my lap, and for the first time, I realized just how big and sturdy she had grown. Until that moment, I thought she was still a baby.
Six short years later and even my baby is no longer a baby. You are growing up to be confident and charismatic and captivating. You aren’t afraid to talk to strangers or grown-ups. You have no problem hanging with (or taunting) older kids. You can hold your own. You don’t take NO for an answer. You like to be silly and shock people and make them laugh.
You are the sacred divine feminine embodied. You love dance and music, drawing and books, fashion and hair. You take long baths, with or without a mermaid tail and goggles. You are fair-skinned and thick-eyebrowed like me, with brown eyes and curls like Daddy. You have my cold hands and sensitive stomach, and Daddy’s bone structure plus his dimple in your right cheek. Just this year, a smattering of tiny freckles appeared across the bridge of your little nose. Your adorable accent is fading with the help of your speech teacher. It’s bittersweet.
I give thanks and praise every day of the year, but especially on February 23rd. For the sound of your voice and your footsteps in the morning that make me glad to greet each day. For the warmth of your animal body climbing into our bed after a long night apart. For the simple miracle that we get to exist together, earth-side.
Thank you for choosing me. I love you with every breath in my body.