To my baby, on the eve of her first birthday.
One year ago tonight, I rocked your brother to sleep (not easy, by the way, being nine months pregnant). My prayer as I rocked was that, in a year, you would be the one I would rock to sleep. And tonight you were. Oh, how grateful I am for that.
The day you were born, the doctor described you as "feisty." That was the best thing anyone could have said, because it meant you were a fighter. What a fight you were in for, but you did it, baby girl. You won.
I remember vividly the day I knew for sure you were going to come home. It was July 5, 2012, the day of your repair surgery. Your dad and I were sitting in the waiting room, waiting to see you after your surgery. One of the neonatologists came in and we had a ten minute conversation about what your scar would look like when you were older. It was the first time that one of your doctors had spoken with such certainty that there would *be* a future.
I finally got to hold you when you were a month old, and what an amazing day that was. Your nurses will tell you that I made up for lost time and held you for hours on end every single day until you finally came home.
Your big brother Henry is so very proud of you. When I take you with me to pick him up from school, he'll tell anyone who's around, "Hey! That's my sister!", usually followed by a kiss on your head or your foot or whatever's available. Dado and I are proud of you too. We love that mischievous laugh and twinkle in your eye when we catch you flinging tupperware from the cabinet or trying to put the dog's tail in your mouth. We very affectionately call you "the villain" because of the normal-baby-milestone-reaching havoc that you wreak. Now that you're learning to walk, well, bring on the destruction!
My precious baby, you are such a gift. I pray that one day you will know the great God who brought you through those early months and who still holds you in His hand. I pray that you will one day know just how many people have been cheering you on from the very beginning. I pray that one day you can be proud of your scars--I know I am.
Thank you for bringing so much joy to our family. Thank you for giving me a heart more sensitive to people's suffering. Thank you for staying with us. I thank God for every breath you take.
All my love,
P.S. Here are some pictures from your last bath as an 11 month old :)