The Story of You
Let's rewind ...
We found out we were pregnant with Hannah one Sunday evening in May of 2003. I was scared and ecstatic all at the same time. I had a textbook pregnancy with Hannah, no problems. Some morning sickness, aches & pains, and outgrew all of my clothes. Halfway through the pregnancy we went in for an ultrasound. I couldn't wait to know if I was carrying a boy or a girl. I thought I was expecting a boy, Jonathan thought it was a girl. During the ultrasound she was sleeping and we couldn't get the money shot. The techs had me drink some apple juice and come back in a hour. Hannah had flipped over, but still had her legs crossed in such a way as to remain modest. I should've guessed right then. I cried in the car on the way home, disappointed not to know what gender our little firstborn was.
We settled on names: Benjamin Jack for a boy, Hannah Elizabeth for a girl. We nicknamed the baby "Benannah." I remember the first baby outfit I bought. I didn't know the gender so it didn't make sense to buy much, but I found a pair of baby blue velour jammies with a little snap dropseat, and I just couldn't resist.
I felt her move for the first time on our wedding anniversary. I've always thought that was special.
We were living in Canada at the time, and when I was 6 months along we moved to Oregon. It was still a mystery as to her gender and identity, but with entering the 3rd trimester it was quite clear that our lives were about to change. Sometime in that last trimester, my sister painted my belly with red & orange flames (which worked remarkably well to disguise the stretch marks) and dubbed me "Hot Mama!" I was mortified but it made for some good laughs.
At 7 months, Jonathan & I made a special trip to a Fetal Fotos ultrasound clinic to find out who was hiding out in there. We took my sister, Melissa. It was a memorable day! I was still thinking "blue", so when the ultrasound technician pointed out the distinguishing parts, I yelled, "Girl!" in complete surprise. It was so amazing to finally KNOW and to be able to call her by her name. We signed the clinic's guest book with her name "Hannah Elizabeth."
From there, we went to Babies 'R Us, because after waiting seven months, I was ready to start shopping! I don't remember specifically many of the little sleepers I picked out, but I'll never forget Jonathan's selection: a little yellow Pooh raincoat. We also purchased her first teddy bear -- very soft with a yellow gingham ribbon bow. We went home on cloud 9 -- we were going to be parents and we were having a DAUGHTER!
At home I couldn't resist popping the video of her ultrasound into the VCR to watch her move again. The next day we took the video AND the bear AND the new raincoat and stack of pink sleepers to show co-workers at work, because boy howdy! We were going to be parents!
The next two months slowly crept by, including Christmas, and when I thought I couldn't get any bigger and couldn't stand the waiting any longer, I went into labor.
22 hours later, at 10:52 p.m. on January 18, 2004, Hannah Elizabeth was born, weighing almost exactly 8 pounds and 20" long. She had just a tiny bit of soft light brown hair, and beautiful blue eyes, one with a fleck of gold. We thought her eyes were trying to change to hazel or brown, but to this day, she has beautiful blue eyes, one with a fleck of gold that many people have commented on.
She was born needing a bit of oxygen, so the first glimpse of my daughter's face was on the screen of my mom's digital camera. I had to stay in bed, so Mom went over to the bassinet where they were working on Hannah and took her picture. 5 or so minutes later, they handed her to me, my daughter!, and I held her and soaked in her face and said to her wise, old-soul, gold-flecked eyes, "Are you Mommy's Little Love?" I remember thinking how very right it was. How she was obviously ours.
It's been almost 6 years since that moment, and she has taught me how to be a mother.
She is the first baby I nursed, the first I rocked to sleep in a nursery softly lit by night-light, the first I sang to, the first to call me "Mama", the first I bathed in the sink, the first I found breathtaking, the first to steal my heart (she now takes it to Kindergarten every day).
Hannah's favorite baby book was Goodnight Moon. That book will always hold a special spot in my heart. She was a fairly happy baby, and as soon as she arrived, I knew I had.
It was magical to see the world through her eyes, and to see the world look at her. It still is today. What I didn't know when I first held my daughter, was that she would be compassionate and social, independent and head-strong, wise and sensitive, emotional and sweet; that she would be the best of both Jonathan and me. I blink a tear away and know that she's growing further and further from that baby I held, but I look forward with great anticipation to seeing who and what she will become. I think that whatever she does and wherever she goes, she will not be afraid to try new things and she will always know when someone is hurting, and want to make it better.
Happy Birthday, Hannah-girl!