Friday, September 25, 2020

Fiona is TWELVE Months Old

 Dear Fiona, 

You are now TWELVE months old. 

You have been holding true to Mama's nickname for you, a firecracker, and it is absolutely apt for you. With older three brothers, you do have to hold your ground in order to keep up with them. You are sassy, expressive, hilarious, loving, determined, and assertive. You do not like missing out on anything around you, and you make sure that you are included--always. You love scrunching up your little nose. You may "though be little, but you are fierce". You are a fashionable diva, but dislike headbands. You tolerate them just long enough for Mama to snap a few pictures, then you carry on to your merry self WITHOUT a headband. You love to hang your head upside down, and coo. You are a constant joy to all of us. Forrest and Franklin are always doting on you. Fox loves playing with you, and it is so heartwarming to see this relationship blooming between you two, especially with you both being the youngest in the family. You're the addition to our family that we needed, and a quintessential final link in the circle that connected all of us together. 

A year ago today, Mama had no inkling that today was going to be your birthday. The funny thing was, with her previous pregnancies, the only person who got it right about  the fact that Mama was going to have a baby that day was Daddy! Every. Single. Time. He was right. Just like with your brothers, Daddy knew you were coming on that day, and slapped on his "birthing" shirt that he wore to every birth, then announced to Mama that he was ready. Mama smiled at him, and shrugged. Sure enough, you came that night! Your birthday came with special significance; the date "twenty-six" was the date when Mama and Daddy began dating on the following month nearly sixteen years ago! 

Oh our sweet little Pumpkin, you are amazing, and a dream come true. There has been many nights when she looked upon your sleeping self with such an awe. It is such a blessing to have you as our daughter. Just like your older brothers, you ARE a gift. 

You are still nursing, albeit a lot less than you used to. You have such a case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and it can be a challenge to get you to nurse. Because of this, Mama just follows your cue. You typically like to nurse close to your sleeping times (nap and bedtime). Mama is hoping that extended breastfeeding will continue well into your first year for a reason of providing you with antibodies against CVID19, and other ailments. You being her last baby also is other reason why she doesn't quite want to end the nursing relationship just yet. Thankfully, WHO (World Health Organization) strongly encourages breastfeeding in the first two years. With having said this, if you choose to stop anytime, then Mama is okay, although she has a feeling you may continue until your second birthday. 

You are such a foodie. You love eating food. Your favorite meals are mac and cheese, and tacos! Guacamole is your most desired fruit, even though you do love strawberries and peaches. Mama has been gifted with a bag of pears, and you enjoy them too! You drink water, and a bit of juice. You aren't  a fan of cow milk, which does not surprise Mama, because she isn't a big milk drinker either. She is thinking about introducing you to either soy or almond milk, and see how that goes for you. Perhaps you'd take a liking to it instead of cow milk. 

Your sleeping has been okay this month. You keep switching a poor pattern of sleeping between day and night time. For example; you slept poorly for a few nights in row, but napped awesome during the day time. Then suddenly, you decided to throw wrench in it, and flip those two! Then you went on a nap strike, but slept great during the night. This inconsistency has been wearing down Mama, but she is hanging in there with you, because it is as to be expected with babies. This just means MORE coffee. Your sleeping will resume back to normal soon...or eventually. 

You still have no sign of a tooth! Mama keeps thinking you will end up with a tooth, because of the signs you have been exhibiting along with your gums being a bit swollen, yet a single tooth has not made its appearance yet. Mama is patiently waiting for yet another milestone...WALKING! You show absolutely no interest in being mobile on two legs, and you are perfectly content with being carried. Mama suppose that it is okay. After all, your older brothers are also late walkers. It will happen when you are ready. 

You make a wide range of noises while vocalizing, and you shout when you want attention. Along with shouting, you burst into tears when you are hurt, or when you are not being attended to quickly enough. You have a few signs down; done/finish, pick me up, bath, water, food, and milk. You love being read to. You enjoy watching Mama sign to you. Your favorite activity is peekaboo! You will find anything to drape yourself with, then wait for your cue to take it off. Once you hear, where is Fioooonnnnnaaaa, You throw the blanket off your head with a big smile on your face. It is absolutely endearing! 

Your one year old picture shoot had to be rescheduled. It made Mama sad to have to reschedule it, but it was what it was. Fortunately, the reschedule was not that far off! The new family pictures moved to late October instead. Mama hoped that the weather was going to be a lovely fall day, but with it being Wisconsin, who knows! No matter how it was going to happen, Mama knew it was going to turn out beautiful. 

This year has gone by so quickly...much quicker than Mama anticipated, and with you turning one year old, this has left Mama with a lot of sentimental feelings. Your year brought your firsts, but that meant it was also Mama's lasts. With you being her last baby, she feels that your babyhood is disappearing through her fingers like sand. It is not easy to embrace. At the same time, Mama acknowledges that while this process can be sad, it is also downright exciting, because you are becoming a little human with your own thoughts, feelings, and dreams. It is a neat process to watch you grow up. The person you are becoming into is awesome. Mama is so excited to see who you are becoming to be, and to develop that bond with you. It is not just Mama who is feeling this way, but Daddy and your brothers as well! 


Mama, Daddy, and the kids 

Fiona is ONE year old

Dear Fiona, 

On the day we found out that we were pregnant with you came with a lot of uncertainty. I will never forget sitting on the toilet, holding up an extremely faint positive test, and having a sense of awe over this tiny life growing inside of me. Your start was a rather shaky one. You see, because of my history of having low progesterone, I had to be monitored from the very start. This meant multiple blood draws. The first blood draw showed a low HCG level, and it left me worried whether you would stay. It was not very promising, and all we could do was wait until the next blood draw. Even with worry and anxiety, I chose to be hopeful. As fate has put in their stars, stay you did...and you grew! The next blood draw showed that the HCG level had not doubled, but quadrupled! The hormones continued to quadruple, and I was given a progesterone suppositories for the first trimester. There had not been a day that went without me being grateful that you stayed. 

I was so sure that you were a boy number five. We even had a name picked out. I kept having dreams that you were a boy, and we all prepared to become a boy only clan. However, there was one person in our family that was quite adamant that you WERE DEFINITELY NOT a boy was Forrest! He told us that G-D knew that there was too many boys in the family, and they wanted to give us a girl instead. We cautioned Forrest to be prepared, because we were not very sure that we were able to have a girl, especially after four boys, and this baby was going to be loved regardless what was in between the legs. As how it usually was, life hurtled on through the first trimester throes; I met with Dr. J, who was a high risk specialist, for a standard NT scan exam at 13 weeks. During the scan, Dr. J did his typical thing of checking you out, and making sure you were healthy. The boys were sitting with Stuart, and watching the big screen where you moved, and wiggled. Suddenly, Dr. J stopped, and gave us a look, then asked us if we wanted to know who you were. Stuart and I looked at each other, knowing that we wanted to know who you were, instead of being surprised at birth. We both privately thought you were a boy, because a penis seemed more obvious this early, right? After all, it was about the same time when we found out that your brothers were boys from when I carried them. Dr. J smiled, and said, Your baby is a little girl. 

Upon on hearing that news, I was floored. Oh my sweet little pumpkin, I truly thought I was going to be forever a boy mom. Understand, that would have been perfectly okay by me, and I've always had a dream of having a huge gaggle of boys. All of my life, I knew I was going to have boys. Call it a premonition. Call it a vision. Call it an intuition. I just knew.  I had a hard time imagining myself as a girl mom. It was not that I never wanted a daughter. I did. I had always wanted just one little girl among the bunch of boys. While I did not want to place so much emphasis on gender or a biological sex, and I wanted a healthy, beautiful baby, but I won't lie, I did have a slice of hope for a daughter. I knew I was still going to have a strong bond with my boys, and that they were their own people with their own tastes. There was not anything they were not able to do that a daughter could have done. It was just that I wanted an experience of raising a daughter. I wanted to have what I have with my mom, and to have a next generation of strong women in our family lineage. 

Stu and I wanted to confirm at our anatomy scan to make sure you were actually a girl before believing in this news. So we waited. It was a long wait! The big day finally arrived. The technician confirmed that you were a hundred percent definitely a girl. Even with this confirmation, I found myself asking EVERY SINGLE TIME when we had an ultrasound, which there were a lot, that you remained a girl, and the answer every time was a yes. But I still struggled to believe. I ultimately decided that I would finally believe it once you were in my arms, and I saw you for myself. 

My pregnancy with you was difficult both physically, and mentally. A loss prior having Fox forever changed me in how I viewed things in life, and being pregnant. I knew this was going to be my last pregnancy. My body was just not able to carry anymore. I was older. I was getting tired of being pregnant! I tried extremely hard to cherish every moment with you inside my belly, and remained thankful that I had Dr. J and Dr. Mbah look over me during my pregnancy with you. There were a lot of twists, and turns with you. Because of this, I dubbed you my little Firecracker! Boy! A firecracker that you were! 

I even picked a day for you to be born, October second, but you decided it was NOT the day you wanted your birthday to be! No way that you were going to be an October baby. You wanted your own birthday on your own month. To be honest, on the day you were born was so unassuming, and uneventful. I didn't think it would end up being your birthday. I had some symptoms that pointed to early labor starting, and I figured we had time before you came. Little did we know that it was going to be a GREAT night. It was not until 7:40 PM that night that it became real that you were coming. By 10:41 pm, you entered the world. The minute you were placed into my arms, I asked if you were a girl, and someone, I was not too sure who, said yes she is a girl! Still to this day, I found myself being in awe that I actually have a daughter...YOU! 


With the next generation of girls, you are destined for great things, and with that, you will break the barriers that are yet broken by the previous generations. You are a warrior, a fierce spirit, and our ever firecracker. You will explode with greatness, and pave the way. You are a leader just like your brothers. May you always remember to be fearless, strong, and kind. Have courage to do things you dream about. Do not give up, and hold on to your grit. Keep going even in the face of adversity. Never lose a sight of who you are. Do not let anyone tell you that you are not allowed, or can't do certain things based on your gender. You CAN DO anything that you put your mind to. You are fierce, powerful. unique, awesome, sassy, silly, and beautiful. You are so loved. SO, SO loved. 

With you turning one, it is such a bittersweet birthday, because you are our last baby. This past year, your firsts have been our lasts. There also have been never-haves, which makes me quite sad, because of the nature due to a global pandemic that has taken over for most of your life. We spent most of your life apart, and away from our family instead of celebrating get together, holidays, and meaningful events. It has left you an impact; while I am not sure if it is already in your personality all along to be a bit shy, or if it is a result of social distancing, I sure hope that you will come out of your shell when the world is free of the virus, and show off your beautiful personality. The world has turned itself upside down with systematic racism, the protests, politics going awry, so much hate, confusion, and fear. Even in the face of adversity, there are also beautiful things to remind us to be connected, to pick love, and to always see the good. I pray that you will always choose to look for the good, to spread goodness, and to be there for people even during the difficult times. 

You are everything I love about it myself, and everything I wish I am. You inspire me to be a better woman, a stronger person, and a better mom.