five years ago today i became a mother.
piper rice arganbright was born five days early at 7:30 in the morning. she was seven pounds, ten ounces, 21.5 inches long. she was long and skinny and had rosy skin.
we went to the hospital in our small mountain town of estes park, colorado around 12:30 a.m. we walked up to the main doors, only to find it locked. we walked around the building to another set of doors where we could see a sleeping security guard inside. several knocks finally startled him enough to wake up, and he let us in.
the hospital was quiet and only a few staff were around. i remember the nurse asking me about my level of pain and my "management plan." i said i was probably at a 6 or 7 and that i would like to deliver naturally, with as little medical intervention as possible. i remember her chuckling and saying, "good luck, it's going to get a lot worse." i felt put off by her response and naively thought i didn't have much further to go before the baby would be born.
when they checked my progress, i was only at a four and still, i thought things would move quickly. looking back, i suppose they did considering it was my first delivery. i had back labor, which was something i hadn't anticipated. i remember every noise and light irritated me and i could hardly speak a word. i was very inwardly-focused and it took all i had just to answer simple questions. one of the few times i opened my eyes was to vomit and basically communicated with grunts and hand motions. i listened to enya while i labored (don't judge) and tried to remember the pain management techniques i'd spent weeks studying. i remember the nurse trying to convince me to breathe. amazing how something as natural as breathing can seem like such a task.
in the early morning, the nurse said that she was going to call my doctor. when he arrived they decided to break my water and that's when things really began to progress. i don't remember the exact time that they said i was ready to push, but i do remember how relieved i was that the waiting, the contractions, would finally be over. i was so ready. i pushed for about 30 minutes and i think that was the first time i made much noise at all. i remember the sound of my own voice startled me and i tried to channel all the pain and exhaustion into that one glorious purpose.
the moments thereafter are a blur, but our team of nurses was incredible and they kept telling me i was doing a great job. i remember thinking, "they probably tell everyone that," but i didn't care. i was still shouting when they placed her on my chest and when i finally opened my eyes, i couldn't believe how beautiful she was. and pink!
we named her 'piper' for its' spunk and 'rice' after my grandmother's middle name.
but i've called her "puppy" from almost the moment she was born because she reminded me of a little, squawking, snorting newborn puppy.
our parents drove up the next day from iowa and since we had no food in the house, we all went out to dinner our very first night home from the hospital. i didn't even register the shock of the other patrons when they asked how old our baby was. "ummm...36 hours?"
the first week or so was a lesson in balance and humility. i remember dreading the nighttime. i would have a little emotional breakdown each evening around dinner time, knowing that the night was near, wondering how i was going to make it through another night of feedings and changings. i would be thrilled to see the sun rise and disappointed to find that no one else was up to keep me company at 6 a.m.
pretty soon we got a routine down and those first months, even that first year, was so simple. almost easy. i remember telling people how much i loved being a mom and how surprised i was that it seemed to come naturally to me. it's good to remember that time and those feelings because, as most parents will attest--it only gets harder.
piper is strong, independent, and intelligent. she's experienced a lot of change and turmoil in her first five years, but i am proud of how she has handled it all. she is intuitive and insightful and constantly amazes me with her thoughts and questions. her mind is creative and open and i love seeing the world through her eyes. she has taught me a lot about myself--things i'm proud of and things i'm not.
it's hard to believe it's been five years since that little pink, snorting baby was placed into my arms. she has grown and changed so much since then. i suppose we both have.
happy birthday, puppy girl.