The first day that I met my daughter, our hearts were immediately entwined. She was so wanted, so prayed for, and so loved! After having received a false call the month before, we were hesitant when we were told that she had been born on April Fool’s Day! We were cautiously optimistic as we drove five hours (again!) to meet our girl.
The hospital staff was so kind to us. They had an old nursery that was now used for storage, so they set up a rocking chair and cozy area for us amidst copy machines, extra crib bedding, and medical supplies to visit with her as long as we wanted. The moment they wheeled her bassinet into the room seems like a moment frozen in time. Her crying stopped as soon as she turned her head and looked at me. It was as if she was saying, “Oh, there you are, Mom! What took you so long to get here?”
The nurse in charge of her care was eight months pregnant and broke down in tears with us as she helped us to navigate our first diaper change and our first bottle feed. It was as if we were all cocooned in our own world. No one could touch us. We held our breaths together–excited, anxious, exhausted. It was one of those perfect moments that you long to hold onto for the rest of your life.
My husband had to pull me away to go back to our hotel to sleep. He was wise because it would be a long time before we would get a full night of sleep again!
The next day, when we returned to take her home with us, we began to feel overwhelmed. Who thought it was a good idea to let us leave with a baby?! We had no idea what we would do with her! The first night was rough. We stayed with my wonderful aunt and uncle, who had left the window in the guest room cracked a little for the fresh, spring air. But there was a cold front that came in that April, and our beautiful infant felt every cold draft and couldn’t tell us why she was crying. We were up the entire night and even fell asleep with her in our arms several times! What a relief it was when we finally realized we needed to close the window!
It’s been nine years since that day, yet it feels like yesterday. As the oldest in our household, she is our first try at everything–our first parenting mistakes, our first sleepless nights, our first potty training mishaps, our first scraped knees and broken bones, our first hints at puberty. She has come into our world as a gift from God, a precious reminder of His love and grace to us after years of struggling with infertility. She has encouraged us, strengthened us, frustrated us, brought us to tears, and loved us fiercely.
In her short nine years of life, she has challenged us in ways we never knew we needed to be challenged. She has brought us to our knees, crying out to God to mold us and make us better parents. She knows how to pull at our hearts and also how to push our buttons. She has brought beauty and laughter into our home, and we are so humbled to be a part of her life.
So today, we celebrate our firstborn, and we remember those long nights, rocking a sweet baby to sleep in a Winnie the Pooh nursery and holding fast to a prayer:
“For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to Him” (I Sam. 1:27).