my brookie, my love. tomorrow you're turning 8 & it seems pretty amazing that we've gotten here already. i know you aren't very happy about that at the moment because turning 8 means you're almost 9 and in your mind, being 9 means you're almost 12 & being 12 means you're practically a teenager & you seriously do NOT want to be a teenager. but that's still 5 long years away yet & we've got tons of living to do between now & then. when i was your age, i couldn't wait to grow up & do all the grown up things. but i think you've got it right. i think you're enjoying your childhood more than i enjoyed mine because you suck up all the things that each day has to offer. you feel all of it intensely & you do the things that are meaningful to you with every ounce of yourself.
i loved snuggling in your bed with you tonight. it's rare that i do that because i'm always in a hurry to get to my quiet downstairs, but tonight when you were crying about your impending birthday & then whacked your head on the top bunk when you were questing for your tissues in the dark room, i knew tonight was the night for the snugs. tonight was the night to let you lure me under the covers for a full on snuggle with a back & head massage thrown in as a bonus.
8 years ago on this day, i was starting to freak out a little bit. i'd gone to the doctor earlier in the day & he told me that in the morning i needed to be at the hospital at 5am for a c-section. that's pretty intense to think about because it's 2 huge things at once - having major surgery & bringing a brand spanking new human being into the world all at the same time. i was finally going to get to meet this amazingly squirmy person who'd been grinding her head into my pubic bone for the past few days. i hardly got any sleep just thinking about it all & having to go pee about every 20 minutes (thanks a lot for that).
daddy drove me to the hospital while it was still dark outside. i had my makeup on & my hair done because i wanted to look pretty when i met you. it took some time to get all checked in, but eventually we were put into a room where they put me into a tacky gown & attached me to every gizmo in there. i could see contractions showing on the printout, and i knew that meant you were ready to come out too. there were several women needing the surgical delivery room that morning, which meant i was waiting in a line of sorts, so i had to be ready to roll when my name was finally called. that meant they put the catheter in while i was still fully conscious & feeling everything (i'll tell you what that means later). that was no fun at all. then i waited. i sent the anxious grandparents out to the waiting room because i didn't want them to see my pee piddling down the tube into the bag beside the bed. plus, i was feeling so nervous, i was almost getting sick. daddy nearly fell asleep in the chair across the room.
finally, it was my turn. i was pulled out of bed by one nurse while another one carried my pee bag, swinging it around while she talked & walked. that is not the kind of leash you want to be led around by. i got situated on the tall metal table & they made me bend forward & try to touch my toes. you were all up in my way & i could hardly bend at all, but i was pushed forward until i was in position for the man w/ the needle to stab it into my back & render me numb. when they laid me backwards on the table, the numb shot from my knees all the way up into my shoulders in about 2 seconds flat. i could only feel my head, neck & 2 or 3 fingers on each hand. seemed a bit excessive to me, but better too much than too little in that situation.
they put up the curtain & then swabbed me down w/ iodine (or something orange & slimy) that i could see reflected in the big, shiny light above my stomach. daddy was holding my hand & trying not to look toward my lower body. i felt them cut me, but it didn't hurt. daddy said he saw a stream of my blood shoot across the room & hit someone in the back. i felt them pull on my stomach from above & below to make room for them to slither you out through the little bitty opening. i heard someone say, "get ready, the baby's about to come out!" i looked into the reflective light then & i saw someone stick a hand down into my stomach & pull out your head. i could see them use the suction bulb to clean your throat while the rest of you was still inside me. then they left your head there for a moment before they pulled the rest of your body out & it looked like there was an alien inside me, trying to escape. that was my first glimpse of you & i thought, you were my little alien head baby.
they pulled you the rest of the way out & then swung you around the side of the curtain all fast & crazy. your arms & legs were sticking straight out away from your body & your mouth was wide open, but silent. you were purplish & covered in white slime. they called you a wisconsin cheese baby. then they whisked you away to the other side of the room & wrapped you up & wiped you off. i asked daddy if you were ok & he said that you were & you were a girl, just like we wanted. our sweet, baby brookie. no more calling you ned.
you had some trouble at the beginning & they wouldn't let us hold you for very long because you were cold & weren't breathing right. they put you in an incubator & hooked you up to wires & tubes. you were so tiny & delicate & you had a little dimple in your chin. a nurse told me your dimple was actually a muscle defect & i would have punched her in the mouth if i'd been able to reach her. how dare she call my perfect pumpkin defective! some people have no sense at all.
eventually i got you in my arms again. it took hours of suffering on my end & threatening every nurse who came into my room, but in time, you came back to me. you were my dream come true then & you still are now. this has been 8 of the best years of my life. i'm glad you're turning 8, even if you're not, because that means we've had a bunch of great years together, learning and laughing. and as you get older, i can see better into who you are & who you're becoming. your future is a mystery & one i can't wait to read. i love you, brooke. thank you for being my girl.