“You see, Wendy, when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.”
-Peter Pan Ch.3
And, she laughs. If you stick your index finger riiiiight there or kiss her in that spot right under her chin… she laughs. She laughs like crazy.
This will be the last “first laugh” I will ever be able to tear up over. It hits you in that place in your heart like a good massage on an achy back. It feels so good that it hurts like hell.
The other day in parenting class, we had an assignment to write five words that popped into our heads the minute we thought of each child in our family. Most people wrote bad things like “frustrating” or “argumentative”. I wrote things like, “imaginative” and “intelligent”.
Dean had a hard time doing Emi but I didn’t and when it came time for us to read them out loud, I had to look away as I read hers because it made me cry. A lot of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning will remember the day I found out I was pregnant. You’ll remember my fear. You’ll remember when I found out it was going to be a girl and also every ache and pain I had through the entire nine months. I documented everything during my pregnancy with Emi in this blog including the incredibly difficult time I was having.
I wrote about all the normal things that happens when you’re carrying a child, but I also had other things to put in. I had Dean’s arrest and a lengthy post about the day his unconscious body was pulled out of our car when he tried to kill himself. You guys went through his drug addiction with me and all my health problems.
When I found out I had a tumor and was going to have to have surgery during the pregnancy, it was the first time I have ever truly been terrified. I cried a lot here behind the scenes. I was so unbelievably afraid for my baby and I was afraid it was cancer and that my children would have to watch me die. I fought and argued with doctors for the life of my daughter and had legal paperwork written up to place their level of responsibility on Emi and keeping her alive during the surgery.
They had told me that I was the patient and that they would prioritize me over her and that if they needed to remove my uterus, baby and all or deliver her too early, then they would. And I…. freaked out.
To not have the surgery placed even more risk on her and so it was done and it was the scariest thing to wake up and panic over whether or not she was okay. I was told that I had to take it very easy for the rest of my pregnancy, put the housework on hold and concentrate on keeping Emi inside and safe.
I went into labor at 32 weeks and started to bleed. I called frantically for Dean but his command never told him and so I sat at the house bleeding for five hours and having contractions. Once Dean was finally informed, he took me to the hospital and they stopped labor and gave me steroids but I had already dilated a few centimeters. Our goal was to keep Emi in until 37 weeks but no one thought it was going to happen and I was on bed rest again. I was stressed out over Dean and his work and the arrest and the pregnancy and just everything that was going on.
I was falling apart and it was really bad. I gave birth to Emi at 36 weeks and she was in bad shape and was stuck in the NICU for a week. Once she came home, Dean started extra duty for 45 days and I was alone with four kids, a newborn baby, no husband and about two hours of sleep a night. I was exhausted and stressed out and there were no friends or family to help out. Then, I had surgery again and three days later, they came in took my kids, had us evicted and are now trying to throw us out of the Army.
I’m not sure I can take much more of this.
And then, Emi laughed. She saves me. Again.
I had written in my blog for months about everything that was going on but the thing I wasn’t telling everyone was that I was coming undone. I was a wreck during that pregnancy and was losing it more and more each day. Then, a kick or a wriggle and I would return my focus to her and it was scary and wonderful at the same time.
My bond with Emi is deep. I love my children, all of them and each one brings something different to our relationship. One may frustrate me more than the others, but he is also the one who amazes me the most. One might be more loving and sweet, but he is also the one who is the naughtiest.
And then there is Emi, this tiny thing who to everyone else is just adorable and sweet but to me it is much more. To me, she is brave and resilient and she is a fighter and when I could not, she fought for us both. I kept her alive during that pregnancy and she returned the favor.
After my surgery the surgeon told me that when they were inside of me they had to switch instruments because Emi was kicking him so hard that he was afraid that he would cut me. When he said that, I laughed because while I was passed out, she was awake and standing guard over us and it was just so… funny. I fell apart and she stood strong and stubbornly refused to give up on us.
And now she laughs and it was so scary to think I might never get to hear it. Now that I have, it is monumental to me because I spent so many months not knowing if she would make it or if I would make it and so to be right here at this moment and to hear her giggle… it is huge. To me.
A laughing baby takes two people. I am making her laugh by performing some kind of action and she is the one delivering the giggles. Right now and at this age, it’s just not spontaneous enough to happen for no reason so for now, it is our laugh and we get to share it until she gets older and it belongs only to her.
To see for yourself how happy you make someone is life altering. She is too young to be faking. It’s real happiness and I created it. And I almost never had the chance.
It makes me emotional to know how hard she and I worked together to make it to first laughs.
Here’s to many, many more.