Monday, April 14, 2008

Loving Hannah


Last night, I got an email from a good friend we knew in Boston (hi, Kathy F!). This dear, sweet woman and her husband were huge fans of our kids. So much so, that her husband (on his way to work) was one of the first people to come see me in the hospital after I delivered Hannah. I've never forgotten their many kindnesses, and getting back in touch with her took me back about seven years in time.

We moved to Boston in September of 2000. It was the peak of everything - economy, dot-coms, housing, jobs, technology - the world seemed so boundless then, didn't it? So full of promise?

Then about a year into our time there, on a crisp September morning, the world forever changed. I have written in the past about my experiences on that awful morning, which you can read again here.

Let's just say that September of 2001 rocked our family personally, as well. I had found out a few weeks prior to 9-11 that I was expecting another baby. I wish I could say that every part of me rejoiced at the opportunity to be a mother again, but I didn't. This was a major surprise. A surprise that neither one of us could find the energy to get excited about.

At the time, we were overwhelmed with the daily exhaustion that came with raising two wild and energetic boys. McKay was three, and Chase was not yet two. We felt insane with just the two kids we had. We were living in an apartment, and in light of the newly-shaken economy, had just downgraded to an even smaller apartment until we could be sure our job was viable long-term. And the thought of even one day with the boys and a newborn in a two-bedroom apartment did little to cheer me up. We just weren't ready for a third. The timing seemed all wrong.

We told no one about this pregnancy, and that included our extended family, parents, and friends. I felt that until I could be happy when I shared the news, it was better to keep it to myself. So we did what every American did in those months following 9-11. We watched the news for hours on end. We flew our flag. We drove to and from work. And we tried to remember to count our blessings.

Several months went by, and the news was no longer concealable, as my growing belly announced our situation for us. Thanksgiving came, and we drove down to spend it with Gabi and her family, figuring it was time to announce this baby to those we loved. Gabi's husband, Brad, was the first to greet us that weekend and said nothing - thinking I had simply gained some weight (thanks, Brad). Gabi could tell right away, and gave shrieks of excitement and joy. I tried hard to catch some of her enthusiasm, while feeling very guilty for not being more happy. A surprise visit from Opa that weekend, and the cat was definitely let out of the bag.

A few weeks after we got home, I had my first ultrasound. I remember laying on the paper-covered table, in the darkened room, waiting for it to begin. Laying there, staring up at the white ceiling tiles, I was not sure what to hope for. Another boy? Could we handle one more? And a girl? I don't know how to take care of a girl (forget the fact that I am one). As all these thoughts ran through my head, the cool shock of the jelly on my largely protruding stomach brought me back to the present.

And as the technician began to probe and measure, this little, flickering heartbeat caught my eye. I could make out tiny, perfect toes.

And fingers.

Arms and legs, and hands and feet, moving to a rhythm I already knew well.

And then something happened. A rush of emotion came over me and tears filled my eyes as I saw the first glimpses of this baby. Not just an inconvenient thing that seemed to have come so unexpectedly without our consent, but my baby. A sweet, little person that we would get to know soon.

"It's a girl," the technician told me with a smile.

A girl. We were having a girl. In an instant, I felt as though everything came into focus. As I lay there on the table, I began to feel an overwhelming sense of happiness. I knew then that it would be okay. It was going to be more than okay.

It was going to be fantastic.

And you know something? It has been. Every single day spent with this sweet angel in our family has been filled with bliss.

Silly, pink, fluffy, girly bliss.

And I wouldn't trade it for all the riches in the world.

I love you, baby.

God sure knows what he's doing with those big surprises.

43 comments:

danandcindy said...

Barack Obama doesn't want his daughters to have to be punished with a baby.

danandcindy said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbZJYWjkAPo

Melissa Walker said...

That is a beautiful post--I love having daughters. I also have a son who was born in April of 2001. After 9-11 I just wanted to hold him tight and love him. A thought just came to me--He might be the right age for Hannah in about 15 years! :)

Becky said...

That was so good, Christie. You are making it hard for me to say "i am done". Am I? I think I am. Am I sure? I don't know...a girl?....always thought I would have one...I drive myself crazy. Hannah is so cute! Miss ya!

Nimmy said...

Happy Birthday Hannah! We're so glad Heavenly Father sent you to the Heroes family!

Annie said...

Where surprises are concerned, Hannah was the very best kind. I can't imagine your fam without her.

We miss you, Hannah!

Ashlee said...

What a wonderful share. :0) Kids are the best kind of blessing aren't they?

Chatter said...

The joy of surprises! As you know, we've got one of those on the way and I know he/she will be just as precious. Your post was beautiful and so is Hannah!

Wendi said...

What a beautiful tribute to your daughter. Priceless.

andrea said...

we have a lot in common with that suprise girl coming in third. at least my boys were four years apart, but noe snuck in only 18 months later. yikes.

i'm glad hannah worked her way into a few of your favorite things. she's very cute.

Lindsey said...

Thank you.

Amanda said...

Beautiful post, Stie. My third was a surprise as well, and I cried and cried. But, like you said, God knows what he is doing. I wouldn't trade my baby for anything. Thanks!

HILLARY said...

I felt the same way about #4. But we love her and all her sassiness. My first baby is almost 14. It's kinda scary!

Christy said...

You are always fun to read - whether you're being funny or serious (or both). Thank you for sharing the amazine (both good and bad) feelings that motherhood brings. What a wonderful tribute to your darling daughter. (I have two boys and one girl too - but my "ray of sunshine" is in the middle.)

Christy said...

You are always fun to read - whether you're being funny or serious (or both). Thank you for sharing the amazine (both good and bad) feelings that motherhood brings. What a wonderful tribute to your darling daughter. (I have two boys and one girl too - but my "ray of sunshine" is in the middle.)

Darcie said...

I have one of those surprises from God too. Only I wasn't surprised by the pregnancy. I was surprised with the extra chromosone she came with (she has Down syndrome). You're right though. God knows. His surprises are blessings in disguise.

I enjoy reading your posts regularly. Thank you for sharing this special story.

pinkmommy said...

So sweet! And your little girl is a doll!

Bridget said...

Oh, how I remember your gloominess about that pregnancy! Also your lack of enthusiasm for a girl! Of course now that you know Hannah, how could she not just melt your heart. She sure is a cutie. I wish you guys were closer so I could feel like I know her like I do your boys.

BTW, who is Kathy F.? Was she in our ward?

RobynandJoe said...

What a sweet tribute! I love that picture of Hannah. I hope I can say the same in a few years...so far so good!

Heeere's J-dude: said...

It is hard to imagine life without them once they have woven their little selves into our hearts! She is lucky to have a mom like you!

gab said...

Love love love that girl! That surprise weekend is probably my favorite Thanksgiving memory ever.

gab said...

Love love love that girl! That surprise weekend is probably my favorite Thanksgiving memory ever.

thimblefingers said...

Love this girl, and love that she LOVES pink! grandma

calibosmom said...

That was really beautiful -just like Hannah. I have a Hannah and she also has two brothers. Happy Birthday to your little bit of sweetness!

dcrmom said...

She is beautiful! And what a beautiful post.

And I still get surprised when I load your site and see MY design staring at me! LOL!!

Jessica said...

Thanks for admitting to a lack of enthusiasm.

Not that I'm feeling that right now or anything.

I always like the reminder that I'll be happy in the end.

Summers Camp said...

Beautiful [sniff] Stie [sniff]! Just [sniff] beautiful [sniff, sniff]. *B

Purple CJ Diva Duckie said...

She is adorable! What a sweet story. Been there done that in my life a few times myself! :-) But God always seems to know what's best for us, doesn't he?

Lauren said...

Christie,
I went back and read the link and got the chills... and then began to cry. I can't believe how close your husband was to being on one of those planes.
I love your writing. I know I always say that...but it is so true. I love the way you word things...like, the way you said your, "growing belly announced our situation for us."
Such an honest post...sometimes it takes some time to get used to the idea of a surprise...even though it is a blessing. Such a sweet tribute to your BEAUTIFUL girl.

Rochelleht said...

You are such a great writer! I loved that!

Jenibelle said...

With #5 I was so surprised and truthfully not a bit happy. He has turned out to be the love of my life, my little boy who comforts me when I am down. I thought I was the only one whoever felt that horrible feeling of unexcited. So good of you to share.

She is beautiful and I love her name. Does she know how spectacular Hannah in the Bible is?

Kristy said...

Thanks for a beautiful post that reminds us how precious & what a blessing our children are, even on those days we want to pull our hair out. May Hannah continue to grow in grace & beauty on the inside as well as the outside!

(And can I say, she appears to be you in miniature...pretty w/ a certain twinkle in her eye...mischief perhaps?? I wonder if she will be blogging about adventures with her brothers some day?)

Annemarie said...

What a sweet, sweet tribute to your little girl! My baby girl was a surprise after three big brothers, and after the shock had worn off I felt exactly the same way!

TravelinOma said...

I read a story once where the woman was surprised and devastated by a 3rd pregnancy. She was mad the entire nine months, and everyone, including her doctor, knew it. She was holding her baby lovingly an hour after his birth when the doctor came in. He said, "I thought you weren't going to like your baby." She responded, "I didn't know it would be THIS baby. If I had known, I would have been thrilled from the beginning."

Hannah looks like she has lots of excitement in store for you in the years ahead!

Family Adventure said...

That was beautiful, Christie. She's adorable - both as an infant and a little girl.

You are very fortunate!

Heidi

Kimberly and Devon said...

What a sweet tribute to a sweet little girl!

I remember having dinner at your parents house, shortly after Taylor and Hannah were born, and your mom showed me all of the baby pictures...she was so, so cute!

I just want to jump through the computer screen and give that cute girl a squeeze...give her a hug for me!

Kimberly and Devon said...

P.S. don't for get to check out my Desperate Housewives Swap...it's going to be fun fun fun!

Lisa @ Take90West said...

She is such a cutie.

Your post was great, when you said that following 9-11 you 'did what every other American did, flew your flag, watched the news, etc.' that really brought back some memories.

Lisa-Marie said...

Well, today is my "off" day for comments, but I couldn't resist leaving one on this beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. AS always, you have such a way of blending tender and humorous. Hannah will really appreciate reading this some day. What a blessed little girl.

And, I have to say, "way to go. you made me cry."

Rosie said...

Oh, Stie, I needed this! Thanks for your thoughts and the reminder.

The pink fluffiness was a huge change from pushing around the trucks and cars. In fact, Stella and I just painted our toenails and our fingernails.

diane said...

Thanks for your honesty. I turned 40 the day before 9-11. Then the world fell apart. All I could think about is that my sons would have to go to war. They have gone to college and on missions, thanks to all who volunteer for service.
Your daughter is a beauty!

Diane said...

Sweet girl! You have so many fun things ahead of you....and I really mean that! Looking at her takes me back to when you were her age. You were, and are, such a bright spot in our family!

Hollyween said...

Amazing post and even though I'm late commenting (I"M sooo behind lately) I LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT!!!