Do you remember being a child and constantly being asked what you wanted to “be” when you grew up? In elementary school kids usually say a teacher, doctor, firefighter, policeman. Then, as you grew and learned about various other occupations, people would branch out with their choices. My brother, for example, stated in middle school that he wanted to be an astrophysicist.
Yet it still seemed as if that question was a constant thread of my adolescent years. I had a hard time answering it.
Sure, I went with the typical “girl” answers of “teacher” or something along those lines….but deep down I knew that I didn’t want a career to be the focus. I’ve always dreamed of being a wife and mom.
Let me make it clear that I know there are many other things I could have set my mind on. In stating that motherhood has always been the path I’ve wanted to walk, I in no way believe it to be the only one possible. If I had made the decision to do so, I would have been an excellent teacher…lawyer…medical professional…accountant…any of the careers that seem admirable.
There’s a great scene in one of my favorite movies, “Mona Lisa Smile”…a college professor (Julia Roberts) is desperately trying to make her students see that there is more to life than getting married fresh out of college and being a stay-at-home wife and mother. The film is set in the 1950s, and most of the students seem baffled that she would even suggest any other option. I loved that Julia Roberts’ character opened their eyes to new possibilities and changed the course of some of their lives for the better. But…BUT…my favorite scene involves one of her students (Julia Stiles) explaining to her that being a wife and mother WAS her choice. It’s such a beautiful moment.
Now that I’m almost two months in to finally seeing my dream realized, I must say that it doesn’t disappoint. Sure, like any job there are difficult or mundane aspects…on any given day I change countless diapers, get spit up on, do mountains of tiny laundry, juggle keeping a house clean and meals on the table.
But there are also moments of a happiness so complete that it still feels surreal…and, I know that before I know it I can add to my list of responsibilities: hand holder, storyteller, art teacher, nature guide and so many other things. These days are just the beginning of something incredible.
So, if you were to ask me today what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would answer you (most fervently): This.
When I look at the picture above, I get teary eyed. Our baby girl has changed so much since that was taken (shortly after we brought her home from the hospital). As of yesterday, Adelaide is SEVEN WEEKS old! It baffles me that so many weeks have passed, and yet it also feels like it’s been much longer.
I keep reminding myself to soak in every moment during this fleeting first few weeks and months. I’m so grateful that John’s sister, Mindy, came over when Adelaide was a week old and took these pictures for us. Such a sweet memory of our first days at home as a family of three.
I’d like to write all my thoughts down about what motherhood has been like for me…and about all the little things that I’ve learned about Ada thus far…
But, for now this will have to suffice…because there’s a certain little lady who is making it known that she needs her mommy.
At 1:55pm on July 29, after six hours of labor, we welcomed our baby girl into the world.
She was a chunky 10 lbs 2 oz, 22.5 inches long with brown hair and the cutest little face I’ve ever seen.
We named her Adelaide Lorraine Pruitt…her daddy calls her Ada.
The last two weeks have been a flurry of getting to know this new little addition to our family…and realizing our ability to love her more fiercely than either of us ever knew was possible.
Welcome to the world, Adelaide. You are our long-awaited, much prayed for and anticipated joy of a daughter…I look at you and can hardly take in the wonder of it all.
With our baby girl due any day now, I’ve been reflecting on how this new little life will bring a chapter of our lives to a close as a new one begins. These last 10+ years of “us” have been the best years of my life….and, although I know that parenthood with you will be an amazing new adventure, I can’t help but feel the end of these “just the two of us” days is somewhat bittersweet.
I’ll never forget the moment I met you, in Foy Student Union on an October day in 2003. Your backpack full of patches from some of my favorite bands caught my eye, before I even saw your face. I tapped you on the shoulder, you turned around and flashed me your amazing smile…and I was pretty much hooked.
I’m so very glad that I chose to eat at Foy that day…that I chose to say hello to you…that my friends convinced me to go back over and ask you to have lunch with us…that I wound up giving you my number before we said goodbye.
We had so many people in our friend group who were named “John”..so, my roommates & I referred to you as “John from Foy”. However, it didn’t take long before that specification was unnecessary. You were simply my John.
A mere 15 months after meeting you, I became your wife. Some may think that’s crazy fast…and, I guess it is. When I think back on it now, it’s crazy to me that we were only 21 and 22. But, I’ve never been so sure of anything as I am that we were meant to be.
In the early years of our marriage, we grew up together…we became adults. We took out our eyebrow rings, and we started buying shirts from places other than the thrift store. But, aren’t you glad we never truly took ourselves too seriously?
About 4 years into our marriage, we started discussing starting a family. I hate that term “starting a family”…as if what we already had weren’t enough to qualify as such. We decided that we were ready to take the leap into parenthood. I remember excitedly confiding in my friend, Alice, a few weeks later that we were “trying”…and she confessed that they were too. We were on a beach vacation with Alice and her husband, Brandon…and we all bonded over sunsets on the beach and daydreams of our future babies.
We watched everyone around us get pregnant and have babies. Years went by, and we still found ourselves waiting. It’s crazy to me that the baby that was just a dream in Brandon and Alice’s hearts on that beach trip just turned six years old.
Together you and I have learned how hard it is to not be in control of certain things. But, I love that we’ve kept our sense of hope…and with it our sense of humor.
I am so thankful for this time together, just the two of us…even if it wasn’t intentionally as long as it has been. I’ll always remember fondly all the things we’ve done together..all the little adventures we’ve shared.
We’re so different in some ways, you and I. You prefer a quiet Saturday morning at home to a planned event. I prefer singer/songwriter music to the current collection on your iPod. You believe mushrooms are delicious…I very strongly disagree. I love taking pictures with you…you HATE having your picture taken, but occasionally humor me.
We’ve learned when to compromise for the other…and I think the key is to think of the other person first. I really feel like we accomplish this more often than not. This explains why you’ll smile for a picture, if you know it means a lot to me….and why I don’t force the issue unless it does. In exchange, I’ll cook eggs for you…even though I don’t understand how people consider eggs food. But, you always cook your own mushrooms…because you know that is where I simply draw the line.
I’ve often wondered over our relationship…because I am so extremely thankful for how well we seem to click…for how seemingly easy it is for us to walk through life together. Even with the crazy awful year we had last year…with the loss of our triplets and all the emotions that followed and still creep up on us at different times…we’ve never pointed fingers of blame or taken things out on each other. I do NOT take that for granted.
You never made me feel bad if I needed to cry or if I needed to be angry…You were always there for me…always uplifting me, and constantly giving me something to smile about.
Now, as we are finally on the cusp of seeing our dream of parenthood realized, I’d like to say “thank you”. Thank you for being so present and supportive in all the hard things we’ve faced. I’ve never felt like I’ve faced them alone. And, thank you for making all the days of our togetherness so full of love and friendship.
I know that some aspects of our life will change in a flash when this daughter of ours makes her debut. We’ll have no way of knowing what that’s like until it happens. But, I believe we’ve got a great foundation of “us” to build on, and I am so glad I get to do this life with you.
I CANNOT WAIT to finally see you as the daddy to our sweet baby girl. . .let’s do this.
Tomorrow is my due date….the day we’ve been counting down to since we found our we were expecting you last November.
Unfortunately, it appears that you have no plans to vacate your current living situation anytime soon. Apparently you are comfortable right where you are.
We live in a world of instant gratification. Patience is a lost art. There isn’t much that we are forced to wait for. I’ve found myself more and more restless and anxious to meet you as these last few days and weeks go by. Most women now opt for a scheduled induction if their baby shows no signs of coming by the 39th or 40th week. Your daddy and I are choosing to wait on you, unless a medical reason arises for us to choose induction.
Most babies take 9 months to arrive. We’ve been waiting to be parents for so much longer than that…so (even though your mommy is majorly uncomfortable right now) what’s a few more days in the grand scheme of things?
I started this letter with the intention of making it an official eviction notice, but, I’ve changed my mind. Take your time, baby girl. Grow those chubby cheeks and puffy lips. I’ll keep cherishing these last few days of having you all to myself…feeling you move your feet and shift around.
Meanwhile, your daddy and all of our friends and family are anxiously awaiting your arrival. There are countless arms ready to hold you!
I promise you’re going to love it here.
I keep pinching myself when I think about how we’ll be holding our baby girl in just a matter of weeks! I honestly wish I had taken the time to blog more during this pregnancy…but, instead I’ve been holding most of it close to my heart…treasuring all these tiny kicks and moments of acute awareness of this little life.
But, in case I forget in the months and years to come, here are a few insights into pregnancy this week:
- How far along: 37 weeks!
- Total weight gain: 24 lbs
- Sleep: Hard to come by! I usually am tired all day, but unable to sleep at night…between trips to the bathroom, horrible heartburn and constant repositioning.
- Best moment of this week: Gave myself my last shot on Monday night!! After having to inject myself twice a day since November, this was a much celebrated event!
- Worst moment of this week: The one night I woke up at 2am and all I wanted was watermelon…and we were out.
- Movement: This little lady is constantly shifting, kicking and moving around! Mostly I feel her legs up near my ribs…but, she is also a fan of sticking her bottom out as far as possible.
- Missing: Being able to bend over. Related: being able to wear shoes that require anything more than slipping them on.
- Food craving: Watermelon! Also, grapefruit, pineapple and chocolate.
- Labor signs: Frequent Braxton Hicks, which I sometimes think are the real thing. I also think she’s dropped down a bit.
- Belly button: Still an innie, although it is definitely shallower than before. John keeps waiting for it to pop out.
- Looking forward to: Seeing John hold our daughter. I don’t know how my heart will take it….
My next appointment with my ob is this Tuesday. We are supposed to get an ultrasound to see how little Bean is doing. She’s been measuring at least a week ahead since the beginning, so I’ve been wondering if they got our due date wrong. I guess we’ll see!
Daughter of mine, you are more than welcome to stay in there as long as you need to….but, your arrival into this world is much anticipated…so, anytime my dear!
It suddenly hit me yesterday that we are going to have a baby.
That seems silly to say, since I am over 29 weeks pregnant. But, with three previous pregnancies that all ended in loss, my mind has been conditioned to not automatically associate being pregnant with bringing a baby home.
But now! Now we have made it far enough to know that the odds are good for survival, even if the baby was born today. Everything is still looking great, so I have no reason to believe that this baby will come any earlier than expected. And, when she does arrive, there is every indication that she will be healthy.
Even my OB is giddy when she sees me at each appointment…exclaiming that she’s so excited that I’m “so boring” this time around. In the world of high-risk pregnancy, being “normal” and/or “boring” is just about the best feeling in the world.
If there is one thing these past few years have taught me, it’s to appreciate what I would have otherwise taken for granted.
So, thank you, infertility. Thank you, miscarriages and loss. Thank you, grief.
I did not wish you then, and I would not wish you back again….but…
thank you for teaching me to profoundly appreciate and cherish the fact that I am about to be a mother.