That's the word that keeps coming to mind when I try to summarize this year in just one short post. Wow.
I can honestly say this has been both the best and worst year of my life. It was so full of extremes! It has been the most painful, joyous, humbling and exciting year for me. Here are some of the highlights from each month:
- January: Do I even need to write this one? Obviously January was the best month of this year! Grace Elaine came into our lives via c-section January 14th at 9:25 PM weighing 8 lbs 5 oz. You can read her birth story here. While we expected an easy and quick labor, we ended up with a c-section and 2 days in the NICU. It was such a scary, painful, and exciting few days. Luckily, we got to come home 5 days later and start our lives as a family of 3!
|The day we came home from the hospital! I hate seeing the blood on her hand from where her IV was.|
- February: Another dramatic month in our house. On February 20th, I went to the ER due to severe abdominal pain. I was admitted with appendicitis and had my appendix removed the next morning. After never having surgery before in my life, I had 2 abdominal surgeries within 5 weeks. Also, Mike and I went on our first date without Grace this month and it was harder for mommy than it was for baby! We have since tried to make this a regular occurrence but it doesn't always happen.
- March: Thankfully life started to calm down in March. Grace and I were finally able to get into a routine. She rolled over for the first time this month!
- April: I officially became a stay at home mom in early April! I was hesitant to quit my job, but it has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. We made our very first road trip to visit my family in Wichita for Easter. Grace screamed for an hour and a half on the way back. It was a long time before we were brave enough to do that trip again!
- May: We moved Grace into her crib and we made our very first trip to the zoo! She started giving kisses this month.
- June: Grace got her first 2 teeth and also had pink eye. It was a hard month with very little sleep for everyone. She completed her very first Summer Reading Program list at the library (this is a big deal as a child of a librarian!!) Aunt Ashley came to visit this month and Grace had a great time with her! Mike and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary.
- July: Grace officially turned 6 months old. She took to solid food like a pro. After months of sleep deprivation,, we finally started to let her cry it out and it worked for us. Read about it here.
- August: I got the worst sunburn! It was my own fault but I spent a week in pain because I forgot to put sunscreen on. Grace popped 2 more teeth this month.
- September: Grace figured out how to army crawl and pull up on things, meaning she started getting into everything! She got dedicated on September 11th.
- October: This month was hard. It's hard to sum it up in such a short amount of space, but I lost a friend and fellow mom and had my 3rd abdominal surgery of the year. During a standard lathroscopic gallbladder removal, I suffered a heart attack and then spent 2 days in the ICU. I was diagnosed with Takotsubo syndrome (also known as Broken Heart Syndrome) and spent the next 2 weeks on bed rest. Read more about my surgery and subsequent issues here if you're interested. We had to stop breastfeeding due to my health issues and Grace went on a hunger strike for a week before she finally decided to take her bottles. On the brighter side, we made our first trip to the pumpkin patch and Grace celebrated her first Halloween and looked adorable in her costumes (she had 2, an otter and Tigger!)
- November: Grace finally learned to really crawl and she added clapping to her list of tricks. We celebrated her first Thanksgiving!
- December: Grace said her first word, dada, and she visited Santa for the first time! We celebrated her first Christmas and she had a great time opening all of her gifts. Santa certainly spoiled her!
Like I said, it was a year of extremes. After never having been in the hospital before, we spent a grand total of 8 nights in the hospital (6 for me and 2 for Grace.) I had 3 surgeries and countless days of recovery. I had to rely on other people's help far more than I ever would have imagined. I couldn't even lift Grace for 2 weeks in October. There were so many wonderful people who came into our lives this year that helped in so many ways expecting nothing in return and I'm very glad to call them friends.
It was a difficult year, but nothing could overshadow the joy that Grace has brought into our lives. She is the most amazing, intelligent, beautiful, wonderful baby in the world. Every day is so much fun with her and I love watching her grow. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but it is so much better than I even imagined. She has made everything I've gone through this year worth it. I love seeing how she changes every day and she has made this the best year of my life. I can't wait to see what 2012 brings. I'm ready for a calm, healthy year!