A Year of Gratitude
This week my baby turns one and even as I type it out, I can hardly believe it. Wasn’t it JUST last night I was holding her in my arms for the very first time? Weren’t Nick and I just getting in our car to head home as a brand-new family of three? It’s crazy how quickly time passes when you have a child (yes, I know that sounds incredibly cliché but it’s the damn truth). Parenting is as brutal as it is rewarding; often times I think to myself “we’ve done it! We’ve survived the first year as new parents!” The truth is, it takes a village and I wouldn’t have survived this year without mine. This post is to thank all those who have contributed to my survival as a new mother this past year—I see you, I thank you, and I love you.
First and foremost, thank you Nick for exceeding any expectation I had of you as a father to our child. Thank you for rubbing my back through every single contraction (and for being my honorary labor nurse). You are, by far, the most amazing partner I could have ever asked for on this journey of parenthood. Thank you for washing all the bottles and pump parts, for cooking us all of our meals, and for taking over bath time when Isla was a few weeks old to get special one on one bonding with her; I hear you two having a blast every night and it just makes my heart swell. Most of all, thank you for going ALL in, ALL the time- we love you immensely.
Thank you to my parents for being there for me in the beginning when it was just really, REALLY tough. For acknowledging the struggle, never sugar coating it, and offering your help and dairy free food for me to eat. Thank you for sharing the love among your grandbabies; I know it can be tough…especially when we live “all the way in Georgia.”
Thank you to my father-in-law…for EVERYTHING. Thank you for making visits to Isla a weekly special and for loving her the way you do.
Thank you to my mother-in-law for your constant presence in Isla’s life and for never showing up empty handed! Thank you for always being there.
Thank you to my sister, Nicole, for coming to sit with me on some of the hardest days and for always offering to take the witching hour shift, even if Isla wouldn’t allow it. Thank you for always making Isla and I feel special, even though you have a family of your own.
To my sister-in-law, Caitlin—the first time Aunt. Thank you for spending many of your free days with this little family and for constantly showering us with love and support. Thank you for dropping everything whenever it’s needed.
To all of my other siblings—there’s so many!! Thank you for sharing the love between all the babies in the family and always being excited to spend time with Isla. To Ellen, my honorary sister-in-law, thank you for rescuing us several times and babysitting when we were out of options.
My cousin, Katelyn… thank you for everything this past year. I’m not sure I could’ve survived the first few weeks without you on the other end of the phone. I love sharing this season of life with you. Also, huge thank you to Matt for giving Nick the time off work so that he could be a part of every prenatal visit as well as Isla’s early doctor’s visits when I was so scared and needed him there with me; it means more to me than you’ll ever know.
And to my cousin Lexi, thank you for watching Isla for a few months when I went back to work. She was at her fussiest and most difficult age at that time, and we are so very grateful to you for allowing me piece of mind knowing that she was with family.
To my friend (& midwife), Maggie… Aside from literally handing me the greatest gift I’ve ever received, thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for visiting with me and spending time with me when I was on leave. Thank you for always texting me about the outside world and for being there when I needed advice, or just a listening ear. Thank you for being someone I deeply trust. Let’s do it again sometime? Haha.
Thank you to my friends, Theresa and Abby for supporting me through labor and delivery (and many times after). I cannot thank you enough.
Thank you to my friend and co-worker, Amy, for taking the time out of your busy life to come over and assist with all the struggles of breastfeeding. It’s not every day your co-workers get to feel you up and it isn’t a reportable offense lol.
Thank you to each and every co-worker who has ever assisted me, in any way, at work so that I may pump. Truthfully, it was the only fear I had about returning to work as a nurse (on a very busy unit). I thought, I would put in so much work to be successful at breastfeeding and it would all be in vein because I wouldn’t get to pump enough during my three 12 hour shifts a week and my supply would suffer. I’m so happy to say that was not the case at all, and that I am truly SO grateful to everyone who has ever watched a tracing for me, stepped in when I had a patient pushing for several hours, or even during a recovery so that I could pump. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! (From my boobs to yours). Oh and Kathy, thank you for the breastmilk fridge!
Thank you, Erica, for making me feel as okay as I could feel when breastfeeding on an elimination diet was so very overwhelming and I was contemplating formula feeding Isla instead. Katie, for the belly rubs and ALL the support (always). Amy G. for taking Isla to the nurse’s station so we could get a smidge of sleep in the hospital! Julie, for the amazing photos that we will cherish forever, and Letitia for the footprint art and for being our baby nurse. Thank you, Annabell, for making sure I’m always fed and my food is always warm when I’m stuck to the pump before I realize my lunch needs to be heated! Thank you to Nicole, Marsha, and Christy for allowing me to have Isla’s bloodwork done by people I trust- safely and efficiently- so that I could avoid the nightmare that is Quest!
Thank you to my friend, Amanda, for always having this little family’s back and coming to our rescue when Nick was hit with the man flu and I was stuck at work.
Thank you to my friend, Jessica (who probably wanted to disown me), for ALL the support when I had question after question…and then more questions! Haha. Sorry for all the baby poop pictures!
A special thank you to all of our neighbors, many of whom were strangers, for providing warm (home cooked) meals for a week after we brought Isla home.
Thank you to anyone who has ever asked about Isla when I was away from her and for allowing me to talk about her. To anyone who looked at a photo or video of her and smiled—even though I know it isn’t anywhere near as exciting unless you’re the parent. It helps to “share her” when I’m missing her at work.
If I forgot to mention anyone, please know that I did not actually forget. The support and love I’ve received this year has helped shape the mother I am in many ways. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
This has been the greatest and most challenging year of my life thus far and I’m so fortunate to have had you all in my corner. Thank you again.