Right this minute one year ago, I was holding my youngest daughter in my arms for the first time. I was gazing down at her sleepy face, wishing she would open the eyes that I had been told were blue. She was wrapped up tight in the newborn-at-the-hospital way, and her breathing was still a little rough, a little snorty, a little whiny. She'd been given oxygen at birth because she was a few weeks early and had to have her blood sugars monitored because we had gestational diabetes, but she was otherwise healthy ... we thought.
As the day wore on, my beautiful baby was found to have a pretty serious blood incompatibility with me. She developed jaundice of an alarming degree in an alarmingly short amount of time. Her blood levels were measured almost constantly for the first week of her life, and she was even kept an extra night in the hospital. The last day and a half of her initial stay there, she was taken from me and kept under a light therapy bed constantly, only allowed out for feeding. I wasn't even allowed to hold her, only reach into the bed to stroke the soft child my body had created which was now taken from my arms in her own best interests. I was allowed to stay in a free room at the hospital so that I could be with her, so that I could visit her, but after the first time, when they told me I wouldn't be allowed to hold her, I didn't bother. It was too hard, standing there beside her, unable to hold her in my arms, unable to nurse her, helpless to heal her hurts or even to disabuse myself of the notion that it was my own fault in the first place.
Over time she became healthy, and the medical scares were replaced with the normal time-line of baby milestones. The first smile, the first giggles, the first teeth, the first of the babbling. The first time rolling over, the first time sitting up. The first wobbly steps.
Now my Piglet is growing beautifully. She is beginning her journey into life as an American girl-child. She has begun to play contentedly by herself, she has begun to walk and talk. She gets excited when she thinks she is getting away with something, and she is thrilled to act like a "big girl". She is becoming a big girl.
And now that she has celebrated her first birthday, she has enjoyed her cake, she has played with her gifts, and she has finally seen her birthday roll around, she is no longer Mommy's Little Baby. She has taken a step, she is Mommy's Little Toddler.
And I can't wait to see what happens next.