Today is my baby's birthday.
Three years ago, I had just snuggled into bed -- my belly full from a Red Loster meal of shrimp linguine and cheddar biscuits -- when my water broke at about .
Of course, I thought. She would come tonight, just hours into a that dumped several inches of snow on .
The contractions came almost immediately, and I suddenly realized that I was not as strong as the women who had encouraged me to give birth without drugs. I was suddenly terrified and feeling pain that was 10 times worse than any pain I'd ever felt.
I called my doctor and he urged me to go to the hospital right away.
"Be careful," I remember him warning us. "It's a mess out there."
And he was right. Michael, the man who gets at least one speeding ticket a year, had to drive 10 miles an hour most of the way to Central Baptist Hospital because of the ice on the road and snow flakes as thick as cotton balls. It was like making Dale Earnhardt drive Miss Daisy -- he crept along and kept glancing over at me like he was terrified he would have to deliver the baby.
The next evening, Michaela was yanked out of my womb, kicking and screaming as if to say, "What took you people so long?!" I had endured 17 hours of labor and was so drugged that it took a few hours before I was alert enough to see my baby.
I was already in love with her, but my heart skipped a beat when I laid eyes on her. She was the most beautiful creature in the world.
She has changed my life in so many ways.
She came at a time when I was questioning God and his existence. I was spiritually heartbroken and disappointed in "church" people.
But having a baby, even feeling her develop and grow in my womb, renewed my faith in God and restored my hope in humanity. Suddenly, I realized how awesome God was. I realized that he was the creator and the sustainer of life -- that he had attached each and every one of her perfect little fingers and toes, that he had activated her senses so that she could hear and see and smell and taste and that he alone breathed air into her little lungs and jump-started her tiny heart.
Suddenly, I realized that we are all so fragile and helpless without God, and that he loves us unconditionally and forgives us constantly because we are his children.
Having a baby has taught me so much about love, about patience, about forgiveness, about joy, about sacrifice, about faith, about hope, about living life to the fullest and never taking a second for granted.
In these three short years, I have learned more about life than all of my previous experiences combined.
The anger I felt for my enemies and naysayers melted away because I suddenly realized how short life was and how insignificant their attacks were in the grand scheme of life. The grudges I had against my parents seemed trivial when I discovered how hard it was to parent and how easy it was to make a mistake that could change your child's life forever.
Michaela's birth represented a renewal for me. It was a sign that God had indeed forgiven the sins of my past, a sign that there was hope for the future. God had given me a second chance at life, an opportunity to change the world so that it would be a better place for my child.
I always say that God knows what he's doing and he knows when to do it.
Indeed, three years ago, he knew what he was doing and he did it right on time. He gave me a princess, a prissy and precocious child who loves pink and lace and lip glass and necklaces and Disney movies. She says "no" about a hundred times a day, she's demanding and impatient, she's a picky eater, she refuses to sleep in her bed all night and she's spoiled rotten. But she's my baby.
She thinks her mommy is the most beautiful, most interesting and most intelligent woman in the world. It still melts my heart when she says, "Mommy, I love you" or when she she holds my face in her little hands, looks into my eyes and says, "Aww, mommy is sooooo pretty."
She's the greatest. I look into her eyes and I see the love God has for me.
Happy Birthday, my love.
And many more.