Our Eliza sweetie pie is four years old today!
As with any child's birthday, it's amazing to think of how the years have flown by and yet it's also hard to remember what life was like before having her.
But I do remember. I remember well the dreadful pain and sorrow that so many of us know far too well of losing a little one to miscarriage. And the deep dark place I was left in as we waited and longed so for a new little one to join us on this earth. I remember pleading with St. Faustina as I was blessed with her relic on Divine Mercy Sunday. And I remember the exceedingly great joy when after a year and a half of waiting we were finally found to be with child. I remember the phone call in which my doctor told us our little one had a heart defect and likely had Trisomy 21 as well. I remember hanging up the phone and saying to Michael, "Honey, we're goin' to Holland!" And we waited with wonder that we had been chosen for this special task and curiosity to see what this baby with a little 'something extra' would be like.
We had six ultrasounds in all but we never peeked to see if we'd be having a boy or a girl. I so wanted a girl as I knew this special one would need lots of extra care and attention and would be closest in age to three big sisters. But my doctor had once referred to baby as 'he', and though she denied it, I thought she knew something I didn't. As my due date approached we decided to induce via amniotomy as we really wanted this baby to be born in the hospital (unlike Mary Rose) in case special care was needed. I went in at seven in the morning and my doctor thought for sure I'd have a baby by noon.
Not so. I was doing marathon speedwalking up and down the hospital corridors for hours, pausing and pleading every time I passed the statue and relic of St. Gerard in the hallway. At around 2:30, as the Hour of Mercy approached, it began to gradually dawn on me in my foggy-brained state that perhaps there was some chance we were going to have a girl. Our little Elizabeth Faustina arrived at 3:44! She didn't make a peep but she was pink as could be. We were all overjoyed to have her here!
I had made this tiny white hat for the new baby, with a blue pompom tied on the top and a pink bow on the front. We whipped that blue pom right off and put the little hat on our little pink princess.
Our wonderful pastor kindly came out that evening to the hospital to baptize her.
I always say that's one baptism I remember what the baby's mother wore (and no, you can't see a picture of me in my blue bathrobe). Other than briefly turning blue and scaring her mother and nurse, she did quite well that first night. We took her to the nursery so the nurse could keep an eye on her. I remember sitting in the rocking chair with my little silent baby, watching the nurses change and feed and try to soothe the other newborns as they bleated and wailed and shrieked their displeasure at the cruelties of life outside the womb. My little one had no energy with which to cry. Or nurse. I would work so hard to get her to latch on, only to have my triumph dissolve as she fell back to sleep after a minute or so. One nurse remarked about my determination as I held Eliza's little chin for guidance, "She'll get it," she encouraged. She sure did.
Miss Eliza, Queen of Cuteness, has certainly come a long way since her first night in my arms. She certainly has plenty of energy now. She is such a special blessing in so very many ways. She makes people happy every day just by flashing her infectiously joyous grin and adding a squeeze of a hug for good measure. She keeps us lighthearted. She makes us laugh. She makes us pray. She so clearly makes known the wisdom and love and generosity and goodness of her Creator. She makes us so very thankful for this very special gift that she is.
Happy Birthday, Eliza! We sure do love you!