Day 53: a niece is 1!

I am fortunate to be an aunt to two nephews and two nieces, all of whom I love dearly.  I hate living far away from them, and I really enjoyed my time with them while living back home while Andy was in South Korea.  Today, my youngest niece Payton turned 1.  This little lady is special to me – again, I love all my nieces and nephews – but she is special because I was there to witness her birth.

My sister Jessica had asked me to be in the delivery room early in her pregnancy.  I was thrilled, having been through it three times myself, and I was so happy to be able to witness this since I knew we would be moving to Italy soon.  I got the call as I was doing laundry on a Tuesday night.  My children were already in bed, so I left them with my mother-in-law and headed up to the hospital, not even changing out of my workout clothes.  My sister is pretty much a champ during labor, so I did not know how long or short this would be.  I brought my spring Vogue, a nice 600+ pages, and a big Diet Pepsi.  I was ready.

Unfortunately for me but fortunately for my sister, I did not have to wait long.  Our other sister Elizabeth and I were both there to watch as Jessica made drug-free labor look almost blissful.  It was only a few hours after I arrived there that with two pushes, Payton Jean  made her arrival.  She was born on February 22, and she was so beautiful.  During my own labors with my girls, I could not stand to watch or think about what was happening to my body.  I would avert my eyes from any mirrors and refused to look down at my child as I pushed.  For this, I was fascinated, not to sound too gross.  I watched this miracle happen like I had never seen it before, despite my obsession with labor and delivery shows and my own experiences.  The first time I saw that little girl and then held her, I was hooked.  






Payton’s first week or so was a little rough – she swallowed some meconium or baby poop during delivery, and she spent a week and a half in the NICU.  It was hard, since Jessica also had my nephew to worry about.  However, that is what is great about family – they can help at the times you need it most.  I lived only five minutes away from the hospital, so I made visits almost every day.  My mother-in-law even helped by watching my girls so I could go up to the hospital.  I could give Jessica a break and let her relax, but I mostly just loved my bonding time with Payton.  She was so beautiful and looked even smaller than we really was under the tubes and machines.  I could have held her for hours.

  When she finally came home, I tried to spend as much time with her as I could.  I often employed the, “I’m moving to Italy soon, so I should get to hold her whenever I want” excuse.  I loved that she seemed to be attached to me too, always quieting down when I held her and eating really well.  She even smiled a lot!  I’m still saying that I will be her favorite aunt (sorry Elizabeth!). 

Today, that little girl is growing up and turning 1.  I wish so badly that I could be there with her to celebrate.  I miss my family always, no matter where we are living, but living this far is especially challenging, and birthdays and holidays are always bittersweet.  I sent her a GapKids outfit for her birthday – I’m the aunt that buys clothes, but always good clothes – and hope to see some great pics of her at her party.  Someday, maybe she’ll read this and know how badly I wanted to be there and how much I love her so much.  Happy Birthday Payton!


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