Technically, it is Addie’s birthday. I am up late decorating the house with streamers and balloons, finishing decorating her purple birthday cake, and wrapping presents, as usual for the girls’ birthdays. Addie is 3 years old today. It would be cliche to say that is hard to believe, but it really is for me because I feel like her life has been so long already! So much has happened in her 3 years. Since I wrote about Anya’s birth on her birthday, I figured I should do the same for Addie.
Addie was a complete surprise. We had Anya and Lorelei, and while we had contemplated the idea of having more children, Andy and I were perfectly content with our 2 girls. A lot had happened recently in our families, and it was a difficult time for all of us. However, our little family of 4 was adjusting well and was very happy. Andy had just left for his third deployment to Iraq. He was not even gone a week, technically not even in Iraq yet, when I was late. I took a blood test at the doctor and sure enough, I was pregnant. We seem to have bad luck with babies and deployments (which explains why I was beyond freaked out for the first 2 months of this deployment – we made it without any pregnancy!). His first call to me from Iraq was answered by a sobbing wife blubbering about how she was pregnant – again. He didn’t say anything, but I would later find out that his mind was eloquently screaming, “Oh, shit” over and over again. I did not stop crying for about a week. Lorelei was not even a year old, and I was alone in Washington. How were we going to do this? With the reassurance of Andy and our families, I felt like we could do this (and let’s face it, we did not really have a choice).
Addie was trouble from the beginning. I was beyond sick with her. I was nauseous or vomiting constantly, so much that I would have to alternate trips to the toilet to throw up while trying to make food for the girls. I felt like every day I found a new food I could not eat or a smell that made my stomach curdle. This lasted for five long months, full of puking, Tums, and struggling to care for my other children. Once I finally started to feel better, Addie was a pain – literally. I blame myself because I could not stop drinking coffee while I was pregnant, so I therefore created a fetus hopped up on caffeine with a very limited space to be mobile. She never stopped moving! She kicked and squirmed all day and night; she even kicked Lorelei when she sat on my lap, the first sign of her bullying. 🙂 She also had a habit of laying with her back out and feet straight into my spine, which made me look like I was ginormous (oh yes, that’s a word). I was constantly uncomfortable and sleep deprived. Ever see that episode of Friends where Rachel is yelling at her pregnant belly, “Get out! Get out!” I actually did this a lot.
Oddly enough, Addie was born on her due date. My mom and youngest brother were out visiting and waiting with us. Andy and I went to hospital when I had contractions and walked and walked and walked until finally they admitted me. She was a shorter labor, at about 8 hours, and was relatively easy. Addison Carol Elaine Carpenter was born on June 23, 2009 at 3:17 am, weighing in at 7 lbs., 9 oz. My mom said it was the weirdest birth, that I pushed 3 times and she slid right out like a screw (TMI?). Despite her surprise arrival in our lives and all the trouble her pregnancy was, she was my most beautiful baby. She had a perfect head and was so pink and tiny, not a blemish or dent on her. She hardly cried in the hospital and was most comfortable snuggling with her momma, which I loved. Andy and my mom had to go home to the girls after her birth, so I was able to spend the first few hours with her alone. She was so beautiful – even though she was my third baby girl, I still gazed at her with such amazement. Andy and I created this perfection? It was unbelievable.
The best moment was when Anya and Lorelei came to meet their baby sister. Lorelei was still only 19 months old, so I did not know what to expect from her. She was apprehensive but seemed to like her sister. Anya was the sweetest; she brought a stuffed elephant for Addie that she picked out, and all she wanted to do was hold her sister. When the pediatrician came to check on Addie, Anya cried when Addie cried. We took a family picture in the hospital, and at that moment I realized that we were now a family of 5! Crazy when we were not even sure we wanted a big family. My mom had to leave a week later, and Andy went on a TDY the same day. Luckily, my brother was staying with us for the summer, and he was a big help as I adjusted to life with all of us.
As you all have read from my previous posts, Addie is always a challenge. She is loud, excited, animated, angry, and frustrating. She can be sweet, and she is too smart for her own good. No matter what happens with her and despite all the moments where I want to rail at God about why this tiny person frays on my nerves so much, I love that little girl more than I can explain. Addie is her own person, and she has always made her presence known in our family. 3 is a big year for her – she starts preschool, she is getting more help for her speech and a new referral for ENT, and she marks another year in Italy. She has grown and changed so much in the last year, even more so in the last 5 months, and I cannot wait to see what year 3 has in store for her and for us.