Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Flipper: A Letter to Arlo

March 19th, 2013

Dear Arlo,

Today was a big day. You've been my little breech boy this entire pregnancy, and Dr. Ekman had me convinced that you wouldn't turn at this point—that you were too big and had no room. She actually said that it was impossible. During our last ultrasound, the tech told me that, in 7 years, she's seen two babies flip after 37 weeks. The odds clearly weren't in our favor. We were prepared to bring you into the world via C-section one week from today, and while I would do anything in the world to get you here safely, I was upset that I wouldn't get to experience labor. I was sad everything would be scheduled, instead of spontaneous. Not everybody understands this sentiment, but I felt like I was being robbed. 

You shocked us all this morning. Dr. Ekman wanted to take one last look at you, during what was supposed to be our last appointment. She was blown away—and so, so pleased to report that you're in the head-down position. You flipped, Arlo! It's amazing. When Dr. Ekman left our room, she shouted, "He flipped!" and the nurses cheered. Your daddy and I hugged each other and cried happy-tears. I can't tell you how over-the-moon I am that you get to pick your own birthday. Will you be a March baby, or do you want to hang out with mama until April? I love that you get to decide.

One year ago, I was terrified that I would never get to be somebody's mommy, and here we are. I'm exactly 38 weeks pregnant with you, my little trouper. I can’t believe you’ll be joining us in the outside world in, at most, 3 weeks (but feel free to come on out before 41 weeks, of course). I can almost feel the weight of you in my arms right now, as I write this. Somehow, it feels like I've been waiting for you for a million years, and—at the same time—like I just found out you were in my belly. (I can remember, so vividly, telling your daddy about you for the first time by saying to him, "Kiss your baby, and tell him to stay in there and grow big and strong." He did kiss my belly, and you did stay in there and grow big and strong.) I’ve enjoyed having you mostly to myself, loved being the one to give you everything you need, to feel all of your kicks and hiccups and head bangs, and to know your sleep schedule. (Will you always be a night owl?) I revel in the thought that my heartbeat sounds like home to you. Right now, I am your shelter.

But I can’t wait for you to meet your daddy. I’m so happy that you’ll have such a positive male role model in your life. Your father is the greatest. He’s proof that a man can be vulnerable but not weak, kind but not a pushover, gentle but strong... If I’ve ever done anything 100% right in this lifetime, besides make you, of course, it was marry your daddy. Our love for each other—and for you—is unshakable. Soon, I'll get to witness the expression on his face as he sees you for the first time. I’ve dreamt of this moment more times than I can count, and I know my imagination can’t do it justice. Later, I'll get to witness the expression on his face as you walk, say "daddy," write your name, take off on your bike, and hit a bulls-eye for the first time. We'll never take any of your "firsts" for granted—never take a single day for granted.

Your dad and I talk about what kind of parents we hope to be. Your grandma keeps giving us parenting books, but we've decided we'll just figure it out as we go—and I promise we'll always do our best (and that our best will be pretty great). We do know that we'll always be there for you, always support you, always be on your side. We're going to love and protect you, and pick you up when you fall. We're not going to try to prevent every stumble, though—because there's a lesson in each skinned knee. Failure, rejection, and heartache make the sweet times all the sweeter. Triumphs feel more triumphant when they don't come easy. You are proof of that.

You haven't even taken your first breath yet, but, already, I love you with all of my being. In the 8 months I've known about you, you've made such an impact on my life, and we're just getting started. You've put my shattered heart back together again—quite a feat for somebody so small. You've taught me that hope exists for a reason, and that when a little voice inside my head tells me I have to soldier on, no matter how defeated I feel, I better listen—because maybe, just maybe, there's light at the end of the tunnel. You are my light.

You've instilled hope in countless other people, too—most of whom stumbled upon our blog when they were feeling broken and were looking for stories about miracles like you. These people have sent me dozens of e-mails and messages, sharing their own stories and letting me know that we've inspired them. That's huge, Arlo—to be somebody's inspiration. We'll never meet most of these people, but they're out there, cheering us on from all over the country. I'll never forget them, and I'll never stop praying that they get their miracles, too.

Somebody recently asked me what kind of person I think you'll be, and "happy" escaped my lips before I even had time to think about it. Of course I have hopes and dreams for you, but I don't know what kind of personality traits you'll have—if you'll be serious or goofy, bookish or sporty—and I love not knowing. (Something tells me you're going to be very strong-willed.) I look forward to watching you grow—not too fast, though—and become your own person.

I tell you every day how much I love you, how special you are—and that you'll forever be guided by three magnificent angels. I can't wait to look into your eyes and tell you these things. You are a miracle, and I know, deep down, that you’re destined for greatness; I'm so excited to share you with the world—and to share the world’s greatness with you.



Linda said...

Just beautiful! You speak the words of every loving mother feels. There is no better job you can have and I'm so glad you didn't give up on this role. How wonderful that you could inspire others. I sure could have used your wisdom 28 years ago. But like you, I just soldiered on and the payoff was no less than a miracle and it continues now with grandchildren. I say it all the time, so many people take childbirth for granted, but each and every one is truly a miracle. I am so proud to say I have 3 beautiful miracles and 4 more on top of that. I'm so excited for you to get your miracle and I can't wait to meet him.

Colleen Garvin said...

Holy tears of joy! I'm blubbering over here ! Such beautiful words

Jwowweewowwow said...


Unknown said...

That was beautiful, Amanda. Arlo has chosen you both for a very good reason, and I can only imagine how excited the three of you must be now that the days are down in the teens (possibly). He will be a very special part, of a very special family. Take care.

jessica dukes said...

tears. I wrote a letter to the baby we miscarried the night I found out and the day before I surprised brad - telling the baby how lucky he will get to have brad for a daddy. :) can't wait to see pictures of little arlo.

be strong little one and grow grow grow.

Heather said...

Beautiful, Amanda.

And yay to Arlo for flipping! Good job, buddy!

Susan said...

What a beautiful letter! I love following your blog and am happy that Arlo has flipped!

Erica said...

So glad he flipped and you get to experience the spontaneity of it all. Such a beautiful letter.