I always wanted a girl. Or was it that I knew I was going to have a girl? As soon as I found out I was pregnant I was sure fingers crossed wished on stars prayers prayed it was a girl.
My first visit to my doctor after my very first ultrasound ended in tears. I wasn’t expecting a strand of the cord to be missing (whatever that meant) or an abnormality of the baby’s heart or a head that was measuring too large. I knew what it implied, but I didn’t know how it applied to me. Before I was sent to BC Children’s for a round of tests and another ultrasound I was comforted by three words that circled my worried head. Happy, healthy baby. Happy, healthy baby. Three words that I wrapped myself around until my visit to the hospital.
Every fear was undone on that list I was given. Peace came when there was a third strand visible in the cord (whatever that meant), the heart needed whatever it was that appeared as an abnormality and the head measured just fine. In fact, the doctor said, “It looks a little like yours,” pointing to me. Ummm…was he saying I have a big head?
I was sick with nausea through my entire pregnancy. Well, I had one month of reprieve, but that was all I was getting. Happy, healthy baby would drift in and out of my mind when I was told there was too little fluid around the baby; your baby is measuring too small and on and on it went. Doubt swirled around this baby before it even got a chance to breathe outside of me and I wondered what kind of person she…it was going to be a she…would grow up to be.
Annie Elizabeth was born on America’s Independence Day. She’s named after my dear, sweet friend, Elizabeth Anne, who passed away in that car crash 11 years ago. The beauty and magic of Betty lives on through her loved ones, through her name and in memories where time stands still for me. When Annie came into this world she was my redemption. Her feet, her unmarred skin, her body and her strength were my own. She was a gift. My daughter.
Annie is inquisitive. She is curious. She is restless. She never stops – not when I carried her for nine months and not now six years later. She wants to be a ballet teacher or a gymnastics teacher or a paleontologist – in that order. She has lofty plans to live in the city when she grows up. She does not like glitterbugs (litterbugs) and she loves thunderstorms. Doubt may have clouded who Annie was before she came into the world, but there isn’t a trace of that today. She knows who she is. Even at this age she knows. And my hope, my desire is that this is a truth she will always carry with her – that deep, deep down no matter what happens she will hold fast to her heart. Her sure, free from abnormalities, beating heart.
My bean, my babycakes…you are my best girl.
This is one of my favorite photos taken by Stace when Annie was three years old.