Savanna turned 12 on Saturday at 10:59am. She calculated that she is now 378,683,112 seconds old. It seems implausible that I have a daughter who is old enough to calculate her age in seconds because I still periodically experience mild to severe shock when the word "mom" is uttered in my general direction. One of my gifts to Savanna was to compile and publish"Volume 1" of her artwork, poems and stories. I scoured through her notebooks, scrapbooks, folded pieces of papers in her drawers, and an entire suitcase of kindergarten stories when she was first beginning to grasp the concept of making words, mostly with strings of consonants (barbie was BRBE and sister was SSTR). I found rainbows and skeletons, letters to fairies I had uncovered in flowers and under bushes in our yard, clay sculptures, elaborate sketches of ships, letters to Santa, etc. etc. Before I knew it, her life was flashing before my eyes in the form of things that her hands have created. It is difficult to imagine a time when Savanna wasn't a part of our life and I was compelled to review my journal from the months prior to her birth. In thus doing, I was reminded that she was incalculably loved even before she took her first breath. I thought I would share a few passages.
Today I recognized your kick for the first time. I have previously felt abdominal flutters, but hadn't been confident that these movements were not merely indigestion, but an absolute confirmation that a human is bouncing around in my uterus. Tonight, I knew it was you. I was sitting on our futon, watching television, when your thrashing startled me. It was similar to the feeling I would get when a fish was nibbling my bait just moments just moments before it was hooked... or not hooked. I froze. About 30 seconds later, I felt you again. I screamed for your Dad to come and experience your being "alive". Unfortunately, you wouldn't perform under the weight of his palm. Until now, your existence has only been manifested in my ubiquitous vomiting, my unexplained weeping at parade floats or fabric softener commercials, and my spontaneous napping under the desk at work. Today, I knew that you were really there. Hello back to you.
Dad has been able to feel your kicks. They are coming so frequently now that I am beginning to freak out when an hour goes by and I don't feel anything. In the evenings, when I am home from work and Dad is home from school, he will rest his hand on the general vicinity of your whereabouts, and take frequent breaks to ask how you are doing. He kisses you...as close as he is able. I am not limber enough to kiss my own stomach....I would if I could.
Dear Savannah Paige Judd
Obviously, today was the day that we gave you a name...undoubtedly one of the best days of our life. You are not just our baby. You are our girl. We saw you today. Granted, you look a lot like the genetic freaks from one of Dad's textbooks, which I need to avoid because they convince me that everything that could go wrong, will go wrong. But you are beautiful, even if you come out with one eye and three noses. We had picked out the name Alexander Quincey if you were a boy, but even after hours of late night name tossing, we could not agree on a female name. Just before the nurse called us into the ultrasound room, the name 'Hannah' came to mind. I asked Dad if he like it and, without hesitation, he was pleased. Minutes later we were told that you were very likely a girl and it just seemed right. We also agreed, almost in sync, that we liked Savannah Paige and could call you Hannah for short. [We never did ever call you Hannah]. I think today was the day that you became real to Dad. He hasn't been as fortunate as I have to feel your every move. Your legs were crossed and you were being thrown around by the force of your hiccups (maybe this explains your metronomic kick-ups). When your little hands and feet, spine, legs, brain, and beating heart, came into view, Dad grabbed my hand and squeezed. I gulped down a sob and squeezed back. Dad said on the way home that he wanted to see you every day. We were sent home with three pictures which we tacked on the refridgerator as soon as we got home. I had to return to work, but stopped at Old Navy to buy you your first outfit. It is darted denim overalls and a scalloped collared floral onesie. As soon as Dad saw it, he flattened it out on his lap, caressing it as if you were inside. He fell asleep with it on his chest. He will be a good father.
We had your second ultrasound today and you have grown exponentially in the past month and a half. We learned that you are 99 percent for sure a girl...but we knew that already. We were told that you weigh about 2 and half pounds....about as much as a block of cheese. We could see all of your fingers and toes and were no less affected today by your being than we were 7 weeks ago. We also decided to drop the h off the end of your name because we would rather you be associated with the African Savanna and not the twangy Georgian Savannah. I know the H would be silent, but somehow it screams 'fried chicken'. I never been to Georgia and I would probably like it....so no offense, Georgia. We are just assuming that your hair will be golden, comparable to the rolling Savanna grasslands. Yes, I think we are as goofy as most first parents should be.
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You are perfect. you weighed 8lbs and 13 ounces and measured 22 inches. Just as we suspected, you have a full head of wavy, blonde hear, with a slight curl on top. It appears that you have Dad's eyes, lips, and chin, you lucky girl. You have long fingers and you keep curling them in and out, as if you stroking the air and getting acquainted with life on the outside. The nurses have taken you away a few times, and when they do, it feels as if they are taking my air. I am tired, but have never been happier.
Those long fingers were just gearing up for all of their future creations.
I love you and can't wait for Volume 2.