Madelyn's fourth birthday is coming up soon. I am working on a photo book for her. It's not easy to fit four years of energetic and happy and studious life (make no mistake, she's watching!) into one book, but I'm trying. It's even more difficult when a certain someone who is not me, but who is the only other adult living in this homestead, has taken the old photo cards out of the monitor stand, where they had been since I owned a digital camera, and put them who knows where. (I don't mind them being moved, especially since we don't use the monitor stand anymore. But can they all just go in one place that someone here remembers?)
Slightly sickening feeling when I remember pawing through some things he had set aside for recycling and trash a couple years ago. In with the box from my first digital camera was a disk for it. Once upon a time there were probably five or six such disks that captured much of Corey's youth and Tom's and my early years, but I only have that rescued one.
On top of those disks, almost all of which predate even my pregnancy with Madelyn, I was missing the card from her first six months at home.
I have a code for a free photo book. It expires soon. More importantly, Mad's birthday is coming up right after that! And I have another coupon code that should cover any extra pages I might need in order to make four years fit into one book. That coupon expires tonight. (Yes, I should be working on it now. I know!)
Tom and I had a brief discussion that... well... here's my status update last night:
Happiness is having your husband find the photo card that has Madelyn from about two weeks to six months old. (Let's not talk about the open-mouthed stare I received when I pointed out that he had said he'd look for it a month ago. Or the rude remark he made about how I shouldn't go "tearing up the office" right before he went in and tore up the office and banged things around for half an hour. Aaand, since we're not talking about certain things, let's also not mention that I had already pulled the disk out of our desk, but thought it was something else and let it sit there, only popping it into the computer because he handed it to me along with the disk reader.) Happy, happy.
So yeah. Tom handed me the disk I had located and it turned out to hold 1624 photos, almost exclusively of Mad's early days. That's a lot of photos. A lot of memories. And yet, I needed more.
Why? Because my old camera had crapped out about a week before Mad's arrival, and we didn't replace it until she was a couple weeks old. Everything we have from those intervening weeks are crappy, but much loved cell phone shots.
The good news is that I've been pretty generous in sending photos to both Tom (at work) and his mom. The better news is that they are both
hoarders photo savers. (They're really not hoarders. Well, his mom is really not a hoarder.) (I wouldn't even be putting disclaimers in here if it weren't for the fact that one of his good friends reads this blog. Shh.)
One week before my due date. Six days before her arrival.
Her very first photo, taken when she was about 20 minutes old, gray, grunting and giving Daddy the stink eye. I held her for a few minutes that went by way to quickly. The next time I would see her would be another rapid few minutes in the nursery before she was taken to NICU, and after that, it would be a photo taken by the nurses; she was covered in electrodes and little gold heart-shaped stickers and tubes. Add to that her blonde hair (in the photo from the nurses) and it's no wonder it felt surreal. Speaking of her head, do you see how it's perfectly round? That's because my kids like to stay up in my ribs until the last freaking second. You would never guess that I'd been in labor 36 hours before she shot out!
The first time she got to eat, she was almost a day and a half old. I look at my nails and remember getting the manicure so my hands would look nice in photos. Who knew those photos would be taken in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and that my hands would be holding a bottle of mostly formula and the couple tiny drops I had been able to pump?
Part of me thinks this is the first time Tom got to hold Madelyn. But there was a period of an hour or two when she went to the regular nursery for monitoring. He went with her and I hope he got to hold her there, too. Do you see the way their eyes locked? I have a few photos like that. Immediately after her birth, she was taken to the isolette to be worked on by the respiratory team. Although she had ingested meconium and one lung had collapsed, our Mad-A-Girl hollered. My mom, Corey and Nance could all hear her even though they were on the other side of a glass door with a room in between us and them. But as soon as Tom walked over and said something to her, she stopped crying and looked at him. (If only that worked so well now!)
Out of all the photos, this is the one that surprised me. How do I not remember that she had a feeding tube? Even looking at this photo and comparing it to my memory... it just doesn't match up. Even though I have followed Miss Elimy's story, my memory was never jogged.