An Open Letter to Our One Year Old Daughter, Tova Hannah

I don’t know how we have a one year old daughter, but here we are.

Exactly 365 days have gone by since I drove to Methodist Hospital at 5 in the morning, unsure of what kind of day we’d be having.

An Open Letter to Our One Year Old Daughter, Tova Hannah

I knew we’d be meeting you, but I didn’t know how. Having had a successful natural delivery the first time, I was apprehensive on the drive over, knowing you were still breech. We’d be attempting to turn you — a procecure called a version — but there are no guarantees that it will work. We knew we’d be having you on February 8th, but we didn’t know how.

After several excruciating minutes, it was clear that you were not going to budge, and an OR was prepped.

Wheeling me into that stark, white, cold room, I started to panic.

I screamed at the anesthesiologist that I couldn’t breathe, but she assured me my oxygen levels were perfect. She gave me oxygen and assured me the panic attack would pass.

As the fear subsided and the c-section began, my nerves didn’t calm. I think I was a little bit in shock.

But as they pulled you from me and I saw your face for the first time, all of the fear and anxiety subsided and I was left with a swellthat I can’t even describe. It was an overwhelming feeling that I still can’t put my finger on; a combination of joy, calm, and intense love that told me that yes, you were meant to be ours.

An Open Letter to Our One Year Old Daughter, Tova Hannah

I’ve always known you were a sweet soul. You weren’t quite the kicker in utero that your sister was. Sometimes I had to use my at-home heartbeat monitor just to make sure everything was okay, because she were happy just floating around quietly. Once you came out, my suspicions were confirmed that you were going to be a calm, snuggly baby who’s happiest being held. And that was/is just fine by me. Your go-with-the-flow attitude is such a contrast to my own, that sometimes I wonder how you came out of me. I’m assured by everyone that that’s going to change, but I don’t know. I’m not convinced, and I hope you always maintain that easygoing sense of self you currently have.

As we’ve gotten to know you, your sweet personality has emerged. You never stop smiling. You seem to laugh at our jokes, like you understand what we’re saying. You’re quite the dancer. You go toe to toe with your sister in the screaaming department, and when you finally found your voice, you couldn’t be silenced. You said both “mama” and “dada” early, and you’ve added several more words to your repetoire in the past few months.

An Open Letter to Our One Year Old Daughter, Tova Hannah

You’re cruising and pulling up, and definitely crawling. I don’t think it will be long before you walk. You’re curious about everything, from electrical outlets to grass and leaves. Anything not nailed down is going in your mouth. You have 8 whole teeth with more on the way.

An Open Letter to Our One Year Old Daughter, Tova Hannah

Watching you and your sister together is one of the great joys of my life. I am so happy you two have each other. I tell you both every day, “sometimes you’re going to be mean to your sister, but it someone ELSE is mean to your sister, it’s on.”

An Open Letter to Our One Year Old Daughter, Tova Hannah

As happy as you always are, we’ve struggled with your health. Countless colds and viruses and ear infections have kept you quarantined for long periods of time, and we’ve struggled to find the answers to why you never seem to feel well. After a set of ear tubes and some food allergy testing, during which we discovered you’re actually allergic to cow’s milk, wheat, soy, egg and about a hundred other things, we’re finally on the road to getting answers. You’re finally feeling great and we’re excited to celebrate you at your birthday party this weekend.

At the end of the day, you truly are the happiest baby on the block, and we’re so grateful for that.

If I’m really being honest with myself, I have to admit, the first year with you has been much easier for me than it was with your sister. I suffered with post-partum depression that crippled me and brought me fear and anxiety toward being a mother that made the experience so much harder than it should have been. When I made it to a year, I celebrated HARD. I couldn’t believe I’d made it. We’d made it.

And this time, I’m so sad. Sad that you’re growing too fast. And if you’re growing too fast, then so is your sister. And my babies are just getting too big. What’s a mom to do?

An Open Letter to Our One Year Old Daughter, Tova Hannah

Since babies don’t keep, I guess all I can do is cherish the sweet moments we’ve had together this year and continue to celebrate you and guide you through this crazy life as best we can. Although the journey hasn’t been perfect so far, it sure has been sweet.

You stole our hearts, but we’ll let you keep them.

Images by Le Zu Photography

7 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Our One Year Old Daughter, Tova Hannah

  1. Sometimes I think the 1st birthday is more for the parents than the child! You want to announce to the world that you survived the 1st year!! Least i did! LOL She is beautiful. Happiest of birthdays :-)

  2. What a beauitful little girl. Both of them are. I love seeing sister photos since it reminds me of me and my sister! I love this post and photos so much…I really did start to tear up. Amazing work.

  3. This is just too precious and perfect! What an amazingly beautiful little girl :) I had my third baby girl last year and she’s our last baby…i just can’t deal!

  4. Seriously in tears!! I love your letter to your sweet baby! I have loved watching her grow up and I am so grateful to have documented these specia moments for you guys! I know Tova is going to do magical things in her life!

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About Esther

The Cuteness: sharing daily inspiration, kids fashion, work/life balance + small business how to's from mom & business owner Esther Freedman