Happy First Birthday Britany Zoe

 My Darling Britany Zoe,

I can't believe that I'm sitting here writing this letter.

To think that a year has passed since you arrived, sweet girl, is unreal. And yet, I feel like you've been part of our family forever.

I found out I was pregnant with you in April 2010. Your big sister was only 10 months old, and I was surprised to be pregnant again so soon. But the moment the reality sank in that our family was growing again, I began to feel such a deep love for you. I dreamed of what you would be like, and how much fun you and your sister would have together. When we found out you were a little girl, we knew immediately what we would call you. Britany Zoe--"Defender of Life". or "Bright, Bold, Beautiful Life". We knew that you would be a child that would bring life--both to our family and to the world.

16 weeks pregnant in South Africa
26 weeks pregnant in Vermont

30 weeks pregnant in Vermont
36 weeks pregnant--the same day I went into labor.
You were born only hours after this picture was taken!

 My pregnancy with you wasn't an easy one. From moving to South Africa when I was 2 months pregnant, to moving back to the U.S. when I was 5 months along and then pre-term labor and a hospital stay at 7 months, and then bed rest until finally you were born 4 weeks early.

But despite that difficult pregnancy, your birth was one of the most peaceful events of my life. I felt so calm knowing that you were on your way! Your labor only took 3 1/2 hours. I pushed you out in 10 minutes. Your daddy and my doctor supported me through the whole experience and encouraged me to keep going! When you came into the world and they laid me in your arms, I fell instantly in love! The pediatric team was there prepared to take you to the NICU since you were 4 weeks early, but the moment you arrived they turned and left because it was obvious you were a healthy baby! I praised God for that! My recovery from your birth was seamless. I didn't need any stitching or anything, so I was able to focus on loving you and not as much on healing. We had such wonderful moments of cuddling in the hospital!

The first picture of you! Moments after your birth
at 8:01 AM on December 7, 2010.

Meeting big sister Peyton for the very first time!

We were able to bring you home from the hospital after only staying there one night. I was so anxious to bring you home and to begin life as a mother of two!

a couple days old
You were an absolute DREAM of a baby to have! You slept a lot of the time, and when you were awake you were happy and content to be held and loved by all of us and your doting sister. You made the sweetest coos and sounds and your wide brown eyes were captivating to everyone who met you.
5 days old
2 weeks old, lying in Daddy's arms

As you continued to grow throughout the year, your sweet personality continued to come through more and more. You were tender, loving, sensitive and happy. Your smile was always ready and your sweetness apparent. Everyone who meets you comments on your striking beauty and your smooth, olive skin.

3 months old
4 months old

5 months old

5 months old, looking just like Daddy!

6 months old, crawling in the grass :)

6 months old
When you turned 6 months, I remember realizing how quickly time had already flown by. The tiny baby who was once content to lay in my arms and coo was now sitting up, eating solid foods, babbling up a storm, interacting with her big sister, and cutting her first tooth.

10 months old 
Your sweet disposition remained even as you grew. Always soulful. Always tender. Always loving.

Now at one year of age, I'm amazed at how much you've grown. You are crawling, laughing, pulling yourself up and so interactive.

Your favorite thing to do right now is pull things off shelves and out of drawers :) I suppose I should teach you not to do this, but it just does my heart so much good to see you so happy and occupied :) You've struggled a lot with not wanting to be away from me, so when I see you enjoying an independent activity, I smile. I know it means my baby is growing up, but that's the thing about motherhood. What breaks your heart also makes it sing.

I can't wait to watch your life unfold, my sweet Britsy. You are beautiful, tender, caring and soulful. You have a deep heart and strong intellect. You feel deeply and you love deeply. You have a ready smile and a pure heart.

I love you my beautiful Britany Zoe. I can't wait to watch you grow and change in the years to come. I know you will make such a caring big sister to your new little brother next spring. But for now, I"ll cuddle you close and let you be the baby. Because in so many ways you still are. Stay close to me, baby girl. When I look at that picture right above this, I can't help but wish I could somehow just keep you this way forever. I love the way your plump little cheeks are irresistible to kiss. The way your pudgy soft hands reach for mine. The way your nose crinkles when you smile. The way your high voice babbles baby talk. The way you crawl quickly to me when I walk into a room. The way you let out a squeal when you hear your Daddy walk in from work. The way you love us all, and we love you.

Thank you for joining our family, baby. We are all the better for having known you.

All my love,

Your Momma


Ria @ Life as a Wife! said...

SO SO SWEET! I love this and how fun for her to look back on someday... so sweet that she looks a lot like her daddy :)

Samantha ( said...

Claire, what a beautiful letter! Brings tears to my eyes. She is blessed to have such a loving and adoring momma xxx

Leigh said...

totally tearing up right now. Claire you are such a loving mother. Britany, Peyton, and little Boy are so BLESSED to have you. And Brit is absolutely gorgeous. What a beautiful, beautiful baby girl. I miss you all so much.

Beka said...

This is the sweetest post! I loved reading it! You are such a good momma!

Hey! Come join my CHRISTMAS CARD SWAP! :D


Emily w/Amazing Grapes said...

My word, that was the sweetest letter I've ever read to a child! Those pictures were adorable and your belly!! Crazy!!

I'm sure she feels the love in your family. Happy 1 year to her!!
Emily at Amazing Grapes

Amanda said...

hey girl! happy friday won my giveaway! shoot me an email! :)

Lib at Truly His said...

What a sweet post!! :) Love that you are keeping track on blogger!!