This is such a tricky day. While I love my kids, and love the fact that there is a day to celebrate my mother(s) and be celebrated, it almost seems like a slap-in-the-face holiday.
I have friends who aren’t parents, who never want to be parents. I imagine this day is a strange one, where Facebook and Instagram become overrun with notes of thanks for the children that made them mamas, and celebrations of the husbands who spoil them for the mere fact of being a mother.
I have friends who aren’t parents, who want to be parents. I imagine this day is full of pain, seeing the yearly (and frankly, constant) reminder that they don’t have what they so dearly desire. The reminder that prayer and medicine isn’t enough. My heart breaks on this day for those friends.
While I want to be celebrated and appreciated for what I do as a mother (I really, really want to be celebrated, this shit is hard), I also want to get rid of this holiday that blatantly leaves out a certain population. That blatantly leaves out some of my dearest friends. Because, honestly, I know that it is much harder to want to be a mother, and not be able to.
When we were younger, we tried to have children for about a year, with no success. We decided to stop trying and decide if we’d be happy if it was just the two of us, or if we should look into other options for having kids. We decided that we would be happy, and that’s when we found out about Alma. I know that story sounds trite and motherhood-elitist, but it is our truth. The reason I write about it here, is to show that I can understand (at least a little bit) what it feels like to try and not succeed. I also know what it feels like to decide not to have kids, and picture a life as a non-mother.
I currently have friends who are finally pregnant (after ten years of trying and praying), and friends who are in the process of adopting. While not particularly close to these friends, I keep up with them on Facebook and Instagram. I feel like their journeys have been long. I feel like their journeys have been hard. I want them to know that I have been, and continue to be, with them through it all (as much as is possible in our internet age). I honestly and truly hold them in my heart, especially today.
I want them to know that I said a prayer for them today in church. And they are in my prayers often.
I want them to know that they should be celebrated. Celebrated as the mothers they want to be, and the people they are now – with or without children of their own.
I think it is great to celebrate motherhood. We wouldn’t be here without it.
I just want to take a moment to celebrate everyone else.
Alma kept talking about painting all day yesterday. When the time was right, I went out to the sunroom, set up her watercolors and paper, and she said, “No! I want to paint the fence!” I have no idea where she got this idea, but I thought it was a good one. Why not? Sometimes you just say ‘yes!’
We started with finger paints and they weren’t working very well, so we switched to tempera. At one point Jesse came out and asked if it would wash off. I just shrugged. Who cares? It’s art. It’s memories. It’s beautiful. It’s yes. And truth be told: we’ll probably have to replace this fence this spring anyway.
All the pink spots are lions. She told me that. Then she said, “Oh! One’s falling down!” Do you see it?
Back when Alma was born, I was inspired by Clara’s Photo Project to create a photo project of my own. We took a photo a week of Alma, and I photoshopped the number into each photo. I loved how it turned out, and knew I wanted to do it again for Hattie.
I love to see how Hattie changed during the year. The tiny, sleepy baby stage is so sweet and short-lived.
I have my favorite weeks, but to be honest, those are always changing.
One thing I have loved about both projects has been the amazing amount of fabric I’ve been able to collect. It’s fun to use the fabric for a quilt, or a dress, or something else. Then when I see the photo, or the dress, I have all these lovely memories of the girls as babies.
This is also something that I offer in my Etsy Shop – H&A Baby. If you bought this for yourself (or someone else! Great baby shower gift, don’t you think?), you would provide me with the photos, and I would edit the images and add the numbers and weeks.
Once you have the images, they are yours to do whatever you’d like. I used Picassa to make the collages. I had both of these printed in poster sizes and hung them in the dining room.
Another thing I’ve done for both girls is make photo books on Shutterfly. We gave copies to all the grandparents and kept one for us. In our copy, I wrote down milestones for each week – so it’s kind of like a baby book.
After I finished Hattie’s, I also made a book of both girls with their weekly photos side by side. This is my favorite thing ever. I put both girls in the same pose each week, so it’s fun to see that. I also used the same fabrics when I had them. Seriously my favorite thing ever.
Here’s the second (and final) birth story I will write. This one isn’t as long, or as hard, but it is just as special and just as beautiful.
Here we go:
We did all of our prenatal care with the Birth Center again. We had such an incredible experience with them that we knew we would use them again if we could. They give the most loving, intelligent, focused, and respectful care possible. I have complete trust in all the midwives – that they will help us make the right decisions for our whole family, all along the way.
One of the policies they have is that you can’t deliver at the Birth Center past 41 weeks. If you pass 41 weeks, you will deliver at the hospital, but still with a midwife.
Once we passed the due date, I felt like the clock started ticking. We had a couple non-stress tests as we got to the end of the 41st week. We discussed our options. We could wait and see, or schedule an easy induction.
I had really wanted to have a natural, non-medical birth with as few interventions as possible. Once I knew we would be out of the tranquil Birth Center atmosphere, I felt like it didn’t really matter anymore. At our non-stress test appointment on August 19th, we talked to Emily, the midwife, about what everything would look like. Here’s the thing – the midwives all take turns being on-call. Whomever is on-call while you are in labor is the midwife who is present for the birth. As I have said, I respect and have faith in all the midwives. But, there is one who I never really felt like I meshed well with. She was always sort of negative in our appointments, and that rubbed me the wrong way. I had loved how positive and supportive both Hilary and Patricia had been during Alma’s labor and delivery. I wanted that kind of support again, and wasn’t sure this midwife could provide that. I looked at the calendar and saw that she wouldn’t be on-call until much later in the week. So with all the information Emily gave me, and the on-call schedule, we decided to induce the following night.
The schedule looked perfect. First, when we would be checking in, would be Hilary. Then Chris would come on early the next morning, then Hilary again. I think Patricia was after Hilary. I figured there was no way on Earth I could go longer than that, especially with an induction. We left the appointment excited and feeling ready. We knew that it would be mere days until we would meet Harriet.
August 20th, 2013
All day long I had been feeling contractions, but I figured they weren’t real. I had thought I was going into labor the week before, so I was determined to be more patient. I also knew that we’d be heading to the hospital later that night, so I might as well just wait and see. I didn’t tell anyone I was feeling the intense, increasingly obviously-labor contractions all day.
We had dinner at my dad’s house. The contractions were getting pretty intense during dinner, but I still tried to ignore them and wait and see.
Jesse and I went home to finish packing up. We were expecting a new Kindle to be delivered that night, and really wanted it for the downtime during and after labor. Luckily, it was delivered while we were at my dad’s. We got it all set up and headed down to the hospital. It’s funny, the things we think are important in these big life moments.
When we got the hospital, we didn’t really know what to do. It was about 9:30 at night, so the lobby was pretty quiet. I remember that by this point the contractions were pretty hard. I wanted to lean against the counter, but I was still trying to play it cool. There were some people talking to the information guy who would check in. They kept talking and talking and talking. I remember thinking, “Come on, people! Don’t you see this enormously pregnant woman standing here with bags? Isn’t it obvious we have places to go and people to bring into the world?!?!” Finally he checked us in and called a Labor and Delivery person down to escort us up.
When she got down to the lobby, she acted all put out that we were there. Apparently she hadn’t been notified about the induction and said something like, “Well, since you’re here, I guess you can come up.” I couldn’t believe it. Here we were, all excited and happy.
We got to our room, which happened to be right next door to where Alma was born. We could hear another baby being born in that room.
We got checked in, they got an IV port in my hand, and checked my progress. I was already at 4 cms, and the monitor showed a big contraction every seven minutes, with another small one somewhere between the big ones. The nurse agreed that I was definitely in early labor and called Hilary to see what she suggested. Hilary decided that we should hold off on the induction, and that we could go home to labor if we wanted. I figured – since I was given the choice, and I already had been poked and hooked up to things, and I hated the back and forth during Alma’s labor – that we would just stay.
They put the wireless monitors on me and told us both to go to sleep. This was about 10:30 pm. I told Jesse he should sleep, and I did my best to sleep as well. I’m pretty sure Jesse got a couple good hours of sleep. I dozed and tried, but I never really fell asleep.
August 21, 2013
I woke up around midnight feeling like labor was really, truly upon me. While I know that some people are against constant monitoring, I sort of loved watching the contractions coming and going. It was a clear, tangible sign of what I was feeling. And I loved the comfort of hearing the constant whoosh of Harriet’s little heartbeat. I had a strong sense that we were in this together, and loved to hear her. Sometimes she would move a little bit, and I would lose her heartbeat. I loved moving the monitor around until I found her again. We were both working really hard to get into each others’ arms, and I could feel that energy flowing.
I was trying to concentrate on just breathing during each contraction. I didn’t visualize anything like I did with Alma. I would just find a point in the room to focus on, and breathe deeply until the contraction passed. I often looked at a doorstop high up on the wall.
I thought it was interesting that I wanted to do it on my own. I loved that Jesse was able to sleep. I knew I would need him later, when things got serious, so I wanted him to rest as much as possible. With Alma, I always wanted an outside helper, rubbing my back, talking me through contractions. This time around, I just wanted to be alone, turn inward, be with Harriet.
I did this for about a half hour before I decided to get into the tub. I remember the hot water being great at managing my pain during my first labor.
Jesse came in and sat with me while I was in the tub. I think I was in the bath from about 12:30- 1 or 1:30. I was able to doze a little bit between contractions, then I would grab Jesse’s hand and focus on the faucet during the contractions.
When I got out of the bath, I went to stand by the sink. I knew I was doing it, I was handling things well, I was focused. Things were moving more quickly than with Alma – much more quickly. By 2 I was already 6 cms, and contractions were coming quickly and lasting a long time. They were coming one after another.
There was a moment where I was having a contraction and I thought to myself, “Why am I doing this?” Why was I putting myself through the pain? Here’s the thing – I had seen the Rikki Lake movie just like everyone, so I knew the risks of intervention. But I also had the perspective of our birth class instructor who told us that there is a time and a place for all the interventions. I knew that without the epidural and pitocin that I got with Alma, it might have ended quite differently.
It was the middle of the night, and I was tired. I asked for an epidural at 2:30. I got the epidural at 3:00. I had the same moment of panic and loss of control that I had once I decided to get the epidural. It’s pretty horrible – you finally make the decision that will lead to not having to feel the pain anymore – then you have to wait, all the while feeling contractions. It’s hard not to lose focus. Hilary came in and we talked about how it was going very well. She agreed that an epidural would be a good thing. I was able to sleep a little bit, and Jesse was able to sleep well.
I kept waking up and checking the clock. I knew that Hilary was going off her shift at 7, so I really wanted to have Harriet before then. Sometime in this stretch my water broke.
At 5:00, Hilary came in and checked me. Only 8 cm.
At 7:00, Hilary and Chris were both there for the shift change. They found that I was almost ready, but that my cervix was swollen, but that I was at 9 or 10 cm. Hilary gave me a hug, wished me luck, and left me in Chris’s hands.
At 8:00, Chris had me do a couple practice pushes. She worked on my cervix to get it out of the way since it was still a little swollen.
At 8:45, Jesse was awake and it was time for me to start pushing for real. Chris guessed it would take about a half an hour. I was so encouraged and ready. I remembered some of the good, powerful pushes from my first labor. I was determined to make all my pushes as strong. I would often push 4 or 5 times, sometimes more.
By 9:15, I was wondering why it was taking so long. Chris thought that Harriet was turned in a funny way, and that her shoulder might be in the wrong position. She called to have the OB on call wait outside the door (this happened to be the wife of an old friend from high school, and I was happy to sort of know the OB who might be helping out).
At 9:45, I finally pushed Harriet’s head out. She had her hand up by her face when she came out, so I think that’s why it was harder, and taking longer. I helped catch her, and brought her right to my chest. She was beautiful, but a little bit blue. She wasn’t making much noise, and was pretty limp and somewhat unresponsive. I had wanted to delay cutting the cord until stopped pulsing, but Chris thought Harriet needed some help. She had Jesse cut the cord, then took Harriet into a little room right next to the delivery room. I looked at Jesse and told him to go with her. Chris also told the nurse to call the NICU team down. At this point, I got pretty nervous. It was strange to have Harriet taken away right away. I was just very happy that Jesse was with her.
After a couple minutes, Jesse came out and gave me the thumbs up and told me she was okay. I knew she would be, but it was still scary. In fact, she was fine by the time the NICU team was there. Chris just waved the oxygen mask in front of Harriet’s mouth and nose and she perked up.
She came back to me, and nursed right away. She was so beautiful, and perfect, and different.
Mom brought Alma back to the room. Alma seemed upset and confused. I think it was strange to see me in the strange bed, holding another baby. It was amazing to me to see her as someone else. She went from being my baby Alma, to being a big girl, a big sister.
And Then We Were Four.
That’s the end of the story, but it’s also the beginning. That’s the story of how we became the family that we are now.
Hilary and Chris were both able to come visit us during the day. One of my regrets from Alma’s birth was that I didn’t get a picture of Hilary holding her. I decided that having a photo of Hilary holding Harriet would be almost as good. So below, you can see our wonderful, beautiful, loving, supportive, incredible midwives. Hilary and Chris. They will always be a special part of our daughters’ stories, so will always be important to us.
I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time. For quite a while I couldn’t even think about it. Tonight, going through the photos, I realized it’s still hard to look at some of them.
I know there are a lot of traumatic birth stories out there. This isn’t one of them. Alma’s birth wasn’t traumatic, scary, or even particularly difficult. What it was was long.
So, here goes…
It begins on New Year’s Eve, 2012. Four days past my due date. We had been preparing for the birth of our child at the Midwifery and Birth Center, so I was trying really hard to keep with their philosophies. I was trying not to cling to the due date. But when you are over 9 months pregnant, it’s hard to do anything.
Anyway, New Year’s. We had taco salad bowls, played games, and hung out with our best friends at their house. At midnight, we watched the ball drop, I had a sip of champagne, we watched the neighbor’s fireworks, and went home. I knew I wouldn’t have a 2011 baby, because 2011 come and gone. I knew I wouldn’t have a December baby because December had come and gone.
January 1, 2012:
We were in bed by about 1:45. I woke up at 4:15, in pain. It was enough to wake me up, but not enough to have to concentrate on. And it went away. Then it came back a few minutes later. Then it went away. And came back. After about an hour, I started to believe that it was actually happening. I woke Jesse up to tell him it was happening, but also told him to try to go back to sleep. Everyone told us to sleep during early labor, but I was just too excited.
We called my mom at about 7:30, and told her she should get ready to head over later in the morning. I wanted Jesse and mom there with me in the room. She came over at about 9:30.
By this time I was feeling contractions about every 5 minutes, and they were lasting between 45 seconds and a minute. They weren’t too difficult, but they were increasing quickly.
We called the midwife who was on call, Chris, and she said we should head in to get checked. It was about noon. When we walked in, she looked at me, and almost laughed. She could tell, by looking at my smiling, excited face that we were not close to being ready to get checked in. She checked, and I was only 2 cm dilated, so she said we should go home.
I was most comfortable on my feet, rocking back and forth. I liked leaning on things that were about shoulder height, like the dresser and the staircase.
At about 5, Chris called and said she wanted to see me again before the shift changed, and another midwife would be on call. We went back to the Birth Center. This time it was Patricia who checked me. While I was having 1 minute long contractions every 4 minutes or so, I was still not very dilated. Patricia explained very understandingly that we would probably be more comfortable at home.
During all of this, my dad and step-mom were having a belated Christmas celebration with my siblings who couldn’t be with us on Christmas. My dad was cooking my favorite meal, and offered to bring leftovers over for Jesse. I was in no mood for the amazingly rich foods. Dad came over at about 8 and sat with me for a while. I was on my side in bed, and I remember him just talking softly with me and telling me how proud he was. He sat with me for awhile, while Jesse ate his dinner. Then Jesse came in, and my dad went to sit with my mom in the living room.
From my bedroom, I could hear my parents talking softly in the living room. It was a beautiful comfort to me, to hear them talking together, just like when I was young and I would hear their voices drift into my bedroom as I fell asleep. My mom later told me that they spent the time remembering when my brother and I were born.
After my dad left, I spent a few hours moving around the house, taking long showers, and trying to be comfortable.
January 2nd, 2012:
We went back to the Birth Center to see Patricia again at about 2 in the morning. This time, she didn’t even take us into a birth room. She just checked me in an exam room. I think she knew I wasn’t ready yet, and that it would be better to avoid the birthing rooms. She was right. I hadn’t dilated much in the ten hours we had been at home.
I was really disappointed. I had been working hard. I had been laboring for almost 24 hours, and felt that it was long past the time to meet this baby. I also couldn’t imagine how bad it was going to get if what I was feeling was just the beginning.
Back at home, I moved between the bathroom window, the staircase, lying in bed, and the shower.
Sometime in the early morning mom picked up on a breathing pattern that I was naturally falling into. During each contraction I would see a line of things in my mind and each went with a breath. The first were 3 planks of wood. They were long and wide and would come one at a time, each with a long, deep breath. Then I would see 2 flowers. They would come with two smaller, more shallow breaths. Then one more plank of wood and a deep breath. I have no idea where this visualization came from, but it was what I saw. Mom would talk me through it, saying “Long, deep breath, another deep breath, one more. Short breath, again. Deep breath. Okay, it’s over. Good.” There were a couple contractions where the visualization would be different, like 4 planks of wood instead of 3, and I would get all thrown off and confused. One time, the contraction kept going, and the planks of wood kept coming into my vision. So strange. I was never able to explain what I was seeing because the contractions were so close together.
At 7 am, we went back to the Birth Center. The nurse was there, and she checked me. I was finally far enough along that they would allow me to stay. I don’t think they really wanted me to, but they understood that I had already been in labor for over 24 hours, and it had been pretty active for at least 18 hours.
I got into the birthing tub and was able to fall asleep between – and even during – some contractions. It was the first sleep I had gotten since the 3 hours I got on New Year’s Eve.
We spent the day walking between the windowsill, the dresser, the sink, and sometimes lying in bed. I always wanted my upper back lightly rubbed. I think it was the comfort of being touched by Jesse or my mom. They later joked that they were afraid of rubbing a hole in the robe.
We were a really good team. Mom and Jesse supported me constantly. I wouldn’t even really notice when they would trade off. I think they each took turns eating, or dozing, or resting.
At 4 pm, Patricia suggested breaking my water, but they would have to find a vein to give my IV fluids. I have difficult veins normally, but at this point I hadn’t really eaten in almost 2 days, and had hardly had anything to drink. Patricia and the nurse tried really hard, but couldn’t find a vein in my arms or my hands. I don’t think I even really noticed, I was so focused on the contractions and breathing. Patricia decided to break my water anyway.
Things kept progressing slowly. Jessica, the nurse, would come in every 15 minutes to monitor the baby’s heartbeat through a contraction. The heartbeat was always strong, and Jessica was never concerned. My contractions were still long and close together and difficult.
At about 6, Patricia had a talk with me about how things were going well, but that I needed to stay active and keep trying different positions. She was leaving and the new midwife was coming in. I was really disappointed because I had really appreciated Patricia and all her calm, generous support.
By this time, I was so tired that I would have a contraction and almost immediately fall asleep until the next one. I would fall asleep standing at the windowsill, or lying in bed. The new midwife, Hilary, wanted to talk to me, but I knew she would have to make it quick. Hilary felt the baby and thought it might be posterior, and that I was only about 6 cm. She told me that she wanted to see things start happening soon. She wasn’t forceful, but I got the feeling that she was serious.
Hilary went out to talk to Jesse in the hallway, where he was eating dinner. While they were gone, I talked to mom and decided that it was time to think about some other options. I was absolutely exhausted. I had been up, laboring for almost 40 hours. I could see that it was going to be many more hours before I was even ready to push. I didn’t feel like I would make it. I was just so tired.
When Jesse and Hilary came in, I told them that I needed to rest. Hilary started suggesting ways I could sleep in the bath, or on the ball, and I just interrupted her and said, “No, Hillary, I’m talking about an epidural.”
One of the best things about our Birth Center is that it is basically next door to an amazing hospital. The midwives are all licensed, and the Birth Center is connected to the hospital. To get an epidural, we had to transfer to the hospital. Hilary outlined the steps for us – follow her in our car on the back roads, take the staff elevator, skip admitting, go straight to our room.
This was when everything got really hard. I had to walk all the way across the parking garage, through the hallways, we were in an unknown place (a place I had been trying to avoid), and I knew that I was getting an epidural soon. I totally lost focus and had some really difficult contractions. It was amazing to realize that my visualizations and focus were really keeping a lot of the pain away. At one point, I even started to panic until my mom realized that I was just having a contraction and talked me through my breaths.
Once I got the epidural everything changed. I was able to have a conversation with Hilary. We connected over the fact that we are both Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. I was relaxed and excited. The Ducks had played in the Rose Bowl, and I had been consciously not asking if they had won – I felt that I would be too discouraged if I learned they had lost. Once I got the epidural, I asked for the result and found out they had won.
At 9:30, they turned the lights down and told us to sleep. We were all exhausted. Mom slept on the couch, and Jesse slept on the tile floor. He was so tired, I’m not sure he minded.
January 3rd, 2012:
At 1:15 in the morning, mom woke up and told Jesse to move to the couch. She then sat next to me in the chair and we both dozed. I remember trying to sleep, but being really excited again.
At 3, our nurse – another Patricia – suggested that I try a practice push. She turned off the epidural and I tried. After a few practice pushes, I started to feel the pressure and the urge to push. Hilary came in and I started pushing in earnest.
Hilary, Jesse, and Patricia were incredibly encouraging. With every push the told me how well I was doing. One time, after a push, no one said anything. I got mad and said “Why didn’t anyone say good job?” Hilary replied that it hadn’t been a very good push, so I was encouraged to try harder with my next one.
At 5, the assistant nurse brought in the bassinet and more tools. I had the feeling we were getting close. I had been pushing for two hours, so I felt like things had better be getting close.
At 5:30, Hilary and Patricia told us that the baby had long hair. I asked when the baby would be born. I asked if it would take hours and hours. Hilary said it wouldn’t be hours – that the baby would be born before it was light out.
They asked if I wanted a mirror – I didn’t. I was afraid that it would look like nothing was happening and I would get discouraged.
At one point I lost my courage and asked if everyone cried between pushes. Hilary or Patricia told me that all women lose their bravery at some point.
At 6, Jesse moved to the end of the bed so he could catch the baby. I was so determined. During each contraction, I would push 5 or 6 times. I wanted to meet my baby.
The head came out. The cord was wrapped around the neck. Hilary slid it off.
At 6:15 the baby fell into Jesse’s hands. Jesse put the baby on my chest. I said, “What is she?” Jesse had been so overwhelmed, he had forgotten to check the gender. He looked and said “It’s a girl!” That was when I met Alma.
Today you turn two years old. Two years ago, you gave me the best thing in the world. You gave me you. You made me a mom. You made me your mom. That is important for you to know. I love being your mom. You are best two-year-old there ever was. As your mom, I’m supposed to think that, but believe me, Alma, it is true. I have never known anything to be more true than that. You are the best. You are beautiful, Alma.
Your mind is the best. Right now you are talking to yourself, or your dolls, or your dreams, in your crib. You should be napping, but I love to hear your sweet voice through your door. The nap will come soon enough, when you decide to lay your head on your pillow and fall asleep. As a two-year-old, I see things in you that weren’t there last year. You are able to play by yourself so well. Your imagination astonishes me everyday. You create little games, and turn toys into different things all the time. Your creativity is beautiful, Alma.
Your body is the best. Your body has grown so much this year. You are really learning how to use your strong, graceful, energetic body. You love dancing so much these days. Ever since we saw the Nutcracker at the library, you are a regular little ballerina. You ask for music all the time. When the music comes on, you dance. I love watching everything about how you dance. You get such a serious face, or sometimes a proud little grin. You control your body as you mimic what you saw the dancers do. I can tell that in your mind, you look just like them. I love how you seamlessly go between the soft moves of the Sugar Plum Fairy, to the sword thrusting moves of the Mouse King. And you can jump! Boy, how you can jump! Your body is beautiful, Alma.
Your brain is the best. You learn new words everyday. The words you’ve known for a long time are starting to come out of your little mouth, in your most amazing voice. You are starting to learn your colors. You call me Mom or Mama. Your dad is Daddy or Dada or somethings Jesse. Harriet is Hathhh with your tongue sticking out. You love to look at books. You love to read them yourself, making up amazing stories in your own little language. You like to tell these stories to Harriet. You can follow my directions. You are quick to figure things out, like how to use your blocks, unlock Nana’s cell phone, buckle your high chair straps. Your brain is beautiful, Alma
Your love is the best. I have seen your love in such an incredible way this year. When you met your sister, I think your heart must have grown a few sizes. The way you look at her, especially now that she’s starting to be more fun, is astonishing. You love to see Harriet looking at you, watching you, smiling at you. I can tell you love having Harriet on your team. Your love is beautiful, Alma.
You are the best. You are so, so beautiful, Alma. I am so excited to see the ways you will grow more beautiful this year, Alma.