the shortest, hardest, most beautiful year

one year ago today, at 38 weeks + 6 days pregnant, I woke up at 7:30 AM to my first real-deal contraction. that 30 seconds of discomfort, anxiousness + excitement began a journey that would change my life forever. my life always would be better, harder + more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. my life had already been changed by Madelynn, long before we met her or chose her name -- that first little pink line. the squirmy gummy bear on the screen. the card that read "girl". the first snapshot of a perfect nose and chin dimple. -- but that first contraction was the very beginning of the day that really changed everything.

things got harder fast, and by the very end of that day the contractions were so close they were melting into one another. It got to the point where it was impossible, I couldn't do it any longer. and then, I didn't have to. 5 minutes into the next day I was holding my daughter. my pink, wide-eyed, calm baby girl.

I planned to share my full, detailed birth story at some point, but maybe a year later I've missed my chance.

this day changed my life.

I started to write about all the difficulties we've faced over the past 12 months, but if you know me or if you've been following my blog for long, you've heard PLENTY about how hard we've had it with little M. so, instead, I'm just going say how stinkin' blessed I feel to be Maddie's mama.

it's been the most amazing, incredible, beautiful year. I am literally in tears thinking about how much I love my little girl and how I just can not believe that she's been in our lives for a whole year! the days are long, and the years are short. I've heard it over and over again, but never been made so aware of how true it is until I became a mama. most days are long, most days are hard, but this year has flown by and I already miss it. almost every time we go out, I have a wiser parent telling me to cherish every moment, that they grow up too fast and that they wish they could go back to the days when their children were little. only one year in and I already wish I could relive certain moments and phases with my baby that's no longer such a baby.

here's a little recap of a few of my faves -- you have no idea how impossible it was to choose 3 photos from each month, she's just so so so cute!