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August 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Dani!

Dani was born on Labor Day weekend.  
I remember the weekend so vividly for two reasons.  The first is obvious, of course, since Dani was born.  Even though it was the last day of August (Sunday) it was Labor Day weekend since the first Monday of September was on the 1st of the month.

But the other reason I remember it was that weekend was because it rained from night time Friday night through Labor Day that weekend.  As a matter of fact, it rained so much that weekend that it rendered all the watering WE had done on OUR lawn ALL SUMMER completely irrelevant.  You see, before that weekend, we still had green grass that we'd cared for all summer by watering religiously and all the neighbors had brown grass because they had let theirs die.  It rained so much that weekend that when we returned home from the hospital on Tuesday, everyone's lawn was green.

I worry that I sometimes overlook Dani, or don't pay as much attention to her as the other children.  Whether it is with the blog, taking pictures or bragging...sometimes I worry that I easily forget about my Dani-girl.  

I don't like to do that, though, so I am going to tell you all about my fantastic, second-born girl.
She was my fastest labor and delivery.  I went in to be induced (because I am always induced).  In Dani's case, the late term ultrasound (38 weeks) showed that I had low fluid levels.  My doctor gave me the option that I could drive down to his office for NST's every other day until I had her, or I could be induced.  He said I was favorable for induction and he wasn't opposed.  So, 11 days before her due date, we entered the hospital on a Saturday night after attending Sunday Vigil Mass, receiving a blessing from our dear priest friend and dropping Sarah off at Grandma's.  

The nurse placed the Cytotec and by 2:00 a.m., I was having regular and real contractions.  By 6:00 a.m., they were coming fairly hard and the nurse offered that I could take a shower or a bath.  I opted for a bath and when that was over, they checked me and said things were progressing.  I remember around 7:30 a.m. or so that the contractions were getting more intense.  Around 8:00, I asked for an epidural.  The epidural was in place by 8:20 (you see, when you have a baby on Labor Day weekend, you get crazy-fast service!)  Doctor showed up around 9 and checked me and I think I was around 7 cm dilated.

Craig and I were talking and hanging out watching the contractions on the monitor.  The nurses came in around 9:50 a.m. to check me and said I was getting really close to complete.  The rest is kind of a blur.  Doctor came in and they were telling me I could start pushing (I started pushing at 10:06).  He noticed that the baby was coming pretty fast, so he hurried out to scrub up and returned.  I pushed twice.  My Danielle Christine was born at 10:11 a.m.  She had a small little bruise on her face that the doctor said was a result of "rapid pushing" but she was perfect.  She had flaming red hair and screamed from the minute her lungs were clear.  She was 8 pounds, 10 ounces and 19 inches long.

From the beginning Dani preferred her Daddy.  At first this bugged me, but Dani and I grew to have our own relationship, too.  

Dani was my first child that had to have surgery.  Her tonsils and adenoids were removed just 2 weeks after her 3rd birthday.  But it made all the difference in my little girl.  She had adenoids so big they limited her ability to breathe properly and get adequate rest while sleeping.  Once removed, it was like I had a completely different girl every morning!

Dani lives in the present and it's a quality I have always loved about her.  Dani is the sort of child who has never tried to be older than she is.  No matter what Dani's PRESENT STATE is...she has a blast in it.  She has such a sweet and unassuming disposition.
I remember towards the end of First grade last year, I heard Dani telling Helen and her cousin, Mary, what was planned for the month of May.  She said, "I am going to have the most exciting May in 1st grade.  I have a couple of days that I don't have to wear my uniform.  And we get to go to a day at the K and the Royals game.  I am just SO excited to be in First grad in May!" And she had the most excited, happy face.  

When Dominic was born, there was an instant connection between Dani and him.  To this day, I have to be on my toes and stop Dani from doing things for Dominic (so that he can learn to do them himself).  They play all sorts of games together.  Dani has been Dominic's biggest fan while we've been potty-training him.  Dani was the first family member's name Dominic said and recognized.  They have a very sweet relationship.

Dani often thinks of others.  When there was a severe storm that blew through our area during the day last spring, it was the first time such a thing happened when I was away from my children (I was at work, they were at school).  That evening, Dani came to me and said, "Mommy, there was a storm today.  I was very worried about you.  I was worried that you didn't have a safe shelter to go to in the storm."  After assuring her that I had a safe place to go while at work, I gave her a big hug and told her how it had pained me to be away from them during the storm.  I was glad they had a safe place to be, too.  But I was very touched by her innocent projection of her fears and her concern for me.   She often takes care of Helen like a good big sister :)

Some other braggable bits:  Dani is a speed-reader.  I have been amazed at how many pages per day the child reads.  When I questioned the reading log entry of 87 pages the other day, Dani informed me that she reads when she gets done with her work at school (while waiting for others to finish), she reads during D.E.A.R. time and she reads when she gets home from school.  I decided that until she starts having trouble with the comprehension questions, I won't doubt her ability!  Dani's a terrific speller and loves math, too.  She has a blast in Music and she's quite an artist.  When Dani was in first grade, she checked out a library book that taught her how to draw cartoon characters and she taught herself how to draw three different cartoon characters with no guidance or assistance (that I knew of) from any adults.  Incidentally, Dani is my left-handed child...I love seeing evidence of the left-hand/right-brained creativity thing going on!

I pray that she will always have her sweet personality and her desire to put others first.

And, of course, I hope she has a wonderful 8th birthday today!


  1. Happy birthday Dani!

    Such an awesome birthday gift for your 2nd born :) - you can 'see' your beaming through the page as you describe her.

  2. Michelle, you've done such a great job describing Dani. She has such a caring heart and lives with passion. I love those things about her. I am sure it's because she has an August birthday and is left-handed. :0)

  3. I LOVE the sleeping photo. I loved it when you first posted it. :) Too cute. I hope that her birthday was WONDERFUL today!

  4. I read like that, too. I read Gone With the Wind in one day. :) And I loved standardized testing weeks b/c I got to read so much during the school day (I was a freakishly fast test taker LOL).

    I've seen those cartoon books. Alex is into that kind of thing... maybe I should get one for him!


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