Before having Kieran, I suffered a miscarriage in April of 2001 at 11 weeks pregnant.  Because it was the result of a blighted ovum (pretty common), my doctor said we could begin trying right away although he warned that he thought our chances of conceiving soon were low.  He was right.  Month after month was disappointment.  I had never had a hard time getting pregnant before (or even after having Kieran) and while it's not considered long in the fertility world, I became frustrated enough to stop trying for the time being.  It was just as well; I was set to graduate college and look for my first real job, and my sister was engaged to be married the following June and I did not want to be a large, pregnant woman in her wedding.

I landed an awesome job about a month before my December 2001 college graduation.  Ashar and I decided to move from Fayetteville to Bentonville mostly due to my job, but also because Alisa was about to start kindergarten and we decided we wanted her in the Bentonville district.

So I have this great job, moved into a new place, getting geared up for my sister's wedding...and I get knocked up.  I was more than large at my sister's wedding.  People seemed excited when they saw I was pregnant (when you already have an almost 5 year old child and no others, you get comments) but when they found out I was barely halfway through my pregnancy, horror washed over their faces because I was that large.  "Are you sure you're not due next month?"  "Are you sure it's only one baby?"  Hello wall, meet my head.

Kieran was born on her exact due date on October 29, 2002.  I woke up that morning, suspecting I was in labor, and took the day off work.  I had never bothered finishing the baby room or getting ready for a new baby because just before I had Alisa, that maternal nesting instinct kicked in big time and I had an uncontrollable urge to clean and get ready.  It was such a strange feeling and since I had never before in my life felt the need to be ready for anything, I decided not to waste my energy and let that natural urge take over again.  It. Didn't. Happen.  So while in labor, I was at Walmart shopping for a baby. 

I knew the sooner I got to the hospital, the longer I'd have to be hooked up to monitors and be limited with movement, so I chose to labor at home until I couldn't stand it anymore.  We dropped Alisa off at a friend's house around 8:30pm and arrived at the hospital around 9pm.  My nurse-friend, Rosie, came to be my doula.  At 9:45, I begged for drugs but Rosie asked me to wait 15 minutes.  She's a smart cookie because 15 minutes later I was ready to push.  Two minutes, two pushes, and Kieran came barreling out at 10:02pm. 

That first night wasn't so bad.  The next night, however, hell began.  She was a mere 23 hours old and her personality reared its ugly head.  She was a screamer.  I was freshly postpartum and stayed up until 5 in the morning trying to calm her down.  Feeding, rocking, burping, changing...nothing helped.  This was still in the hospital.  The nurses came in to try to help, but eventually they gave up with a "good luck" sympathy look on their faces.  We were discharged on Halloween day and they made me take her home. 

She was such a mean baby.  I had planned to take 3 months off of work so while I was pregnant I had been researching daycares.  Ashar decided that we couldn't send her to daycare because she is the exact type of baby that people make the news for shaking.  We decided a nanny was a much better choice.  Also, a few months before, I had reduced my hours at work so that I could be home more for Alisa, who had just started kindergarten.  I only worked from 8:30-2:30, Monday through Friday.  All I needed was someone who would come to my house and play with my cute baby for 6 or 7 hours. 

I've learned that no amount of cuteness is worth putting up with a mean baby unless it's your own.  Three.  Three nannies, three months.  Yep, you read that right.  I went through three nannies in three months.  I felt like I had no other choice but to quit my job and face Kieran myself.  I wanted to give a two week notice at work but nanny #3 wasn't on board with me, so I resorted to asking strangers to watch my baby just for a day (just for a day because no one was stupid enough to do it again.)  It turned out to be a really good decision and I discovered I loved being a stay at home mom.  Also, Kieran wasn't that bad once you really got to know her. 

As she grew older, she mellowed out.  She is so spunky and charismatic, but she is also very sweet and kind.  She is a really hard worker and takes on all challenges with that same headstrong personality that made me want to throw her out a window when she was a baby.