first birthday

A year ago today you were born.  Lucas and Abigail.  I wasn’t allowed to touch you.  I was pumping and on the phone with loved ones, telling them we had both a boy and girl.  You were such a surprise.  We were finally able to hold you, to practice our kangaroo care, skin to skin with you.  So small and hungry.  We were afraid we’d hurt you.  They told us not to rub or pat your back, that your skin was too sensitive.  There was a point, Abigail, where I didn’t know what your face looked like.  They had you hooked up to a machine with big tubes, and tape covering your face, a curly little hat, and a sleeping mask.  I could only see your neck, really.  And I remember the day you switched to nasal cannulas.  I was so excited to see you, the daughter I never knew was coming.  And sweet Lucas, when you were angry, you turned beet red, and it scared me.  You cried like a lamb.  And we wanted to soothe you but didn’t know how.  So we sang.  Your father sang Happy Birthday whenever they needed to take blood.  It was the first song that came to mind.  "No!  Not that!  They’ll learn to associate that song with pain!"  Then we laughed trying to think of a good giving blood song.  We’re still working on a tune for that. 

I got kinda teary today.  I’m not one of those mothers who gets upset at each new milestone, feeling bittersweet knowing you’re growing up.  I don’t think I’m the kind of mom who’ll cry on your first day of kindergarten, either.  But we’ve got time to prove that theory wrong.  Today I got teary when I remembered.  It comes in snapshots, really.  Still frames that I somehow still have a hard time piecing together, even though I was there for all of it.  It just happened so fast.

This morning, when I was alone with you both, and just talking to you without really paying attention to what the hell I was saying, I pulled one of these:

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Us?  Us, who?
You know who.
No, you aren’t supposed to come yet.  Get back in there.
Get used to it.  It’ll never be the way you planned, mama. 

And then you two came, and today we’re celebrating those two minutes, the minutes you two were pulled from me, the moment you entered this world.  It has been a year.  You were born on a Thursday night.  I know this because when the doc said I was going into labor, I joked, "No, it can’t be!  I’ll miss Grey’s Anatomy!"  I joked because that’s how I panic.  He assured me it was a rerun.  You two came so quickly after that.

Then the tears came today, right after the knock knock joke that wasn’t a joke.  "I’m sorry I’m so emotional," I told you both as you climbed into my lap, hoping to eat the buttons off my sweater.  "I’m just so thankful."  And then I squeezed you both and kissed the top of your heads remembering you were once inside me, that I used to feel you kicking each other, used to watch you on a black and white ultrasound screen, a tiny blinking white dot of a heart, and now, now it’s,  "Let them eat cake!"  There’s a lot to celebrate.  You are both exquisitely loved.



  1. i've read your blog for years, i've read your book, i believe in what you believe you're trying to do,
    i guess that since you're out here, i feel invited, almost asked to comment.but, yet,
    this is all i can say.
    your children are so incredibly…
    maybe that's the reason for not so many pictures.
    i am genuinely not trying to be mean,
    and i know that i shouldn't share this,
    but i am.

  2. I like that you're posting late now. I'm glad to hear that little Lucas is doing better and happy that you posted on the day of their birth. I remember reading of their entry into the world a year ago and think about how different my life is and how time has flown. I can't even imagine how it feels for you.

    Last year:desk job in the medical field, being miserable. This year: Just finished my semester in law school and feeling happier (if sleep deprived and stessed)

    Last year: newly married expecting twins that came early
    This year: Two tots growing, as they say, like weeds.

    Please post more pictures on flickr. It's fun to see how far they, and you've come.

    P.S. How is the Ronald McDonald hair? did you get them to correct it and give you the blond highlights you asked for? You used to post more pictures of yourself, you don't anymore.

  3. Happy Birthday, Lucas & Abigail!

    As for a good giving blood song, have you considered "Bloodletting" by Concrete Blonde? That song makes me want to roll the windows down, crank the radio up, and belt it out at the top of my lungs. But not right now, it's the middle of the night, and 41 degrees out.

  4. It's been a fun and interesting year, following the "beans" from your perspective. You've done good!

    Happy Birthday to the four of you.

  5. I am finally delurking somewhat. I remember how excited I was to learn that you had a boy baby and a girl baby. The photos and Phillip's writing were wonderful. I know it's been a year, but congratulations and thank you so much for sharing.

  6. It's hard to believe it was an entire year ago – and those sweet little babies are one. What an incredible year for you all

    Even though I am intellectually prepared for the aging of my darlings, it surprises me a little every day when they come in to talk to me – eye to eye- or when my sweet, baby 6'4 son comes and kisses me on top of the head and calls me his 'little mother.'

    Talk about time flying.

    It really was about – oh – 5 minutes ago I was stuck at home with 3 babies under 3 – convinced I'd never, ever get to leave my home again because I was seriously outnumbered.

    Happy holidays Stephanie and family…

  7. There is a special ring of hell for people like "k" who call anyone's babies ugly… especially your beautiful beans. They are adorable and remind me that even though the internet and people like "k" can make for an ugly world, there are delicious munchkins and mothers like you who adore them.

    Happy first birthday to the beans!

  8. STK-I don't know how many of these comments you read, but for the record, just wanted to let you know no one quite understands your journey of premature babies (tubes, wires, trying madly to breastfeed, jaw-dropping exhaustion) like those of us who have been there. My son is now 4, but the memories of his unexpected and early birth were flooding back vividly as I read your blog about the day that Lucas and Abigail came into your lives.

    Like many of your readers, I share a very similar journey. Single at 30, a little boy to raise, changing careers. Living. And so it goes.

    Thank you for your honesty, your candor, for sharing your trials and triumphs. And btw-not that you need my confirmation or anyone's for that matter, but your children are stunning.

  9. Happy birthday to the kids. (Beautiful portrait of Lucas.)

    I can't help it – this next thing is addressed to "k", from the other K. I don't know Stephanie and I don't care who you are, k, and the author of this blog certainly doesn't need me to defend her. But assuming you, k, weren't trying to be funny, which would make for a pretty strange sense of humor, what you wrote, and it's the first comment so who can help noticing, is the absolute meanest, most inappropriate, backhanded blog comment I have read in ages. In a sense I understand: thoughts like that must beg to part with you, because it has to be nearly unbearable to keep that kind of toxicity inside. Your comment alone as short as it was has me lamenting on the state of the world. It hurts my heart to know that some people are capable of mindlessly adding to the pain on this planet by passing such judgments without any sense of kindness. They do that on you k, on me, on Stephanie, on little children, and most likely talk about worse things behind all our backs. So uncalled for on so many levels.

    You just made me feel superior, k, and it doesn't happen often; one can apparently consider herself incredibly lucky to have gone through certain things and to have learned and evolved enough to be uncapable of such commentary.

    And for what it's worth, k, the sad thing is that you probably don't even know you're in it deep. It's your mind that thinks up such thoughts, and it's you who lives with that 24/7. The rest of us just shake our heads in sadness, then move on. I doubt you will stop and think twice about this, but I really, really hope you do. You would make the world a better place by changing. One can only hope. Good luck. I really mean it.

  10. Wow, a year. In the blink of an eye and with eyes wide open.

    Went back and read the post about their birth and found myself welling up with tears.

    Happy Birthday Beans.

    (And to k, if it occurs to you not to share, don't. Not every thought that crosses one's mind is worthy of expression.)

  11. Damn "K" you forgot the golden rule…if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it.

    How rude.

  12. Your children are very beautiful. Very. But you know this, of course.

    Best wishes for your family from me and my dog!

  13. To your last post, I simply said "Breathtaking", because that's all I could think to say. To this post, I'm doubly confounded.

    Your writing is almost as much a gift as your beautiful children.

  14. k, what kind of evil troll of a human being tells someone her children are ugly on their first birthday while she's sharing a beautiful memory about how lucky she is that they are alive and healthy? the babies are cute. and whoever you are, you're going to hell for sure.

  15. i remember a year ago when i read your post and cried for you out of joy and fear for your babies. Enjoy each year to come as much as you have this first one. Happy birthday to the beans!!!

    p.s. to K…if you have nothing nice to say, dont say anything at all. the babies are absolutely beautiful.

  16. what the hell is wrong with you K? Ew.
    Those sweet beans are BEAUTIFUL and so strong, battling their way through a tough beginning. They are amazing, and adorable Stephanie!

    :) katie (NOT that K from above!)

  17. I understand that you may have approved that first comment in order to make the point to your readers that you actually let really negative things be posted, but it isn't necessary to make that point with us. It's your blog. Censor all you want; everybody does. Don't apologize for it.

    I vote for taking down negative comments (which are very UNTRUE but that's besides the point) about your children.

  18. Happy Birthday to your beans, Stephanie. What a year it has been, indeed.

    And K? My first reaction to your comment was a heartfelt "fuck you," but then I absolutely shuddered at how positively wretched your existence must be. Positively, throughly, and utterly wretched, and uglier than anything I could ever imagine.

  19. Stephanie:

    Congradulations on making it through your first year as a mommy with flying colors. You're a wonderful mother and your children are blessed to have such a talented mom. Happy Birthday Beans!

    you are an aweful hateful person! didn't your mother teach you if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all? Stephanie's children are beautiful little miricles you should be so blessed.

    just my 2 cents.

  20. k- seriously. that's just not very nice. why bother?

    SK- happy birthing day to you, momma! It sounds like you've had a wild ride this year.

  21. OMG. I just read "K"'s post about your babies being…UGLY? There is nothing UGLIER than an 'adult', first prefacing an obviously mean comment with "I don't mean to be mean but…"
    and secondly, insulting an infant?

    Yeah, takes a biiig person to do that. GROSS.

    I think your babies are beyond beautiful with the loveliest, wisest faces. And I also know you didn't need any defending.

    But sheesh, talk about BASE. Get a life, K.

  22. Sweet babies, happy happy birthday to them. I am so glad they are happy and healthy (yea Lucas)
    Happy Holidays to you guys !

  23. To K, the first post on this:

    Are you just inviting people to email you to tell you how mean you are by linking your email address to your comment?

    That's just a rotten thing to say.

    What kind of person are you? I've learned that in life you should only say things that are either true, necessary and kind. Whether that is true or not is your own personal opinion; it was most definitely not kind or necessary. You've definitely got some sort of mental problem.

    Another Stephanie who believes your comment to be totally rude and untrue.

  24. Oh you will surprise yourself.
    A year from now as time speeds up even more (just wait until they start talking) it's the smaller things that will remind you how fast time is passing, and you'll find yourself getting weepy. Might be seeing a friend's newborn and that familiar feel of tiny baby, or coming across their first pair of jammies, their tiny newborn onesies (I still get all sentimental when I touch Kellen's first baby gown) when you clean out their clothes.
    You're a good mama, Stephanie. Your babies are beautiful with a loving father, and you sound as though you are finally settling into your life and enjoying it. Both of your last two posts made me smile.
    Happy Birthday to your beans.

    How is Linus doing?
    I love that picture of Lucas.

  25. Beautiful. Amazing. Parenting happens in a split second. Even when they are both in the terrible two's (or three's) and you feel like a tantrum will never end…… will look back and think how fast it all went by. Congratulations on a great year!

  26. Umm. K. What a gratuitous, mean-spirited comment. I'll pray for you.

    Stephanie. Am very glad to hear your happy news about Lucas. I can't even imagine the anxiety I would have felt going through what you've been through this year. And yet, your life seems to go on. I wonder how you do it. You know, live life normally: play tennis, cook, have cocktails.

    Good for you! It's a lesson for neurotic me, for sure. All the best to you all in the new year.

  27. the first big milestone. it will all happen so fast. i hope your saving for college. CONGRATULATIONS to the little ones.

  28. Happy Birthday to two of the most precious and beautiful little babes, EVER! (OK, I have to say next to mine, well you know why, they're mine) ;-)

    Happy Happy Birthday, to Abigail and Lucas!
    May you grow to be healthy, wealthy and wise!

    Much love to each of you, and your Mom and Dad! :-)

  29. dear Lucas and Abigail….as someone who has watched you learn and grow (albeit from afar) i only have 2 words to say to you both. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
    you, you sweet beans, have DEFINITELY earned the celebration, after what you have gone through just to be on this planet!
    love from indiana to 2 sweet beans in texas…

  30. Happy first birthday! Can't believe it's been a year already. The time goes so fast. Enjoy every minute with your beautiful babies. K's comment doesn't even warrant a response. It was just hateful beyond words. Very sad. Can't wait to see pictures w/ cake all over those adorable faces.

  31. There is a quote by Maureen Hawkins that goes,


    I think of that quote often when I read your post about your babes. I feel the same for my own child. Happy B-day to your beautiful cherished children.

  32. The time has flown so quickly!! Lucas & Abigail no longer are beans. They're beautiful toddlers celebrating their first birthday with their loving parents, supported by an extended cyber family from all over the world.

    Congratulations Stephanie, Phil, and most of all the former beans themselves!!! Lucas, way to go! Just keep on healing.

  33. Congratulations on Year One. To all of you. And continued success.

    I've been a fan of your blog for several years. Sometimes it is so eloquent and heartfelt, it puts a lump in my throat. Other times, to be truthful, it reads annoyingly self involved. But you speak with a clear, honest voice and say what you feel. And that makes it a remarkable read. Well done.

    I wish the whole Team Klein (and I can feel Phil wincing) the very best. Happy Birthday to Abigail and Lucas.


  34. K is deluded and if karma is real she just damned her potential spawn.

    G-d bless your wee ones. I only hope that someday I will have a baby that is just as ethereal and beautiful as one of yours. You made two darling children.

    Happy first birthday to them and congratulations to you for making it through so incredibly well!


  35. What a lovely gift you've given the beans. Years from now, when they're all grown and have beans of their own, they can look back at this and see how amazing your love for them is. It is inspiring and so very sweet.

  36. K – I thought Tourette's was strictly a verbal disorder. Who knew?! Do you perhaps need a telethon? Benefit run? To be repeatedly bitchslapped with your own keyboard?

    Babies are beautiful & happy whatever day to them!

  37. K…..obviously you are looking for attention….in all the wrong ways. Have you looked in the mirror lately?? Perhaps you wrote this after a nite of drinking. Wise up and get some social graces…you can't buy them at the store.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes to your family!!!!

  38. What an ARSEHOLE – your babies are gorgeous!! Congrats on the 1 year milestone – my daughter, Isabelle, turned 1 on the 20 th of November 07 too!

    I am in process of reading Straight Up and Dirty – not that I am going trough a break-up – quite the contrary – I am loving each word, each sentence, each page – it makes me think back and appreciate the now.

    So why the comment? I want to say thanks. I am a 27 year old South African girl who has had more that my fare share of break-ups and heart ache, and to know that someone so far away echos(echo-ed)all my feelings, is comforting.

    I am a true fan.

  39. Happy birthday to the babies and their mom! I can't believe how fast it's gone. I better not show this to my husband, or we'll start trying to get pregnant tonight. :)

  40. *Sings*
    Happy Birthday to youuuuuu
    Happy Birthday to youuuuuu
    Happy Birthday Lucas and Abigail….
    Happy Birthday tooooo youuuuu!

    And Many More :)

  41. I wonder if K is sitting there laughing at all the attention his or her comment has gotten? That is probably the whole reason for it. To see the reaction it evoked. Good for you. Good for you.

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