Thursday, 23 April 2015

It's a girl! Sophia's birth story

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Our little bundle is finally here. A sweet baby girl. Born just over a week ago.

Sophia Violet. 

Violet in memory of my loving Nana (my mom's mom) and Sophia just because we loved it. 

She is just the sweetest. Absolute sweetest. 

And this is what a new baby sister looks like after big brother and big sister opened her new baby gifts for her--and covered her with her beloved and generous presents (thanks Mids!). 

This sweet soul is so drenched in love I can't even contain it. It's true what they say--no matter how many children you have, you always have more than enough love for more. Her little froggy legs, her newborn smell, her baby soft skin, her tiny cry...I love everything about her.

So life has shifted in our household. Life has slowed down, but sped up, all at the same time. Slowed down since my body is telling me to slow down, to heal, to recover. But sped up since bringing home a new baby to a household already filled with two young children, a dog and a husband brings a slew of emotions, busyness, exhaustion, calmness and chaos all in the same breath. We're all slowly adjusting to this new sweet member of our family and trying to figure out how to manage it all while getting a four year off to school on time in between nursing a newborn, packing lunches and waking up early after a night of no sleep. Heck, 24hrs after she was born I was walking Mya to the bus stop with a newborn in my arms because I didn't want to miss sending her off to school that day. And I was hauling little bikes into the garage with one hand, and holding a one day old baby in the other hand after an afternoon of kids wanting to spend the day outside playing. So life just keeps moving, whether you're ready for it or not.  

But we're quickly learning that no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you try to include them in the process, no matter how many times a day you tell them that you love them, no matter how many special one-on-one moments you try to sneak in with them throughout the day, little brothers and sisters will feel the shift of emotions too of having a new baby in the house, and emotions will run high. Toddler tears will flow more easily than ever before. New behaviours from little people will sneak up on us out of nowhere, and it will all lead back to the fact that there has been a huge shift in our family dynamics. A new life is now here with us. And it's a lot of change.

So heart-to-hearts with four year olds, sitting on the edge of her bed at night, talking about attitude and the importance of her tone of voice will be had. And the pure, honest truth from little people that they are just trying to get some attention from mom and dad when these behaviours flare up will be revealed--because the reality is that it takes a lot of mom and dad's attention to look after a newborn.

So our first week of having a newborn in our house has meant that we're all learning to adjust. We're all learning to be patient with how each of us adapts to a new baby in the family. We're all learning that it's a balancing act to ensure that all three of our kids get our attention and no one feels left behind. 

So painting little fingernails on a Sunday afternoon for the sole purpose of having some mommy/Mya time, or racing cars together in the playroom so that Carter can have me all to himself are becoming a priority. All in the midst of trying to heal my sore body, nurse a newborn, get bath time in, remember library day and pizza day at school, keep up with the overflow of laundry and remember to do skin-to-skin as often as possible. It's definitely a balancing act. 

Hey, when the kids are all asleep, I really feel like I've got this whole 3 kids thing down pat.

But I must say that watching your older children embrace a new sibling and fall in love with her so deeply, so quickly is quite possibly one of the most amazingly beautiful thing that I've ever experienced.

Carter and Mya love their new sister. Love and adore her. Constantly ask to hold her, constantly ask if she is okay when she is crying and give her more love than I ever anticipated. Mya has already decided that she is this baby's second mom. Melts my heart. 

I've written both Mya and Carter's birth stories in the past--written them down so I don't forget. So I remember the details. So I remember the little pieces that make it our story. Mya's birth story, written here...and Carter's birth story, written here--the one that I still can't even read to this day without sobbing. 

And now here is Sophia's story. The day that she was born. So we don't forget.


It was 4:15am when I woke up to the most excruciating pain ever whipping through my body.

"Terry!" I called out, waking him up. "This is it".

We both quickly got out of bed and started getting ready to go to the hospital. Terry called my parents to come over to stay with Mya and Carter as I glanced over at the clock to see if I could time my contractions, just to be sure that it wasn't a false alarm...6 minutes apart.

I had been having painful contractions for weeks leading up to this day, but this was different. This was intense. This was excruciating. This was real labour.

I stepped into the shower, hoping that the warmth of the water would sooth away the pain in my back and throughout my body. But as I watched the soap slide down the drain I felt another contraction whip around my body and I tried to breathe the pain away.

I had a moment of panic.

This was less than 6 minutes from the last one. Maybe 3 minutes...maybe less.

I let the pain subside, then stepped out to wrap myself in a towel, only to find myself gripping the side of the vanity as another painful contraction took hold of me.

This was all happening way too fast.

There was no build up to the pain like my previous labours. There was no checking the clock and having time to breathe and relax in between contractions. This was intense. This was extreme. This was the most pain I had ever felt in my life.

I quickly walked down the stairs to find my parents at the door.

"Thanks for coming so quickly", I said...and within that moment another strong contraction whipped through my body and almost brought me to my knees.

We stepped out into the quiet, cold, dark morning and got into our car. The world was still sleeping as we raced as quickly as we could to the hospital and I gripped the door handle and tried to control the pain as it shot through my body once again.

The wind hit my back as I stepped out of the car at the Emergency Room doors and Terry left to go find parking. The hospital doors were locked at this hour, so we had to go through Emerg and through the maze of hallways up to the 4th floor.

The glass doors of the Emergency Room opened as I clenched my stomach and saw over twenty pairs of eyes staring at me as I quickly walked in and gripped the side of the nurses desk in front of me as another contraction took over my body.

"Are you in labour?!" I heard a nurse call out to me.

I couldn't even speak. The pain was too intense.

Then all of a sudden I felt myself being put into a wheelchair and taken quickly down the maze of hallways and elevators all the way up to triage.

The lights were dimmed down low when she rolled me into triage. It was quiet. Empty. Calm.

"These contractions are coming really quickly", I said to the triage nurse as she brought me over to a bed. She pulled the curtain over and Terry walked in just as she was getting me set up.

"You're already 5cm dilated", the nurse said.

And just as she moved away the most excruciatingly painful contraction whipped around my body and I gripped the side of the bed until my fingers went numb.

"Just breathe", Terry said calmly beside me.

"SHUT UP!" I heard myself yell.

Oh no. I didn't just say that.

I looked over at Terry, sitting there beside me trying so hard to be supportive.

The pain subsided for a moment.

"I'm sorry about the shut up", I said reaching my hand out to him. "This is just the most intense pain I've ever felt in my life, and I need silence to get through it. So I know you're trying to help, but I really need for no one to talk at all until the contraction is over".

I heard the nurse beside me chuckle to herself as she overheard this conversation and continued to monitor the baby's heart rate.

Another contraction came just moments later. The intensity was beyond what I was even expecting.

"I need to push", I told the nurse.

"Oh no you don't, honey", she said, knowing that she had just checked me. "Not yet". And she casually started an IV and checked my blood pressure.

I'm not sure why everyone is so FREAKING CALM right now! I thought to myself as I watched her saunter over and take another look at the baby's heart rate.

This baby is coming and I'm about to deliver a baby IN TRIAGE. 

I don't do this every day.
I don't just deliver babies in a matter of a half an hour.
I'm not exactly comfortable with this.
So I'm not sure why everyone else is so INCREDIBLY CALM right now! I thought to myself.

And just as that thought crossed my mind, I yelled out to the nurse "My water just broke!".

Then all of a sudden it was mayhem.

The once calm, quiet, docile room was now filled with noise, movement and people.

"We need to get her out of here!" A nurse yelled.

Then all of a sudden I heard the click click click of the bed as they unlocked the brakes and started running me quickly down the hall.

People were all of a sudden everywhere. Bright lights from the hallway were shining down on me. OB's were being called. My eyes were shut tightly and I held onto the side of the bed as more contractions whipped through my body. They kept running.

The head was coming out. And I was in the hallway.


It felt like chaos.

I didn't know where Terry was.

I didn't know where I was.

They ran me into a room and I opened my eyes to find strangers in masks and scrubs hanging over me, bright lights staring at me.

I heard a resident nurse naively call out to the nurse beside her "Should we check her to see how far dilated she is once we get her settled here?"

"What?!" the nurse said back to her. "No--I can SEE THE HEAD".

"Terry!" I called out.

He was right behind me.

"Honey, we need you to pull yourself onto this other bed now" one of the nurses told me.

You want me to do what?? I thought to myself. This baby's body is literally coming out of me as we speak, and you want me to do WHAT? 

Then all of a sudden I felt hands grip underneath me and they pulled me onto the bed.

There was no time for anything. No time to put my feet up in stirrups. No time for an OB to sit at the foot of my bed and tell me what to do. No time for anyone to count to ten as I pushed and breathed.

The baby was coming.

I didn't even know if anyone was there to catch the baby as I pushed. My body literally took over and I pushed for only a matter of seconds and all I heard was Terry's voice calling out "It's a girl! We have a baby girl!"

It was over. The pain was gone. I felt the warmth of a tiny body being placed on my chest. She was here. Our sweet little Sophia.

It was only about 40 minutes from the time that I walked through those glass doors of the Emergency Room that our sweet little daughter was in my arms, nursing already. The most incredible experience I've ever had in my life.

I turned to Terry after a few minutes and asked him to call mom and dad.

And the conversation went something like this:

"Hi mom", I said.

"Hi honey", she replied, expecting that we had just arrived and were calling just to give a quick update and to tell her when to come to the hospital to be there for the birth. "Are you all set up in triage now?"

"Nope, I'm nursing my baby as we speak", I said. "We have a girl!"


And the conversation with both Jen and Jeff, and Terry's mom went pretty much exactly the same way as well.

So as family members started to trickle in, everyone got baby snuggles and a re-tell of the events of the morning that they unfortunately missed. The first baby in our family who was born without a slew of family members right there beside us. Because unfortunately there just wasn't time.

So to our sweet baby Sophia, we love you more than words can even express.

And to our sweet Mya, our first baby of the family...thank you for loving your new sister so much and for taking such good care of her. You're going to be a wonderful mom one day, we can already tell. We love you beyond what you'll ever know.

And to Carter, thank you for your silly giggles and for always making us laugh. You are quite possibly the most loved little boy on the planet and we're so glad that both of your sisters have you--because boys will one day be knocking on our door, and we'll need your help.

Love, your very tired mom




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