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My dearest Sophie Rose,
Right now, you are asleep in my arms. Your favourite place to be. You’re having a hard time sleeping comfortably, as your tummy works hard to digest the milk, and seem happiest when you’re tucked into mommy’s chest. So here we sit. Nearly 5:30 in the morning, and I’ve been awake since 2 when your daddy brought you to bed with me. But you see, part of me doesn’t want to fall asleep, because I know that these moments are precious and soon we will share fewer and fewer of them. Before long, you’ll sleep best in your own bed; you won’t need us to help you fall asleep. And while I’m excited for the day when you’re able to sleep comfortably on your own (and when daddy can finally return to his side of the bed that you’ve been stealing), I will also miss these moments. I love listening to your little coos in the night, the way you yawn in your sleep, and how you make this tiny little circle with your mouth once you’ve had a big toot- that sweet little relaxed face. You love to nestle your head into any crevice you can find- this is your favourite way to sleep and how you spend most evenings on the couch with daddy so that mommy can get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.
And then, strangely, I find myself staying awake just to watch you sleep. I lay next to you, staring at your perfect little face, so peaceful and calm while you dream away. I wish for a way to bottle you up, exactly as you are in this moment. Not wanting to blink, for fear of you growing bigger, changing. Because it happens just like that. I know, because I watched it happen with your big sister. You see, she was the tiny baby in my arms just yesterday. And somehow, now there’s you and she’s grown into a child and it all just feels too fast. The greatest joy in my life is watching you and Emilie grow. And yet it’s also the most heartbreaking.
I want to tell you all the things I love about you in this moment, because I know that in a day, or week, or month or two… these things will change. It’s a subtle change- almost not even noticeable until one day I look back and realize just how much you’ve grown. I want to always remember you in this first month of life. So perfect and calm. You truly are such a good baby- rarely upset, often curious and content. You love looking around the room, and especially love staring at faces. You love mom’s face the most, and I think it’s because we have an extra special bond. Those months of you kicking away in my belly. All these nights we’ve shared, just you and me. They’ve not all been easy, but I know I’ll look back on this time fondly one day, when I’m no longer sleep deprived and you no longer need me to nurse and snuggle you back to sleep.
I fell in love with you the moment I knew you were growing in my belly, but oh man, nothing compares to the love I felt when I first met you. You were due to arrive on December 2, and all along I felt that you were going to come early. (Though I also felt that you were going to be a boy… and look at how wrong I was there!) Well, the 2nd came and went. And so did the 3rd, and the 4th. I was finally getting desperate to meet you, so I spent all evening that last day, a quiet Friday night at home, doing anything and everything to help you come sooner. I went to sleep that night and for the first night in a long time, slept soundly. I woke to gentle contractions at 6:30, and they were more regular than all the false contractions so far had been. But I still didn’t wanted to get my hopes up, so I texted Heather, our doula, and told her to wait before making the three hour drive from Cold Lake. I whispered in your daddy’s ear that I thought you would be arriving today. He smiled, and then asked if he could get a bit more sleep. Hah! What a goof. But I was still feeling good, so your sister and I went downstairs and started our day with a Christmas movie. I began to feel more and more uncomfortable, not able to leave the bathroom now, so I sent Emilie upstairs to tell daddy that mommy’s tummy hurt and he needed to wake up. She didn’t quite relay the message, so mommy called daddy to let him know that things were real- baby was on her way! It was 8am and this was the start of active labour. I was so very excited. I felt calm and ready.
Your daddy began to dress and get Emilie ready to go visit with mama Ange for the day, while I texted Heather again and told her to hit the road! I finally decided it was time to call our midwives. Strangely, I couldn’t get through and after the fourth try, I was beginning to worry. I hadn’t heard from them, daddy was out taking Emilie and I was all alone (and in a lot of pain). I managed to get myself up to my bedroom, where I drew myself a bath and continued to call the midwife. I finally gave up and tried another midwife’s number- not my own but I needed someone, anyone at this point. This midwife was able to get ahold of mine- Layla, who immediately called me back and then headed on her way. I remember her saying afterwards that I sounded far too calm to be too deep into labour, but because it was an almost 40 minute drive, she figured it was best to head our way early.
While I waited for your daddy to return, I turned on my birthing playlist and drew into myself as the contractions began to increase in intensity. I was feeling a lot of pressure, and I knew from experience that this meant you were very close. And yet, even though I was totally alone, I didn’t feel afraid. I thought, “well, if I have to deliver this baby alone, I will. Marc will be home soon, and I have my phone. 911 can walk me through it!” hah! What a crazy thought, looking back. I’m not sure how I managed to be so calm, but I think it was me trusting that my body had things handled.
Finally, your daddy arrived back home, made me a smoothie and came to sit with me (not after frantically running around the house getting things ready for a pool birth, which was our original plan). I had to actually text him to say “please come hold my hand! Forget the pool!” And so we sat. Holding hands, breathing through each contraction, which were growing increasingly painful and making my back ache.
Shortly after your daddy got home, the midwives arrived, and immediately checked your heart rate. A steady 140 BPM, just like at every single one of your check-ups. I knew, at that moment, that you were going to be a calm baby. They asked if I wanted to check my progress, and so I happily got out of the tub, which was no longer comfortable, and managed to get up on the bed. Amazingly, I was already at 10cm – this meant I could push at any moment! But, Heather wasn’t here yet, and I knew it would still be a good 40-60 minutes or so, so I told them I wasn’t yet ready. I tried getting on my hands and knees to help with the back labour, and it did, for a time. We moved from the bed to the toilet (at one point, the midwife said I could just push you out there, as that seemed to be the only place that felt comfortable and didn’t make my back ache), but I didn’t love the idea of my baby being born into a toilet bowl. Haha! So back to the bedroom we moved.
I was getting too close now to hold off, and so the midwives asked again where I wanted to deliver. The plan all along had been to have you in the pool, in front of the fire place in our living room, with the Christmas tree glowing in the background. But as I got closer and closer to the end, I no longer wanted to be in the pool. Instead, Misty and Layla, our amazing midwives, offered for me to lean over the foot of the bed. Being on my knees helped with my back, and Layla taught your daddy how to apply deep pressure so that it didn’t ache quite as much. When it was finally time to push – I knew I couldn’t hold off any longer, and I was dying to meet you – daddy and Layla held each of my hands to keep me upright while I kneeled at the foot of the bed. Misty was ready behind me to catch you. With one giant push (I truly shocked myself – but there’s no motivation like a mama ready to meet her baby!), your head came out, along with my waters, which hadn’t yet broken. Just as I was pushing, a third midwife (one I didn’t know), arrived. I turned to her after the contraction and quickly said “Can you take a photo of me meeting my daughter?” So she whipped out her phone and was ready to capture the moment. I knew that you were coming with the next push, so with the next contraction, I pushed for what felt like an eternity (it was probably only 10 seconds!) and out you slid. 11:02 am on a perfectly sunny, Saturday morning in December. I immediately heard you cry, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Misty quickly fed you through my legs as I reached down to grab you, and placed you gently on my chest. The feeling of meeting you is one of the greatest moments of my life. Happy tears were welling in my eyes (and your daddy’s), as you wrapped your little arms around me. What I wouldn’t give to go back to this moment, again and again.
The midwives helped lay me on my back on the floor, and at that moment, Heather walked in. Just 5 minutes after your birth. She was so sad – and so was I – that she just missed you, but I told her that her words were in my head all along. So really, she was with us in spirit.
The rest of the afternoon looked like us hanging out in bed, you nursing (right away! And for a long time!) while the midwives cleaned, did our laundry, snuggled Gracie (she was right there in the action, the whole time) and waited for you to be ready to be weighed. We spent a long time just chatting with Heather while we lay in our bed. It was so peaceful and felt exactly how things should be.
Finally, we weighed you. A whopping 7 lbs, 10 oz (the midwives were sure you were at least eight pounds!) and 20 inches long. I could hardly believe how big you were! You were absolutely perfect, and we were all so happy and light.
We finally said goodbye to everyone and your daddy and I soaked you up for a little while longer on our own before it was time to meet your big sister. This moment is another highlight of my life. When she walked in the house, daddy told her that her baby sister had arrived. Without missing a beat, so strolled over to the couch where you and I were laying, and she whispered so gently, “hi baby”. She kissed and snuggled you, held you and talked to you, and I felt like my heart would just burst out of my chest. The perfect way to end a perfect day.
With each day, we fall more and more in love with you, our sweet Sophie Rose. Thank you for choosing us to be your people. We love you more than you’ll ever know.
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