Little Sister is here.
Her name is Afton Mattea-Mary, named for a beloved folk song (you can listen to it here, lyrics are a poem by Robert Burns) and for two people who have supported us and loved us unconditionally through it all – my brother, Matthew, and my grandmother, Mary. I can never fully explain how much their support has meant to us.
My brother kept a smile on our faces with his uncanny ability to tell a well-timed joke, or by simply refusing to mull over the worst-case scenario. My grandmother has always been a rock in my life, a sort of steady stream of gentle loving kindness.
We could think of no better way to honor these two wonderful souls.
She came into the world after an incredibly fast labor – just 2.5 hours and a rush to push her out at the end with her cord wrapped around her neck. Hubby was an absolute champion and my doula kept me from falling beneath the absolutely unbelievable pain. There hadn’t been time to establish comfort and coping measures for contractions or to get an epidural.
They whisked her away and all I could do was shout across the room “is she ok, is she ok, is she ok” over and over again, waiting to hear her first cries, fear starting to creep up on me, knowing what it means when a medical team is silent and swift. When that first little cry finally squawked out, my heart instantly doubled. When her cries kept coming, my heart filled with that intense, immediate, overwhelming momma love. Hubby stayed by her side as they made sure she would breathe on her own, calling out the important details (“yes, she’s really a girl” and that she had lots of dark hair). And I laid back in the hospital bed and wept to hear her big, bold cries fill the room.
Once I was settled and she was breathing on her own, they placed her in my arms and I had that beautiful momma moment when you see your baby for the first time and know that she is yours. And I knew with certainty she wasn’t going to be taken away or hooked to monitors or cared for by strangers. I saw her sweet face and knew she was coming home with me.
For those first 48 hours of her life I knew the luxury of holding my baby whenever I wanted, nursing whenever she wanted. The luxury of changing a diaper without having to weigh it, the freedom of holding her close without a dozen cords trailing from her tiny body.
Caring for her and loving her without the permission of doctors and nurses. Feeling like she was wholly ours, not just a baby we visited in a hospital.
Savoring our time with her instead of gulping it in big swallows to hold us until our next visit. Wishing so much that Rowenna had had her mom and dad with her around the clock from the start, holding back tears while thinking of our baby spending so much time alone in such a strange place.
Wondering if I will ever be able to refer to “my girls” without the biggest, goofiest smile on my face and a heart just bursting with love for the two of them.
And now we’re home, adjusting to life as a family of four. More stories to come of Rowenna’s adventures as a newly minted Big Sister!