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Saya was born at 2:42 am on May 2, 2019. I still can’t find the words to describe laboring, birthing, and welcoming a new baby into the world, but the summary is that I am in awe of what a woman’s body can do. It’s hard to overstate how incredible we are. I also know I couldn’t have done it without Corey’s support, too. And my doula was a gift. If you want more details, I am open to share about my experience or about our doula, but without further ado, let’s get to our baby who made us a family.

First Moments: Saya’s first waking moment was in the birth center hallway in her dad’s arms. The midwives urgently whisked her away from me to support her breathing before I was able to meet her. As the midwives began to wheel her to the neonatal unit, Corey ignored their requests to keep her in the bassinet and carried her back into the room to unite us. Instinctively, he knew I needed to meet her before she was taken to the neonatal unit. He looked into my eyes as he handed her to me and said “I have something to tell you…we have a little girl”.

Over three hours later, I was wheeled into the neonatal unit to see Corey skin to skin with our baby, with her suckling on his pinky finger. I lost it. I couldn’t stop the tears. I had so many emotions overwhelming me at one time. I was encouraged to feed her on the spot, even with the tears in my eyes. After this first attempt at nursing, I fell asleep in the recliner for I don’t know how long.

We spent five days at the birth ward for our baby to complete her round of antibiotics. In that time, we got to know midwives, transitional care workers, breastfeeding consultants, and most importantly, our little one. We named her on day two and began to explore our rhythm as a parental team. Corey made sure I slept and ate as often as possible. I practiced nursing and keeping track of the numerous pamphlets from hospital staff. Neither of us thought about changing her outfit until we realized we were going to be discharged…which is why every picture below looks like it was taken on the same day 😉

Arriving home: Many parents told us we’d be so nervous about keeping Saya alive when she first arrived at home that we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves. Honestly, we were so excited to get away from the sounds and smells of the hospital that we immediately put Saya in her pram/stroller and walked to pick up sushi and show her off to our local kebab guys. Looking back, that was far too much for our first couple of hours at home. But it was hilarious how excited we were to ‘do parenting’ the way we imagined it.

Week 2- Our first guests: I was nervous to ‘do parenting right’ in front of our friends, but that quickly melted away after I saw how excited and loving people were towards our new family. Sam, Rich, Zachariah and Chantal made us brunch to celebrate our first two weeks together. Kate brought her energy and fun stories of Corey from high school. Ruth helped us reflect on our birthing experience, and supported me with nursing. Bachan sent a nursing cover, Jose and Miya sent chocolates, and Grandad’s stories debuted to welcome his sixth grandchild.

How lucky is our little girl to have so much love from abroad? In addition to visitors, she had a steady stream of thoughtful gifts that kept our mail box full. Each sent with warm words of encouragement and excitement.

Week 3- Grandad and Mamo Visit: I couldn’t wait to welcome Grandad and Mamo! With Corey going back to work, their presence helped settle myself nerves with being on my own during the day. I thought I was in love with my little girl, but seeing them hold my first child was a moment like no other.

Each morning, between 5-6am, Grandad would be waiting to welcome Saya into his arms. They would do ‘stations’ around our flat while I caught few more moments of sleep. Mamo led the charge for finding new books for her library, and identified her first case of diaper rash. They helped me find friendly places to nurse in our neighborhood, and were always in favor of a good pub lunch. Saya had her first bath, too, and let’s just say that afterwards we all felt we’d earned an ice cream cone. We all agreed that you need three adults to one infant if you want to stand a chance!

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