You have been with us on this side of life for three months today and goodness has it flown. I remember the day you joined us so very vividly but I want to make sure to get it down “on paper” so that just like with your sister, you can always be reminded of how our Father has perfectly knitted and planned your precious life from the beginning. “Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began.” Psalm 139:16
Before sharing with you about how you came into the world, I can’t go without rewinding forty weeks to mention that even the timing of your conception was crafted well beyond our abilities. You see, your Dad was away for training and only able to come home one weekend before your sister and I traveled up to Lolly and Pop Pop’s house in Virginia. “On paper” I should’ve ovulated 12 days before while he was away but either I didn’t and did 12 days late or I ovulated twice. A few weeks later when I realized my cycle was missing and your sister and I were so sick, I found a test in the bottom of my toiletry bag and saw that beautiful faint line pop up in my childhood bathroom. I was so surprised. I figured it was a false positive and told myself I’d retest in the morning. The following morning when another line popped up confirming you were indeed growing inside of me, I looked up and giggled with joy as I thought, “Am I REALLY that surprised? God, you are so intentional and detailed!”
About six weeks later, I experienced two of these conversations: “So… I’m nine weeks pregnant!” with a reply from me of, “NUHUHHHH! Me too!” One was with your Auntie Antra and the other with Tudi. Three friends, all stationed at the same base with the same doctor and each due date a few days apart from each other. That was the start of an extremely special pregnancy journey.
Overall I felt really well for the duration of the pregnancy. You did a bunch of workouts and DIY projects with me. Most of our time though was spent running after your sister. Goodness is it going to be so fun to watch the two of you explore together or what?! Since I felt pretty much the exact same as I did with Ellie, I was pretty confident you were a girl. What threw me for a loop though was when I tested negative for gestational diabetes. From then on I said, “I’ll be so shocked if this isn’t a boy.” Shocked I was indeed.
The anticipation leading up to your due date was fun. We were always saying, “How AMAZING would it be if we were in the hospital together?” On April 14, I was 39 weeks 5 days and went to an appointment where I got checked for the first time. Come to find out I was walking around at 6 cm and feeling just fine. Dr. Turner told me that he could admit me to the hospital if I wanted and he could break my water and you’d be here in no time. His concern was that once my water broke, you were going to come pretty quickly. He wasn’t wrong… It’s funny looking back on how it played out though. I even called your Dad right after the appointment because he was scheduled to fly that afternoon and I was worried he would miss your delivery during the hour or two he was up in the air. That ended up not being necessary but hey, hindsight bias is 20/20.
I desired to spontaneously go into labor so I told Dr. Turner I’d wait and see how it played out. The tricky part though was that Lolly and Pop Pop couldn’t stay for a super long time. Lolly had already been staying with us since Tuesday and Pop Pop was going to start driving down when we went to the hospital. They were going to watch Ellie while we were in the hospital and we wanted for them to be able to be with you versus waiting for your arrival before they had to return home again. It’s really hard living so far away from family but it all worked out as it was supposed to.
Only a few hours after my appointment, Auntie Antra saw us then her water broke and she was admitted to the hospital. Friday we walked and walked and walked and walked. I still felt really great! I was having some short stomach ache “pains” every now and then but knew it wasn’t anything serious yet. Friday night I had some inconsistent cramping as I was texting Tudi. It was still nothing serious but it did feel like something was moving along. Tudi decided to start timing her cramps (she didn’t have a ton of pressure or pain either) and come to find out they were very consistently 3-4 minutes apart. While texting her, she decided to go to the hospital. A few hours later I woke up in excitement to a photo of your buddy Josey snuggled up in Tudi’s arms with the words, “That was a wild night.” Josey had arrived on April 16, 2022 at 1:43 am. Come to find out, right around when I received that photo from Tudi, baby Steven III was making his way into the world too. He arrived at 3:03 am.
That morning (your anticipated arrival date) your Dad and I talked a lot about what to do. Pop Pop was on his way (it’s a 12 hour drive from Virginia to Columbus) and I wasn’t in active labor yet. I knew that if we went to the hospital and had my water broken, you’d be here in no time. It was a really hard decision but ultimately we got a few more things done around the house, packed our bags, and kissed your sister and Lolly goodbye as we headed to the hospital. It was 2:00 pm.
I was admitted and was 7 cm along, contracting but still feeling great. Dr. Turner came in and broke my water and not long after that, it was game on. Within 20 minutes I was in active labor and about 50 minutes after that, I was in transition. Your Dad could tell too and did his best to keep me up and moving and changing positions. I was pretty stubborn though and once I got on my side, I felt the need to start pushing. I asked him to tell the nurses and they came in and checked me and said I was 8 cm. They left and I worked through a couple more contractions and said to him, “I know they just said I’m at 8 cm but I really am ready to start pushing.” He walked back out and said to them, “She wants to push.” In that time they had already contacted our doctor and when he came in not long after that, I was 10 cm, ready to meet you, and you were ready to meet us.
Your Dad and I are pretty particular about how our baby’s births go. The way I explained it to our doctor, “The least you can be involved the better.” Dr. Turner, who we are so incredibly grateful for, was with no hesitation whatsoever on board with that. The nurses at the hospital were so fantastic too. They exceeded our expectations with their hospitality and following our birth plan to a T. One of the things we were pretty particular about is the moment you entered into the world. Just like with your sister, we wanted the first words you heard to be your Dad saying, “It’s a “insert name here”!!!! Well, I botched that with your birth. Sorry, Soph.
Dr. Turner arrived swiftly and started walking your dad through how he was going to catch you on your way out. It honestly happened so fast that your dad and I don’t remember much. On the first push, your head was out and on the second push your shoulders and the rest of your 8 lb 3 oz body “came flying out” into your Father’s hands as he describes it at 4:32 pm. I had delivered you on my side so he laid you on the bed and the room was quiet as we waited for him to speak. I turned over and both of us were staring at you in confusion for what felt like minutes but was only probably 5 seconds in reality. You looked just like Ellie laying there. The umbilical cord was between your legs so we couldn’t see well and before I knew it the words, “Holy s*** it’s a girl!!!!!” had spilled out of my mouth. Your dad said, “I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO THAT!!!” and the entire room laughed while I was in absolute shock (your Dad had believed from the beginning that you were a Sophie). Not long after, the three of us were sitting together in a quiet room just in awe that we had another precious GIRL and Ellie was about to meet her new best friend. In that moment we agreed that your middle name would be James, after your Pop Pop.
I’m so grateful it all happened the way it did because Pop Pop had to return home for work so he only got to meet you for about 30 minutes in the hospital the next day. We were sad that we didn’t get to be together for longer but grateful for that time. You also got to meet your sister that day and it was hard for your Dad and I to hold back the tears. Ellie was mainly excited about the buttons on the bed but she also kept saying, “Baby!!! Baby!!!” and gave you a kiss. You two are going to have so much fun together.
To deliver on the same day as some of our best friends here was quite literally a dream. We were the only three to deliver and be in recovery that day. Something else that was really special about that weekend – April 17 was Easter. I couldn’t help but think about the period of mourning the disciples and Mary experienced between when the Son of the Father suffered an unjust death for an unjust and undeserving people and then three days later would conquer death and rise from the grave. What a deep deep sense of grief they must’ve felt. They didn’t know that the greatest defeat in history was on the horizon. That this Child of God would once and for all crush the serpent with His heel. And there we were thousands of years later, all knowing that fact and celebrating our Savior while holding these beautiful blessings given to us by that same God. “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
We love you Sophie. It was an honor to carry you those nine months, a hallelujah to experience bringing you into this world, and my greatest joy to mother you in the remainder of my days.