a tale of two hearts

Your first week

Dear Esther,

You were born on the 6th September 2017 at 8.29 am, you weighed 3.842kg and were 52.5cm. You were full term, 40 weeks to be exact.

Those numbers, 40 weeks, 3.842kg won't mean much to you as you grow up; they're pretty typical stats, nothing inherently special in them but to Dad and I they are numbers that we'll forever be grateful for. One day when you're a little older we'll tell you that whole story. The story of how waiting for you changed us as individuals and as a couple forever.

But for today, let me tell you the story of meeting you and your first week in our family.
This image is the executive summary of meeting you. It sums up how we felt meeting you for the first time. It captures all the important stuff, the stuff we're still struggling to find the words for. 

And now for the long version.

As I mentioned you were born at 8.29 am on the 6th September 2017. I never thought I'd ever use this word to describe labour but here I go. It was wonderful, painful yes, no doubt but it was so wonderful to see my body doing what it was designed to do. It was such a different experience to your brother's birth and I'm so thankful that I will now have both stories to share with you one day. 
Your Dad took the most extraordinary photos of the labour but we'll save most of them for our family album so here are just a few. 
Those two faces, they plus Dad, are what mummy referred to on your birth day as the "A Team". Steven and Nicole, incredible, incredible people. Not only are they incredibly gifted and skilled at what they do, they are warm, affirming and so encouraging. Dr Steven Thou is the super humble and talented obstetrician who acted promptly and put a stitch in my cervix when you were 20 weeks old.
That there is Dad cutting your umbilical cord. On a side note, no I didn't take the photo above or the one below. Although it does make me laugh that given the angle it looks like I did.
And that there is you and I, having our first cuddle. I'd prayed and dreamed about this moment for months. Five months to be exact. At times I felt so foolish for getting my hopes up, how silly of me to think it possible given the stats for you to be born full term and healthy enough for me to be able to have skin to skin cuddles with you right after birth. The alternative however was to sit with dread and fear, bracing myself for the worst case scenario. I decided to be foolish and hope. 

There is a song by Secret Nation, 'World I Wanted'. I heard it a few days before you were born and it's pretty much been the sound track that's been playing in my mind since I held you. 
Your first feed and my how hungry you were.
Dad, mesmerised by you. 
The amazing Nicole and you giving her a thumbs up. Oh man, can't explain how thankful I am she was on shift that day. A total God send! 
We face-timed your big brother 30 or so minutes after you were born and his reaction blew your Dad and I away. He wanted to come to the hospital right away. Poor Baba and Dedo had to distract him for a few hours while we waiting to move into our room where we could have visitors. 
And then he met you.
Oh Esther, that guy adores you. He has adored the idea of you since he discovered you were in my belly and now that you are here, wow. I'm praying that love he has for you continues to grow and that as you two grow up that you form a really strong and beautiful friendship. Yeah all this oxytocin flowing through my veins right now makes everything seem warm & fuzzy, even sibling relationships.
 Yet again more than happy to the the hopeful fool! 
He just could not take his eyes off you. Everyday he'd come into the hospital to see you, by-pass Dad and I and go straight to you and just stare at you. 
Your first bath.
Right after the bath I casually said "Ok, time to feed Esther" and Lucas looked straight at me and announced "Mum she not hungry, she wants me to hold her!". Oh man, totally melted me, how could I refuse that.
And then he clarified "No mum, she wants ME to hold her, all by myself!" And so he did... 
...and it turned out you were hungry "Mum, she thinks I have milk!"
Oh Esther, the way these two men look at you.
And then there was this.
An unexpected 18hr rollercoaster where you spiked a few fevers and you ended up in the special care unit over night. There were discussions about x-rays and lumber puncture but thankfully the initial results came back clear and your fever went down and didn't return.  They were hard hours. Going back to our room without you in it, with an empty cot by my bed. That was hard but thankful it was short lived and come the morning you were back with us. 
Before we left special care Dad gave you a bath, in the same bath tub he first bathed Lucas in. 
You were back with us, in our room. We put a little bow on your head and soaked you up, even more grateful to have you with us. 
We then celebrated the occasion with a high tea! The hospital happened to be providing us with one that day so it was pretty nice timing. 
That's Baba and Dedo adoring you. Oh Esther, you're so blessed to have these two humans in your corner. 
These next two images, oh my heart! 
So here is the back story. You were holding Dad's finger as I was changing your nappy. Lucas saw this and his eyes widened "Dad, Esther is holding your finger?". He then ran into the bathroom asked Dedo to come with him and a few minutes later emerged and announced "My hands are clean, I want to hold Esther's hand!". No one had asked him or suggested any of that. He was just so excited at the thought of you holding his finger, so sweet!
Oh and your brother took this photo of Dad enjoying some cuddles with you. 
He then asked if I could take some photos of him with you and Dad.
And then it was time to head home. See your little jump suit, Dad picked that out for you. He came home one day and had this cheeky look on his face and when I asked what the look was for, he shyly said "I picked something up for Esther". I was so excited and he looked so nervous because he wasn't sure if I'd like it. I could not have cared less what it looked like. The fact that he was thinking of you when he went shopping, that he was dreaming about and excited to buy his little girl something, that, that was everything. I was still a long way off from your due date so seeing your Dad give himself permission to enjoy the anticipation of your arrival given the journey we were walking, it meant so much. 
So when we were deciding what your going home outfit was going to be there was no question for me. 
Dad adoring you as he put you in your carseat for the first time.
Lucas had been talking about sitting next to you in the back of the car for weeks, he was so excited on our drive home, he requested that Dad put Coldplay's "A Sky Full of Stars" song on. It's the song that we have on his first year video, the one of him at your age, so I think he thought you might like it too again, super sweet and thoughtful!
Before we got home we decided that we should celebrate and I decided lets eat sushi, cause I missed it so much! So we did just that at our favourite little Japanese restaurant.
And then we were home, as a family of four, all under the one roof, stuff of dreams I tell you. 
We went out on little adventures to parks near us.
We had Pop and your Nicola come over for cuddles.
They brought gorgous gifts for you, tasty treats and a sweet book for your big brother and then they took your brother out on an adventure so that we could rest up. 
While I was feeding and then having a nap, your Dad and big brother decided to bake you cupcakes to celebrate you turning 1 week old! 
Lucas even wrote you a card to mark the occasion and put it in our mail box for you. He loves receiving letters so he thought you might like getting a letter too. Oh Esther, your Dad and brother, their thoughtfulness and love for you, just wow. 

Happy 1st week beautiful one.