on that Mother’s Day Sunday ~ 5:46pm ~ our lives forever changed
now get your minds out the gutter. Soleil wasn’t conceived on a double-decker British bus or anything, but our first desire to have a child was.
At the time, P.A. and I were living and working in NYC. We lived in Battery Park City, served in ministry at a vibrant church in Midtown Manhattan, and had a healthy love/hate relationship with the Big Apple.
Yes, we were those tourists.
On the top level of the double-decker, as we were taking in the sights of London, like Buckingham Palace, etc… P.A. and I both looked forward and caught sight of this cute little boy with wavy red hair. He looked back in our direction toward his parents behind us and flashed a smile. We then looked at each other and started to tear up.
At this time, we had been married for over 5 years and had no plans of having children anytime soon. We didn’t even like kids. unless they were a good distance away from us. we were never ‘baby people’. “Ohhh, let me hold your baby.” or “Your baby is sooo cute!” or “babies are the best!” …
those words never came from our mouths.
Yet, in this moment. we. just. knew.
We spent the rest of our dream trip talking about our future with kids.
And now we have 3 wee babs…
and Salem, our 5 year old, has a toy British Bus and often asks, “When are we gonna go on a British Bus?” To which we reply, “We want to go as soon as we can!”
So we procrastinated on actually having a baby. since we are good at procrastinating, why mess up a good thing?
By God’s grace and mercy, I became pregnant with Soleil in August 2003, right away, after
waiting procrastinating to “try” and get pregnant.
As soon as we found out I was pregnant, emotions were high and everyday was a new adventure of learning and questions like “what to eat?”, “what to wear?”, “how will I feel?” and “will I make it thru the day without throwing up?” At this point, I was consumed with myself more than a normal human typically is, I’m guessing.
I was very sick for the first trimester. I couldn’t keep much food down. I lost 10-15 lbs. and I was excited about this. I was enjoying being a “skinny pregnant chick”.
Fast forward to February 2004. I was 6 months pregnant and we were taking our birthing classes at the hospital, given by a midwife. During this time, I discovered that the c-section rate at our hospital was very high. I started doing my homework, not procrastinating for once, and researching everything there is to know about pregnancy and birth at one of my favorite places to dwell for endless hours, prior to having kids… the Barnes and Noble cafe tables in Union Square.
After our birthing class and my personal research, I was empowered with enough information to become a doctor and deliver my own baby, so I decided to change doctors. Although I tend to be a people pleaser and don’t like hurting anyone’s feelings, I didn’t have a committed relationship to my doctor, so I changed hospitals and found a midwifery group that I could marry into.
These ladies rocked!
At this point, I also cared more about Soleil – who at the time was Hannah-Soleil – and was growing beautifully. We were growing very anxious to meet her! During the 20 week ultra sound, the technician said in her Russian accent “she has strong arm.” During this ultra sound, we also found out she was going to be a she. P.A. kept asking, “are you sure?” only to be met with a firm look and a stern answer, “Yes. I sure.” from the technician who, as I said before, was Russian and looked as though she could arm wrestle us with her pinky. I kept nudging P.A. to believe her and just let it be… but he asked because he had to be sure.
In case you weren’t aware of this fact:
Pregnant women can experience a range of emotions.
When I was just a few weeks away from my due date, P.A. and I went to Quiznos for lunch, and as I waddled into the fine sandwich establishment, I suddenly felt like I was under a spotlight. As we approached the counter to order, one of the workers making sandwiches whispered loud enough so that i could hear, “Man, she is mad pregnant!” Really?!? I wasn’t sure. I thought I had just swallowed a whole basketball or watermelon or some other thing roughly that size… needless to say, I was like “dude, I can HEAR YOU!” and I stared him down until he couldn’t handle my fiery gaze any longer and he turned away. I don’t think he will share his opinion on any pregnant women again after encountering moi.
After 9 months of swollen feet, maddening hunger, severe need to always be near a restroom (not always easy in NYC), and feeling like a manatee… Saturday, May 8th arrived. This was a normal day, whatever that means for our lives. We had a youth leaders meeting an hour north of the city and drove up there to connect, encourage and pray with one another. During the dinner and meeting, I visited the restroom a record number of times and had some painful infrequent contractions. At the end of our time together all the leaders gathered around to pray for us, as we were about to journey into the unpredictable land of parenthood.
They prayed I would have the baby that night.
As we drove back to the city, I talked with my sister in law on the phone, reporting to her all of the details of my recent contractions and obsessive need to go pee, throughout the youth leaders meeting. When we got home, I plopped myself on the couch and watched some show about “Celebrity Moms”. At midnight, I managed to pry myself off of the couch to walk four feet into our bedroom and Whoosh! My water broke.
I. was. in. shock.
I didn’t really expect to go into labor so soon – my due date was still a week away. But there was no doubt, labor had begun. I called my midwife. went to the bathroom 30 more times, soaked thru several pairs of pants and after 6 hours of laboring at home, we headed to the hospital at 6am.
Nearly 12 hours later, after an intense natural labor and all of the fun things involved with that – which I will spare you the details on, since you have enough other details of her/our long story – Soleil was born compound presentation. this means she had her hand on her cheek when she was delivered. let me tell you, that was super fun. especially given no meds… and the fact that she was a “big baby” weighing 8.9 lbs.
But I didn’t care about the pain, though P.A. nearly passed out. She was healthy and in my arms. As soon as we saw her, we new she was not a “Hannah-Soleil”, she was a pure ‘Soleil’ ~ We were ecstatic! and she looked just like a female version of Adam. we couldn’t get over it. so we gave her the middle name Elizabeth, after the middle name of P.A.’s sister.
So, this is Soleil’s birth story with a lot of important details leading up to her life story. She just turned eight years old and is already changing the world and touching lives. She has changed our lives forever with her grand entrance into the world and we look forward to the rest of her story… so far it is only halfwritten.