Welcome, Vera Mae

I’ve never written a birth story before. Some things seem almost too precious to write down, like they’re only dear enough to savor in your heart. Too dear to share. But I want to write it all down because 1. there are so many of the details I don’t want to let myself forget and 2. who doesn’t love a good birth story?

I don’t know why some big decisions in life are so clear and easy and “yes, that is what we should do” simple, but some aren’t. Some are big and scary and you don’t know which is what and its frightening to say one way or another. That’s how I’ve felt for probably two years about having a fourth baby. I didn’t know. In the back of my mind, I’m always slightly afraid that I’ll take on one inch more than I can actually take on and I’ll snap into a million pieces. I thought maybe that fourth baby would be my breaking point…could I handle it? We debated for months. Yes, no. Yes, no. Until last August when our answer became a resounding, “yes.”

Flying back home from South Dakota last August, the day before Jack’s 7th birthday. I knew something was going on, but that? No way. We left so early that morning, a flight before the sun. The kids quickly zonked out, Jack’s sleepy little head on my lap. I, on the other hand, was not sleeping. My head was in a million different directions, different scenarios, different streams of sanity.  Somewhere in the middle of my frantic thoughts, Jack sat up and stared at my face.  “Mom, I just want a baby so bad. I don’t remember when Sophie was a baby and I want to be a big brother. Like a big brother, you know?” Ya, serious folks. He said that. Right in the middle of my stewing, little Jack Jack was thinking about a baby too, but on an entirely different wave-length.

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Fast forward to 40 weeks + 6 days of pregnancy and a thousand stories later.  I posted this post that day, whined about how tired I was about being overdue.  I skipped church. We did a little house shopping (more on that later…and yes, we found the one that very day.) We ate lunch out. I wasn’t hungry. Noah, Mom, and I went to get groceries and it started. I had been having so many of those rude fake contractions, I wasn’t sure. But after the groceries were put away and they were still happening, my mom made me sit down and she timed them. Jarrod was in the back with the kids completely oblivious that the words of our baby’s birth story were slowly being jotted down.

I moved slow, unusually calm. Mom called Jarrod to come get ready to go. I showered. Somewhere in there Sophia came inside. She was a nervous burst of energy in the room.  While I showered, she brought be jewelry, pajamas, a toothbrush. She put things into my bag; shoes, my camera, make-up. The boys came inside. Noah was nervous. He flipped through books on the couch and chewed on his lips.  Somehow Jack missed the memo of what we were doing, “What?! You’re going now!? I thought we were eating dinner….” Ya, it confused the little guy that everyday for the passed 6 weeks had asked if it was time, is it time, is it time a million times.  They were all nerves and excitement.  My mom made them dinner.  I snapped some pictures with my just three before we left. We drove off to blown kisses, wide eyes, and big waves.

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Even though I’d done this three times before, there’s still a big element of holy crap we’re about to do this thing. I don’t know if I’m just an old worry wart now or what, but I had more anxiety this time then I ever have. Just worried. What if something went wrong during delivery? What if something was wrong with the baby? The anxiety never really went away til much later. The night drifted on. They moved us from the first monitoring room to the delivery room. The contractions got stronger, but not unbearable. I hadn’t felt contractions in over five years and strangely enough, I wanted to. (for a little bit and then give me the drugs, you get me??) Jarrod paced and ate Swedish Fish. He kept making me laugh.

The anesthesiologist came in. I soon felt that cool rush of the IV down my back that I both welcome with open arms and curl my toes in fear against…a love/hate relationship. With Noah, I had no drugs. With the other two, I did. I chose the latter this time too.

It was getting late, around 1 am. It was so quiet and calm. Jarrod dozed, I dozed. In between, I listened to everything; the clock, the monitor, the baby’s heartbeat, the blood pressure cuff, Jarrod’s slow deep breaths…I took it in. I knew that this was going to be my last rodeo and I wanted to make it count. I wanted to remember it all, see it all, take it all in. Around 2:30 am, the doctor came in to break my water. After she did so, I knew the look exchanged between her and the nurse meant something was up. “It’s not uncommon, especially in overdue babies, to have a bowel movement. We’ll have to call the NICU team but there’s nothing to worry about. Also, it looks like the baby is facing upwards instead of downwards so we’re going to try to get the baby to rotate.” Cue more anxiousness.

They had me twist my upper body to try to get her to shift and they said they’d be back in 15 minutes to check again. After five, the intuitive mama-gene kicked into hyper-mode telling me it was time. And it was. In about 45 seconds, our quiet oasis was filled with people; the doctor, nurses, the NICU team, a sweet Asian student nurse named Christina who I’m pretty sure was more freaked out than me by a long shot. The adrenaline in me kicked into overdrive, leaving no room for the anxiety because for those of us that have been through this crazy experience you know there’s no room for anything else but to focus on the present. A little sweat and five pushes later and my 9 pound 7 ounce bundle was in front of my eyes, blinking at me.  The sweet smell of a newborn baby hit me in the face like a kiss. The doctor gave Jarrod the go-ahead to make the announcement.  He had been so so sure that this was a boy, he’d basically not even looked, until he did. I saw his face take it in, “it’s a…..girl.

I laughed and the tears came. All the months of sciatic pain, numb ribs, nausea, emotions running rampant; it all became worth it in an instant, in a rush at 3:16 am. 
My girl. 
My second girl. 
It all suddenly made sense. I somehow knew that this the way it was supposed to be all along. All my fears, my anxieties, my worries…this was the plan the whole time, I just hadn’t seen it. Our family, completed by a sweet girl I never knew I needed. I laid with her forever, drinking her in. Meeting each other for the first time is the best blessing there is. 
Her name…Vera Mae. It fit so perfectly from the first moment. There’s really no great significance to the name we chose other than I loved the meaning of it, “faithful one”, and Mae is an old family name. It suits her so well.

They moved us up to the Mother-Baby floor. They said to rest. There was no way. I finally had this little person in my hands. There was no chance of resting. The sun started to come up a few hours later, over the mountains a million colors bursting just for us, I just knew. I thanked God for my perfect daughter,
for the other sweet babies I knew had barely slept waiting to hear the news,
for the months we have to prepare ourselves for that moment,
for the two sons and two daughters I now had; perfect playmates and best friends forever,
for all I had and hadn’t seen.

Jarrod left later to get the kids. I could hear them in the hall before they came in. Their faces as they met their sister are forever engraved in my memory. Their pride and wonder…it was almost too much for my heart.

Bringing another person into your home always has a learning curve attached. We’re all getting used to each other. I am learning about this new little girl and loving this sweet time.  It’s less sleep, yes, but what we’ve gained instead is so much more.  She sleeps really well, she’s only waking up once a night. There are so many little things I don’t want to forget about this precious newborn time:
Her hair waving at me from the ultrasound screen three days before she was born like seaweed in the water. She has way more hair than any of the others, I can all but braid it.
Her nightly routine of waking around 3am every night, the same time I woke up while I was pregnant almost every night for the last 3 months. 
Her daily hiccups that have carried over from the last several months of pregnancy into her infancy. The little chirps making the kids hysterical.
Her smell. Her precious, irreplaceable newborn smell. I cannot get enough.

Knowing this is the last bambino, I’m acutely aware of all these details. In the past 10 days I’ve tried to write down and organize my thoughts. It’s hard to do. I’ve had a few baby-blue breakdowns. Mostly I’m digging my heels in against the racing world, refusing to go fast and get back to normal. I don’t want normal. Because there’s nothing normal about this amazing event of becoming a mama once again. It’s extreme and beautiful and not to be passed over. I’m throwing my fist up at the calendar and we’re skipping everything right now. I’m saying, let’s just pause please a little longer. 

We didn’t stay long in the hospital. Usually I like to take my time there and enjoy the quietness, but this time I was anxious to get home to my other babies. They wanted her home. I wanted her home. Jarrod and I packed her up, driving home a little slower than normal. We were welcomed by our entourage, a welcoming committee of love. I’m pretty sure she hasn’t been put down since. 
I sit here bewildered…days later…wondering how it is that I’ve been so blessed. My heart is so full it almost hurts. The Master Baby Creator knew just what I needed. He knew our family needed one more sweet girl. He knew that even after two induction dates scheduled and neither working out that deep down I wanted to let our baby choose it’s own birthday and I wanted to feel that excitement of going into labor on my own. He knew Sophie needed a sister. He knew. He knew. 

This is Vera’s beginning. The start of a life. I’ve been praying for her future; her health, her life. Grandma’s gone home, hence our house is messy but our hearts are full and overflowing which is all we’re really concerned about right now. 
We’re not quite ready to go back to everyday life, it feels forever changed anyway.  If you need me I’ll be smelling my Vera Mae.


  1. Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl! I just had my 4th (3 weeks ago). It's our first girl and it has been so much fun having the experience of having a girl! I've never publicly shared a birth story, until baby #4, which I shared on my blog. I loved reading your story! You have a lovely family!

  2. gosh. i cried while i read her sweet birth story…how precious to recall when you met her that you drank her in.

    love that.

    the tears were almost gone when I saw the picture of sofie looking at her in your arms. i don't even know sofie, but i stopped and prayed that the Lord would assure her that she'll always have a special place in your heart as her first daughter, and i prayed for her heart to always feel a sincere love for her little sister…praying their relationship one is a sweet, precious friendship. i'm trusting that it will be.

  3. I had been saving this post to read when I knew I would be able to soak it up. LOVE it and so glad I read it all at once. Thanks for sharing. Your love overflows through this post. She is just perfect. It will be so fun to watch her grow. Congratulations to the Hutchinsons!
    XOXO Hope to see her someday when you visit SD!


  4. Such a beautiful story! I just love your sweet family and Vera Mae makes it complete. Congratulations, She is beautiful!

  5. So lovely and beautiful; thanks for sharing your baby story. They all indeed are precious.

  6. I'm not sure why your story has tears streaming down my face, but it does. Our kids are 9 and 14, (Noah and Callie Mae), but the memories are there, so close, so tangible, so raw, so touching.

    I have so enjoyed getting to "know you" in this virtual world…..you are so special, and have feathered your nest in a way that makes us all want to climb in!

    So happy for you all…..


  7. Such a Blessing!! Such beautiful pictures!!! Enjoy every minute as we know time just goes by way to fast!! We had eight children and it just went so fast!!

  8. so so sweet! She is an adorable addition to your family. many many blessings to you all as you settle in to your new routine. God bless!!!!!

  9. So much sweetness I can hardly stand it! My heart is overflowing with joy for you, Vera Mae, your family. What a blessing it is to be entrusted with these little ones! So glad you were able to put her story into words, you will never regret it! xoxo

  10. I never get tired of hearing birth stories,,, I love this, Alicia! what a wonderful thing for little Miss Vera Mae to have one day!! I love her name, just perfect. I am so happy for you and your family. Enjoy!!!

  11. Oh Alicia, you are seriously making me cry! She is just beautiful. Goodness, I am so, so happy for you. You wrote it all so perfectly and I am just rejoicing with you. She is perfect! And her name is so lovely. Goodness, so happy for you!

  12. I've followed your blog a couple of months now and anxiously anticipated the arrival of your new little one with you! My fourth baby will turn two this summer. She was also a big "should we or shouldn't we go for a fourth" question that was answered by God's good plan for us rather than by our own decision. Reading your post brings tears to my eyes–the sentiments are so familiar. Congratulations to you and your family. Enjoy!

  13. This is so beautiful! Congratulations, on the new little addition to your sweet family. Vera Mae is adorable. xo

  14. this is oozing with sweetness and joy and so much of HIs sweet grace. i was hoping for a girl. : ) and her name – just perfect. soap up her newborn goodness – everything else can wait. xoxo!!!

  15. I have not had time to read blogs lately, but had to pop on this morning to see if the baby had arrived.

    This beautiful post … makes me so happy and grateful to the Lord for his sweet idea of family.

    Praying as you transition and heal.


  16. I'm so glad you decided to write out the birth story of sweet Vera. I wanted to read it slowly and feel the emotions. I absolutely love the way the big siblings look to their baby sister. Congrats to you and your family and your sweet baby. I cannot wait to be able to experience this amazing experience.

  17. Precious precious pictures. So happy for you, Alicia. She's such a beautiful little blessing. Hope I can meet her someday soon! I think she looks just like her "big brother" Jack ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Congratulations to your family on the birth of your sweet baby girl. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Blessings to you all!

  19. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. She is a lucky little girl to be part of such a loving family. Makes me look forward to adding more little ones to our family ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing Vera's beautiful beginning. My heart is just bursting with love and excitement for your family.

  21. This was the best birth story! Oh how I felt I was right back there with my littlest. I know you are treasuring every moment with her. I absolutely love how the older ones look with her too!

    So, so good! Congrats again!

  22. Oh my dear friend! You have me in tears here! Thank you SO much for sharing Vera's birth story- it makes you feel not so far away. Enjoy this precious time! I LOVED seeing her wrapped in the blanket that I spent so many hours praying for her and your family. Love you and your sweet family and miss you like crazy!!!

  23. tears. lots of tears this morning, girl.
    this is so beautiful…you've got it right. take the extra time, slow down, enjoy EVERY moment.
    you will absolutely not regret it.
    that baby is so preciou, as are all of your beautiful children.
    i am SO happy for you.
    God is so kind and good…i'm so glad HE knows what we need even when we aren't sure.
    blessings abound.

    love you.
    ps i want to hold her so bad i can hardly stand it!

  24. Happy birthday Vera! Love her birth story and how she completes your family. Love the sweet pictures of the kids meeting their new sister..the wonder, joy and awe are priceless.

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