Once Upon A Time…
Two Tellos became three! We are head over heels for our little girl and in awe of the gift she is to us! Here is some of the story of her arrival in words and pictures!
- Due Date: January 31, 2013
- Birth Date: February 4, 2013
- Time of Birth: 3:53PM
- Birth Weight: 7.5lbs
- Length: 20.5in
- Hair: Black
- Eyes: Dark Brown
- Birth Place: Torino, Italy
Ch. 1: Her Name is Arianna Evelyn
Jon and I have liked this name long before – years before – we knew we were pregnant with a beautiful little girl to give it to. We both have always loved the sound of it (which thankfully remains the same in English and Spanish). It is pronounced Ah-ree-ah-nah or with a slight trill for the “R” making it Ah-rree-ah-nah. We love her name as it is but also like the following nicknames (and only these): Aria or Rianna.
And wouldn’t you know that the name we have loved for so long, is of Greek and Italian origin so that the baby girl we “made in Italy” (as Jon so delicately puts it) even has a name that is Italian.
While it is not a biblical name, it means “pure” or “holy” which are both clearly significant themes throughout Scripture. We pray that our little Arianna will come to trust the only One who can truly make her heart pure and holy before Him. Her name also means “silver” and we desire that day by day she will allow Him to refine her as silver while recognizing the incredible responsibility we have as parents to help facilitate that process (especially through our own example as we let Him refine us!).
Her middle name is in honor of her Grandma, LeAnn Evelyn Embaugh, the greatest woman Arianna’s momma has ever known. Her grandma is a woman full of grace, truth, faith, integrity, and selfless love and we hope that Arianna will develop the same attributes as she grows.
The origin of her middle name is German or English and meaning is “life” or “bird”. We have chosen Psalm 139:34-14 as a theme verse for her first year (we are adopting a tradition from friends of ours who choose a verse for each child at each birthday and pray it over them throughout the year). We want her to know her life is precious and the Father who created her will take care of her. After all He cares for the birds and she is much more valuable to Him then they are (Matt 6:26)!
Ch. 2: The Day She Was Born
Arianna’s due date (Thursday, Jan 31st) came and went, but she stayed where she was. It was hard to be patient, but we trusted God was doing exactly what we asked, waiting to bring her into the world at the perfect time. All weekend Erika was having frequent Braxton Hicks contractions. By Sunday night the contractions were stronger and by midnight they were coming every 7 minutes. Since we had an hour drive we grabbed our things, picked up our friend and translator, and headed to the hospital.
We arrived at our hospital of choice in Torino at about 2am. We learned that Erika was only 0-1cm dilated and by then the contractions were less consistent, but the hospital asked her to stay overnight because she was more effaced than most women at that stage. Her contractions continued to become stronger, closer together and more consistent throughout the morning but it wasn’t until 10am that she was declared to be in active labor at 3cm. By 1pm she was at 6cm and an hour later her water broke. Finally at 2:45 she was moved to delivery where she spent over an hour pushing until Arianna was born at 3:53pm.
Erika chose to have a natural labor and delivery and the doctors and nurses were considerate of most details of her birth plan. We found God’s fingerprints all over the process as He provided a kind doctor with enough English speaking ability, empty birthing rooms that could be used privately, the opportunity for Erika’s mom and Jon to be a support to her at different times, Erika’s ability to go through with the natural birth as desired, and best of all a healthy mom and baby in the end! We are so grateful for the prayers of so many that undoubtedly provided such a covering over the whole process.
Ch. 3: First Hours and Days
After the birth, our new family of three had some time together when Arianna nursed for the first time and we all began to soak in the reality of this new life we were beginning. Next the doctors took care of mom and baby separately and then we were finally all together again settled into our hospital room by 7:30pm. This was important because visiting hours ended at 8:30pm and it gave us some time before all visitors, including daddy, had to leave mom and baby alone for the night (until 10am the next morning).
The next three days Erika and Arianna stayed in the hospital while Jon and Erika’s mom traveled back and forth to spend time with them during visiting hours. Here are some of the special moments captured with Arianna during those days.
Ch. 4: In a Land Far Far Away
Having a baby in Italy has its advantages and disadvantages but here are some random examples of what it was like based on my experience (mainly ways it would differ from a typical American birth).
- Most Obstetricians know basic English but are not fluent. Nurses often have no English speaking ability.
- Mother-baby duos don’t have their own private room for recovery. Rooms are shared with 2-3 other new mother-baby duos.
- Due to the rooming situation, visiting hours are quite strict. At my hospital each mom has one pass to give to one individual allowing him/her to visit anytime between 10am and 8:30pm. Additionally, any adults were free to come from 2-3pm and adults and kids were allowed between 7:30-8:30. Outside of those hours no one (not even dads) is allowed to visit.
- My room had no bathroom in it, just a sink. Our wing had a couple bathrooms that were shared between all of us (10-15 women) and in order to use them we wheeled our babies in their cribs into the bathrooms with us.
- They not only used hospital bracelets but each baby had a name tag on a string that went around the baby’s neck and was taped to the shirt to keep it from moving (we took Arianna’s off when the nurses weren’t looking!)
- When it’s meal time they only give you 30 minutes to eat it and then take the food away whether you’ve had a chance to finish or not.
- The hospital is relatively clean but not very attractive. Italy is old and its buildings reflect that. My room was not pretty and had none of the comforts or conveniences you might expect in the States such as fresh paint or paper on the walls, tvs, or soft recliners for guests. It was somewhat cold feeling but functional.
- Mothers at my hospital are given a lot of freedom and authority to care for their child as they see fit so I was able to room-in and nurse with support as needed.
There were some staff at the hospital who we especially appreciated. My doctor during the active labor and delivery was gentle, kind and attuned to me. One particular nurse during recovery always brightened my mornings when she made rounds with her wide smile, encouraging comments, and oohs and ahhs over our little girl. Finally, the roommate in the bed next to me was very sweet. We were able to communicate through my broken Italian and mutual empathizing gestures.
Chapter 5: Going Home
After 2.5 days of recovery in the hospital we were released to go home! We were all so relieved, but Jon especially was elated to finally bring his girls home and not have to leave them alone any more at night. We dressed our precious bundle in scarlet and grey declaring her entrance to our family of die hard OSU Buckeye fans and tucked her safely in her car seat for the first time. She slept most of the way home opening her eyes some as we entered our town.
Now we are all enjoying lots of snuggle time with our amazing little lady in the comfort of our home. We couldn’t be happier about this addition to our family and feel completely honored by the privilege of being her mommy and daddy. Our journey just got infinitely sweeter!
We discovered this song, The One You Need, just before Arianna was born and resonate deeply with the lyrics. What an amazing honor to be entrusted with a child and to have a Heavenly Father who loves us and our children more deeply and fully than we can know. We pray He would help us to teach her that as much as we love her, Jesus is the One she needs more than anything.