Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Day Hunter was Born.

(Jennifer) I had slept fairly well the night before, but once I woke up the nerves started kicking in.  I felt excited, worried, happy and sad all at the same time.  That morning I really wanted to do something special as a family…but I had no clue what.  I was struggling with saying “goodbye” to our family of four, my heart felt a little torn.  Justin kept asking me why are you sad? We’re still going to be a family.  And while yes this was true, as a mama I was concerned about how much having a baby brother would change Hannah & Emma’s world ~ now they would need to share us even more than they already do. 

So with these thoughts heavy on my heart, I kept daydreaming about our last morning and how special it would be.  Silly me, I must have forgotten that our daughters are 3 YEARS OLD! It was chaos.  At one point Emma was nearly naked running around the backyard half covered in mud.  Our beautiful little girls were simply happy and goofy as could be.

(Justin) When I awoke that day I recall reciting to myself “make today special, be patient with the girls.”   This was an extra stressful day, as we were ready to finally see our new son.  I knew the girls would be challenging while Jen and I attempted to prepare for our trip to the hospital. Hannah and Emma were 3 years old and full of life. They required so much entertainment and Chase would not be there to watch after them until just before we were supposed to leave. I remember thinking why didn’t we ask him to come way earlier. You may think that one would be prepared in advance for such an event, especially since it was on our calendar for quite some time. Well with twin 3 year old daughters and a very pregnant wife, there is rarely a prepared moment in our lives.  Somehow,  we seem to function well. 

That morning I pretty much let the girls get away with whatever they wanted. They got popsicles in the morning, played in the dog house and ran through the sprinklers in their pajamas. All of these things were the least of my worries that day. For some reason I was far more concerned about the operation this time than I was with the girls. Perhaps it was due to the fact that the girls came a couple of days early and we really didn’t know what to expect. This time around we were leaving our home to go to an appointment to have another child.  Weird.  In addition we had a much better idea of what to expect. Chase showed up on time and we were able to catch one last photo of the Starr foursome for the last time. With bags in hand and nerves on edge we headed to Chandler Regional Medical Center to have Baby Boy Starr.

(Jennifer) As we snapped our last photo as a family of four, my eyes started to welt up.  Hannah noticed my reaction right away and wanted me to hold her.  She sensed that something big was going to happen but I don’t think either of our girls truly understood.  I was so happy that my brother was there to watch and play with them.  The girls adore him and I knew that right after we left, they would all have lots of fun. 

We arrived at the hospital on time to check in.  The front desk starting in with all the questions …and I felt myself getting more and more nervous.  It was so weird because I wasn’t really nervous prior, when I had my twin girls.  I remember just feeling so relieved because I knew that my body couldn’t handle carrying them any longer (as they were full term twinzies).  I was also, completely oblivious because I had never been through this before ( c-section).  However this time, I remembered nearly everything….I was getting scared.  I was also really shook up because now I was already a mom, I worried what if something happens?  What about my baby girls (and son to be)?  It’s a vulnerable feeling when you have children to care for and you know you’re about to get cut open. 

The nurses started in with all the prep work.  Justin could tell I was extra nervous because I wasn’t talking much.  I was so aware of everything medically that was happening, I was full of fear.  Then, all of a sudden I heard the sound of a nearby newborn baby cry.  And then I lost it…the tears started falling and I could barely keep it together.  In that moment I was reminded what was REALLY about to happen…I was about to become a mom again.  That sweet sound was just the reminder I needed, that  is what this was REALLY all about.  We were about to bring our baby boy into this world. 

Finally it was time.  They wheeled me out to the operating room, right past my parents who were waiting in the hallway.  I could feel my heart pounding.  It was time to say goodbye to Justin for a few minutes while they administered the epidural and got me prepped.  It seemed like it took forever!  Once the epidural was over I felt a little better, I had this really strong sense of just wanting and needing Justin to be in the room with me.  It felt like it took FOREVER before they let him come in.  All of sudden I started to feel super nauseous..and I got scared.  Oh no, what’s going to happen.  Luckily the anesthesiologist was really great and was able to get my nausea under control.  I just keep taking deep breaths and was so anxious for the surgery to be over. 

(Justin) As we were sitting in the prep area and the nurses were starting IVs and collecting even more data I grew increasing nervous. I just wanted the surgery to be over with and everyone to be healthy and resting in our hospital room. I was seated outside of the OR and remember that it seemed to take forever compared to what I experienced with the girls. Time was in “fast forward” motion with the twins but now it was in “slow” motion. Finally it was time. Jen was getting nauseas and the anesthesiologist was pushing drugs and adjusting things to help overcome her stomach. Then the anesthesiologist said “ok dad, you can look now”. Just then I saw our baby boy being lifted in the air. At first I noticed he didn’t cry and my heart sunk. Then all of the sudden we heard a “bobcat growl”. This kid was loud and healthy.  I instantly began to tear up and remember the exact way I felt with the girls. It is this overwhelming “out-of-body” experience of pure joy and fear all at the same time. I looked back at Jen and saw her smile. That beautiful smile I fell in love with so many years ago.  Suddenly this nurse has Hunter cradled like a football and starts pushing through all of the people in the room, including me. She brought Hunter right over to mommy. I mean right away. This was new to us. I just started snapping away with my camera. It was quite the thing to witness.

(Jennifer) Finally, the moment had come that I was waiting for, the sound of my baby boy’s voice.   The sense of relief you feel as a parent in that scenario is incredible.  I just started calling out for him, telling him I was right there and that everything was okay.  It’s really wild what your human, motherly instincts direct you to do without even thinking about it.  The next thing I know the nurse brings Hunter directly to me.  (this wasn’t something I experienced with my girls).  She brought him straight to me and nestled him right next to me for a long duration of time.  The amazing part was that this instantly calmed him..he really did know my voice and he knew I was  “mom.” The next thing that happens is I feel his little hand reach out a grab my chin, all the nurses started gasping and saying “oh wow, look at this.” He kept his little hand there for awhile.

(Jennifer) In that moment I finally “got it.” You see so many moms keep telling me how “special and different” a bond is between a mother and a son.  That’s the moment
I got it.  At less than a few minutes old, my baby boy was already comforting me.
(Justin) I was relieved that all was okay  and he was slowly turning more pink as he was pretty blue at first. We were then escorted out with Jen holding the baby. Again this was different than the first time, as the twins were placed in a bassinet and I was able to introduce them to the family right away. This time they whisked us past Jen’s Mom and Dad and our friend Bridget that was waiting in the hallway to get photos of little guy. This was a very different experience than last time.

As were we in recovery waiting for our room little guy just picked his head up to take a look around. He was so strong it made our mouths drop and laugh at him.    We were told that it may be a while for our room so I quickly went across the street to get a bit to eat, as I hadn’t eaten all day. I ran into Quizznos and grabbed a sandwich. I remember sitting in the car quickly eating trying to get back as soon as possible. Then, I received a text from Jen saying that they were in room #421.  I was disappointed I didn’t get to go with them up to the room and push the button to play the newborn song that plays in the hospital when there is a new arrival. When I got back to the hospital I saw baby and mom resting in the room.
(Jennifer) Looking back now, I actually loved the little bit of alone time I had with my baby boy after we transported up to our room.  His warm little body on my skin felt heavenly.  He was so happy and very content.  In a weird way he seemed more advanced and less fragile than my girls had originally seemed.  Maybe it was more about me already being more of an experienced mom…or maybe it was because there was only one of him, he seemed so much more manageable. 

Justin arrived back and about an hour or so later my parents arrived with Hannah and Emma along with my brother Chase.  This was the moment I had been daydreaming about;  seeing the girls meet their baby brother for the very time and seeing my three babies together.  The girls walked in the room slowly and full of wonderment.  I think it was all a little overwhelming to them.  Emma instantly wanted to hold “Baby Hunter” Hannah was very unsure. 

(Justin) When the girls first came in to see Hunter the reaction was mixed. Emma was super excited and couldn’t wait to hold him. Hannah seemed a bit confused as to why Hunter was still not in mom’s belly. At one moment Hunter opened his eyes and Hannah freaked out. It was sad but funny at the same time. One of the greatest moments is when Emma held Hunter for the first time. She was all smiles and you could tell she was very proud of herself. The family all took turns holding little guy and visited for a good while. After they left and night fell, things were pretty calm. I remember thinking how easy this was compared to the twins. Granted it was only one this time and I had a lot of experience this time around. Once he was settled down I actually found myself able to relax a little. He slept cuddled up in Jen’s arms for the night. All I could see was his orange hat sticking up and I listened to his little tiger cub noises all night. He was a sleeper.

(Jennifer) Our baby was here and all was well. We were happy and relaxed.  All I did for next several days was hold him ~all the time.  I had never had one baby before, he was so kissable and easy.  He slept on me all day and night. I remember at one point a nurse had asked me if I wanted her to place him in his bassinet, and I said no.  She asked if I was going to be able and stay awake like that.  I giggled to myself..umm yes.  I was a second time (third time?)  around mom, and I was breaking the rules.  I knew he was safe in my arms, I wasn’t about to let him go , he just felt way too good. 

(Justin) While Jen and Hunter were resting in the hospital I was running around town getting the final preparations completed for his arrival at our home. With the girls down at their “Pa and Gee’s”  house I was able to finally get some things done. I got our bed comfy and purchased a co-sleeper as he was going to be bunking with us for a while. We didn’t think it was right to put him next to his loud sisters just yet. We only stayed 2 days this time around and baby and momma were ready to come home. It was nerve racking to drive with him in the car. I was reminded of the drive home with the girls. When we got him home we placed him in his brand new bed. He was here. Finally we had our little boy and the next chapter started. Our little Hunter Dean Starr.


  1. I loved hearing your story, Jen! So very happy for your happiness!


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