Dear Soleil… – 10/13/2012

¡Atención Amigos: This post is a letter to my daughter and contains some graphic birthing images. If that is not your cup of tea, you may want to change the channel now.

Dear Soleil,

Welcome to Sprinter Life my beautiful precious daughter. This is where your Mom and I tell the story of our lives, and now of your life too.  We share the good times and the bad, our happiness and sorrow, our wonderful memories, the lessons we learn, and all our grand adventures. One day you’ll be able to read all about these early times.

Today I want to tell you the story of your birthday, October 9th, 2012.
(Click here for your birthday announcement post).

Your journey into this world was not an easy one. In true Sprinter Life style, it was an epic adventure that lasted over 36 hours.

It started around 1 am on a Monday morning when I woke up and noticed your Mama was having trouble sleeping. By 3 am we realized it was the signs of labor. We stayed in bed, awake, timing her contractions. We smiled at each other as we talked about your arrival. We were both so excited.

We got up at about 5 am and decided to take a walk around the block. When we returned Mama began getting ready for your big birthday. While brushing her hair and putting on her make-up she said,

“I want to look my best when I meet my daughter”

We knew we had plenty of time, so we took another walk. Kiki knew something was going on. She followed Mama everywhere all morning and seemed very aware of your impending presence. Everybody was smiling.

After our 2nd walk Mama’s contractions were about 10 minutes apart and slowly growing in strength.  We started practicing our relaxation and breathing while I gently rubbed her back.

Noni joined the effort and began to diligently time all of Mama’s contractions and take pictures. This ended up being a job that lasted for almost TWO DAYS!

Noni had only arrived 48 hours before, (remember here). We were SOOOOO happy that she made it in time for your birthday. I don’t know how we would have survived without her tender support.

Our birth plan was to stay at the house as long as possible before going to the hospital. We had toured the hospital the week before, (remember here), and it wasn’t a very warm place. So we wanted to minimize the amount of time we were there.

By midday your Mama was having contractions every 4-5 minutes, and they were building in pain. We decided to pack up and head out. At this point we were jumping out of our skin with excitement. Based on the interval of contractions, we thought you would be arriving within hours. I could barely contain myself.

Our doula, Roxanna, arrived with a car to take us to the hospital. We had hired her last May when we decided to move to Lima to give birth (remember here). Roxanna proved to be a huge help bringing you into this world.

We all loaded into the car and headed to the hospital. Your Mommy was in a lot of pain with her contractions, but she was extremely calm and poised.

When we got to the hospital, despite her strong contractions, we were all surprised to find out that Mommy was only dilated to 1 cm! We were expecting 6 or 7. What we would later learn after 36 hours of labor was that two problems were causing your Mommy’s contractions to progress while her dilation did not.

1) Mommy had an excess of amniotic fluid. We knew this from previous ultrasounds. Although we were told that it wasn’t a problem, apparently her contractions were trying to push you down to engage, but the extra buoyancy was not allowing it to happen. Maybe things would have been different if you weren’t coming 2 weeks before your delivery date.

2) You had an extra short umbilical cord, which also made it difficult for you to descend into the birth canal. You kept trying to get your head in position, but just when you got to where you wanted to be, you floated back up!

Below, Noni holds Mommy during a contraction in the hospital parking lot.

Well, since Mama was only dilated at 1 cm and since the hospital was not a very nice place to hang out, we decided to go to Roxanna’s place, Prenatal, which was only 2 blocks away. Here we rested with Mama and helped her through contraction after contraction.

We tried to feed her some chicken noodle soup but she threw it up. This would become a common theme anytime she tried to eat or drink, or if a contraction was extra powerful. She was never able to hold down food and essentially went 2 days without anything to eat. This may explain why you were SOOOOOO hungry when you came out!

We stayed at Prenatal until Mama’s contractions were only 2-3 minutes apart and very painful. Then we decided to go back to the hospital and check in for your delivery. We still thought that you would be arriving at any time! It had been a lot of work, but we were thrilled that you were almost here.

Unfortunately, when we checked Mama out at the hospital she had only progressed to 1.5 cm of dilation. This was INSANE. She had already been in labor for almost 14 hours. She began crying. We all felt very discouraged and tired.

But Mama quickly regained her composure and began the process of focusing through her contractions, working hard all through the night. She was absolutely amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. I was in awe of her.

I was so inspired by your Mama that through the entire labor I refused to leave her side. I told the nurses to bring in a couch and when Mama closed her eyes to rest, Daddy lied down. But neither of us could sleep because the contractions just kept coming. You really wanted out Soleil.

By morning Mama’s dilation had only progressed to 6 cm. She had now been in labor for almost 30 hours and everyone was getting worried, including Noni and the doctor.

The contractions were getting worse, and she was only slowly progressing. During every contraction she would close her eyes, breath very deeply, and picture your face Soleil. She would visualize your little eyes and nose, and your beautiful little mouth. She would imagine you lying on her chest, heart to heart. You were helping her through every painful moment.

Mama also had some really great nurses at the hospital. Her labor was so long that she went through THREE different shifts. We think that may be another hospital record for Sprinter Life, so congratulations Sol.

From time to time they would put a monitoring device on Mama’s tummy so we could check your heart rate. Sometimes it went down, which made all of us very worried. The nurses would rub the tummy, and Mommy would do deep breathing. Then it would come back up.

By late morning the Doctor was worried and decided to rupture the membrane to break Mama’s water. This would allow the amniotic fluid to drain. We hoped this would help you to drop and engage into the birth canal. And it did.

Mama started dilating faster until soon she was at 9 cm! Now we knew you would be coming soon. Poor Mommy was so exhausted, but she never wavered. She put her heart and soul into every moment and could only think of you.

A few more hours went by and around 2 pm the doctor started preparing the room. When I saw this happening I really knew you were on the way. I could barely contain myself Soleil. I was delirious with anticipation and excitement to see you. To meet you. To hold you.

Mama completely blew me away with her courage and strength as she breathed and pushed you into the world. To me, it was a miracle.

You joined us on October 9th, 2012 at 2:41 pm after 36 long hours of labor.

Many people told me about what to expect the moment of your birth. They said it would be the greatest moment of my life, that it would change me forever. They were right about that. It was and it did. But in all honesty I didn’t allow myself to enjoy it at the time. I was too preoccupied with everything else going on around us. This is Peru. I didn’t trust the environment enough to let my guard down. I focused on you, and everything they were doing. I was in full protection mode.

My number one concern was that they give you to Mama the very moment you were born. This is not the norm here in Peru. Usually they take the baby away, but we wanted you to breastfeed right away. We wanted you to feel the warmth of being in Mama’s arms. Luckily our doctor honored our wishes. But as I mentioned above, your umbilical was so short that you wouldn’t even reach, so the doctor had me cut it. What an honor.

You were put on Mama’s chest. Mama cried and cried and said

“Oh my god….. ohhhhhh, oh my baby…… oh my little baby…. there you are, oh there you are,  <you cry>, oh yes, I know, we had a tough go didn’t we….. she’s beautiful, she’s beautiful, she really is…. ohhhh, Mama loves you, ohhh Mama loves you!”

(captured on video for you to watch one day)

After you had been on Mama’s chest, they put you in a warm box and took you to a pediatrics nursery to make sure you were healthy. To their surprise, I followed you out of the room, down one level in an elevator, and to the door of the nursery. As they wheeled you inside, two nurses stopped me at the door. They said I was not allowed to pass, that it was against regulations, and that you would be back in a couple of hours.

At that point I did what I promise to do for the rest of your life: I pushed them out of the way, and I never left your side.

The nurses were shocked, but they didn’t call security or anything. They told me to stand back a few feet and I did. But I watched them like a hawk as they weighed you, measured you, and cleaned you. I did not let them poke you with any needles. The whole thing only took about 10 minutes, and I WAS counting.

As I waited I looked around the room and noticed the other little babies lying all alone in their little cribs. When they finished they tried to lay you back inside the little box. I said, “NO, dame mi Bebe“. The nurse looked at the doctor. She hesitated, then nodded. And from that moment on you never left my arms.

Noni came down and tried to get inside the nursery but they wouldn’t let her in. She took this photo from the other side of the glass to take back up to Mama so that she could see that you were okay.

I wanted desperately to get you back to Mama, but they kept telling me that you weren’t allowed to leave for another hour and a half because Mama was recovering. I argued with them until they called upstairs for permission. The answer was no. I continued to argue with them until they called the Jefe (boss). The answer was still no. When asked why they told me it was very political between the hospital departments. Soleil, Daddy hates stupid rules that make no sense, and he usually doesn’t follow them.

I turned around and walked out the door with you in my arms. Reluctantly, one of the nurses followed with your little box. I returned you to Mama, and she was unbelievably happy to see you Sol. She proceeded to give you a belly full of yummy food. You must have been very hungry, too, because you latched on with six pounds of fury, first try.  Even the nurse gave a proud smile.

We named you Soleil Mariah.

Soleil  – In Peru they do not say “to give birth”. They say “dar a luz“, which literally translates as “to give to light”, or “to bring to light.” You brought light into our world Soleil. You are our glowing, bright Sun, our Sol. We chose Soleil for this reason, and because French is your Mommy’s favorite language.  She’ll teach it to you someday, as soon as you have a grasp on English and Spanish.

Mariah – After my sister Indra Mariah, who is now your Auntie. Mariah is what we called her when she was a little girl. It is a very special name to our family because she is so special and important to all of us. And now you share her name. She will always be there for you Sol, no matter what. She loves you with all her heart, just like Mommy and me.

That is the story of your birthday my sweet Soleil.  We love you.


P.S.  Here are all the posts we wrote about you while you were still in Mama’s tummy. xoxoxo

Breaking News – We’re Pregnant

Dar a Luz – To Give Light 

Where to give birth? 

Baby Shower in the USA  

Sprinter Life Birthing Plan

Is it a boy or girl? 

Life Being Pregnant

Getting Ready For Baby

Really, thats what the placenta is? 

Baby Bump Photo Shoot

Pregnancy Update 

Counting The Days

Baby Is Coming

Noni Arrives 

Waiting For The Miracle  

Soleil Mariah Birth Announcement  



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  1. Felicidades! What a beautiful and moving letter. Soleil is so lucky and our world is so blessed to have her. So much love. So much joy. I really look forward to continued adventures!

  2. Happy Birthday Soleil!! Beautiful!!! Congrats to Mommy and Daddy!

  3. Anna Penna says:

    Here comes Soleil (doo doo doo doo…)

    She’ll give a powerful energy for Tree leaves grow strong, and I can see Stevie dancing with a blazing smile: cause it’ll be a loooong summer!!!

    Be really welcome to the light, Solei, and you’ll soon be amazing us all with your own light!!!

  4. Awwwww-beautiful letter to your beautiful, precious daughter. (The fierce love you feel for your daughter will only grow every single day!)

  5. Suzanne TenBroek says:

    You read the hell out of that Bradley book, I can tell. 🙂 I’ve never met you but I’m proud you’re my friend’s husband and Soleil’s dad (Stevie, you chose very well!). You’re a warrior. I can’t say enough how much this post moved me. It took me back to May 3rd 2011 when my own daughter was born.

    • Thank you SOOO much for sending us that book. You’re right, I did read the hell out of it. It’s the best book out there. I’m recommending it to everyone.


  6. Beautiful post, Tree. Thank you for sharing your letter to your precious daughter. I love her newborn picture…eyes wide open! She is amazing!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    You don’t know me but my love introduced me to your site almost 2 years ago. I overwhelmed with tears of happiness for you both.
    Much love to your family from montreal

  8. What an incredible documentation of Soleil’s birth! I am amazed at how strong you and Stevie are through 36 hrs of labour, and that you still had the strength to take photos and write this amazing story for us. Soleil is such a gift, and I love the meaning of the light to her name.

    Good on you for sticking to your principles and doing what’s best for your child at the hospital. Takes a lot of courage to do that!

  9. Tree, I’ve never met you, but I’m proud of you buddy. Great thing you did standing up for your daughter, brand new to the world, and telling (nicely I assume) others to get out of the way. That’s your job. It will ALWAYS be your job. Aside from a bunch of other things, one of the main things about being a father is just BEING THERE. You’re doing a great job. Watch yourselves down there. I get nervous for you guys, but you guys are smart. Tell Stevie “GREAT, AMAZING, WONDERFUL job!” Now, you take time off OF YOURSELVES. Your time now belongs to Soleil. Remember, babies don’t ask to be brought… and now that she’s here she’s a great responsibility on both of you. I know you know this full well. Just thought I mention. Great job guys… and great job on the blog… it’s literally “gripping!” (Though I was concerned a bit there… thought I was going to see some naughty bits) Cheers!!

    • Thanks Christian,
      I’d love to say that I was nice, but looking back on it I was probably a little rude. I only had one thing on my mind at the time. I’ll sure I’ll have many more opps to practice my manners.
      Stevie is still recovering, but I’ll let her know. She is a trooper!

  10. Chuck Seaman says:

    wow, brings back memories. you two are so content, congrats

  11. Bobbi Scott says:

    You need to change the word “graphic” to “beautiful” in your post congrats, she is gorgeous!

  12. Mick Evans says:

    Sweet, sweet….sweet photo *smiles* (but, after all, I am Uncle Mick and I’m guessin’ that Stevie is channeling “You’re never touching me again !!!”*grins*)

    Somehow, I think that Sol will be the first baby that I will get to watch grow up online…..

  13. Sophia Flores-villa says:

    Ok…I need a box of Kleenex! Well written Daddy…Soleil will cherish these special words forever….beautiful family, best wishes to you all!!

  14. Ivan Prates says:

    Everything is beautiful about you guys!

  15. Larry Kalb says:

    What a treasure! Thanks for sharing this!

  16. Ruth Fonseca says:

    congrats <3<3<3

  17. Courtney Nicole says:

    Love every bit of it! So happy for you two

  18. Congratulations Stevie… My gosh, your whole family (your Mom, you, your wife and Soleil) is so beautiful! I hope you have many happy years together.

  19. Edgardo Baca says:

    felizidades !

  20. Waterworks over here, thanks for sharing Tree!

  21. Pilar Ryan says:

    Crew Love it:)

  22. Shaun Galanos says:

    really beautifully written. Thanks for bringing us along.

  23. Kristen Banks says:

    awesome! gj mom!

  24. Gabe Sladek Musolf says:

    absolutely beautiful!!!! welcome to the world Soleil<3

  25. Simply beautiful Tree!!!

  26. Mirtha Coral says:

    LOVE IT!!! what a wonderful experience to bring a new life in this world

  27. Gustavo Villagra says:


  28. Mo Bergmann says:

    Can’t wait to meet the light of your lives!!!!

  29. Graeme Bell says:

    I recognise that look on your face Tree. Becoming a Dad is HUGE. congratulations to you both.

  30. HF Jutta Kaiser says:

    c ongratulations to all three of you! your story is amazing!

  31. John Michael Gill says:

    What a great entry. Brings me back to when my Liam came into the world. The heart monitor was the worst and had some intense moments but women are much stronger then men and I was blown away by Ashley’s courage. Best day of my life and that positivity has stayed with us. Now Liam is a walking, almost talking little man. Much more in tune with lifes beauty and energy then adults. Your child is the greatest reminder of what life is all about. I am so incredibly happy for all of you.

  32. Teri Hogan says:

    Tree, thanks for sharing your feelings about little Soleil’s Birthday, it was beautiful, heartfelt and spellbinding. She will love reading it when she is older. I have not met you yet in person (although I feel like I know you from reading the blog) but I am happy that my friend Stevie ( and Kiki) met you and that the two of you fell in love, married and brought your new little light into this world. We’ll meet someday, when your travels bring you back to Mexico, and I will give you a great big hug! Kiss Stevie and Sol for me, hug your Mom and give Kiki a pet! Peace, love and light, Teri

  33. Auntie Alex says:

    Oh little Sol! You had us all on the edge of our seats! I was so worried for you and your mama. I love your mama very much and would be lost with out her. I couldn’t wait to hear of your safe arrival. You are born into a loving family who will always be there for you. Xoxo -Auntie Alex

  34. Nonituyas says:

    In the early morning hours,
    (while Mama and Daddy get some much needed sleep)
    You lie completely still in the circle of my arms
    Like a peaceful little Buddha-Baby,
    Resting in my adoration.
    How I love you!

  35. Thanks for making me cry…tears of joy. Wonderful share.

  36. Cathy Fanandakis Alexander says:

    Lovely precious baby Soleil, it’s just wonderful the support you gave Tree! She is so beautiful and MAMA!!!! Congratulations to all three of you and extended family!Very brave Tree most men would pass out!Because of being there you will be closer than ever a bond and love than will never be broken!A trinity of love and devotion! Take care Love Cathy

  37. Felix Tama Makuyama says:


  38. Such a tender post….I cried and smiled so hard my cheeks hurt. You three bring such bright warm yumminess to the planet. And Tree, I can’t express how much I cried when I saw that you will FIGHT for that little orb of life. You are going to be father every daughter wishes for. <3 As my father's daughter, I have always longed for my Dad to show that fierce protector/tender keeper side……… embody that optimal two-sided coin. I feel so warmly you towards you…in fact, I think I'm starting to love you as I love Stevie. And miss Stevie, I can't wait to hear your tale en face. You are an f'ing bombastic powerhouse of love. You fought s hard, lady, I'm soooooo proud of you. love love love

    • Thanks Reagan.
      Did you see the besties tats in the photos!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        I did see the besties tats!!!!! 🙂 Made me feel like I was there as best I could be. If you change your mind on the one child plan, I wanna be at the next epic Sprinter Life style birth. Congrats!!!!

  39. Julie Williams says:

    HECK YAH TREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I frickin love you! Great job Stevie!! You are a warrior! I can’t believe they weren’t going to allow Tree to follow and then bring her back to you!!!! Here they do all that stuff right in the delivery room so the baby never leaves your side. Good job you guys!!! The story made me cry.
    Love you!!!

  40. Wow- she is gorgeous! Congrats Mom and Dad. Well done.

  41. Anonymous says:

    YOU DID IT!!! YOU DID IT!! YOU DID IT!!!! Wow…..and to think it only keeps getting better and better. LOVE you 3 so much. I cried the whole time I read your blog. Stevie deserves an oscar for enduring the camera for so long! Soleil captures all the beauty of your love and love of life. I can NOT WAIT TO HOLD THAT LITTLE BEAN!!
    Congratulations!!!!! We love you so much!!
    LIttle Lava, Molly and Corby.

  42. Katie McDuffie says:

    this made me cry very happy tears congratulations to you both Stevie and Tree you are amazing parents!

  43. Tree, I am so utterly impressed. You are such a MAN. Wow. Words can not convey….
    Happy tears. 🙂

  44. Little Lava says:

    My daddy never left me either! Nothing but the best! LOVE YOU THREE! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    My daddy is just crying again… Loves you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. Donna Wilmoth Mayton says:

    What a Beautiful Story. My God Bless you and your new beautiful baby

  46. Ursula Martìnez says:


  47. Tara Palmer Benoit says:

    Your daughter is beautiful. What a wonderful record of the birth. you are amazing enduring 36 hrs of labor naturally. hope all is going well for your new little family.

  48. Beautiful beautiful story. So amazed by daddy and his strength throughout for mom and for daughter upon her arrival. I am so moved and cried like a baby while reading your sweet story. Thank you for sharing.

  49. Great Aunt Debby and Great Uncle Bary says:

    What a beautiful gift you are giving Sol. Tree, you brought tears to my eyes, filled with pride and love for you and your beautiful family. I know you are going to be amazing parents, You are all very blessed.

  50. Happy Birthday for your little princess. Hope you are enjoying her and
    that she grows up to be a happy and healthy child.

    Many blessings to that beautiful girl.

    Best, Luis

  51. Enjoy it’s a wonderful journey.


  52. Nicci Daley says:

    How amazing! What a blessing. I am so happy for you! God Bless! Life has a while new meaning for you now.

  53. Congratulations. kids are a blessing. You are blessed. Good health and good luck.

  54. Elise Hillinger says:

    Oh that brought it all back and made me cry.

  55. Melissa Monroe says:

    What an absolutely gorgeous family. That little one is already a heartbreaker. So happy for you! Really do not want to miss the visit back to the states this time. Lots of luv to all three of you.. . And the doggie too.. big sister… xo

  56. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful story!

  57. Hey Tree,

    Well congratulations on bringing such a beautiful, healthy baby into the world. She is absolutely adorable and it brings me back to when my daughter Evi was born.

    I’m happy to hear things have been going well since the birth. The first days, weeks and months are super special and almost surreal as you look at this beautiful, innocent little being that you and Stevie created, perfect in every way.

    And… I know lots have people have told you that your life is going to change, but you have to remember these people probably live in the same house, work at the same place and see the same people… day after day, month after month, year after year. I don’t quite think you guys fit into that category. Your life is about change. Better said, your life embraces change. That is the makings of a true adventure and an amazing world to raise a child.

    Say hello to Stevie and Soleil.

  58. Congratulations to the three of ya! Stevie, you look amazing and you did such a good job. I can tell that you were putting a lot of mommy love into that delivery! Bravo!! Your little family is beautiful! Hope to see you in Seattle in December….I’ll be there too with Domenick. Maybe a stroll around town with the kiddies, eh?

    • Hells yeah!Sol and Dom gotta date. Can’t wait to see you. We’ll be in LA between the 14th and 22nd too (before Seattle)…where will you be then? xoxoxooxooxo

  59. Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thank you for providing this

  60. What a wonderful, wonderful birth report! Thank you so much!

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