My world has changed forever. It happened very suddenly last Thursday, at 12.44pm, when I lay on a North London hospital bed and met my daughter.
With a surprisingly loud wail, which she would keep up for the best part of the next day, my baby girl announced her arrival into our world. The doctor held her up and showed her to me, while her arms and legs flailed out to her sides and she protested about being disturbed too soon.
Moments later, I held her to my chest. We breathed in the air around us together. She was mine, and she was here.
In those moments in that hospital, everything changed a little. The world shifted slightly.
Our family was no longer a unit of three. For 18 months, 'we' had meant me, my husband and our son. On Thursday, our ranks swelled to four. 'We' now included this new little girl we didn’t yet know. This was our family now.
Strangely, I always knew I would have two children. I always knew life would be 'us four'. And now, with an incision made in my stomach and a strong dose of drugs injected into my spine, we four are the family I’d always imagined.
I’ll save the story of this little girl's birth for another day, just as I’ll save telling you about how vastly having a child in a London hospital differs from the same experience in New Zealand. Instead, let me tell you a little about my daughter.
She is four days old. In that time, she has changed every one of us in her little family. She has turned her 18-month-old brother into a little boy. He has somehow become more grown up in my eyes.
He has turned into a sibling who will, I know, continue to display the caring tenderness and interest in his little sister he has already shown. He has turned into a big brother who will, I can already see, become a rock of support, a steady, guiding influence in an uncertain world, and a boy who will never let his sister down.
My little girl is four days old and she has turned my husband into a man with a renewed desire to look after his family. She has made him, once again, understand what it is to become a father. She has opened his eyes to the vast responsibility we have to our children, to the importance of every decision we make, and to the fact that our lives are no longer just about us as individuals.
With her tiny fingers and toes and inability to do anything for herself, she has showed him how precious life is, and how precious the role of a father is in the life of a little girl.
My daughter, my second child, is four days old, and she has reminded me too that life is precious. She has, just like her brother, made the world stand still while I catch my breath and take her in.
I've spent the first days of her life just watching her. I'm learning every inch of her, and taking in every expression and movement and sound, because I know these are the days we will never have again. I've spent the sleepless nights wondering in awe at how this tiny person will one day become a woman, with her own views and thoughts and life to live.
I've spent the minutes delighting in how soft her skin is, stroking her silky mop of black hair, gently feeling how slender her fingers and toes are, and marvelling at how perfect she is.
Like every parent, I've fallen in love again. It's a strange, uncontrollable sensation with no end point. It's a feeling which changes and intensifies with every new minute you spend in the company of your child.
I've renewed promises I made to my son 18 months ago. I've promised both of my children to do everything I can for them, to be the best I can for them, and to always be here for them. I've not promised to get it right every time, but I have promised to try.
And for their part, these two darling babies have reminded me that on the days where I complain about life not being quite as I'd planned it, or the weeks where I wonder why things aren't going my way, I have no right to grumble. I am, with these two children in my arms, one of the very lucky ones.
This boy and girl who are mine are a precious gift I’ll always be thankful for. And in the long nights and exhausting days we no doubt have ahead, I will never forget that they are all I have ever wanted.