Michelle and Francesco Sofo with their baby daughter Allegra Bluebelle and young son Oscar. Photo: Rohan Thomson
One of the very newest Canberrans is Allegra Bluebelle Sofo, born on December 28. More of this tiny Canberran and her eye-catching name in a moment.
Meanwhile, fertile Canberrans, have those of you expecting babies in this our centenary year thought of giving the newborns names that somehow echo the significance of the year? Possibilities abound. For example given that it was Gertrude Lady Denman who pronounced the city's name 100 years ago, might we see this year a blossoming of Trudie or even of Gertrude itself?
With what they thought was going to be the mid-to-late January 2013 birth of their baby looming, Francesco and Michelle Sofo, of Canberra, gave the centenary idea some thought. And so it came to pass that a vigilant colleague noticed this fascinating entry, with a photograph of the baby, in the births column of Saturday's paper.
''SOFO (nee Berzins). Francesco and Michelle proudly announce the early arrival of Allegra Bluebelle on 28.12.2012. Named in honour of the Centenary of Canberra. A miracle sister for Daniel, Adam, James, Olivier, Charles and Oscar.''
On Tuesday this columnist and photographer went to see this impossibly tiny and dainty baby who is decorated with the name Bluebelle in recognition of the fact that the royal bluebell is this city's floral emblem. And it turns out she was referred to as a ''miracle'' for some very good reasons.
With Allegra just beginning to wake and make plaintive noises, Michelle explained: ''She was due on the 20th of January this year and we were searching around for names. And we just came up with the idea it was just such a momentous year for Canberra, we thought 'We''ll try to do something to celebrate Canberra and celebrate the arrival'.''
One-month-old Allegra Bluebelle.
They knew they were having a girl and thought the flower dainty and pretty and so all in all the bluebell name seemed excellent.
And now to the miracles.
''We had both Allegra and Oscar (22 months) through IVF. We had Oscar and we were fortunate enough to fall pregnant with her. But it was probably on our fourth attempt, last year. We'd just about decided to give up. We'd all but given up hope. And then we were blessed with her.
''And then [still in the miracles department] there was her arrival. The doctor had realised she wasn't growing in the womb. He decided he had to deliver her early. And then after the caesarean the doctor said he'd found there was no blood going through the umbilical cord. A few hours later and she wouldn't be here now, alive. She spent her first 10 days in intensive care, just trying to put on weight and get a little stronger.
''She's still not up to the three kilos. She's healthy now but a really little thing.''
Then, still in the department of miracles, ''On the other side [of miracles] Francesco has five boys Daniel, Adam, James, Olivier and Charles from his previous marriage and then we had a boy, Oscar, together and so [with Michelle and Francesco laughing] this [Allegra Bluebelle] seems the first girl in decades!''
By now, Bluebelle, belying her deeply Canberran name, was very pink with the exertion of demanding to be fed, and so your columnist made himself scarce, wondering all the way back to the office what inspiration fertile, centenary-conscious Canberrans may take from the Sofos.