One of my clearest memories with my first child was leaving the hospital with him a couple of days after he was born. I had had a lovely couple of days cocooned up in relative silence (as relative as a hospital can be), with all of my needs taken care of. I didn't have to cook (not that I adore hospital food, but it was one less thing I had to worry about). I could have a bath and knew that my son was being well looked after with a nurse. If I was having any pain or trouble nursing someone knowledgable was just a bell ring away. This is all very reassuring when you are a brand new mother. However, I was not prepared for the leaving time, not really anyway. I knew I wanted to go home, but the reality was completely different.
The first thing that hit me was walking out into the parking lot. My husband and I were toting this tiny little person into a world where cars were idling just outside the door. I couldn't believe how offended I was that they would dare pollute my child's lungs (talk about mother bear instinct kicking in). And the noise! I couldn't get over it. I kept peeking at his little face to make sure that he was okay.
As we drove home, this unmistakable panic set in. Do they (meaning the hospital staff) know what they are doing, letting us bring him home? Are they sure about this? Are we really that reliable and knowledgable to go it alone? What the heck are they thinking? What are we thinking? And the car fell silent. I took one look at my husband and knew he was thinking the same thing. It wasn't just the two of us anymore. There is a third.
Once we got home we realised something else very important: what were we going to do about dinner? Neither of us were in any state to cook. Thank goodness for take out. Yes, our official 1st meal as a family of 3 was from Wendy's. Well, his and mine were, our little one had breastmilk.
Slowly but surely we began to breathe again. We started to remember our plan for our time of baby-moon (just us and him, more on that to follow). I remembered that I had many, many resources around me. I had books, I had friends, I had family. Books helped remind me of the basics of a newborn. Friends started to drop off dinners. Family came to visit and help out with baby care (and new-Mommy care). Doctors and lactation consultants were just a phone call or visit away, ready to help. Most of all we had each other.
We had created this tiny, perfect little being. Yes he was a heck of a lot of work, but totally and completely worth it. Instant love.