We sat impatiently in the hospital room, in regular clothes with bags packed and a small boy in white cotton. My husband paced for discharge papers & I grabbed a few more diapers & formula samples to take home & the nurse cheerfully told us we would be the last to leave that afternoon. We rolled our eyes.
An hour later, I slid into the backseat next to an infant carrier with the tiny human I created, & my husband drove through Burger King because we were starving. Being last to discharge does not mean lunch in the hospital. We drove home with little fanfare – no pictures of Harrison on the front step or Doug carrying him through the door for the first time. Just one I snapped thirty minutes later because he was still sleeping in the carrier & we asked, “So what do we do with him now?” What do we do, indeed. The Momma brought an overnight bag packed for several overnights & we gave Harrison his first sponge bath, fumbling with small washcloths & wondering if we were hurting him, if he was too hot, too cold, too…loved. The Momma assured us we were doing it right & pushed us into bed, taking the night shifts for the first few nights & making sure we launched into parenthood with a few solid REM cycles. It was the best baby gift we received. The third week in October blew in cooler air &, dressed in a bridesmaids gown, I made an emergency stop in Target for fleece footed jams. I never considered them before, but 48 hours into motherhood brought the knowledge that my baby needed outfits that were warm, comfortable, & easy. My kid never wore any fussy outfits.
I felt blissed-out, completely at ease & whole in my heart. (It would be a different story in a few months, but that first week felt like my destiny.) I was sore & tired & overwhelmed, of course, but each morning The Momma & I shared a cup of coffee while Harrison napped in his swing & by the end of the week, she left during the day so I could do motherhood on my own. I made mistakes with swaddling & there was the night when he did not sleep at all, but I can’t even call the first week “surviving” – we learned & loved & did it well.
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