This post is dedicated to my first-born “baby,” who made me a Momma sixteen years ago today. She’s grown into such a lovely young woman. Beautiful, inside and out. Mature well beyond her years. Determined, curious and questioning. She’s fun and funny. She lives her life at a volume that might be too loud for some (but never for me). I love her with all of my heart and I am grateful every day that she chose me to be hers.
You climb into the backseat of your green Saturn wagon with your brand new baby. But instead of securing her into the little bucket carseat in the middle of the back (the safest place for the baby to be, so you’ve been told) and then climbing up front to the passenger seat, you tell your husband, “I’m just going to sit back here.” You don’t get an argument. In fact, you notice that he’s driving slower than you’ve ever seen anyone drive a car, following every traffic sign to the letter, continuously muttering under his breath something about “all the crazy people” that are driving too fast, or too close, or too – “Don’t they understand we have a brand new baby in the car?!”
There’s this weird mixture of excitement and sheer panic that manifests as something solid in the pit of your stomach. Just a few days ago this little person was inside of you. But now she is here and the enormity of what has happened hits you full force: you are now responsible for someone else in a way that you never have been before. You’re responsible for someone else’s life.
You can’t decide if you want to go back and hug the nurse who wheeled you out to the car with a cheery, “Congratulations! You’ll do great!” – or punch her in the face. Maybe there’s a third option. Couldn’t she come and live with you? Just for a little while? Until you get the hang of this new parenting thing?
The drive which usually takes only three minutes, feels like it’s taking three weeks. That may have something to do with your husband driving ten miles under the speed limit, but maybe it’s okay that it’s taking awhile. It gives you a minute or two to try and catch your breath and steady yourself. “People do this every single day,” you think, “Every day, people all over the world are parenting their children.” This thought doesn’t bring you the comfort you were hoping for, but you keep repeating it as a mantra over and over in your head anyway.
As you pull up in front of your house, you take stock of how much has changed in such a short timeframe. Nine months of pregnancy seemed like too long to wait to meet your baby, but now that she’s here? Another three months of her inside of you might have been a better idea.
Your husband parks and jumps out to gather up all the crap that you brought with you for the birth. It was long and hard and nothing like you expected it to be. It definitely did not go “according to plan.” Even so, there was a lot of extra stuff that you thought would be essential for your birth that you didn’t even pull out of the bag! Oh, well.
You take stock of how your birth ended up. A few more interventions than you’d hoped for, but still you feel good about it. Your birth support team was amazing and you felt like you made the best decisions you could as birth happened. Your husband returns to the car to grab the birth ball and your extra pillows – these did get used, a lot.
You stay in the back of the car with your gorgeous little girl while all of this is going on. She’s sleeping peacefully in her little seat. Her eyes fluttering slightly as she – do babies dream at only two days old? You look at her cute little squishy nose, her tiny rosebud lips, her impossibly small fingernails and wonder at it all. You did this thing – this miraculous thing! – of bringing a brand new human being through your body and into this world. And even if you are nervous, the reality of that accomplishment builds you up – at least for the moment.
Your husband comes around to the side of the car and helps you out. He climbs into the back to unhook the car seat and ever-so-gently lifts your baby out and you walk together as a new family up the front steps of your house. And as you cross the threshold, you realize how much your life has changed. Even your house has been forever changed.
It has become a home.
This was how I remembered our first trip home from the hospital with our brand new baby. Does this resonate? How did you feel as you made your way home? Did your house feel different to you now that you were bringing a baby into it?