As I was waking up I could hear crying. Loud crying. Almost bordering on screaming.
I called Joe’s name, but he didn’t answer. I couldn’t see my husband sleeping on the pull-out chair. I was still sore and did not want to move until I had to.
The crying continued to get louder and louder as I heard the wheels of the isolettes being rolled down the hall as the nurses delivered babies to the new moms for the morning feeding.
My chest was beginning to ache. I tried to move slowly, getting ready to feed my little guy.
I could hear my baby getting closer to my room.
Boy, he sure has some lungs on him.
Then the nurse came in my room that had been our home for the last four days. She smiled as she left our precious boy.
My face was almost sore from smiling so wide. I softly said good morning to my new “boss.”
“Didn’t the nurse bring Tom in?”
I hear Joe’s voice coming from his corner of our beautiful private hospital room that I still couldn’t believe we had scored.
“Yes… he wasn’t the baby that was crying… I knew you weren’t asleep.”
“Well… I was really tired.”
“You have got to be kidding. I was the one that had surgery after 20 hours of labor. I have been the one nursing the baby every two hours. “
“Well…One of us should be rested.”
We both started to laugh.
Our whole life was in that room. The world outside didn’t exist.
But that was ending in a few short hours as we would be let out into the cold world with our brand new baby.
I was terrified.
We had the bright idea of rooming in with Tom for the last night of our hospital stay. That was until it was 2:00 am and we still could not get him to sleep. We walked him down to the nursery in his little isolette and told the nurses to just take him.
I then cried because I figured I was a complete failure as a mother.
But now as I was holding my son in my arms watching him nurse, I started to feel like maybe I could do this.
I couldn’t get over that this fair haired baby was mine. He looked more like my blond, blue-eyed sister than me. I was amazed as I looked at him because he looked exactly like the baby I had dreamt of a few days before I had him.
I remember waking from the dream and thinking it was impossible that Joe and I could ever have a blond blue-eyed baby. We both were the dark sheep in our families, getting our coloring from our Italian heritage. The idea that a child of ours would look more like our fair-haired siblings seemed highly unlikely.
Yet, here he was.
He was perfect. A baby right out of central casting. And he was ours. Finally.
I couldn’t stop staring at him. How was it possible that he was inside me only five days ago? It was surreal. After waiting nine months, longer if you counted the fact that he was 10 days past his due date, my son was finally here.
After four miscarriages, I was a mom.
I wish I knew what the heck I was doing.
I had retired from my office job to become a stay-at-home-mom. Did I make a mistake? I was starting to doubt whether I could handle this.
As much as I wanted to get home, I also wanted to stay in our nice private room with the wonderful nurses and the fully staffed nursery that would take him anytime we wanted them to.
My emotions were on a roller coaster. One minute I felt capable and was ecstatic. The next minute I was convinced I had already done everything wrong and had scarred my son for life.
My confidence did not pick up when it came time to dress our newborn in his first “real” outfit so we could go home.
“Tom, you were born in one of the most expensive zip codes in the world,” said Joe. “I bet you are feeling a little cheated right now.”
I couldn’t stop laughing.
Here we were two fairly intelligent, educated adults and we were lost trying to snap all the very tiny snaps of the going home outfit I had taken weeks to pick out.
I couldn’t get over how patient this little creature was with us.
What the heck were we going to do? I was so glad my mother was going to be spending the night at our house, and I wished we had taken her up on her offer to come to the hospital and go home with us.
Joe had the bright idea that this should be a quiet, private time for us and our new son.
It sounded romantic when he mentioned it a few days ago. Now it just seemed nuts.
I don’t know how we finally did it, but Tom was dressed and ready to go.
A very nice nurse took the elevator down with us, my newborn cradled in my arms.
Where is the wheelchair I always see the new moms in the movies and TV shows in? I felt a little cheated. I had the fantasy in my head that I would be wheeled down into the lobby, baby in my arms and be greeted with smiles, maybe a few cheers.
It was a little anti-climatic.
Since we now lived in Queens but were still using my doctor that I had when we lived in Manhattan, we had our baby at Lenox Hill Hospital.
I guess the Upper East Side of Manhattan was too cool to let out a little cheer, or even a smile.
The elevator opened up, and we were in the real world again.
The lobby looked the same as it did only five days ago when I was hugely pregnant and in labor. Yet, everything was different, and it would never be the same.
The nurse wished us well and left.
We were all alone.
Joe took a picture of me with our little baby all covered in the beautiful blanket my mom bought for him. Then he left me to get our car.
Tom really was an angel. He was just laying in my arms making the sweetest baby sounds.
Standing by the doors looking out onto the streets, it seemed odd that the world had gone on without us. Time seemed to stand still while we were safely tucked away in the hospital.
I spotted our new car, the one we bought especially for our new roles as mom and dad. Joe has a huge smile on his face. He gently helps me out of the hospital and onto the street.
Something seems very wrong.
“Joe, they are letting us walk out of the hospital with a baby.” I say, almost in a whisper.
“They’re nuts,” is his reply.
We are smiling and happy as can be.
Then we try to get Tom into his infant car seat. In the middle of 77th street. With cars starting to honk their horns.
How many adults does it take to get one little 7 pound 10 ounce baby into a baby seat?
What happened to the good old days when mom held the baby in her arms in the front seat? I remember my youngest sister coming home from the hospital that way.
I’m a failure. This poor little perfect baby. He made a huge mistake picking us as parents.
We were so lost. I still am not sure how we got Tom in the car seat.
I’m extremely lucky that I married a man that laughs when he is under pressure like I do.
Tom, buckled safely (I hope) in his seat, I now take my new place in the back seat right next to our baby. I was now on baby watch.
I took my job very seriously and watched his every breath.
I couldn’t believe our luck that he seemed like such a content little guy. He was just laying and looking all around at his new surroundings.
Look how perceptive he is. Obviously I gave birth to a genius… A perfect baby and a genius. I’m the luckiest woman in the world.
I’m extremely embarrassed to admit this, but for the whole 13 months that Tom rode in the car in a rear facing car seat I sat in the back with him.
Joe and I wanted to make sure someone could watch him at all times. What if something happened to him? You know, you can’t see them when they are in the rear-facing car seat.
Plus, who was going to entertain Tom? He couldn’t just sit there. He was going to need age-appropriate stimulation. Joe and I learned every baby song and game we could that first year as new parents.
A tad obsessive you say?
To say people made fun of us would be an understatement.
Heads would turn as we drove for the whole first year of Tom’s life.
I didn’t really care. Nor did Joe. We were parents. Finally.
As we went to turn into our block Joe stopped and parked the car.
“What the heck are you doing? I’m going to have to feed him soon.”
What am I going to do with this man? This is never going to work. I wonder how hard it would be to raise the baby by myself.
“I just wanted to get a chance to enjoy this moment before we get to the house with all the people waiting for us and the baby,” said Joe.
I love this man. I’m the luckiest woman in the world.
“We are a family.”
“I know, I can’t believe it.” I start to cry again, this time tears of gratitude.
In about four weeks that little baby will be 13.
We went on to have two other children. Two more times being cloistered in a hospital room. Two more times that we stopped the car right before we got to our house.
(Although, to be accurate, Tom was the only baby that I sat in the back seat for. Lizzy and Peter were left to sit without me watching their every move when they came home. And, yes, I have deposited extra money in both of their money-for-therapy-for-all-the-things-we-did-to-screw-you-up-fund, because of this. Just in case you were curious.)
Tom was our first.The baby that came after years of wanting a child. Our miracle. And the sweetest, happiest little baby we could have asked for to start our parenting journey.
As Tom enters the teen years, I can truly appreciate parenting jokes like Bill Cosby’s, “I brought you into this world, I can take you out,” or Roseanne Barr’s “This is why some animals eat their young.”
It helps to think back to that time when it was all beginning.
I’m confident that Joe and I will handle the teen years the same way we have handled the first 13 years of Tom’s life. Making mistakes, trying our best and laughing. A lot.
Coffee Lovin' Mom says
I loved your story – funny the things we do with the first, we don’t with the second…Closest I’ve ever been to a panic attack was trying to get my crying son out of the car seat…those dang things! Thanks for sharing Kathy!
What a touching story…I can feel your anxiety and pride! I’m always amazed that people just get to walk out of the hospital with that little tiny creature in their arms, too! Thanks for sharing, and good luck with 13!
Grumpy Grateful Mom says
Such a wonderful story about your son. I love how your husband stopped the car just before you got home. I can remember one time when my first daughter was about three months and my husband was talking to her, but he wasn’t smiling! I thought he might ruin her. I’ve since mellowed…at least about the smiling. 🙂
Oh, the rooming in on the last night with your first on that last night in the hospital seems so logical at the time doesn’t it?! That night was impossible – the night you truly understand that sleep as you once knew it is over. Didn’t do that with #2! Did you?
It is such a surreal time, those first moments with a new baby, when you realize they are all yours. And it’s just as awe-inspiring every time. So awe-inspiring that every photo of a newborn makes me farklempt!
Great advice – I try to laugh as much as possible too! I think I felt much the same as you when my children were born, and still do whenever I look at my 2 yo son – he is blonde with blue eyes (like your baby Tom), yet both his father, myself and big sister have dark hair and big brown eyes – I often can’t believe he’s mine… but am so glad he is:)
Thanks for sharing your wonderful writing, and I love the new look of your blog – nice and colourful:)
PS. LOVE “The Cosby Show” & “Rosanne” too:)
Thank you all so much for your great comments! It mean so much to come here and get to read your great thoughts and feedback! It is so funny to think back to those first days of parenthood, especially if like me, you are knee deep in the whole mommy experience! Thanks again! Much love to you all!!
Aww, wonderful! I remember all too well that first couple days with my newborn in the hospital. I too gave the nurses my boy so that I could rest for an hour or two. They brought him back because his crying woke up the other babies! LOL
Spilled Milkshake says
How wonderful to remember the anxiety and fear and happiness and joy and love of those first days with the first baby. My spiderweb covered brain needs to dust off some shelves and remember those days.
You have married a wonderful man and have some awesome children. Thank you for sharing them with us!
Oh my gosh, I had to take a crash course in how to put together a baby car seat before my daughter was born. It was like watching the ‘Three Stooges’ trying to insert and putting it together 🙂
Have a great week, Barbara
I was right there with you during every moment. I have to admit, having a sense of humor definitively helps in every stage of raising kids.
oh kathy, you always make me teary eyed and still smiling and laughing at your beautiful words.
i had to laugh at your roseanne quote. i love her…so blunt and real.
you and your husband make a wonderful team. it is so evident in this post. to be able to laugh at it all is such a blessing.
this story reminds us all that in the end, it is SO worth it.
i’m so happy to read your stories. they always speak to me and let me know, everything is going to be okay.
Heidi Leanne says
Loved this post – brought back such good memories of (not very long ago) we had that same panicked feeling bringing our first home. She didn’t even had a proper bed to come home to the first night (she was early) and slept in a a laundry basket! I felt like such a failure, but if we can’t laugh at all our mistakes and experiences it doesn’t seem quite worth all the heartache. Laughing really is the best medicine!
Amber @JadeLouise Designs says
Such a great story! I remember our first child. I had a miscarriage right before him also. I was quite paranoid and over-protective…oh wait..I STILL AM! lol.
But yes, laughing helps. I love your quote from Bill Cosby…at the moment we are living through Bill Cosby’s “brain damage” era of 6 and 7 yr old boys. And yes I’ve been known to say, “I brought you into this world…I can take you out” before. For the parents it was a great tension relief..although the kids just looked at me like I was insane. I hear it doesn’t go away, just changes. lol
As always; it’s a pleasure to visit your site!
Visiting from VB- JadeLouise Designs
Romina Garcia says
You are so eloquent with everything you write. I always get goosebumps reading your posts. Love it, yet again x
You all will never know how much it means to me that you come by and leave such great comments!
Nina you had me in hysterics with them sending Jack back to you because he was waking up the other babies!!
I was just reading this to Tom and he was laughing about me sitting in the back. When I read him the part of where I did not do that with Lizzy and Peter, he said, that’s because you had me in back with them. Which was true!!!
Thanks again everyone!! Much love to you all!!
Oh, your post made me realize that not enough time has passed for me to understand the significance of those first few days. Maybe in 12 years.
I think I am still in the daze of finally having children after years of waiting. If not for having twins, I can’t imagine what form my obsessions might have taken. With two, I had to let go of some of the high expectations I set for myself. I often daydream of having just one more–what type of mother I would be if I knew what I knew now.
Kathy, the more I read your blog, the more I just love you to pieces! What an awesome tribute to Tom and to those first experiences, feelings, and conversations. Parenting is such an awesome gift and responsibility given to us from God. Isn’t it cool that He trusts us with his children?!
Happy birthday, Tom and happy memories to you and your hubby.
I can relate to almost everything in this post! Do you think this is the way most mom’s feel in the beginning? Although, my hospital MADE me go down in a wheelchair. Would not let me walk. And the baby had to be in the carseat before we even left the hospital. They wouldn’t let you leave until they could make sure the baby is strapped in right. But, all the feelings of “they’re letting me take this baby? what am I supposed to do with it?” were the same! Happy Birthday to Tom! & Good Luck with the teen years.
Becky Jane says
I became a HUGE fan of The Cosby Show when my kids hit their teen years…he taught me to laugh and not take toooooo seriously the things my teens were saying and doing!
Standing for Something says
Ain’t it the truth. I think every new mamma can so relate to this story, you emotions, the love. I’m grateful every day that my husband has a sense of humor. We would probably kill each other otherwise. In fact–we met in NY when I lived on 62nd and 2nd. 🙂
Joy Page Manuel says
What a touching and beautiful story Kathy! And just so you know, I too, sat with Noah in the back of the car for forever!!!! I think for longer than 13months, hahaha! I was that paranoid. I think they say parents tend to do that with the first child. Well, I only have one so I guess it’s just that. :-))
Roxi Santiago says
I love this post so much! It’s like a reminiscent of my experience with Jacob, labor though a bit shorter than yours good job by the way! Then the surgery then coming home with him.
I clearly remember feeling the way you did. During the first night we roomed-in with him at the hospital, it crossed my mind to let him go back to the nursery for a bit so I can sleep, but in that hospital, once you get him out, you can’t bring him back! Much like in real life.
I can’t wait to go through the same thing again! Haha. Maybe in 5 years or so!
An Irish Italian Blessing says
I LOVE this post (actually I LOVE all your posts :)) I totally remember leaving the hospital and thinking the same thing as you….”What do we do now?!” and no one clapped or cheered for me either so maybe it’s not a NY thing, lol. I am so thankful that you have come so far as to be able to remember that beautiful day where your life changed and you became parents and now you get to celebrate your success with a teenager (yikes) You’re an incredible mom and those kids are SO lucky to have you!
That was the cutest post. It was like reliving bringing home my first baby. He is turning 14 next week. Thanks for the comment on my post. It’s the place where my husband asked me to marry him.
Mommy LaDy Club says
Kathy, you are such a beautiful writer…I’m serious! The coolest thing about blogging, is that Tom will be able to read this from his mother, and his kids will, and so on and so on. This post will live forever!
Kathy – this was such a beautiful post. When I neared the end and learned your son was turning 13 I was shocked. It was as if this story happened yesterday..Love it!
Susie B. Homemaker says
What a lovely post- I got a little teary eyed reading it and thinking back to when I had my own first baby. And yes, I agree you got cheated with no wheelchair when you left the hospital- it’s a must for any new mom. lol
What a great post.
I didn’t get a wheelchair either. They basically handed me my son and was like, “Have a great day!” I was like, “Ack! I don’t know what I’m doing. Wait!”
Tracy @ Mama-press says
What a nice story! It reminds me of when our son was born. We put him in the carseat, his chin dropped to his chest, and we asked the nurse if that was okay. No, it clearly wasn’t and she helped us adjust things. Then we got home, set him in his carseat in the living room and said “what do we do now?” Happy weekend!
What a great story Kathy. My baby will be 2 next month and I remember that day we brought her home. It’s amazing how fast these babies grow up.
I love reading all your great comments. I’m always amazed at how universal some feelings are. There is nothing quite like the panic of leaving the safety of the hospital and being handed this very tiny creature. Whispering Writer, ACK, is exactly what it is!! Lol!!
As always I thank you for your wonderful support! It really means so much to me!!
This is beautiful! Our Tom will be 23 next week. Thank you for helping me remember like it was yesterday. I was scared to death of that little 8 lb bundle of joy 🙂
Somehow they/we survive, praise God!
I think you have just effectively described the sheer panic that overtakes every new parent when they let you walk out of the hospital – unsupervised, mind you – with a baby. In fact, the show, Up All Night just recently ran an episode where the new parents were deliberating the total irresponsibility of the hospital staff for letting them leave. The beauty of it all is that you, like so many other parents, figured it out. Sometimes, love really is all you need. And if we can survive the baby years, I sure hope we can survive the teenage ones!
LOL! I remember the first time I tried to diaper my son in the incubator. First time diapering ever, and they had me do it alone. It was not pretty, and when the nurse came back she actually laughed and said, “Well, at least you put it on the right end.”
Mommie Dearest Strikes Again says
I loved this story. I felt the same way – I couldn’t believe they were letting us take that little baby home! Now that little baby boy is 17 and is driving. Next year he will be a senior in high school. I don’t know where the years have gone. I can’t think about it because when I do I start to feel panicky. My baby is almost grown up. It terrifies me that in only a couple of years he will be leaving me.This parenting thing is a LOT harder than I thought it was going to be when I was coming home from the hospital with that tiny little baby!!
Oh, my god, you make this motherhood thing sound so romantic- it almost makes me want to have one. Err, well, not really, but you do make it sound beautiful. Keep em coming. xo
We roomed in with our first and never slept for fear that she would stop breathing. I got smarter with the other 2 and let them stay in the nursery. I knew from experience that sleep was the most important thing for helping me be a good mother. I love you blog Kathy!
The first baby is always so daunting.
I remember sending mine to the nursery one night too. I told them to take her and feed her formula – I just wanted one night to sleep through.I felt guilty. Loved this post and how I could envision everything – very well written!
Great story! A lot of it sounded very familiar. 🙂 My husband and I were the same way when we left the hospital. We could not comprehend how they could let two jokers like us leave with a baby. This was a sweet story to read. Thanks!
I still love this story. Stopping by again to pass along the Tell Me About Yourself Award.
You can read about it here–> http://www.imasillymami.com
Love your story; I think all moms can identify with that room being their world for a short time. I know I cried when we pulled on to our road the day we came home with our little girl. I had been so sure something would happen and we wouldn’t bring her home.
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I hope you’re having a wonderful rest of your weekend!