The First Newborn

One of the most joyous benefits of what I do is that, everyday I get to be reminded of what it was like to bring my first newborn son home from the hospital.  So many emotions quickened through my spirit.  Joy.  Fear.  Happiness. Nervousness.  Excitement.  Incompetence.  Everything.  Which of these I felt at any particular moment, usually corresponded to how the baby was doing.  If Logan was sleeping peacefully, I felt content and proud.  I would lovingly gaze down at his sleeping form and think, “I am so damn good.  Look what I did!”  Contrastingly, when the baby was screaming, had been fed, diapered, burped, diapered again, and fed again, and was STILL screaming I felt as if I had been tasked with the impossible.  “How can I do this?  How am I supposed to know what he needs?!?!”   My “mom” side just wanted the baby to be comfortable.  When moms have a crying newborn everything in our being wants to make it right.  We seek out the problem, we undress, redress, wipe down, feed, pacify, and repeat until we can find the source of distress.  The first few weeks (months) of a baby’s life we do this, until at last we begin to recognize the cry of hunger, we can discern the angry scream, and we run to the howl of pain.  There is no one day that a new mom wakes up and says, “Today, I know what I’m doing.”  Rather, it’s a slow journey.  A journey through many, many sleepless nights and days.  A journey through hundreds of feedings and diapers.  A journey through emotions she didn’t even know existed.  Finally, after bolting upright out of bed and realizing that the newborn (and she) slept for six hours straight, she races to the bassinet to rest her hand on the peaceful rise and fall of the tiny chest.  She releases the breath she did not realize she was holding, and thinks, “I can do this.”  And she does.

A newborn, especially the first, changes everything.