After our baby boy was placed in our arms, the rest of the world faded away. We were alone in the hospital nursery with just the head nurse checking in to see what we needed, but we could have been on our own little planet. We were so astonished this little creature was ours. He was so wrinkly and furry. All babies have that thin, super fine downy hair covering them, but this kid had thick, luscious award-winning fur from head to toe. Fortunately it was very light in color, or he would have looked like Saquatch. He was three weeks early, so he had these awesome folds and wrinkles of skin basically waiting for baby fat to fill them out. On top of his skin being all wrinkly, it was also quite dry and flaky. It reminded me of a snake shedding its skin. He wee little face was vee-shaped as it too waited for baby fat to round it out. His blue eyes were kind of scrunched closed from labor and were covered in the ointment all babies have applied right after birth. He was absolutely beautiful. Probably not to anyone else, but to us he was perfection.
The nurse was indescribably awesome. She recognized the magnitude of the moment and gave us time to just stare in awe at lil’ Benjamin Button, but she also knew right when to hop in to help. After a few minutes of the staring she suggested doing some skin to skin, or “kangaroo” time. We were all for it of course, we did a lot of it with E and it’s about as bonded as you can be with a new tiny human. It’s sort of a gift you give yourself and your baby, and it feels amazing. However, kangaroo time requires getting nekkid, at least from the waist up, so it felt a little odd at first. It’s different if you’ve given birth. When you give birth, you and shame part ways. Everyone on the L&D floor has seen every part of you unclothed and in the most unglamorous fashion, so whipping open a hospital gown in the presence of God and all creation to kangaroo your new joey is a task completed without hesitation. When you have not just birthed a baby, there is a moment of pause before you start to undress. First of all, I could definitely not blame my leftover tummy pooch on pregnancy. Second of all, our nurse was female, but it still felt a little strange when she handed me my baby as I sat in the rocking chair, wearing only my jeans, shoes and socks with a gown draped over us. Any awkwardness I felt quickly faded as I clutched my boy to my heart and, within seconds, began to hear his heartbeat keeping time with mine. I felt as connected to my baby boy as if I’d been the one to carry him for nine months.
We stayed in the nursery for quite a while. I know this because my phone was dinging with a new text every three seconds from my parents, who understandably wanted an update. I knew they were incredibly anxious and I feared they would interpret my silence as another heartbreak. Unfortunately, we were in a brick encased nursery within a brick encased building in a location that already had poor cell reception. Communication back out was impossible from this place. I could receive delayed texts, but that was it. The hubs was having issues of his own, having chosen to wait until making sure this baby was ours for real before calling his mother. Now that we knew, he was dying to call and tell her but there was no way to do it.
The nurse had given us our space again, and it felt rude to buzz her to ask if we could go to our own room. We knew we had one, but no one had given us any directions beyond kangaroo care in the nursery. As we later discovered, our son’s birth mother was also on our floor, recovering, and they were moving her to a room down the hall so that we wouldn’t be right next door to each other. That needed to be accomplished before we stepped out of the nursery, so that we didn’t run into one another. In this tiny hospital, only she and the hubs and baby and I (plus one other woman plus baby) were occupying any rooms on the maternity floor, so it would be pretty obvious if we were to encounter one another. After about an hour and a half we were moved to our room rather covertly, and that’s where we stayed for the next 24 hours. That’s when the birth mother checked out, and then we were allowed a bit more freedom, like to get our bags from the car. The nurses brought us toothbrushes and anything else we possibly needed while we were confined to the room.
The hubs was able to finally call his mom about three hours after we arrived and it was the sweetest slash funniest conversation in the world. I should preface this by saying that the hubs is the youngest of six, the baby of the family. When we finally conceived our sweet E, the MIL could not have been more excited for another grandchild, and she was so happy for us that we were going to have a baby after years of trying. Three weeks before his due date she decided to take a short trip to Idaho to visit her daughter and be back in time for our son to be born. Two days after she left, I had an emergency c-section. She missed all the action and I know she was disappointed. So it must have really been a trip to find out about her next grandson this way:
Hubs: “Hey mom, I hope it’s not too late. I have news for you.”
MIL: “Good news or bad news?”
MIL: “Okay, let’s hear it!”
Hubs: “You have a new grandson!”
MIL: “(…silence). Wait, what? I just saw E this morning. Are you playing a trick on me?”
Hubs: “No mom! Would I joke about that?
MIL: “I don’t know, you have a strange sense of humor sometimes.”
It took a little convincing but after sharing the story she was ecstatic to learn she had a new grandbaby! He also had to explain why it took so long to call, what with the concrete walls and all. I was able to also call my parents, who must not have been anxiously awaiting the call because it took my mom almost a quarter of a ring to answer the phone.
During our 24 hour quarantine something really awesome happened. One of the nurses came in and let us know our baby’s biological aunt wanted to rock him one last time. Apparently, the day before, she had rocked our baby briefly, shortly before we arrived, after receiving a call from her sister stating that she had just given birth and was placing the baby for adoption. The nurses wanted our permission to take baby to the nursery for her to have one last visit. Instead, we invited the aunt into our room to personally meet her, and offered her our rocking chair to rock away for as long as she wanted. This was truly a unique experience, not only because his aunt was such a neat lady, but because despite the fact the adoption is closed, our son will be able to have a biological connection if he chooses and if she chooses. We only exchanged first names, but we left the possibility of future visits open if she was interested. We have exchanged emails via the agency, all the while preserving the integrity of the closed adoption. It’s very special. I hope that she will continue to want to email and also want to meet baby in the future. I think it can only be wonderful for him to have a biological relative that cares about him and takes an interest in him. I love that he won’t ever have to truly wonder “where he came from” or “who he is” because through his aunt, those questions will be answered when he’s older. At least that is my most fervent prayer for him.
Stay tuned for chapter four! More (good) shenanigans to come, including naming the baby twice and the arrival of le petit prince to meet his baby brother.
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