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The Moment I Saw You

Jan05

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bounceback_newborn.jpg
Photo by jamesbrandon
Someone gave me a lullaby CD at my first baby shower — Nicolette Larson’s Sleep Baby Sleep — with the promise that it was audio baby Valium, guaranteed to settle any fussy baby right down. It sat in the shrinkwrap for a few months because we were high-minded music snobs who only played stuff like Johnny Cash and the Beatles for our little musical genius, but while packing for our first substantial road trip with Noah I impulsively grabbed it *just in case.*

A couple hours into the drive we popped that sucker in and BAM. My three-month-old looked at me like, “Are you hearing that voice? THIS is why I howl when YOU sing. I HAVE STANDARDS.” And promptly stopped crying and dozed off.

(If you’ve never heard of Nicolette Larson, allow me to give a thumbs up to this sweet little album, but with the warning to never, EVER look her up on Wikipedia while listening to one of the more sentimental tracks written to her own baby, because your heart will shatter into a bajillion pieces. Oh, God.)

Anyway. I bring this up mostly because of final track is a song called The Moment I Saw You. It’s a duet with Graham Nash and goes something like this:

The moment I saw you
I wanted to hold you.
And keep you warm
on a cold gray morn.
The moment I held you
I wanted to kiss you.
And welcome you here
on the day you were born.

This song destroys me EVERY TIME I HEAR IT, including one memorable car ride home, when Noah was already asleep and thus I could really have turned it off but instead I kept listening to it over and over again while tears rolled down my face because in my head I could see the beautiful montage video I could make with it, with my still-longed-for second baby meeting Noah for the first time and WHY WASN’T I PREGNANT YET WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH.

(Spoiler alert: I was soooooo totally pregnant.)

I remember that moment so clearly — that first glimpse of your baby, the first time you hold them, kiss them, smell them, nurse them. Neither first look was what I hoped for, as I wanted the naked slimy dumped-on-my-chest moment of victory but instead only saw them while strapped to an operating table, after they were swaddled and behatted. I remember I running my fingers under the hat to peek at their matted hair, boggling at how big Noah was and how small Ezra was, ugly crying as I kissed them, my body feeling completely destroyed from the surgery yet the instinct to start mothering my child coursing through my numbed extremities.

My friend once confessed to me that she wasn’t sure she even liked her baby for the first couple days, even after having her picture-perfect natural birth. I went to visit her in the hospital after her second baby was born and she expressed her immense relief that she felt “the right way” this time, with the immediate rush of motherly love. She’d been beating herself up for years over that initial reaction, which she thought was “wrong” because everybody else would only talk about how it was the greatest day, the most wonderful thing.

I remember thinking breastfeeding was bizarre the first time with Noah, some trepidation (and even a little embarrassment for some reason) over his 10-pound size, some guilt over my conflicting feelings about having a boy. I remember cradling his foot in my hand for a photo and being shocked at how much bigger it was than any newborn’s foot I had ever seen. I remember a nurse instructing me in skin-to-skin contact and giving me the okay to just keep him in bed with me as much as I wanted and only then do I remember falling in love, violently, because oh! Hello! I’ve wanted you for SO LONG.
I remember thinking that breastfeeding was different from the start with Ezra, how much I missed it and how good he seemed to be at it. I remember wanted to talk about anything other than his size, the reality that my c-section was unnecessary and not what I had pictured. I remember worrying that he was not as cute of a newborn as Noah and feeling awful for even thinking that. I remember wondering why Ezra’s eyebrows went all the way to his hairline and if they would stay that way. I remember missing Noah but being exhausted by him and horrified by how big he looked and wanting him to go away after awhile. I remember being alone with Ezra and unwrapping him and undoing my gown and curling up with him close to me and seeing him open his eyes for the first time and falling in love again, so deeply that I gasped, because oh! Hello! I’ve wanted you for SO LONG.

It’s an overwhelming moment where your entire life changes forever…but also so simple. Kiss. Hold. Warmth. Marvel.


Today’s writing challenge: Your turn. Describe what that moment was like, for you. Go!

__________________________________________________________________
If there is a question you would like answered by Amalah on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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95 Responses to “The Moment I Saw You”

  1. Laurie Jan 05 at 12:14 pm Reply Reply

    I remember being in such shock from the labor, the we’re concerned that his heartbeat slows every time you push here’s the internal fetal monitor you didn’t want and an IV and an oxygen mask and don’t mind those NICU nurses setting up shop over there, the look in my husband’s eyes as he told me everything was fine and it wasn’t, the unannounced episiotomy with no anesthesia, the unsuccessful vacuum extraction, the finally successful forceps delivery, the whisked away baby and then being told everything was fine.
    And then that little face…

  2. Ashley F Jan 05 at 12:40 pm Reply Reply

    I felt really lucky because I really felt like I had the best birth experience… and then I had Drew and it was like, omg, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. And then I would look at him and cry, all the time (whoa hormones). I just remember looking at the slimy little (big) thing on my chest and thinking… ooooh boy… I’m in SO MUCH TROUBLE…
    I just couldn’t believe that the little monster who had been beating the CRAP out of me for a few weeks (he was insanely active the last few weeks of my pregnancy) was finally here. And so handsome! And looked nothing like me at all, but instead was the spitting image of my husband, down to the ENORMOUS big toe.
    He was completely perfect!
    And I remember thinking that my boobs could never be more sore than they were when I was trying to nurse him. And that I was a total failure when they told me to give him some formula until my milk came in (day five… yikes). But now, he’s a total HOSS from only breast milk because apparently I could feed the free world with my oversupply.
    I appreciate this writing exercise now that I’m back to work (for the month only) and he’s not sleeping and I feel like all I get is the witching hour when I come home and then the up all night, 4 month wakeful period…
    Its nice to remember the first moment that I fell in love with my not so little boogie bear.

  3. Lindsay Jan 05 at 12:43 pm Reply Reply

    Amalah, I’ve always thought no one could put into words what that first moment is like, but I think you’ve done it!
    Like you, meeting Gavin wasn’t the naked, gooey, plopped-on-my-chest moment I’d hoped for because of a c-section. Still, I remember hearing his first cry, and feeling my heart grow more than I knew it could. When they handed him to me, I couldn’t stop kissing him, and didn’t realize I was sobbing until my doctor asked if I was okay (apparently my sobs were preventing her from sewing me up!). And oh! the first time he nursed… everything vanished but the two of us. It was then that I really understood the Sylvia Plath quote… “What did my fingers do before they held him? What did my heart do, with its love?”
    Thank you for this post. You’re awesome.

  4. Kayleigh Jan 05 at 1:00 pm Reply Reply

    You seriously have me crying in my cubicle over here, Amy. That was beautiful. Hubby and I are waiting to get pregnant until we can buy a house (a couple of years from now), but you are really not making it easy!

  5. Cheryl S. Jan 05 at 1:05 pm Reply Reply

    I fell in love with my daughter the day I met her because I had wanted her so badly, but then, I was overtaken by absolutely hellish and frightening PPD for quite a while. I remember one day when she was about 3 months old hearing the song “God only Knows” by the Beach Boys. Suddenly, I was weeping uncontrollably, and apologizing to my sweet, wonderful baby because mommy was so so sick in the beginning. I HATE PPD for taking that feeling away from me for 3 months.
    I may not always love you
    But long as there are stars above you
    You never need to doubt it
    I’ll make you so sure about it
    God only knows what I’d be without you
    If you should ever leave me
    Though life would still go on, believe me
    The world could show nothing to me
    So what good would livin’ do me
    God only knows what I’d be without you
    God only knows what I’d be without you

  6. Kayleigh Jan 05 at 1:12 pm Reply Reply

    You’re seriously making me cry right here in my cubicle, Amy. That was so beautiful! Hubby and I are waiting (impatiently) to conceive until after we buy a house. You’re not making it any easier on me!

  7. Meghan Jan 05 at 1:35 pm Reply Reply

    The first week of my daughter’s life was just a whirl of adrenaline for me. Like the kind of rush you get when you start dating someone and you instantly click with them and you just talk and talk for hours about nothing and everything, and even if you stay up all night you feel really jazzed and excited and not tired at all. THAT is how I felt. It wasn’t this rush of pure love, it was more of a rush of pure excitement — I was just thrilled to be there with her and to meet this tiny person who had been kicking my ribs for the last two months.
    I never minded the marathon or late-night nursing sessions because it meant more time with her, and when she was done eating, she’d pop off the boob with this satisfied half-smile, like she’d just had the most delicious thing in the world. And she had this sweet little cry that sounded like a kitten mewing more than anything else, and it always broke my heart to hear it, but then I would get happy because I could get her to stop crying with the boob or just my voice.
    Everything about her was so tiny and I would just marvel over it.
    Now she is 9 months old and is zooming around the house, pulling herself up on everything and babbling to herself about who knows what. I can’t believe it has all gone by so quickly.

  8. Natalie Jan 05 at 1:35 pm Reply Reply

    Zoey took forever coming out and was eventually vacuumed and then they dumped her on my chest and I didn’t know what to do. She was so little and I had no experience with brand new babies, I wasn’t prepared. I think I tried to pick her up a little but she was so wet but not like covered in goop like I was convinced she would be.
    They took her and put her on the table to do the tests and I watched my husband over there with her taking pictures for me and tickling her feet.
    Right then I just felt so relieved that she was there and seemed fine and phew all the hard stuff was over now and then like 20 people who had been waiting outside wanted to come in and it all happened so fast and I was so overwhelmed
    then of course the love sort of came welling up a little later that late night / early morning along with the realization that ohmygodwhatwasithinking dr appointment, breatfeeding, potty training how am I going to do this panic panic panic

  9. Maureen Jan 05 at 1:53 pm Reply Reply

    What I remember about the moment I saw both of my children was how quiet they got the first time they heard my voice and how gently and knowingly they looked at me. They knew me exactly who I was and what I meant to them. It was as if I was instantly Mama and yet had been so for months.

  10. Nel Jan 05 at 2:19 pm Reply Reply

    I haven’t had this moment yet, but I am pregnant right now and just started bawling hysterically. I have a huge fear of not having the “appropriate” feeling when my baby gets here and you just made me feel so much better.
    Thank you for this…it is perfect.

  11. paranoid Jan 05 at 3:09 pm Reply Reply

    I remember meeting M for the first time and feeling a little bit shocked. I mean yes, I knew I was going to have a baby, but then suddenly she was THERE. She cried, and it hit me that we had this person now, and she belonged to us. I was fascinated at how she looked around her so calmly, just taking in this bright new world. And I remember looking at The Boy holding his daughter, and realizing how he was a natural daddy. It was a very sweet, calm moment. And holding her, when I was finally allowed to a few hours later, felt so good.
    E’s birth was a totally different experience. By the time she came around, I’d had a miscarriage and an ectopic and had gone through IVF and an FET. And as much as I loved and wanted E while I was pregnant, I remember not letting myself believe that I was really going to get to have a baby. So when she came out, it was pure, ecstatic joy. I remember losing it when I heard her cry, just sobs of relief and happiness that we had our little girl. And then they — wonder of wonders — the nurse handed her to me and she latched on right there in the recovery room and I snuggled her for hours and everything we’d gone through, every last surgery and needle and ultrasound and pregnancy test, faded right into oblivion. It was amazing.

  12. Olivia Jan 05 at 3:24 pm Reply Reply

    I was so worn out after 30 hrs of hard back labor and 3 hours of pushing so much of those first moments are hazy. I heard her before I saw her (c-section), and I started sobbing. Then it all happened so fast. The nurse told me she was okay, but her knee was bending the wrong way. Then she showed me the knee!!! Then she had a hat on and my husband was tearing open his scrubs to get her skin-to-skin while I was being sewn up. Then, finally I was wheeled to recovery and my baby was handed to me. I had her skin-to-skin and oh my, she looks just like her daddy! And her hair, it must be two inches long!
    I am still a little mystified that I didn’t “fall in love” with my daughter. At least not in the completely overwhelming, heart-bursting way I have heard other mothers describe. I love her more everday, But I haven’t felt like it was all consuming. Mostly what I remember thinking is “Wow, what a beautiful baby, and she’s mine. I don’t have to give her back.”

  13. Mouse Jan 05 at 4:11 pm Reply Reply

    Thank you for this. My second son will be making his way into the world in the next month, and I needed this reminder.
    With my first son, I remember the end of delivery and how he started to go into distress and my OB was cussing people out because they couldn’t find the forceps. And then he was whisked away and worked on for 90 seconds before he made a noise, the longest 90 seconds ever, though it distracted me from being sewn up as the epidural wore off.
    When the nurse brought him to me, he was grunting, a reaction to the distress, and he wouldn’t nurse. He had milia and red marks where the forceps had grabbed him, though no pointed head since he had spent so little time in the birth canal. His hair was straight, which seemed wrong to me since it had been curly on the way out. (It did curl back up, a couple days later when we let his hair air dry.)
    Once he was cleaned up and I’d been moved to my postpartum room, we had a chance to take better stock of each other at our leisure. He fell asleep high on my chest and my hands went around him. One rested on his diapered bottom, and I realized it was exactly the size and shape of the body part I had chased around in my last weeks of pregnancy. That was the moment.

  14. Roberta Jan 05 at 4:34 pm Reply Reply

    Oh. Teary. Over everyone’s memories and mine. I was on track for a great natural birth, with a relatively short labor, lying in the birthing tub at a birth center, pushing, anticipating…when everyone realized my baby had flipped herself into a breech position sometime during labor after being in perfect, head-down position for weeks, and wasn’t coming out that way. Ambulance. Hospital. Horrified by unwanted, but necessary C-section. I was numb, so numb, strapped down, and after all this rough athletic wrestling of my body, there was a cry, louder than I could have thought possible. But she was all the way across the room, and I couldn’t see her, and I wanted to touch her, hold her, stop her cries. I first viewed her upside down, craning my head back, strapped to the table, as they stitched me up. My husband held the little swaddled, hatted pink creature as close as he could, but I just felt so numb, and detached. Finally, I got into the recovery room, finally they brought her, finally, finally I could hold her, nurse her. Petite, not even six and a half pounds, she latched on with total determination, and clamped her impossibly tiny hand on my finger. She was instant love, instantly mine, and I could not hold her long enough.

  15. Cheryl Jan 05 at 4:55 pm Reply Reply

    Oh my goodness, in my utterly exhausted state, I barely remember that first moment when they placed him on my chest. The nurse asked me if I wanted to hold him before they whisked him away to be cleaned up, and I remember thinking, “Well of course I do! I just spent 15 hours ejecting him from my body!”
    I do remember looking at him with this amazement at what my body had just done, but the overwhelming love and perfectness of it all didn’t happen until later on that night, when my husband and I were finally alone with him in the hospital room. I looked over at this tiny, beautiful, sleeping little being and realized I’d never known what real love was until that moment.
    Strange thing is, I love my little man more every single day, and I can’t imagine how I ever thought I knew what love was before he became my world.

  16. Lindsey Jan 05 at 5:18 pm Reply Reply

    This is so lovely … it makes me think about the fact that my daughter, now seven, has been listening ot the same CD EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since she was born … I swear in 50 years I will be walking (ok, wheeling) somewhere and will hear that acoustic “blackbird singing in the dead OF night ..” and will just be right back there. there, here. yikes. Music does it!

  17. rockle Jan 05 at 5:23 pm Reply Reply

    My daughter is adopted, and when we met her she was already almost a year old, but I have pictures of that very first time we saw her. I remember thinking, “What if this isn’t right? What if she is scared of us? What if she cries? What if she never loves us?” And then I remember getting her in my arms, and I remember … terrible possessiveness. Separation anxiety. Never, ever wanting to let her go. I felt like I grew a million years older, right there in that other family’s living room, afraid I was going to collapse in a heap when it was time to leave, dead on the spot. (… And I still have nights when I need to crawl into her bed before I go to sleep myself, just to smell her head and listening to her snores, and sometimes, I feel that rush of dread all over again. It’s really weird.)

  18. Edith Jan 05 at 5:31 pm Reply Reply

    I am older than you all are, by far. My oldest son, God love him, he was a problem from the minute I concieved. I was in the hospital very ill for nearly 3 weeks before the doctor decided to deliver him.
    At the last minute, my son’s oxygen level dropped. I was just a kid, myself at that time, 19 year old and stupid. But the look on the doctor’s face told me that there was a problem. The doctor tells me that we may “lose” my son. I remember thinking, “we can’t lose him! I love him so much already!” When it came time for the next push, I bared down like I never had before, (and since), and my son delivered in one push. I, of course, pulled back and leg muscles pushing so hard, but at the time, I didn’t care.
    As he came out, he was purple, and the cord had wrapped three times around his neck. But, hitting the air he let out a cry I will never forget. He cried, and I cried.
    The most beautiful and frightening day of my life.

  19. Stephanie Jan 05 at 5:39 pm Reply Reply

    Beautifully written.
    My first moments with my daughter were frightening and confusing. After 4.5 hours of pushing, epidural halfway through that, threats of a c-section, fatigue, craziness, vacuums, nurses looking through instruction manuals for heart rate monitors, she finally came out and I couldn’t believe it.
    Then I saw her. She was grey, blue, lifeless and limp. They took her away before I got to see her up close, and I watched from my still gaping and oozing position on the bed, as they worked on her, willing her to breathe. After 10 minutes or so, she slowly turned pink and took a little breath. She was in bad shape, but eventually made it.
    In those 10 minutes, I calmly, as if in a daze, crafted a message to my loved ones, explaining how our child had been born still. How I was thankful for the time I had spent with her inside me, how I knew we could get this far, how much we were sad but would get by.
    Then I held her. Though that deep, infatuated love didn’t come for months afterwards, I was bewildered and amazed and proud of this gorgeous little thing, and she was so completely a part of me.
    Today, I watch her beautiful face as she runs around, a busy toddler, and my heart hurts with how much I would die for her.

  20. Jo Jan 05 at 5:57 pm Reply Reply

    My sweet baby arrived 7 weeks ago yesterday. We had a water birth, making my labor (especially the pushing stage) a lot more comfortable.
    I started pushing and at one point my amazing midwife told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head since it was beginning to crown. Totally thrilling moment, feeling the tiny hairs and knowing that was MY baby. That was first time in my entire pregnancy that everything seemed real. Even though we didn’t know the sex of the baby, how big it would be, what color eyes it would have…there it was, really coming, really making us parents, making me a mother.
    Shortly after that I felt the baby move in my birth canal. I knew, from all of my months of reading, that wasn’t supposed to happen. We checked the heartbeat and everything was perfect so we moved forward with the birth as planned. Just minutes later I pushed the baby out and it was obvious that movement I felt had actually been the baby taking a deep breath and inhaling mucus, making breathing very difficult. The poor thing’s face, hands, feet were totally blue and it was taking very shallow, sporatic breaths.
    They cut the cord and moved it to the bed, telling me to talk while they worked to regulate her breathing.
    So I did. I called out, “Baby! I love you, oh how I love you, and I am so glad you’re finally here! We did it!” My mom, who was helping the midwives warm the baby up, said a deep breath was taken everytime it heard my voice above all the others.
    Suddenly I heard my husband say, “Nola Jean! Nola, here you are! This is your Daddy, Nola Jean. We’re so glad you’re here.”
    “It’s a girl?!” I exclaimed. I wanted a baby girl so terribly and here she was! In all the frenzy they’d forgotten to tell me the gender.
    After less than 60 seconds she was gaining color and breathing beautifully. I got out of the tub, they put her on my chest and she immediately found my nipple and started to suckle. And I was totally enamored and have remained so…
    …but the moment the love started was the moment I felt those tiny hairs on the top of that tiny head.

  21. Alison Jan 05 at 6:44 pm Reply Reply

    I remember the first night we brought our daughter home. I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep. I just kept staring at her in her bassinet at the foot of our bed, not believing she was really mine.
    Thank you everyone for sharing such beautiful memories.

  22. Peter Jan 05 at 6:55 pm Reply Reply

    I remember standing at my wife’s head, torn between my desire to look into her eyes and to look at what was going on with the C-section. I remember being given strict orders to do the latter and keep her up to date on the rummaging :-)
    I remember being overjoyed, I remember being sad that the pregnancy was over. No more kissing the bump, no more shared giggles over the Alien eating its way out. No more Buster – for better or for worse it was time for him to bear his true name and breathe this world’s air. I remember the anticipation, and the strange sorrow that I’d never myself know what it was like to carry a child, to feel it kicking inside me.
    I remember the pain of knowing that her father hadn’t quite managed to hold on long enough to see his first grandson.
    I remember the surgeon fussing around her abdomen with quick, small, precise movements. Although I diligently watched and reported, I don’t remember the sight of tissue or blood – the sound of the cutting will however remain with me forever.
    I remember being petrified that I was going to say something really bone-headedly stupid, and naturally the fear made it happen. As the surgeon reached deep, so impossibly deep inside my beloved (my fevered memory has it as up to the elbows, though that surely can’t be true), I duly said “Oh my God, there’s a baby in there”. He was large, shockingly large. Nothing that size could conceivably fit inside another person, surely?
    Wiped and weighed, peeing on the nurse in the process – you go my son, don’t take any interference from The Man! – and handed to us. So tiny. So impossibly tiny. I can only presume the TARDIS was designed by someone who’d made a really close study of babies.
    Later that night, as my love slept the sleep of the suddenly-much-lighter, I cradled him on my chest and sang a lullaby. His ears were still blocked with goo, of course – no chance of him hearing anything but a vaguely comforting vibration – but I know, because I was there.
    He was warm, still slightly damp and matted from the amniotic fluid, and he smelt absolutely undefinable. With every breath, he made the tiniest little sound, as his body hadn’t yet learned to hold his larynx open. A newly-plucked fruit, with a sheen and bloom still on it, a newborn essence that lasts no longer than a day and can never be recaptured.
    He never lets me sing it to him these days, because he’s Four, and a Big Boy, but sometimes I still try anyway, because it’s Tradition. One day maybe he’ll sing it to his own children.
    *******************
    Hush O babe, while the red bee hums the silent twilight’s fall,
    Aoibheall from the grey rock comes, to wrap the world in thrall.
    A leanbhan O, my child, my joy, my love and heart’s desire.
    The cricket sings his lullaby, beside the dying fire.
    Dusk is drawn and the Green Man’s Horn is wreathed in rings of fog,
    Siabhra sails his boat till morn, upon the Starry Bog.
    A leanbhan O, the paly moon hath brimmed her cusp in dew,
    And weeps to hear the sad sleep-tune, I sing O love to you.

  23. MichelleRenee Jan 05 at 8:09 pm Reply Reply

    O my. Brings back so many memories.
    I firmly believe it is those moments of primal love that keep children from being booted from the nest when they turn 15.
    Thank you so much for that good cry,
    I needed it.

  24. Amalah Jan 05 at 8:20 pm Reply Reply

    SOBBING NOW.
    And it’s not pretty.
    Gorgeous comments, you guys. Y’all are writing circles around me and I love it.

  25. Heather Jan 05 at 8:29 pm Reply Reply

    This posting comes at a perfect time as I moved my little guy (Griffin) into his crib this past weekend. He is 5 months old and the time is going by way to fast. He is happy sleeping in his own room, and I miss him terribly.
    When I met Griffin for the first time it was as close to perfect as I could have hoped for. We had a fast and furious labor and delivery – 6 hours from first contraction to delivery. It was hard, harder than I could have imagined. I pushed for 3 hours seriously thinking I am going to die. At one point I remember thinking, I might not make it, but Griffin will be okay.
    And then I could feel his head coming down and out and then his little (okay not little) shoulders and there he was. He looked me straight in the eye and I feel in love. Total and complete love. I have never been a believer in love at first sight, but Griffin changed my thinking. He was right on my belly and then latched on minutes after delivery. I held him that way for as long as I could. It was weird, but he was exactly as I thought he would be and I could just tell that he felt the same.

  26. HereWeGoAJen Jan 05 at 9:17 pm Reply Reply

    I was so in the zone and pushing so hard that I didn’t even notice that she had been born. The doctor was shouting at me to “reach down! reach down!” and when I finally focused, I pulled her up on to my chest. And I cried and cried and told her that I had been waiting for her so long. And when they took her away to measure and weigh and poke and prod, I wouldn’t let go and they had to pull her away from me.

  27. Erin Jan 05 at 9:35 pm Reply Reply

    My first thought when I saw my son was, “Whose child is that?” I didn’t think he looked like us at ALL, and while he does more now, he was born looking like a very attractive angry bulldog. He was big, his head was round (which is all I heard for weeks after, how round his head was) and he screamed a lot. He also wasn’t breathing right. I don’t even really remember holding him, because they took him away so fast to get him hooked up to breathing machines. I remember feeling triumphant at having had him so easily (I did have an epidural, but I had no side-effects and only pushed for about 30 minutes), wondering when they would wheel him into my room in a little crib so that we could start all that bonding stuff I’d seen in commercials. It didn’t really happen that way, as I was the one wheeled to him for a couple of days, and then the one who “hid” in an empty and unused hospital room his doctor “found” for me so that I could stay near enough to nurse him when he was strong enough. I remember trying to fill up the two inch shower bottom with water so that I could take a “bath” and relieve my ouchy stitches. Yum. The actual birth was so amazing, I felt so powerful. He was so amazing, but I feel like I didn’t really get the whole cuddle all night, get to know each other period like some other moms do. I cried a lot. I worried, and I got mad that I had to cuddle a stupid breast pump rather than my baby. But it worked out. 19 days and he was home with us. It felt like 10,000.

  28. AmyDoubleYou Jan 05 at 9:36 pm Reply Reply

    After my semi-emergency C-section (baby wasn’t in trouble yet but it was heading that way) I felt disappointed that I hadn’t gotten to push at all, or to see him come out, that the blue curtain blocked that first disgustingly beautiful bloody moment. They brought him around to me after a minute and I cried, he was beautiful, so much hair. They had to take him away to check his lungs then because he was squeaking and I was sewn up and didn’t see him again until my husband came back to the birthing room with him after 20 minutes or so. I finally got to hold him, I loved him, he was gorgeous, but I didn’t see myself or my husband in his face. He was A baby, but he didn’t feel like MY baby. The one I’d cooked for so long, talked to and sang to and hoped for and worried for and felt tucked under my ribcage. And then somewhere in those first days (and I think more importantly nights) in the hospital, it hit me subtly. OF COURSE you’re my baby. By the time we went home Sunday morning I could have stopped a freight train with my bare hands to keep him from being hurt in even the smallest way.
    And the C-section didn’t matter and the longer hospital stay I had been dreading ended up being the best 3 days of my life. My husband got wonderful photos of the gooey just-born parts I had missed, including this one of me meeting Atticus for the first time.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/amydoubleyou/4249962212/
    The kind of moment you remember on your death bed and smile, for sure.

  29. Megan Jan 05 at 10:20 pm Reply Reply

    I had been pushing for over two hours, unmedicated, at the birth center with only my husband, my widwife, and a nurse with me. I was so beyond ready to have her out of me but at the same time, I was so scared to actually push her out. I’d heard about the Ring of Fire and I knew that it was going to hurt a lot worse before it got better, but when my midwife threatened to take me to the hospital if I didn’t have her out in the next 30 minutes, I made myself do it. She shot out in one push and I could hear my midwife telling me how much hair she had as I closed my eyes and collapsed on the bed. I was scared to take that first look at her.
    Even though her ultrasounds had shown us that she was perfect, I was worried that something might be wrong with her. I had imagined what she would look like in my mind and I was nervous to look at her, not knowing what to expect. But then the midwife asked me if I was ready to see my baby after she had sucked the meconium out of her nose and mouth and I snapped right out of it. She laid her on my chest, I looked down, and I was instantly in love. It was such a relief – a relief that she was here and my girly bits were no longer taking a beating, and a relief because she was absolutely perfect. And god, was she beautiful, more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed. I was in love, and even though I thought I knew what love was when I fell in love with my husband, it just did not compare. I instantly knew that I would do anything for her, give anything to protect her, love her with all of my ever-expanding heart.
    She stayed there on my naked chest for 2 hours, the heat from my body warming hers as the anxious grandparents finally came in. I was her incubator and nobody could hold her except for me. It was a good thing too, because there was no way that anyone was taking her away from me, not even for a second. That night after all was quiet and we were alone together, my husband asleep on the bed that the three of us shared, I was unable to go to sleep. I had been awake for over 24 hours with only 3 hours of sleep before that, but I could not stop looking at my tiny little love. My heart felt like it could explode out of my chest at any moment, it was so full of love for this tiny being whom I had grown inside of me for the past 9 months. It was the best feeling of my life and I grow more and more in love with her with every day that passes.

  30. CLE Jan 05 at 11:09 pm Reply Reply

    That moment didn’t happen for me until two days after she was taken from me.
    After 18 hours of excruciating non-labor abdominal pain, they decided to do an emergency c-section at 36 weeks and see what happened. General anesthesia.
    While her life started, I fought for mine with a perforated bowel and a severe abdominal infection.
    My second day in ICU, they arranged with the NICU to see my perfectly healthy baby with some feeding issues. They wheeled my bed, with all the tubes and monitors up to the NICU. I had a high fever, a morphine pump, 3 IVs and a tube down my nose. I barely remember the moment, I saw her as the baby everyone described to me, I couldn’t discover her features on my own. She wore a donated dress with snails on it and had a feeding tube. They handed me a bottle and I took it out briefly so I could hear her cry. Fifteen minutes, then back to ICU.
    Between the drugs and pain and fever and nurse escort and the eight people watching the moment with concerned cameras, it felt a little deflated.
    My moment came several days later when my OB went on the warpath to get this mama to her baby. Without even my husband there, I snuck into the NICU and sat in the rocking chair holding her. The obvious recognition in her of heartbeat and voice in her glued me to her. She’s mine.
    Three admits of mom and strict restrictions later, my daughter has spent over a month of her eleven weeks without her mother. But it could have so much worse.

  31. Kari Weber Jan 05 at 11:09 pm Reply Reply

    I must say… one should NOT read these comments when one is feeling a bit moodish. No one should NOT. Because then the tears start, and that is just awkward.
    Loved the story Amy. Always do.
    I must say… however. The story that got me the most? Peter.
    Holy Cow. To hear it from the perspective of the father… it just makes that moment even more wonderful. My husband is not as wordish, and would have a hard time putting it into something to read. But your description was beautiful. He, and your wife, are lucky to have one so observant, and so thankful of that experience.
    For me, Zachary came late, and he was big, and I hurt Oh so much. I pushed, and I pushed, and my husband tried to make me laugh, and half way through pushing, my uterus just stopped. Like it was done. Out to lunch. Try back in the morning. With some Pitocin, we jump started it again. Eventually in the middle of a push, I heard, “Stop. Just don’t push.” What? I am in the middle of a good one! Fine. Why? The cord was around his neck. Out he came, 9 pounds, and fine, but needing a little “help”. He didn’t cry. I cried, I looked to my husband, who was almost crying, and he mouthed that he was fine, but he wasn’t crying. Then… finally… it came. He cried, and like a previous story teller, as soon as I spoke, he stopped! All the while that this is going on, I am unknowingly being “worked on” not clotting. Oh my. I was a bit pre-occupied with all going on, and it wasn’t until later that the “oh there you are, of course you are!” moment came. But it did eventually.
    With Jacks, it was easier, the whole labor went quickly once my water broke (which required the whole labor crew to get in an ark I will tell you!) and we found that I was pushing without knowing it (really good epidural!) and that the baby was coming, and that it had only been an hour since I was a 3. Oh my. A few pushes and Jackson came out. 9 pounds 11 ounces. His chest- bigger than his head, had become so compressed, that he was purple. But wonderful. And from the moment, I was overwhelmed. He was so different then his brother. So much unique, but yet, so the same. He nursed right away, like a champ (and has kept it up ever since- fricken fracken 25 pounds at 8 months…)
    But I agree… it was the quiet moment, in bed with my baby curled next to me, that I remember the most. WIth Zachary I stayed in the hospital 3 days and 2 nights, and it was nice to be alone with him without having to really take care of myself! :o) But with Jacks, all I could think was I want to get him home, where it is quiet, and I can spend hours in my OWN bed, with him, and my family around me. I was home the day after he was born.
    Thank you Amalah for this opportunity to share.

  32. Emily Jan 05 at 11:25 pm Reply Reply

    After 24 hours of labor, and no progress past 4 cm (I spent nearly 20 hours at 4), I had the c-section I had desperately not wanted to have. I remember everything. The absolute terror while waiting almost 3 hours (yes, 3…My Girl was handling labor like a champ, so there was no emergency) for my c-section. Hearing My Girl cry, seeing my husband cry as he beheld his daughter, hearing my mother describe her first grandchild to me from across the room. I cried when I heard My Girl, but I think at that point it was only relief that everything was over.
    I was terrified of her. I would look at her and be afraid of her. I had waited and waited for her, wanted her with every fiber of my being, and yet that love…the storied and legendary love…I had nothing. I was sure something was wrong with me. I wasn’t depressed, didn’t want to hurt her, or hurt myself, but also couldn’t wait to hand her off to someone else. I dreaded her need to eat, to be held. Gradually, those intense feelings faded and she and I established our routine at home together, but still, I didn’t feel it. I would say to her “I love you, My Girl”, over and over and still feel nothing. I got to a point where she made me happy, but it wan’t that falling in love feeling. It was perhaps the most devastating thing I have ever endured. I prayed for it, begged for it, cried for it…I wanted SO much to feel it.
    And then one day – she was about 3 months old – I looked at her in her crib, as I had dozens of times before, and suddenly it was there. I had to look away from her…I very literally felt like my heart might shatter into a million pieces I loved her so much in that moment. I picked her up and held her close and said to her again “I love you, My Girl”. And I cried. Of gratitude, of relief, of happiness. And today, she is 5 months old…my heart almost breaks into a million little peices a million times a day. And I cherish it all the more for having waited so long .

  33. Ms. K Jan 06 at 12:33 pm Reply Reply

    Everyone’s stories are so beautiful, and heart-rending.
    Love happens differently for everyone. I’m more like Amalah’s friend who had the perfect natural birth but became attached to her child only slowly…it took me a while. No PPD or anything, just…it took a while.
    I became pregnant unexpectedly. And I was really career-oriented that whole nine months, determined that my pregnancy would have zero impact on my work performance. The baby decided to come three weeks before the due date. I was in complete denial about my labor. This might have affected my attachment to the baby.
    It wasn’t until I pushed her out and and she yelled “aaa aaaa aaaaaaaiiii!!!!!!!!!!!!!” that I acknowledged there was actually A BABY.
    My husband helped me roll onto my back and the midwife said, “looks like a girl!” and placed her on my chest. The child had thick smears of vernix cream covering her eyebrows, like war paint. She had a full, fleshy baby face, not the alien-like newborn visage I had expected. And her legs were long and muscular. She looked familiar, some how. I knew she was mine because she was still connected to me – we hadn’t cut the cord or birthed the placenta.
    She was amazing. But I was sort of…bedazzled and freaked out by here, fascinated. But not maternally inclined. I suckled her and took care of her because I had to, because I felt it was my duty, if that makes sense. But I noticed that I didn’t love her and oogle over her the way new mothers are supposed to. It vaguely disturbed me but I didn’t tell anyone. Figured love grows.
    And it did. When she was 4 weeks old I started to feel more attached to her. When she was 8 weeks old I was certain I loved her. Now that she’s a year old I absolutely adore her. It just took time. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

  34. Paula Jan 06 at 12:56 pm Reply Reply

    I can still remember the uncontrollable gasp and cry as soon as I heard my son cry. As if a piece of my heart and soul leapt out of my chest and went straight to him. I didn’t get to hold him right away like I wanted but I was so happy he had arrived it felt so wonderful. It had been a long two days of delivery but every second was worth it. It took me a few months to really feel the true love everyone else describes but I feel it now for sure. I would do anything and give up everything for my little guy. I can’t believe I waited so long to have him.

  35. Ginger Jan 06 at 1:16 pm Reply Reply

    My experience wasn’t the all enveloping emotional crush I was expecting. I ended up with a c-section, and so didn’t get to see my little man being born–it was all a little surreal honestly. I was noticing all these little details about the operating room, and procedures, but felt a little removed from the process. I cried when I first heard him cry, and when I saw my husband’s look of pure joy (he could see him over the curtain). But then I was getting stitched up, and trying not to throw up, and my husband went with the baby while I went to recovery. I wasn’t able to hold the kid for three hours, and when I did, I was still sooo tired and beat up after 17 hours of hard back labor with no sleep that it was more like–oh hi, you’re awesome, now let mommy sleep for the first time in 2 days.
    Everything came natural–holding him, nursing him (he was a champ, right away), changing him, and I was fiercely protective of him, but I didn’t feel that rush of “omg, I love you more than life itself.” I loved him, but it was more a quiet, gentle, whisper of love, not a shout.
    Honestly, I worried a lot about that–I felt like I felt wrong (wow that’s an awkward sentence). My mom kept saying “isn’t it amazing how in the instance of their birth they take your entire heart?” and I kept thinking, “well, but that’s not exactly how I feel.”
    Turns out, it was a slow burn for us. About a month after he was born, it just hit me one day, that rush. I was feeding him, and he was staring right in my eyes, and I just burst into tears thinking I would do anything, anything in the world for this little person. Now he’s the light of my heart in ways I couldn’t even explain to people.

  36. Dawn Jan 06 at 2:06 pm Reply Reply

    Wow, should not have read these while at work….
    With my daughter I had over 24 hours of labor and 5 hours of pushing before she came out with the aid of an episiotomy and vacuum and at the end of it…I was just relieved that it was over. But they put her on my chest and I just stared at her. All 9 lbs, 7 oz and 22.75 inches of her in disbelief that this tiny, gooey, red, screaming person was mine. Then I kissed her little head and whispered, “I love you Noelle; I’m your Mommy”. But the falling desperately in love with her, that took a few weeks until one day I looked at her sleeping in the bassinet and just broke down in tears that this precious baby was mine.
    When my son was born in August, he was 9 days late and I was just ready to be done. I remember my water breaking at work; actually feeling the ‘pop’. I remember calling my husband to pick up our daughter at day care and to meet me at home. I remember getting halfway home when the labor pains started and increasing in duration and frequency very quickly. I remember taking a quick shower and finishing up packing my daughter’s overnight bag. I remember sitting on the couch trying to breathe through the contractions while simultaneously not terrifying my daughter while my husband ran around putting the trash out. (I almost killed him for that). I remember the drive to the hospital through rush hour traffic and having the contractions become so intense and frequent that I was scared the baby would be born in the car. I remember begging for the epidural once in triage and being terrified I couldn’t get it in time, that I would be too far progressed (almost happened that way). I remember it being almost 1:30 in the morning with the room dimly lit, feeling warm and secure with my midwife, husband, mom, dad and mother in law there for his birth. I remember them whisking him off to the warming table right away as he had inhaled meconium and needing to clear out his lungs. I remember my husband leaning over me and saying over and over with tears streaming down his face, “he is so beautiful”. And I remember when I finally got to hold him falling instantly and madly in love.

  37. Karen Jan 06 at 3:28 pm Reply Reply

    I remember wanting him out more anything in the world. I remember fighting for the vaginal delivery and then the guilt over the shoulder displacia and the idea I caused him harm before he was even born. I remember loving him from the moment he was plopped on top of me and crying, the tears came right away. He was beautiful but I was being stiched up and no pain med and I was crying again for another reason. They took him and medicated me too much. I passed out for hours and was so angry when I awoke.
    I remember promising to do physical therapy every minute and the relief when I saw our work helped him.
    I also remember his diagnosis 2 years later with a developmental delay and the feeling that I failed him again.
    It has been a long journey already, but I’ve found guilt gets us nowhere and we must forgive ourselves as soon as we blame ourselves and live for each and every moment…including the “surprise!” he yelled at me the moment I entered the house last night on my birthday.

  38. Karen Jan 06 at 3:29 pm Reply Reply

    I just poured my heart out and the post was lost because “too many posted at once.”
    Oh – how awful!

  39. jodifur Jan 06 at 3:39 pm Reply Reply

    when Michael was born, I thought he was dead. See, his heart rate dropped during labor and he was born with the cord around his neck, and when they put him on my stomach he was gray and didn’t move. And for that split second, I thought he was dead. Now, looking back I realize that they would not have put him on my stomach if he was in fact dead, but I really honestly did not think he was alive. And I wouldn’t touch him. The nurses must have thought I was the coldest person. And finally, the nurse took him away, cleaned him up, and he started to cry. And so did I.
    And then, they handed him to me. And our eyes met. And the minute I saw him, I thought, of course, it was you, all along. And I couldn’t believe how much he looked like his Dad.

  40. Jennifer B Jan 06 at 3:44 pm Reply Reply

    My baby is fourteen years old now, but I still remember the day she was born. After a not so perfect labor and delivery when they put her in my arms, my first thought was “This rush is better than any you might get from doing drugs.” Funny.

  41. Erin @ Fierce Beagle Jan 06 at 3:51 pm Reply Reply

    My labor was forced (I was induced at 37 weeks) and after 26 hours he was born. I was exhausted and drugged, in and out of consciousness, but I remember them taking him and calling a NICU nurse because his apgar score was 4. They stopped my bleeding and got him crying and finally I was able to hold him before passing out again. As they wheeled me to my room, past the nursery, I pressed my hand against the glass and asked which one he was.
    Later that night, after they brought him into my room, I lay with the bassinet beside me. I heard a tiny sound, “hoo hoo,” so I picked him up and snuggled him and—I swear to God—for several minutes we stared at each other in the halflight of a hospital room in the small hours. That tiny sound, “hoo hoo,” two round syllables encompassing the world.

  42. wallydraigle Jan 06 at 3:59 pm Reply Reply

    I had my daughter via emergency C-section. Not a true emergency–we weren’t in danger–, but unscheduled, like, “Oops, your baby is enormous, and you are tiny, and also, she is facing the wrong way, and her giant head is causing you to have no more progress.” Not what I wanted, and there’s still lingering disappointment, but at the same time I’m very grateful for modern medicine.
    Anyway, I didn’t get to see her right away, either. I remember lying there on the table, staring at the ceiling, feeling like I was being eviscerated as my OB finished up the surgery, and my daughter was being sucked clean of all the goo in her head and weighed and all that. It was an eternity. It took maybe two minutes, but I couldn’t SEE her, and my husband COULD, and she was here, and why can’t I just have my baby??
    And then I felt something soft on my cheek–it was her cheek, and so soft I could barely feel it–, and I turned my head, and there she was, so much prettier than any newborn I’ve ever seen (they all look like angry raisins to me). I cried so hard. My husband lifted her cap to show me her gobs of thick, black hair. We were separated for just a couple of minutes while they got me into the recovery room and under a heat lamp, but then she was ALL MINE. I got to nurse her almost immediately, and it was weird and completely foreign to me, but it was also magical (oh, gag, I’m sounding so mushy).
    Once we left the hospital, I got hit pretty hard with the baby blues. Totally normal, an they only lasted a couple weeks, but I often felt like I didn’t love her, and even more often I did not like her. But what really helped me get through it was remembering that first cheek-to-cheek touch. She’s over 15 months old now, and it still makes me cry.
    I don’t know what it’ll be like with the next one (due at the very beginning of March), but I’m hoping for something similar.

  43. Lise Jan 06 at 4:07 pm Reply Reply

    It took me days to fall in love completely with my first daughter. I was so nervous about caring for her, and the over-officious hospital nurses did not help. We overcame that, and I could not love her more
    Babies two and three were dream births, unmedicated and at home. As soon as they were plopped onto my abdomen, warm and wiggling and slimey and alive, I was overwhelmed by love for them. My memories of their births and of our first days together are of great peace and love.
    But my fourth. . . oh God. Born five minutes after we walked into the hospital. A nurse’s aid yelling into the hallway, “I need someone in here. NOW!” Chaos. My midwife leaving a woman in the stirrups, in the middle of a pap smear, to reach us in time. A warm, wiggling baby on my abdomen. Silent. Baby whisked away. The room suddenly filled with doctors and nurses. No cries. A nurse holding up my baby for me to see her as they ran her to the NICU.
    Navy blue. Chest concave.
    Great love mixed with even greater fear.
    Sending my husband to the NICU to be with her while my midwife stitched me up. The room suddenly oppressive in its silence. Quietly weeping, sure that my husband’s continued absence meant that my baby had died. The baby that I loved with all my being. . . gone. Unthinkable. The midwife asking the nurse to call the NICU.
    Stable. Breathing. Warm.
    Alive.
    I am weeping again as I write this, fifteen years later. I love all of my children, but it is my youngest who seems like a gift loaned to me, who taught me that life is tenuous and wonderful and amazing.

  44. Beth Jan 06 at 4:08 pm Reply Reply

    I had an emergency c-section with my Bruno and I had gone from devastated when the decision was made to operate to totally excited when I realized I was FINALLY going to meet my child. He was 10 days late, our induction failed so I was one of those women who thought I’d be pregnant 4 LIIIIFEEE!
    After he was delivered, I don’t even remember him being showed to me. He was taken over to be cleaned up and weighed and I just watched, completely, like emotionless. I wasn’t sad or anything but I remember waiting to feel something and all I could think was, “cool. I’m a mom.” And then I remember waiting in the recovery area, all alone and being bummed about that and thinking, “where is my baby? Shouldn’t we be bonding?” He arrived finally and we gave nursing a try and he was not into it. And he was gone again, this time I don’t know where he went. I remember being away from him a lot those first few hours. He was born at 1:44pm and I get to properly start trying to nurse him in our postpartum room until about 7. So weird.
    But then the next few days I couldn’t sleep because i just wanted to LOOK at him. I don’t remember the precise moment but I know my husband eventually crashed that night because he couldn’t stay awake any longer. But for the 3 days we were in the hospital I just looked at him. In awe and totally hooked.

  45. Amanda Jan 06 at 4:10 pm Reply Reply

    Well, shoot. Hi, my name is Amanda and I’m a hormonal emotional pregnant wreck. Had my 20-week ultrasound this morning on baby numero dos this morning, and now this?
    I was one of those ones that had the textbook, no complications birth experience and then when the baby was born and her oooky naked baby self was slapped up on my chest while I tried to ignore the horrific quivering pain in my nethers (3rd degree tears without any pain meds will do that to you), well of course I loved her but I mostly didn’t feel like she was mine. We took pictures, I posted them to facebook, I gathered up the compliments and the congratulations, but even after we took her home it still felt like I was babysitting and that yeah, she was cute but it sure would be nice when her parents came and picked her up so I could get some damn sleep already.
    I can’t even remember when it was that things kind of clicked into place that she was mine for always and that holy CRAP I loved this kid more than anything. But it took awhile.

  46. Sara Jan 06 at 4:16 pm Reply Reply

    I will confess that I didn’t have those ooey-gooey feelings when my first daughter was just born. I was elated, yes. But did I LOVE her with every cell of my being like I do today, four years later? No. That took about a week. Which I think is pretty normal. I had a very normal vaginal delivery, so she was with me very quickly, but it still took a little while to looooooove her.
    My #2 daughter? Loved her right from the start. Simple reason–I KNEW then what she would become. I KNEW that she would turn from this little lump of human that cries and poops and nurses ALL. DAY. LONG. into a funny, sweet, adorable child. Does that make sense at all? In my head, I could already see the light at the end of the tunnel from the moment she was born. Not so with my first when I was a total noob at the whole Mommy thing.
    Great, great post.

  47. heels Jan 06 at 4:22 pm Reply Reply

    With my son, I remember intense incredulity. In fact, the first thing I said when he was laid on my belly (the cord was too short to reach my chest) was “No way.” I repeated it over and over until the midwife said “Yes way!” I remember feeling immensely protective, but not feeling the kind of “love” that I expected. It wasn’t until days later, as I nuzzled his belly button after a diaper change, that I realized how much I loved him and knew I always would.
    With my daughter, I expected to feel similarly, but instead felt that body-vibrating love from the minute I pulled her up into my arms, like I had been hit by cupid’s little arrow. She was hot and red and felt like my own guts pulled out of my body. Five months later and still, if we’ve had to be away from each other, even for a few minutes, we give each other a snuggle and bury our noses in each other’s necks for a moment.
    I worried that I would never love another child as much as my son, and then I worried that I would love her more. All worries were entirely unfounded. The capacity for love is grand and astounding and, so far, limitless.

  48. Anonymous Jan 06 at 4:22 pm Reply Reply

    I was 29 weeks pregnant when we went into the hospital to find that these “really were” contractions and the incontinence they kept telling me I was having? really was amniotic fluid leaking.
    We had 42 people in the delivery room. We went to an OR in case we needed to have a c-section. I didn’t know the name of the doctors or nurses. I wasn’t in the hospital I was supposed to be in. I was petrified. But he was born. At 2lbs. Shockingly small. He breathed on his own and after an impossibly long time they brought him over to me in an incubator. I looked down at this tiny tiny creature and didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t ready. They deemed him okay and for about 30 seconds I was able to hold my son and I felt this fierce protectiveness rise in me and for the first time I felt like a mom.
    Later that evening. Staring into his isolette. Separated by the tubes and wires and glass that was keeping him alive, I prayed for him to live and I felt such love.
    He’s four now.(well tomorrow actually) and healthy and smart with relatively few problems. A few physical issues but really? he’s perfect.

  49. Missy Jan 06 at 4:45 pm Reply Reply

    She was 22 hours old and I was 1,000 miles away from home. Her birthmother was there in the hospital room, still in her gown. Abby was lying in the bassinette, sleeping. Her name wasn’t even Abby yet. I made eye contact with her birthmother, she nodded. I leaned down and picked up the baby, her baby AND my baby now. I told her her name was Abigail Elizabeth, we’d picked it out special and hadn’t told ANYONE yet. Abby opened her eyes and looked at me. She kept them open for an hour during that visit, being passed from birthmother to mother to father to social worker and back.
    I went home terrified. Releases weren’t signed yet (they couldn’t be). I had no baby in my arms yet, but if anything went wrong in the next few days, I was simply going to die. No joke, just stop breathing. This was my child, the one I wanted forever and a day. The one I would love forever and a day.
    Nothing went wrong. Reams of paper were signed. One heart broke into a million pieces while two more filled to overflowing. And we bundled her into her car seat and drove 20 miles an hour until we got to our friends’ house and we snuggled in and became a FAMILY. Instantly, madly and forever a FAMILY.

  50. Sara R. Jan 06 at 4:58 pm Reply Reply

    Thank you for this post! I am days (or less) away from going into labor with my second baby, feeling a bit worried about the pain and possibility that things won’t work out the way I want them to, and I needed this reminder of what I’m going through all of this for!

  51. Stephanie Jan 06 at 5:22 pm Reply Reply

    For me, the love didn’t just pour out the moment Charlotte was born. I was induced, had an epidural, pushed for three hours, until finally the midwife said, “Hey, do you want a mirror?” I agreed and within minutes, she was born. Charlotte, too, had a larger chest than her head (she was 9 lbs 9 oz) so it took a little while before she cried. The nurse was about ready to start a breathing treatment when Charlotte started to wail. She immediately calmed down when they put her on my chest. My husband cried right away, but I was sort of in shock by the whole experience.
    I thought something was wrong with me when I didn’t have that flood of love. I was amazed, but not over the moon like I expected. It wasn’t until a few days later that the love just poured over me, and I’m still in awe, six months later, of how much I love her more and more each day.

  52. jonniker Jan 06 at 5:23 pm Reply Reply

    I present to you, Exhibit A, in lieu of writing. I think my husband can be thanked a million times over for capturing this photo:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonniker/3347535283/

  53. Ginger Jan 06 at 6:15 pm Reply Reply

    I went in to labor at 2:00am only I wasn’t sure it was labor. I was 37 weeks pregnant with twin boys and I had been having all kinds of pains for weeks. By 6:00am I knew and told my husband. Then waiting until 9:00am to call my doctor who was at the hospital that day. I was told to come right away. I was given fluids and told if the contractions stopped they would send me home. Only that was never the plan. My doctor was never sending me home and I didn’t know it. Of course the contractions weren’t going away either! Both boys were transverse and never going to get anywhere with contractions. They were painful and I was tired. At 5:00pm the started prepping me for my c-section. I was scared out of my mind as I walked down the hall with my doctor. They helped me onto the table and I started sobbing. I was so afraid of the needles (yes more than one as I was getting a spinal block and an epidural) going in my back. The sweetest nurse, her name is Joy, told me to look at her and repeat what she was saying. She started saying the 23rd Psalm. Through my tears and with a shaking voice I repeated after her. My doctor held my hands. Then they helped me lay down and so many things were happening. Suddenly my husband and mom were walking in and sitting by me. All kinds of strings were pulled to get my mom in there with us. Her job was to take pictures.
    The tilted me back because my belly was so big (I was measuring 50 weeks pregnant by that point). I was having trouble breathing because the epidural had made my diaphragm numb. Only I wasn’t really having trouble breathing…it just felt that way. Then suddenly my husband said the first baby was born. I held my breath. I was waiting for that cry…where was that cry…I needed that cry! I heard the doctor say with surprise that the baby was bigger than he thought. Then baby A, my Dean, screamed. And I breathed again. Then the doctor assisting my doctor began pushing baby B, my Emory, down and then he was born. Again with the waiting. He wasn’t crying. I couldn’t here him. I was freaking out and then…then his sweet scream.
    Suddenly Dean was in my face and I was kissing him.
    Then I was out. My doctor ordered more medicine because I was freaking out so much. I have no memory of seeing my second son…of giving him his first kiss. I am assured by my mom and husband that I did.
    Both boys were rushed away by the nurses. Later I found out that Dean, my first born son, was having trouble breathing. They both ended up under the oxygen hoods for 24 hours and they were both in the level II nursery for 48 hours. Although the level II nurses couldn’t figure out why such big, healthy babies were in there!
    The were born Thursday afternoon. I didn’t see them until Saturday late morning. It was horrible and a very mean nurse told me I had to suck it up because I was the mom now and that I couldn’t cry and be sad and miss them. I hated her for that.
    But finally I was allowed to walk to the nursery. It was a painful and long walk but worth every single step. I finally got to see and touch them. I got to hold Emory. Early that evening they surprised me by bringing them to my room.
    I held them and loved them. It wasn’t what I had always imagined as my birth experience. But it is an experience that I will never EVER forget.

  54. bessa Jan 06 at 6:32 pm Reply Reply

    This is not gooey-lovey, but I totally thought my firstborn was grotesquely huge when she came to the hospital to visit me and the new baby. And she was only 17 months old!
    I don’t have crystal clear memories of the first moments, but I do have some snapshots. The first feeding with my first. Then, some moments in the first week, at home, staring at her and crying over how much I loved her.
    I was too exhausted to recall much about my second except that I did get to hold him before leaving the OR.

  55. JKB Jan 06 at 6:58 pm Reply Reply

    I wasn’t supposed to be able to get pregnant. I had lost 3 babies before. I was a nanny and a babysitter and an aunt, but not a mother. My pregnancy with her was mind numbingly boring. No cravings, no mood swings, no swollen hands or feet.I only gained 16 pounds with a very small frame and a pre-pregnancy weight of 100 pounds People showered me with compliments “you look great”, “you couldn’t possibly be that far along”, “i hate you, when I was pregnant…”. In the midst of it all my heart was shattered I had wanted to be pregnant, to have a baby of my very own for so long, and now, now, this is a ruse. It must be. I went into labor at 36 weeks. Fears of an impossibly small baby (in my head probably no baby at all). They stopped my contractions, held them off for 4 more weeks, must buy more time more time.
    She was born the day before her due date. An hour and a half of pushing, vacuumed out like a dust bunny. She reached her grey arms out, grasping the air with furious purple fists. There was only silence. I thought it was such a cruel trick for the universe to play. She lay on my chest, my still baby. While moving the sheets from around my side her still hand fell onto mine and then, when I expected nothing, the world split apart. She wrapped her fingers around mine and never let go.
    They left her on my chest for over an hour. We asked them to weigh her and in complete disbelief my midwife announced we had an origami baby. 7 pounds 15 ounces of her beautiful newborn self was crumpled into my now deflated abdomen. I fell hard in love with her. The sloppy love that bubbles and seeps through every aspect of my life. I look at her now, nearing 9 months, and I kick myself for the time I lost guarding my heart from her. She is light and joy and love. I hope I can make it up to her, she deserves it so.

  56. Amy Jan 06 at 8:29 pm Reply Reply

    I didn’t have a storybook birth. My daughter was born prematurely and by c-section after her vitals plummeted during labour. I met her for the first time in an isolette, trussed to monitors and a feeding tube. We were strangers to one another.
    At home a month or more later, I slept with her bundled up beside me. In the night she would wake and I would feed her, and then we would lie together, listening to the darkness around us, street lights sliding across the ceiling, late crickets signalling the end of the season. And I would watch her eyes taking everything in, expressionless but alert.
    We were still strangers to one another, but if I did not love her yet, my allegiance was total, my commitment complete to this gift from the cosmos.

  57. Sheila Jan 06 at 9:10 pm Reply Reply

    My son was born via c-section and then very quickly taken to the NICU with a collapsed lung. Supposedly they held him in my direction as they dashed from the room but I don’t remember it (I was sooooo groggy from the drugs).
    It was hours later before I’d recovered enough to be able to get out of bed & ride in the wheelchair to go see him. It was so unbelievably painful getting bumped along down two long hallways and into & out of the elevator but I was just so desperate to see my boy.
    They wheeled me into the room and I tried to make him out behind the oxygen tent & all the tubes & wires. I wasn’t supposed to even touch him because it would be too much stimulation, but the nurse let me briefly touch the bottom of his foot.
    The next day I was finally able to hold him as he was taken from his oxygen tent to be reweighed. The nurse let me lift him out and onto the scale. I just cried and cried as I gave him a quick cuddle. My husband is forever my hero for letting me move him both to & from the scale, rather than asking for a turn. He said he’d do it later, I needed to do it then. He was right.
    I never knew my heart could both be broken from seeing my child in pain & in a serious medical situation, while also being so full of joy. Because we had waited for years to get pregnant. And we were both just so happy to have him.
    That was six months ago. He’s absolutely fine now, and everyday I think about how incredibly lucky we are.

  58. Jen L. Jan 06 at 9:39 pm Reply Reply

    My little guy and I got off to a rough start–32 hours of labor, ending in an emergency c-section (thanks, pre-eclampsia!). We were both having so much trouble breathing when he was born that he was carted off to the NICU and I was held in recovery for 6 hours. The next day after my husband helped me shower and get into a wheelchair, I went to the NICU to visit him. When they placed him in my arms, it was like I had known him forever. I recognized his face. I started talking to him and he opened his eyes, found where the voice was coming from, then nuzzled into me as if to say, “Oh, there you are, Mama!” It was a perfect moment, even if I had to wait a whole day after he was born to experience it.
    And now, I’m bawling. :)

  59. Caitlin Jan 06 at 10:17 pm Reply Reply

    Henry was born sunny side up (occiput posterior) after 3 days (Friday-Monday) of labor, during which I couldn’t sleep more than a fitful ten minutes at a time. I labored at home until Monday morning and then we went to a hospital (in a blizzard! It was very Little House in the Big Woods). I was so tired by the end that I couldn’t even hold myself up to push, and the nurses were helping me roll all over the bed to push and stagger to the bathroom to push on the toilet, trying and trying to get Henry to turn around. I remember feeling, before I had the baby, like I’d gotten myself in so far over my head, and feeling scared and defeated and agonizingly sad because this was so terrible I could never have another baby, never ever. It felt like I couldn’t really remember a time when I hadn’t been in labor and I was so disconnected from what I was doing that I asked what they were doing when they started wheeling over the cart with all the supplies and putting the sheet on the bed.
    “You’re going to have a baby now,” they said.
    “Really?” I said, genuinely surprised.
    But when I pushed him out, I felt an indescribable surge of joy and happiness and I practically shouted:
    “I’ll have another one!”
    The doctor and nurses cracked up. My husband, who hadn’t gotten any more sleep than I had, looked stunned. I also remember saying, over and over, “It’s a baby! oh! it’s a baby!”
    And I remember that it seemed to take forever for them to pull him up and put him on my stomach, even though my husband told me it was only about ten seconds, all told.
    I thought he was so, so beautiful. When I look at pictures now, I can see that he’s a squashed up little mini-ogre, covered in slime, but at the time I thought he was the most precious, wonderful thing I’d ever seen.

  60. daysgoby Jan 06 at 11:36 pm Reply Reply

    Twelve days past my due date.Induction number three. We all sat in the hospital room for three hours, waiting for something to happen. Then I sent my husband out for a Coke and all hell broke loose. By the time he got back, I was being prepped for an emergency c-section, and the nurses were all tight-lipped and silent.
    I watched most of the operation in the reflection of the big lamp overhead. Cass came out limp and grey and not responsive, and it was the longest two minutes of my life until he let out a furious, wet-cat squall. My heart fell into his furiously protesting little fists at that moment.
    With my daughter, I went into the hospital to get checked out (since I had no idea what a labour pain felt like) and ended up getting rushed to the big hospital two hours away. Eight hours of labour, then a c-section. When they finally wheeled me into the operating room, I passed out and abrupted. I woke up three hours later, hollowed-out and muzzy-headed, and my husband (who was sheet-white except for the bruised look around his eyes) got to explain how my daughter was in the NICU and things weren’t looking good. Then I was put in my room (a bawling wreck) and given a roommate who had her newborn baby rooming in with her. (Thanks, Big Hospital. Yeah.)
    I was afraid to touch her. Afraid to fall in love with her. She was so small and tubed up and perfect and how could it be possible that anyone would get to keep something so, so beautiful? My husband was head over heels and I hung around, touching her cheek and deferring to the nurses for everything.
    It took me months to work off the feeling that she was going to stay, and not just lent.

  61. solitarysunrise Jan 06 at 11:42 pm Reply Reply

    Four years ago tonight I had been already waiting in the hospital 12 hours for my first boy to be born. We waited a total of 28 hours in that bed before being finally wheeled in for the C section. His daddy was there, dressed in scrubs, holding his camera ready, only to be rushed out of the room when they began cutting and I cried out in pain. The epidural did not work. I was put under, count back from 10, Bob Marley on the operating room stereo, “don’t worry about a thing…” next thing I sort of remember was the excruciating pain of a nurse pushing on my belly. Holy shit,I almost punched her, begging her to stop. They finally handed me my boy 3 hours after his birth. Everyone else got to see him, hold him, take pictures of him before I even got to meet him. I was a long eight day stay in the hospital. I was so sick. They reopened my incision. The baby would not nurse. But I loved him so fiercely immediately. When you have to fight that hard, you have to love it that much. Now he is a wonderful, stubborn, beautiful boy who wants sushi for his birthday dinner tomorrow night because “sushi is special to me!” My baby boy, who now is 6 months old was almost the opposite story. I was awake for his birth- still a C section, still semi-unplanned but nessesary– but I was AWAKE. His daddy took a picture of him coming out. He looked like a freaking loaf of bread being pulled out of my abdomen in that picture. It was so weird. I saw him on the bassinet being cleaned up, scowling with my famous “eyebrows”, squaking like a baby bird, looking just like his brother. All I could think to say was “Is he ok?” like 9 times in a row. He was fine. He was perfect. My recovery was easy, we were home in 3 days. My older son loved his baby, life was good. But. I did’t feel that immediate intense rush of being in love as I had before. I was hard. I felt guilty. I loved that baby, but it really did take a while. I was on the edges of depression, then I found a funny little thing that lightend up my days. It was your blog Amy. I have been trying to think of a way to put into a comment how it somehow helped to pull me out of the post-baby funk, but nothing seemed quite appropriate until now. Thank you. really. you really helped me in a little way that was actually huge. Now, I am SO in love with that little smiley slobbery face who talks and laughs and giggles at everyone and everything. Life is great. Hard, but great.

  62. Heather Jan 07 at 12:19 am Reply Reply

    When my daughter’s water broke at 27 weeks I wasn’t even close to being prepared for my twins. I hadn’t had a difficult pregnancy it was a complete shock, heck I hadn’t even made it to a birth class. And then when I woke up 2 days later in the hospital at 5am and they told me that I was in labor fully dilated and that my daughter was crowning and we would need an emergency c-section because my son was breech, I was so scared and it didn’t seem real.
    My two babies,small as they were, came into the world screaming and strong. They were both only just over 2 lbs but even from the start I kept hearing about how well they were doing for their size.
    I got a tiny view of them when they wheeled my bed by them in the NICU, but it was another day and a half before I was even allowed out of my room to see them up close. My husband took videos but all I saw were these tiny crying babies covered in wires on the screen. Because I was still so scared for them and they were so tiny and couldn’t come out of the isolettes for more than a few min at a time I still didn’t get the “mommy” feelings.
    That is until the morning I knew I had to leave the hospital. That morning I went to see them by myself at 6am and it hit me. That they were mine and that I would have to go home without them. I just sat and cried and cried in the rocking chair between their isolettes. That is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Walking out of that hospital I cried the whole 45 min drive home and I knew that I had left half my heart behind with them.
    Now they are big and strong and healthy at 9 months and we are so lucky.

  63. Linsey Jan 07 at 12:57 am Reply Reply

    The doctor, the nurse, my husband; their faces drew closed, no longer jovial and celebratory. She was not placed on my chest. She did not cry. My husband went with my putty colored child as the pediatrician worked on her. She looked impossibly long with gangly legs and flexed feet. Tense voices were arguing in hushed tones.
    And then she screamed a cry that only her little spirit could personify. She would not be taken from me so easily.
    We stared at each other for hours that first night. Her tiny hat covered her football shaped head. “I’m your mommy,” I whispered to her as the light grew orange with the dawn. She smiled a broad grin of acknowledgment. It was then that my heart ceased beating in my chest. It now resides with a vivacious little girl wherever she goes.

  64. Nina Jan 07 at 5:08 am Reply Reply

    I can still remember alsmot every moment of my son’s birth. In the last few hours of my labour I was in a trance, seeing only my husband’s face and voice, riding the waves of those contractions – which weren’t painful, just immense in their need to push-and then that feeling finally of him sliding out of my body and into the water like a fish. And catching hold of him in the pool and lifting him out onto my chest and seeing his outraged little face and hearing his howls. And feeling in that moment, a rush of relief more immense than anything I’ve ever felt in my entire life, because until the moment he was I didn’t really believe that I would deliver a living child.
    Although I’d never had fertility problems myself, my family is haunted with stillbirths and baby death that I couldn’t shrug of. My grandmother outlived all her children (my father died when she was 80), my mother lost five boys as miscarriges and stillbirths before she had me. I am her only living child.
    And so from the first moment that I knew I was having this boy, I loved him, yes, but mostly I feared for him. There was a substantial part of my heart that was expecting loss, was prepared for it, thought that he might be just another casualty to rack up to my family’s history of lost boys.
    And in those first few moment of holding him while he screamed and screamed and vibrated with outrage, I remember looking at my husband and he was crying and I wall all ‘Look! Can you believe this?’ and I was high as a kite on shock and euphoria and the voice in my head which said: Everything is going to be all right..
    For the first three days I was in shock. And for the next three months I was in pain and resentment – I had a stress-fractured pelvis and had lost a substantial part of my body’s blood in a postpartum haemorrhage, and I was recovering from a double-bereavement (I had two family deaths within a week of my son’s birth).
    And I remember being so so tired, and him crying all the time and not sleeping and being irascible and not the baby I had wanted. (Not because a boy but because he wouldn’t settle, or sleep, or do anything but express his dissapointment with the world (and me, it felt like).
    So I was exhausted and depressed and physically broken. I was consumed with waves of pure anger when he wouldn’t sleep. And so the first time when I felt that uncomplicated heady pleasurable rush of falling in love? It was April and springtime and he was four months old and a much nicer baby and my mother was helping me out.
    The first good day I had with him, when I enjoyed his company and even called my husband to say: “If you want to go out for a drink after work today, that’s fine by me. I’ve had a really good day and I’m okay” was in June.
    My son has always been my heart incarnate, but the joy of motherhood was slow in coming and it surfaced in pieces. What I have fallen immensely in love with though, is the toddler. I marvel at him constantly and cannot believe that I was allowed to have him. That this marvellous, spectacular, fierce, adventurous, stubborn, charming child is mine. I wouldn’t trade or change him for the world.

  65. Olivia Jan 07 at 8:37 am Reply Reply

    Such amazing stories, and I love this “I loved him, but it was more a quiet, gentle, whisper of love, not a shout.” That is a perfect description of how I felt.

  66. Katie Kat Jan 07 at 10:39 am Reply Reply

    I want to thank Ms. K, Ginger and others who have commented on the “other side” of Amy’s amazing experience. I have to admit, when I first read this post, all I felt was jealous! I was 40 when I had my daughter. A baby I had only agreed to have because my husband had always just KNOWN he was supposed to be a dad. I had always just KNOWN I never wanted to be a mom. At the same time, there was this spark in me that so wanted to experience the ultimate female process – pregnancy.
    My pregnancy was HARD; wrought with complications and worries. I was on bedrest for the last 2 months and induced 2 weeks early. The one thing I vividly remember was the anticipation, the WISH, the EXCITEMENT for that perfect wonderful moment of having her; holding her; falling in love with her.
    In the hospital I suddenly started bleeding profusely and both the baby’s and my heart rates plummeted. I don’t remember much, except my doctor saying my uterus had prolapsed and we were headed for an emergency c-section. I had already had my epidural (thankfully!), and I remember the doctor saying “We don’t have time to wait – she’s numb already so I’m going to start, but get her under quickly!” That’s about all I remember until I woke up being wheeled out of the OR. Nurses were saying “You have a baby girl!” but I kept thinking “I was pregnant?”
    That was about 4:30. I found out that my baby’s apgar was 4 initially and then went down to 3. They had her in the NICU and I wasn’t allowed to see her until about 2am. I stayed up, just wanting to get to her… to SEE her… to CONFIRM my baby was here. I was anxious and upset. I hadn’t had that perfect delivery. I didn’t have the perfect “falling in love” moment. When I did see her, she was under an oxygen tent with wires and IV lines and she looked so stark and scared. I held her little hand and kissed her and then had to go back to my room.
    The next days are a blur. I was tired, panicky, anxious to get out of the hospital. I’d held her and loved on her, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I didn’t know at the time that PPD was already upon me and that it would get much worse in the months to come. Also, she was extremely colicky (for 14 months, no less), and that just wore me out. I told everyone that I hated being a mom and I wished I’d never done it. I still feel guilty about that.
    Somewhere around 16 months, I began to get this glowing feeling in my heart. I was sort of taken aback by it. I’d look at my daughter and just want to envelope her. I’d look at her in the soft evening light before we put her to bed and sing to her. Tears streamed down my face. I understood. I finally understood. I breathed her in, and she’s never left my soul since then. And now, four years later, the overwhelming love I feel for her and the joy I have in being so lucky to know her amazes me.
    All I am is in her and she has made me a better person with her true and loving heart. She’s a gift I never expected and would never have believed I deserve. But I do and I’m in awe.

  67. Jenn Jan 07 at 11:21 am Reply Reply

    Wow – BIG tears over here. Such amazing, sweet stories.
    Labor was fairly easy. It was short (6 hours), and my epidural worked fabulously, so I was comfortable throughout. However, when I hit 10 cm, my son’s heart rate dropped. So I didn’t get the big, romantic “It’s time to push!” moment I’d so often daydreamed about. Instead, I got my doctor (who didn’t even have time to change into her gown!) and two nurses who walked into the room and said “Okay. Push. NOW.” No real sense of panic, but no real sense of celebration, either.
    Two pushes later, my labor nurse said to me, VERY calmly, “we’re just going to put this oxygen on you to help the baby.” When I lifted my head to get the oxygen mask, I realized that about nine other nurses were on standby in my room, and I remember thinking “is it a slow baby day? What is this?” (they were there in case I needed an emergency C-section, I learned later!). But still, no one’s panicking.
    Eight pushes, one episiotomy, and a vacuum extraction later, they put my son on my chest. And he didn’t cry right away. Instead, he coughed (though my husband swears he burped!), and let out a properly indignant howl as if to say “who’s responsible for pulling me out of my nice warm home?!”
    I remember looking at him, and feeling slightly bewildered, thinking “OMG! Where’d YOU come from?!” Such a crazy moment. And in the very next minute, it was instant, crushing, overwhelming love – and I remember telling him Hi! And I was so excited to meet him, because I’d been waiting for so long!

  68. Amanda Jan 07 at 11:56 am Reply Reply

    I can tell you the exact moment I knew I was in love with my little guy. 30 weeks or so, laying in a L & D hospital bed with what they termed “decreased fetal movement” for three days. The triage nurse puts the large labor heart rate monitor on and when she found no heart beat, assured me not to worry as “I might not be far along enough for the monitor to pick it up.” Then she got the dopler, the very same type of dopler that my doctor used at every OB appointment…. still no heartbeat. By this point, I was starting to breakdown and thoughts of ‘OMG, my baby is dead’ were beginning to fill my mind. In walks another nurse with the ultrasound machine, baby comes up on the monitor… no flickering heartbeat, that one sign that every mother holds their breath to see at every appointment, I absolutely lose it, the nurse is grabbing my hand telling me to calm down, my whole world is slipping away and I feel like I can’t breath. It’s then that the nurse moves the wand and scans over the chest, and a little flickering heart…. she had the wand in the wrong position the whole time. I think I cried even harder at that point, my whole world came slamming back to me in a milisecond. The nurse commented on how she told me not to worry, but she didn’t know me or my situation, didn’t know the pain of infertility, the feeling that your body has failed you again, that feeling of hopelessness and joy only to be taken from you. I knew right then and there that this little man would be my world, and I was right.
    11 weeks later…. 41 week non-stress test reveals AFI at 2.45 (10 is considered low), immediately admitted, hooked up to the devil’s medicine (pitocin) and proceeded to walk the halls unmedicated for 5 hours…. no progress. Epidural and four hours later I am screaming in pain, ‘this isn’t what I signed up for!!!’ I think, I dry heave and almost pass out several times, I push for an hour and then my little guy is born… he is quiet for what seems like forever and then starts to roar…. I cried, of course. Several hours later all hell breaks loose as I start to hemorrhage, for twenty minutes they work on me in my post-pardum room, with my family looking on. Still unable to stop the bleeding and not knowing why, I am bleeding, I am rushed back into L&D. I can say that leaving my now sobbing husband and newborn son in that post-pardum room is the most scared I have ever been. I was afraid that I was never going to see them again and I remember all I could think about was that I had just started my “new life” and there was no way I could lose it all this soon. They eventually stopped the bleeding (still no explanation as to why it happened) and I was reunited with my son and husband. I still think about this experience on a normal basis, when I’m exhausted b/c my munchkin won’t sleep or envious of some friends ‘life’, I think about how lucky I am and how much this one little person has changed me forever.

  69. becks Jan 07 at 1:22 pm Reply Reply

    seriously with this?
    my daughter was born after 13 hours of labour and an urgent C section. I remember people asking me if I fell in love with her from the start…and I would answer no. Love did not express the depth of emotion, connection and the place in my soul that she now had. It was the most of every emotion known to man – the most fear, joy, gratefulness, etc. Love did not cut it for what I felt for my daughter – my mighty Quinn – and it still doesn’t just over 2 years from that night. I have never felt this way about any other human – I have never before been brough to tears by sharing a first bowl of rice krispies but I was with her the other night and I am so glad for that. I can’t even put into words what it was like to see her mowhawk and her gigantic feet – totally surreal. Crap – now I am tearing up and I am at work doing this on the sly.
    thanks amalah from a devoted follower but non poster.

  70. Marlena Jan 07 at 1:40 pm Reply Reply

    Meeting my two babies for the first time was amazing. The first one was a long, hard labor and I was shocked to see how big she was when they put her up on my chest. I didn’t even notice what was going on below (in a word: repairs!) because I was in awe of her. I just wanted to stare and stare. In the weeks after she was born, I missed having her with me all the time and feeling her kicks, and I was desperate to see her each day once I started work again. That physical connection between mother/baby does not just disappear. For the second, I was absolutely awed once again to see my baby up on my chest. I just wanted to hold her forever. Both times, I fell in love immediately. The desire to protect, hold, keep warm/safe was very intense.

  71. jennifer Jan 07 at 3:10 pm Reply Reply

    my one and only just turned two and i still cry when i think about the day he was born. what an amazing experience. i’ve never felt so proud of myself. i fell in love with the baby before i even saw him. it was when the doctor said “you’ve got yourselves a little boy.” I fell in love with my husband all over again when he returned from a bagel run the next morning with tears in his eyes and said “i just can’t stop crying”

  72. Susan Jan 07 at 3:20 pm Reply Reply

    I adopted my daughter and I’ll never forget rounding the landing on the stairs and seeing her at the top – her arms spread wide for a hug and a huge grin on her face. Exact Same Feeling. Beautiful post Amy!

  73. Forgotten Jan 07 at 3:51 pm Reply Reply

    When my twins were born, they were 10 weeks early. They were taken by emergency c-section. They pulled my first little boy out and he wailed out and I started bawling. They rushed him to the bassinet and began working on him because even though he cried he wasn’t breathing very well. They pulled my second little boy out and he never made a sound. I was crying so hard my body was shaking. They pushed a tube down his throat and put him on a respirator (which is what they had to do to his brother, also). I fell in love the moment I saw his beautiful face. He was so amazing. I could barely wait for them to let me get in a wheel chair to go to the NICU to see my babies. It still makes me cry to think of how hard it was just waiting on my 3 lb 10 oz boy and my 1 lb 7 oz boy to get to come home. I loved them from the moment I knew I had conceived but I didn’t know just how much until I had them and got to see their beautiful faces for the first time. They were both instant love and it was almost 8 weeks before I got to hear my littlest one cry for the first time. I totally lost my shit the moment I heard him. I was so thankful. I’m still so thankful. When my little girl was born it was instant love when she was brought over to me for me to kiss her little head. I loved her when I knew I was pregnant, too, it just hit me full force when I saw her beautiful face. Amazing.

  74. sheilah Jan 07 at 3:56 pm Reply Reply

    I loved him from the first but the first real GUSH of love for my newborn son came later. I can’t remember if it was later that day or later that week but I remember him at my breast and I looked down at that beautiful, beautiful face and heard him GULPING and I thought to myself, “oh, my god! I am FEEDING A HUMAN BEING!” And his face was oh so beautiful and peaceful and trusting and loving and, much like the Grinch’s, I could feel my heart growing and overflowing and spilling out of my chest to pool on the floor next to me.
    And, seven years later, I love to watch him sleep and I can feel my heart growing and spilling out of my chest. It is so powerful a love.

  75. Plano Mom Jan 07 at 4:51 pm Reply Reply

    I was like you, with a C-section. After 18 hours of labor, all I wanted was some sleep, so as soon as I looked at him once I fell asleep. It wasn’t until much later, after everyone was gone, that I got to finally meet him for real. I cried all night long, he was SO BEAUTIFUL.

  76. Kim Jan 07 at 8:46 pm Reply Reply

    My first daughter came at 35 weeks. We had ART to get her, although we didn’t know she was a her at that point. I was so excited about my baby. I was not prepared to have my water break so early, and I was scared about what that meant for my child. My labor went pretty well,actually. My girl came out big (7 lbs., 3 oz.) and pink, with no vernix on her. She didn’t look preemie at all, but she barely landed on my chest before they whisked her away to the NICU. I fell in love with her there, when I put her naked litle body next to mine and nursed her. But it took 12 more weeks, and a hellacious visit to my mother’s house with a non-sleeping, screaming infant, before I owned my motherhood completely. I had had to hand her over to experts from the get-go, and it took all those weeks to accept that I really was in charge of her well-being.
    I gave birth to my second 1 week ago. She came at 36 weeks, but that’s a huge difference in gestational terms, and she didn’t spend any time in the NICU. Labor with her was much longer, but much easier- I did hypnobirthing-type breathing and focused on staying relaxed (which included an epidural when I needed it.) I pushed once, felt her come sliding out, and got this wiggling, squirming human on my chest. Boom. This girl is all mine, and I am all hers.
    It’s been interesting writing this – it’s given me insight into both experiences. The thing that really hits me? My oldest won’t ever know what happened, and she is loved and loving and confident. We worry so much about getting this motherhood gig just right, when most of us who reflect on parenting are just not going to go too far wrong.

  77. Jessi Jan 07 at 10:06 pm Reply Reply

    We left finding out the sex of the baby until delivery so I always felt a little disconnected. But I don’t regret it – it was the BEST surprise ever!
    My water broke without contractions so I was induced. 24 hours later, swollen from bags and bags of fluid and 2 hours of pushing, the SECOND he came out and was placed on me, I understood everything. My life made sense. That was what I was supposed to do and I felt so proud of the amazing thing my body did. I was so in love and thankful for a baby I couldn’t even see* who put me through the most challenging event of my life.
    And I can’t wait to do it again. And possibly, again.
    *Eyes swollen shut. Hot, I know.

  78. mona Jan 08 at 6:47 am Reply Reply

    I just stumbled apon your sight from a friends blog. I red your post and decided to read the comments which is something I rairly if ever do. and I want to say right now, although i have only knone about your blog for a little over an hour, it has changed my life.
    here’s my story.
    a little over 16 months ago, noah james was born. I cannot have children because of PCOS. my roomate at the time went in to laber, we didn’t even know she was pregnant, because she said she wanted to give the baby up. she didn’t get prenadle care, never went to a doctor at all never even took a pregnancy test. at first I did not believe that she was pregnant but after feeling noah kick i was quickly convinced.
    my husband and I took her to the hospital and she told the hospital staff that she didn’t want the baby. i tried to talk her in to keeping him but she just couldn’t take care of a baby at that point in her life. and the father didn’t want any thing to do with the situation. shortly before noah was born, the birth mother and birth father both asked us if we wanted to adopt the baby. because I knew i’d never have one of our oan, we quickly fell in love with the concept. noah was born hours later and we got to name him the birth mom even gave him our last name. he was premature and sick so he stayed in the NICU for a month. every day my husband and I went to see him. in our hearts, he was already ours.
    shortly after, the birth father started threttening us and wanting his son back. he was on drugs and did not have a place to live, so they were empty threts, but we worried all the same. evenchuilly, a year passed, and we still had our little boy, we had a birthday party for him and carried on although we had only just started the adoption process months before. two months later, the birth mom decided that she wanted him back after she had already signed her rights away. our world came crashing down, we were for sure we were going to luze our baby. so a court date was set up for the parrents to fight for him if they wanted him, neather of them showed up. our adoption date was exactly one month ago today, and it was finalized. our little boy is ours, but after livving 15 months in fear that at any moment my baby would be taken, I didn’t bond with him as much as mothers usually do. I was still so worried, even after the adoption was finalized, it just wouldn’t click. i have lived with this overwelming fear for so long that I had forgot how to get back up out of it. i turned numb twords my oan child. and after reading your post, and all of these beautiful comments, I realized how I was feeling and realized that not every mom loves their baby instintly. of course i have loved him all of this time, but it was like an aunt’s love to her neace,. it was off centered. after reading the comments i was able to pinpoint the feelings that I didn’t even know i was having and it all klicked! after 16 months and 8 days every thing slid in to place. tears started poring and now i am able to let go of all of those insuccuritys and love my baby like he is my baby. it’s a different kind of love almost like the mothers rote about after having there babys. I just had this new overwelming since of love and I have never felt this way before. I went up stares and got my son out of his bed and helled him and cried. because I am able to love him with out any restrictions now. thank you ladys so much. you have helped me threw a verry difficult ordeal and I am able to breath better now, today is a new day and the first day of my new life. thank you again. mona.

  79. alexe Jan 08 at 10:24 am Reply Reply

    My oldest is 2, my second 7 months, and while I was completely and utterly their mother, obsessed with their welfare, from the beginning, it took months before I loved them and months beyond that before I liked them.
    I didn’t really worry about this (strangely, because I’m a worrier).
    Parenthood is a long haul. Who cares if you don’t fall in love with the crazy little crying creature who turns your life upside down?
    Me, I like the people my children are becoming. The 7-month0old is more and more a spirit every day, and I love it. I didn’t so much love the being-needed-4-7 of newbornhood. That’s just me…I like some space in my life.
    I did it: the breastfeeding, the cosleeping, the pat and rock and lullabies. And I don’t resent them for it (they’re babies!)
    But my children steal my heart when I see them being little people, so strong and beautiful and brave, growing up in the world.

  80. Traci Jan 08 at 10:57 am Reply Reply

    My daughters’ entrances were quite different. First daughter – fertility, 10 weeks of bedrest, 14 hours of labor. Second daughter – pregnant in a month with no help and only two pushes.
    That said, both of their births gave me a feeling of amazement at what my body could do…and an overwhelming sense of unknowns and frankly, discomfort. As a “type-A/planner”, taking things minute by minute with a newborn is a hard feeling to get adjusted to. I didn’t like that I felt this way…like other posters, I felt awful for not just being filled with love, period. My journey to trust my gut, relax and go with the flow has been long.
    I remember being almost terrified of my first daughter at first…with no newborn experience, I had no idea what to expect. As I got to know her and all her tendencies, an incredible bond formed.
    I thought it would be be different with my second now that I “knew what I was doing”. Instead, I found myself staring at my newborn, missing my firstborn and her familiarity. “I don’t know you yet”, I couldn’t help but think.
    Two such different bonds – the deep bond that forms from daily connections over time…contrasted by the primal connection from a new life. I felt guilty for how differently I loved my gals.
    Of course, as the hormones got out of my system and we got into our groove, life became “normal” and incredibly fun with my two beautiful daughters.
    Mothering newborns is tough stuff. Nursing at its best is wonderful, but a lot of nursing is not at its best. It can be hard. I like my sleep…not to be up multiple times a night. Call me selfish, but despite knowing every thread of my efforts and tiredness was worth it, there were many moments of “this newborn stage can’t go by quick enough”. I am just a better mommy as they get older, and I don’t feel bad about that at all. It’s actually wonderful, as with each day older they are, the more I love being a mom…every single day.
    Thanks for all the great posts!

  81. Della Jan 08 at 11:39 am Reply Reply

    My comment was long enough that I decided to post it on my blog.
    For the pregnant ones:
    My son is 23 months, my daughter is 4 months.
    I bonded with him instantly. With her, the bonding just now beginning.
    —-
    http://daily-della.blogspot.com/2010/01/honesty-bonding.html
    —-
    I guess more than anything, I hope this post/comment allows someone to realize, if you don’t bond right away, that you’re not the only one, and it doesn’t, doesn’t, DOES NOT mean you don’t love your kid, and it doesn’t mean you won’t bond with them.

  82. Amelia Jan 08 at 12:05 pm Reply Reply

    I went into labor on the most beautiful, sunny June morning you could imagine. My water broke while I was standing on my front porch, explaining to my pregnant neighbor that “many women never get that dramatic gush with water breaking…it just dribbles.” Let’s just say I could’ve been hiding 3 water balloons under my dress and it would have been the same effect. Pictures taken of my husband and I headed for the hospital show huge grins of excitement and anticipation. 18 hours later, incredible contractions but still no progress, 2 cm dilated…blah, blah blah, c-section. My husband stayed “behind the curtain” with me. When they pulled the baby out, he wasn’t crying-I kept asking “why isn’t he crying? he should be crying!” He was whisked away, worked on…finally cried, but they never brought him to me-took him away and my hubby followed. The medical student observing the c-section held my hand while they stitched me up. I don’t remember feeling anything. Just cold and shaky. They finally brought me back to the room, where a nurse was assessing the baby with my husband and in-laws present. I wasn’t able to hold him because I couldn’t stop shaking from the anesthesia. I felt like I was watching a movie-he didn’t feel like my baby over there. I finally stopped shaking and got to hold him to try to nurse. To be honest I don’t really remember the moment-but my MIL caught it on video, which I didn’t know existed for months. In it, he’s handed to me and I just start crying, “oh my little bear, my angel, it’s me your mommy” and he held my finger tighter than I could imagine. He looked just like his daddy and burrowed his face on my shoulder. I don’t remember it, but it was a lovely moment. And after the baby blues and fear of everything finally passed…we had many more beautiful moments when I knew he was my world. He’s 2 1/2 now, and amazes me more every day. His little brother will arrive in about 10 weeks…hoping for successful VBAC and more lucid first moments with him.

  83. G Jan 08 at 12:27 pm Reply Reply

    I had been measuring big for most of my pregnancy, but when my water broke 9 days before my due date, I was so surprised! At the hospital, I wasn’t really in pain or having noticeable contractions though I was hooked up to Pitocin. After 12 hours it was finally time for me to push…
    Then our daughter arrived- and I felt like “Oh…yeah..Of course I know you…And that’s what you look like! How could I have imagined you looking any other way?”
    She was blue though and having trouble breathing, so I only had her on my chest a few seconds before they took her away to clear her lungs and get her to cry. As the doctor stiched me up, I kept asking my husband if she was ok- but he couldn’t tell me. Finally my doctor called out to the NICU nurse if the baby was ok- and it was about that time she started crying.
    When I finally got to hold her, I was so tired, and was surprised I didn’t have the overwhelming love everyone talks about. I was extremely protective of her- and KNEW deep in my heart that she was mine, but the intense love I have for her slowly clicked in one piece at a time- like a puzzle.
    Watching my husband cry as he held her hand for the first time- Click!
    Being surprised by this clean and fresh-smelling baby presented to me in the recovery room- Click!
    Those first few hazy weeks with her at home as I learned her routine- Click!
    Then finally, one late night about 3 months later, I got up to feed her. She pulled away and looked right into my eyes and smiled. Really truly smiled at me- like “Oh, hi! I missed you!” and that’s when all the pieces made me whole.

  84. Syko Jan 08 at 1:50 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t remember the rush of love at all with my first. I was proud of her, in awe of her, and scared to death of her, but it was weeks before I knew I loved her. Her sister, 18 months later, was the same story (perhaps other than the scared part, because by now I was an expert). But then came several miscarriages, and the giving up on ever having a third child, only to find myself pregnant and terrified. At first I thought I’d miscarry again. Then I thought I’d have the baby but it would be handicapped in some way. This was nearly 40 years ago, we didn’t have sonograms or any of the other amazing things that exist now.
    And then he was born, after a surprisingly long labor (25 hours, compared to his sisters’ 8 and 4). I was out of it at first, so badly exhausted that when they brought me a tray of food, I took a bite and fell asleep with coleslaw in my mouth. But then after a few hours they brought me the bundle swaddled in a blue blanket. I whispered “So there you are, I’ve been waiting for you” and he opened his eyes, reached out a tiny hand and touched my face.
    I’m sitting here at work crying just to tell about it.

  85. velocibadgergirl Jan 08 at 8:10 pm Reply Reply

    Oh my God, these stories are going to make me do an Ugly Cry…I’m 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant with my first, and while I’m patiently waiting for him to be ready to be born, I’m also insanely eager to meet him <3

  86. Landie Jan 08 at 9:07 pm Reply Reply

    I didn’t have that moment at the beginning. I wish I had. The beginning was a nightmare.
    I was 10 days overdue, induced with pitocin, made it through 12 hours of labour without an epidural, finally caved and waited another 12 hours for labour to progress…I only got to 8 centimetres and stalled right out. In the middle of all of this, my baby had had two very scary episodes of a low heart rate and at one point there were about ten doctors in my room ready to run me to the ER. Turned out that – after 24 hours – I had an emergency c-section. My worst nightmare. I remember my husband apologizing to me and telling me how much he loved me and me telling him that I loved him and that I would only have done this with him.
    And then my 10lb, 8oz baby boy was born. And I still didn’t feel maternal. I felt detached, awful, in terrible pain, exhausted. My son didn’t put on weight. My milk took 5 days to come in. I was in the hospital for 6 days and on so much medication I was hallucinating. I kept waiting for someone to come and take this baby off my hands. I felt like it was the longest babysitting job ever.
    Home was just as bad. I had edema in my lower body, my son couldn’t nurse well, his weight kept dropping and I was convinced that I was in hell and that I’d made a terrible mistake. I realized I had given my life totally away and that I would never get it back. I cared for this tiny being with all of my competence and intellect and affection and yet felt oddly detached from the whole motherhood experience. I couldn’t talk to anyone about how I was feeling.
    And then, at two weeks, the doctor heard something weird going on with my son’s heart and I felt the first frigid tentacles of fear grip my heart. The pediatrician we were referred to heard the same thing at three weeks and at four weeks we found out my son had a serious congenital heart defect that was life threatening.
    Only then, surrounded by nurses, pediatricans, cardiologists and my terrified husband, that I felt my soul and my heart surge and gather themselves up. I looked at my tiny son lying so quietly, labouring to breathe and felt like I was going to choke. The tide of maternal love crested into me – finally – and I knew that I would battle heaven and earth and anything in between for my sweet baby boy. I would trade anything – ANYTHING – to make him whole. I would fight, I would kill, I would plead, I would beg…whatever it took.
    I am happy to say that – thanks to amazing medical care and fantastic surgeons – my son had open heart surgery at 4 months and is now a happy, confident, healthy, loving little boy. And I look at him every day and think that this – this child – is what pure love, pure fear and pure joy looks like.
    And I am so thankful to be his mother.

  87. Larysa Jan 09 at 8:29 pm Reply Reply

    Reading these posts totally made me cry! Such amazing and unique stories. Straight from the heart.

  88. Jenn Jan 10 at 11:05 pm Reply Reply

    (Such a late comment, but I debated writing it for awhile)
    I fell in love with my boy the instant he was born. He was way too early, and lived for only a couple hours, but the moment they put him in my arms, I knew. I would have moved heaven and earth for him if I could have. I held him and watched his heart beat as mine broke. I don’t think I have ever felt a feeling so intense in my life. Even though the nurses tried to get me to stay in bed, I did everything I could for him… washed and dressed him, sang to him, and held him for a long time.
    Now that we are trying, I’m scared it won’t be the same… it’s one of the fears that haunts me now 5 years later.

  89. Jo Jan 11 at 6:47 am Reply Reply

    Landie, that was so beautiful and so uncannily similar to my experience. Thank you, thank you so much for posting. My post would basically be a ditto to yours, so I won’t repeat too much, but it helps me let go of that perfect moment I so wanted with the birth of my daughter, but missed out on – not only missed out on, but went through hell instead. But I am so thankful now, just as you said, to be her mother. And now the love hurts sometimes because it is so strong. Perhaps the moment wasn’t when she was cut out and vacuumed and yanked out of me on August 17, 2008, but a few months later, when she was in surgery and she grasped onto me and my heart just wanted to wrap around her and protect her. My beautiful, strong, wonderful girl. She is perfect in every way and has taught me how to be strong, how to be a mother. As you said, she taught me what fear and love and joy is. I am so thankful she is my daughter. Now every time I look into her huge, blue eyes, I have that perfect moment I so wanted at first. Only now I get it everyday.

  90. Candace Jan 11 at 3:29 pm Reply Reply

    I remember him being whisked away after a vacuum delivery and while nurses swarmed around him giving him oxygen and my husband tried to catch it all on video tape, I remember feeling so very very alone. The doctor was sewing what felt like a million stitches and my baby was across the room, for forever. Then he was in my arms, he was tiny and perfect. With his watery eyes and his little perfect mouth. He had my nose and my husband’s face. And I didn’t cry. I was in awe. Absolute and utter shock that I could have actually had anything to do with the creation of this perfect little being. Then I brought him home and holding him in our bed between midnight feedings with my husband at my side, the tears came. And he said, you love him so much it hurts don’t you?
    Yes. I do.

  91. kari Weber Jan 11 at 10:54 pm Reply Reply

    Jenn- I am so thankful that you posted. Yours is the story that so many do experience, and so few hear about. I am sure that when you get pregnant again, that it will be DIFFERENT but not LESS. Thank you again for that moving experience.

  92. Leah Jan 12 at 6:59 pm Reply Reply

    Easy labor with no drugs. When he was born I said “holy shit!” because it was such a bizarre thing to see this big baby who’d just been inside of me. I cuddled him and talked to him and posed for pictures right away, but it wasn’t love at first sight. It was in the middle of the night, hours later, when they had taken him away for some stupid reason–to give him a shot or draw blood or something–and he was crying. The nurse put him on my chest and he instantly calmed. It was because I was his mother! What a feeling. Then later, nursing in the dark and seeing his little eyes shifting right and left, taking it all in. I thought, this is a new little guy. This is what he’s like.

  93. Help4NewMoms Jan 18 at 7:19 pm Reply Reply

    The first time I saw my son, I couldn’t really see him because (pause) I didn’t have my contacts in. Once I remedied that situation, I couldn’t believe how tiny he was, how different he looked from my husband or I , and how protective I immediately felt for him – I’ll never forget it.

  94. Motherofthemonth Jan 19 at 3:29 pm Reply Reply

    Mine are now 20 and 15. Reading this has brought back a flood of memories of when they were both born. So here I sit, wishing I was a young mommy again with little babies, trying to get away from work a little as I eat lunch while catching up on some of my favorite blogs……and crying.

  95. Peachy Feb 06 at 2:09 pm Reply Reply

    Just read these… and then sat down to fill out my very first batch of Early Intervention paperwork, plus the packet required before the developmental pediatrician will even CONTEMPLATE seeing my little guy, my great joy, the 3rd light of my life who is as sweet and crazy and clever as the day is long and just… not… right. Almost 2 and one word (“Baba”) and rocks and hand flaps and YEAH, I know it’s not cancer or a car accident, but dammit…
    And it took him forever to get past my (apparently gigantic and why did we not know this with the other two, who made it past just fine??) pubic bone and he came out with a spectacular bruise across his forehead and I loved more than humanly possible him months before he ever did all THAT, so how could I love him more now that he was out? I don’t know, but I did. And do. Every day.

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