Matt and I both agree that nothing could have prepared us for parenthood. Sure, there are childbirth classes recommended by the doctor that cover topics like “stages of labor”, “infant safety”, and “breastfeeding basics”… but until that long awaited day comes and you spend those few days in the hospital trying to figure things out, it’s all just notes on a page.
While the hospital was lacking comforts of home, it certainly was not lacking in assistance. After Elijah was born, there was someone in our room at least every ten minutes checking vitals, bringing medicine and supplies, answering questions. The nursing shift would change and in would walk another wise woman full of more advice to share with us. They were all somewhat angelic in my eyes- so patient, kind, and reassuring. Good thing, too…because we didn’t know what the hell we were doing- ha!
After a couple of days, things seemed to sink in a little more and home started sounding really good. In fact, we were pretty anxious to get out of there the morning we were discharged. Our nurse, Cindy, gave us some final encouragement before sending us home- telling us to rely on our instincts first and foremost because trying to process all the information we had been given would make us feel entirely overwhelmed…(you think?!).
After Matt consulted with someone to be sure the car seat was installed properly (carrying precious cargo here), we loaded up and started the trek home. My heart was full and my eyes were heavy. I couldn’t believe we were finally headed home with our little one after so many months of anticipation.
We came home to a clean house- thanks to my nesting instinct and my dad who did a final scrub down of the place while we were at the hospital. The dogs were at my parents place and would stay there a couple more days while we got adjusted.
I gave Elijah (a sleeping infant, mind you) a tour of his new home while Matt unloaded the car and started organizing the house as best as we could to accommodate our new lifestyle as we knew it with baby. I turned on the right lights, baby in one arm, to set the mood of the 3:00 afternoon that would lead into our first comfortable evening home. I remember sitting in the nursery rocker with Elijah in complete tired bliss feeling the warmth of his little body on my chest and hearing his sweet breath as he slept. This is the same rocker where I had spent so much time enjoying the work we had done in the nursery, dreaming of baby being here to use it, and contemplating what other design ideas would make the room even more perfect.
We had friends calling who wanted to stop by that didn’t make it to the hospital and family calling to set up dinner plans, cooking at our house. It all sounded great until everyone was there and I was searching for a quiet place to (try, again) breastfeeding. Family was waiting on me to eat, but food was the last thing in my mind (even though I felt like I was starving)…. I had a baby to keep content and breastfeeding was a big struggle- (note: a hungry baby + little food = totally stressed). The family ate on their own time per my request so I could take my time and not feel rushed. This is something we, as a family, picked up on quickly. Actually, if they ate first…then when I was ready to eat there would be someone to hold the baby and someone to cater to me and give me a much needed break.
Once everyone left that night, I thought we would feel relieved…but instead we were a little terrified. The night was dark, we had a crying baby that we couldn’t seem to settle, we were exhausted in every level and there wasn’t anyone to help us. After a brief dual panic attack (mommy and daddy both), we comforted each other and came up with a game plan…. (1) text mom and ask that she come over early the next morning and (2) make it through the next eight hours ( hey, one bite at a time, right?!)
Needless to say we made it through that night and several more sleepless ones after that, too…just as every parent does. We had my mom pretty much take up residency for a while to help us through- I truly believe taking care of an infant is (at least) a three person job. It takes one person to take care of the infant, one person to take care of the mommy, and one person to take care of everything else ( i.e. animals, housework, shopping, laundry, screening phone calls and visitors, making sure everyone gets rest, keeping things in order). I loved our team approach- we shared a lot of laughs and humble moments- three adults trying to figure out such a a tiny little being.
About three nights after we were home, church family started bringing us meals. Our friend, Devon, had set this up for us on takethemameal.com. It was the best! We had hot, full course meals coming in the door for at least two weeks. And everyone was so great when they came to drop it off, too- understanding we needed our rest and had plenty to do- so they loved on the baby, caught up with us a little bit, offered babysitting services so we could catch some z’s (or anything else we may need), and then were on their way.
Our mailbox was full of good wishes and gifts were at our doorstep. Cell phones and Facebook pages were full of fun comments, sharing, and well wishes too.
What a blessing to have been surrounded by all that love at a time when we needed the most help. Matt and I have always been happy taking care of ourselves, but we were completely humbled by the generosity, support, and understanding of our friends and family.
With joy and gratitude,