I've been pouring over pictures of my new nephew and thinking back to when J and I became parents. It seems long, long ago now - that night after our first son was born, when I lay awake all night staring at him, afraid he might stop breathing. The first fumbled attempt at changing a diaper. Putting on his little mittens to stop him from clawing at his face. Dressing him so delicately. All those somewhat frightening, somewhat blissful moments that go by in a flash and at the same time last forever. I remember driving home from the hospital, our little son in the back of the car, thinking, okay this is it, it's just us now. We can do this. We can do this... right?
As he lay in his crib at home, sleeping, I'd poke him every so often to check he was alright (crazy lunatic, I know) and his little arms would fly up for a second and his face would crumple as though to say goddammit woman leave me alone, before he returned to his deep sleep. I remember holding him - this tiny baby - in my arms and wondering how he could be so small when in pregnancy I had been so humongous that it had looked as though there could have been three or four of him growing inside me. (And then I remembered, it was all the pies. Dammit.)
I remember marveling at the miraculousness of it all. Of a baby.
Other things I remember about the newborn days:
- The extraordinary and precious warmth of holding my baby against my skin.
- The angst of breastfeeding.
- The loveliness of sleeping beside him.
- The fear of doing something wrong.
- The happiness and community that our new baby brought to everyone around us.
- The utter exhaustion.
- The swelling pride.
- The frustration of not being able to ask "what is wrong?" and get an answer.
- The phenomenon of the first smile and the first giggle.
All in all, a hurricane of emotions. Thinking back, as treasured as those days were, I'm ever so slightly glad they're behind me.
How about you readers? How do you look back on the newborn days? Do you miss them?