This is a picture of our baby having just returned from his first day out. Truth be told, we were always holding a baby or a camera in those early days, not wanting to let anything, especially time, slip away.
In our prenatal interview, we asked our pediatrician when we could take the baby out, and he said, "What . . .you think there are no germs here? No germs or diseases in the hospital? You can take the baby out."
Stamp of approval.
The high from the birth really took hold on day 3. I gave birth. Something that, during the process, was clearly impossible. Nothing impossible-er had ever happened. But it happened. We did it. I have no idea how. And now he was here and I had been staring at him for three whole days. I'm sure I did other things but I have no memory of any basic self-care. Holding him, watching him sleep, breastfeeding him, studying his face - this being who had been communicating with me all along finally showed his face and his way. And it was all irresistible. As much as I prepared for giving birth and having a baby, I was completely unprepared for the feelings I would have for this child. I never knew love like this. Even now, I don't know what to say about it.
"Let's go. Anywhere. Let's take him out. I have to see the world with him."
So we put him in the sling we had. There were no YouTube tutorials - just guesswork. He fidgeted a little and seemed uncomfortable, but we walked out the door together, down the stairs, and outside onto Columbus Ave. Outside looked so different - crisp and fresh. The traffic, the noise - all too grown-up and sophisticated for all of us. We were breaking an NYC barrier with this baby - showing him all the things he had only heard, somehow sheltered, before.
We walked past dozens of people on the way to the grocery store, none of whom let on that they knew what happened to us. Life is such a powerful force. It comes, it moves, while no one is watching.
Finally, in the check-out line, the cashier smiled and said, "Awwww, how old?" I was relieved - someone saw! I had asked this question of other parents over the years as a matter of small talk, knowing the answer ultimately meant nothing to me. But this cashier - she could really see. "Three days," I grinned hard.
"Beautiful. . . Enjoy him."
With all I've got!
About the Author:
Tanya Wills is a graduate of the midwifery program at Yale School of Nursing, where she received her Master of Science in Nursing and also earned her R.N. (Registered Nurse).