09Apr

New York City Moms: They Had Me at “Hello”

I’ll never forget the moment my daughter was born.  We had been convinced she was a boy all throughout the pregnancy.  All the old wives’ tales pointed in the direction of a boy: the way my belly was shaped, my sour food cravings and the key test.  A stranger in Manhattan even stopped me in my tracks on the way home from work one day, yelling, “It’s a boy!”  
We were so convinced it was a girl that we only picked out boy’s names.   It wasn’t until the day before I was induced, while sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, that I realized there was every chance it could be otherwise and got to work on girl’s names.  
Of course, I went around telling everyone that I didn’t care what sex the baby would be, as long as it was healthy, and I meant it.  But after seven hours of labor, and an incorrect determination by the doctor at first that she was a boy, when the doctor lifted the umbilical cord and realized “he” was a “she,” I was somewhat elated.  
Whether it was the joy of being finished with labor, or the shock at having a girl after being convinced otherwise, I am not sure.  Nonetheless, I burst into tears right there and then.  She was taken away for a few moments as she had trouble catching her breath at first, so my initial relief turned into concern.  The doctor assured she would be fine and asked what we were going to call her and I knew instantly, saying her name right out loud with no hesitation.
When she came back, and I took my first look at her, I could not believe my eyes.  She literally had me at “Hello.”  The fact that this little creature had been resting inside my womb for nine long months amazed me.
The bond occurred immediately.  She weighed nearly nine pounds.  She latched on to my breasts right away.  She slept in my room the entire time I was at the hospital, and I didn’t want her to leave.  My mother came to stay with me for a few weeks after she was born.  It was all very comical, as my husband and I struggled to quickly learn and adapt to being new  parents.  He had actually paid closer attention than I on how the nurses in the hospital had cared for her, and it was he who taught me how to change a diaper, swaddle and give her a bath.  Whenever we needed to know how to do something that whole first year, we consulted our bible, What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  
My husband was instantly charmed by her, as well.  After all, she had his blue eyes, his skin color.  He took a week off, too, so I could rest, and he wanted to be home with us.  We had no idea how days would turn into nights quicker than ever before.  Taking care of a newborn is 24/7.  Having help was essential in our early days as early parents, and I was also glad to have the company.  My mom helped me wash clothes, prepare food, grocery shop, get us to our doctor appointments on time and she helped out with nightly wake-ups.  Our very first Passover Seder in our house was a few days after our daughter’s arrival, and we somehow managed to prepare food and read from the Hagaddah.  It was a miracle, we were so busy and so tired.  But it was nice being together.
Nonetheless, when my mom left and my husband resumed his time at work, I remember feeling a sense of relief.  I wanted to do everything myself.  I wanted to be alone with her.  I was totally into breastfeeding and wanted to get on a schedule.  We went into the city to do Mommy and Me yoga once a week.  We joined a playgroup.  It was summertime and we took long walks together and went to the beach.  We also went on a family trip to Montreal that summer.
Alas, when it’s your first child, you really don’t know what to expect.  I knew my life was going to change the moment I got pregnant, but I had no idea just how much.  I went back to work a few months later and hired a full time babysitter.  I was filled with confusion about leaving the baby and was faced with a difficult decision.  I loved my job.  Without it, I wasn’t sure if I would get the same fulfillment, but I also wanted to be with her.  Ultimately, I chose her, and life has never been the same.  
When I got pregnant with my second child shortly after I left my job, I was not as excited as I had been the first time.  I was still confused about my changed identity.  I had difficulties being at home at first, and I loved being with my daughter, but having another baby would be hard work.
My husband and I agreed not find out the sex once again, as it had been such fun not knowing the first time.  The joy and shock of finding out at birth was a treat, and the guessing part had been a hoot.  However, my husband couldn’t come to the ultra sound that crucial day when I was told I could find out if I wanted to.  I mentioned to the technician that I didn’t want to know, but that she could point out anything interesting if anything appeared interesting.  Of course, within seconds, something that appeared quite phallic flashed on the screen, and she mentioned having a few sons herself.  And I knew.  I knew I was having a boy. 
I told my husband that night.  I apologized to him for ruining the surprise, but I told him that somehow I felt the joy that I needed to feel about having another child.  I was excited about having a boy.  It would be a different experience and we would have one of each.  Two sounded like a good number for me.
The night before he was born, I spent some time with my daughter.  I felt sorry for her that at such a young age, another child was going to vie for my attention.  When I brought her into the delivery room after he was born, she burst into tears at the sight of another baby in my arms.
He didn’t have me at “Hello.”  I was overwhelmed in the beginning as I had two babies to look after, and it was often hard having two crying children, not knowing who to tend to first.
He latched on right away, and our bond started to form from the beginning.  When he was about 6-8 weeks old, I remember holding him after a feeding, and he looked at me with his dark brown eyes, much like mine, and smiled that baby smile you aren’t sure is gas or happiness.  And he had me.  It was our “Hello” our moment.  A moment I will never forget. 
This is an original&nbsp
;New York City Moms Blog post.

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Comments

  1. I so loved reading this, and relate to what you went through about choosing to go back to work.

    I thought my first was a girl! Max surprised me. We found out what we were having the second time around because we wanted to do everything different.

  2. What beautiful birth stories!

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