No longer the one who needs rocking and cooing, but now the one most willing to offer it to our newest baby. Emma is going to be a great mom.
I'll spare you the details of labor and delivery (although I like telling those stories too, it's not always the kind of stuff you want to read while say eating lunch or something). The main thing I've been thinking about is the day we brought Emma home from the hospital. I considered myself a well educated new mother. I'd read every article, book, literature from my OB, etc, etc that I could get my hands on. I'd just finished taking Parenting 202 and Infant Development the previous semester. I knew what was happening with our new baby and how and why and who discovered it. I was as prepared as I felt I could conceivably (no pun intended) be. And yet when I finally held this tiny new person and felt the awe and the gravity and the sacredness of what a complete and literal miracle she was my perspective was rocked. There is no "prepared". There is no amount of knowledge or study that compares with the reality of life.
Think it slowly... . . . . . . . . . . . l i f e.
That's when the worry set in. The responsibility was...not overwhelming, but just huge. Heavy. I felt some anxiety when we brought her home. I would miss the reassuring regular visits from doctors and nurses who had the medical training that I lacked, who would know better and sooner if something was wrong. I began to understand how little all my book smarts really mattered with no actual experience to draw upon.
Luckily, I have a great mom (with experience x6) who was on her way to help show us the ropes (aren't moms awesome?). As the timing worked out, we brought Emma home on a Wednesday afternoon and my mom's flight was coming in the following morning. When Mom arrived, she helped us figure out the things we just didn't get yet. I was amazed at how second-nature all this stuff seemed to her and how patiently she helped it seem normal to us too. By the time she left from her generous 10-day stay I felt far more competent.
But not on that first night, the one all on our own. We swaddled Emma and put her in the little bassinet at the foot of our bed and turned in early. I remember setting my alarm for three hours from the last time she ate (you know, because she might starve if I didn't (that was sarcasm by the way)). This was totally unnecessary as it turns out, she woke up on her own plenty more than every three hours. And even if she hadn't, Scott and I didn't let thirty minutes go by without checking on her. My outstanding memory of that night is how impossible it was to fall into a sound sleep. I lost count of the number of times I crawled to the foot of our bed and looked down at her just to make sure she was still okay. Watching her chest rise and fall and listening to her breathe. Scott did the same. All night long, like some sort of nocturnal tag-team, we kept a vigil on our baby. And we didn't mind. And most amazingly of all, our baby grew up.