Sweet baby Brooklyn Olivia was born on July 3, at 3:05 p.m. Our last baby (or so we think for now), she is perfect in every way. Nine months of pregnancy flew by in a blur — in part because I didn’t even realize I was pregnant for the first three months — oops! But we couldn’t wait to meet her. It was all her big sisters could talk about. And baby Brooklyn didn’t disappoint; she is everything we’d hoped she’d be and oh so much more. In some ways, her birth was very similar to the others. In other ways, not so much.
Brooklyn was my first true induction. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. We arrived at the hospital bright and early that morning, full of excitement and a little bit of trepidation. Big sisters Savannah and Emma Kate had come fairly quickly — once things really got rolling — so my OB wisely decided we should control the situation as much as possible. Readily, I agreed. I wasn’t too keen on having Brooklyn in my SUV on the side of the highway while her two big sisters shrieked from the backseat, and Daddy was an hour away at work. Can you even imagine? I mean, that’s the stuff of birthing nightmares.
Honestly, I can say it was an easy and pleasant experience — the least dramatic of all three births. I laid in bed all day, munching on ice chips, intermittently napping, and watching television while I progressed. And yes, I had an epidural, and I loved it. (Truth: I have a very low pain threshold. Natural birth is not for me. Or for anyone within earshot distance. Just ask my husband: our first birthing experience was a bit like an exorcism before the nice doctor with the drugs arrived on the scene.) I think I pushed for maybe five to 10 minutes max. (Please don’t hate me!) And then she was here! (Six hours from start to finish.) No ripping or tearing — my OB told me it was a picture-perfect birth. I couldn’t agree more.
I asked for the mirror this time, and it was hands down the coolest freaking thing I have ever experienced. This is not something I had planned to do. I am usually a squeamish person. But because this could quite possibly be my last chance, I thought, why the heck not?
I soaked up those first new baby snuggles like an addict getting a much-needed fix. Holding her in my arms felt so foreign and so familiar all at once. It was a rush of emotion, knowing this very well could be the last time. My last chance to hold my brand-new baby in my arms. From that moment, I knew I would not take a second for granted. I vowed to savor every last “first.” And so far, I have, I am happy to report. When the girls met Brooklyn for the first time (the next morning), it took my breath away. We commemorated the occasion with a special breakfast of Shipley’s chocolate donuts (a Tomes family favorite). And soon, we were all home together, ready to begin our new life as a family of five.
As many experienced mommies and daddies now know, that first night home with a new baby — especially your first baby — can be a little bit of a doozy. I know it was for us. In the hospital, you have help. Once you get home, you are all on your own, and you alone are responsible for keeping this helpless, screaming creature alive. It’s terrifying. I really think they should tell you that. They should prepare you for what’s about to happen.
I can remember sobbing all night that first night home with Savannah (our oldest) because she would not stop crying, and nothing we tried seemed to work. We called the pediatrician’s after-hours hotline so often that they told us to stop calling — “some newborns just cry,” they said — and moved our new baby appointment to the next morning, bright and early. We stumbled in, half put-together — it is a miracle we remembered our shoes.
Thankfully, with baby number two, we knew what to expect. It went a whole lot more smoothly the second time around. 😉 By the time we made it home with Brooklyn, we were practically parenting experts. Okay, not really, but at least we had a bit of a clue. That’s a step in the right direction, am I right?
I realize not all newborns are the same but thank you, sweet, merciful Jesus, because the few parenting tricks I’ve acquired over the past four years seemed to work. Brooklyn is an easy baby; she slept almost through the night (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.) from one month. (Seriously, guys, please don’t hate me!) And I swear we didn’t give her Benadryl. We just lucked out, big time. And for this, I am thankful because I don’t know how we would be surviving right now.
I have no sage words of wisdom on the subject. I wish I did. But if you find yourself alone with a brand new screaming baby soon, remember this: take a deep breath, and soak it all in. Because all too quickly, your little bitty baby will be heading off to kindergarten. Let go of your schedule and all of your expectations. Allow yourself to fall madly, deeply in love with this tiny little human who keeps you up all night. This, too, shall pass, and when it does, you will miss it like crazy. Trust me on this.