Life Didn’t Change at Birth, It Changed When We Left the Hospital
Over the course of nine months, my wife and I were expecting life to dramatically transform in a single instant. Nothing would ever be the same as we went from adulthood to parenthood when our first child was born.
But sitting in the security and relative comfort of the hospital over three days, we still hadn’t felt that change. True, we had a tiny being now, but we had it easy.
There were doctors who checked on our baby’s health and condition. There were nurses who maintained her overall well-being and even watched her while we slept, if we desired. We had family regularly visit who insisted upon handling a feeding and changing a diaper. (After all, who doesn’t want a little baby time?) And whenever we got hungry, a simple visit to the cafeteria was all it took.
Life had changed, but it was a cakewalk so far.
The change really didn’t hit home until we left for home. In fact, all was good for both of us until the very last moment when hospital aides wheeled my wife and our baby outside into the cold, where I had our pre-heated car waiting.
We boarded with our new being, closed the car doors and then it hit: we were on the clock. This baby responsibility was ours and ours alone. No more help. No more free rides. It was all on us.
Her entire growth, health, nutrition, safety, and life were totally, completely dependent on us. It was like we were hit with a sudden, overwhelming rush of pressure that we hadn’t experienced at the hospital. Everything changed at her birth, but it changed even more some 60 hours later when we checked out of the hospital.
It was a little scary and nerve wracking when we realized that the duty was on us now. It’s not that the fun had ended, but we were instantly overwhelmed, to say the least.
And that car ride home? I had not been so white-knuckled in my life. I was defensively driving like never before, creeping slower than a golf cart, checking every mirror nonstop and internally accosting every fellow driver on the road within a quarter-mile.
“This was my road, our child and you’d not better get anywhere near our car!” I thought. I should have arranged for a police escort home.
As I look back and laugh, the hospital and our home was less than one mile apart. And as we settled into a groove with life and our newborn, I realized that it wasn’t going to be so tough. There is such a thing as parental instinct. We both realized that our child would let us know when she needed something, and although life was different, it was better now.
When the doctor hands you your child for the first time, it will change your world. And then they’ll turn you loose with her and everything changes again.
Most of us don’t like change, but you’ll soon realize that comfort zones never stay the same, and you’ll have a lot of new ones.