Oh, I have been having so much fun reading Jess’ posts and tweets about everything baby. She reminds me so much of myself during my first pregnancy that it is kind of scary. And yesterday, when she was talking about baby buntings and winter gear, I was reminded of what a fiasco it was to actually get out of the hospital with Bud.
Bud was born on January 7, 2004 in what was the coldest January Buffalo had experienced in a very long time. Now, upon entry to the hospital, I didn’t notice the cold because I was SO! HOT! , but trust me when I say it was really freaking cold. And I had prepared for it too. Bud’s going home outfit was a 5 piece Winnie the Pooh number, consisting of pants, a t-shirt and a light cotton cardigan, along with a hat and booties. I also brought the blue furry bunting received as a gift from my great Aunt Delores, and the knitted oversized afghan my mother gave me as a gift. And you know, a whole duffle bag of other things I would never possibly need, but wanted to have just in case (like my own diapers….seriously) So, you know, I was ready!
When we were released, the afternoon of January 9th, I was so excited to get him dressed and place him in our car for the first time. I was not as excited that getting dressed for me involved putting on the same maternity clothes that I had come in wearing. I took him from the bassinette and laid him on the bed and went about getting his clothes on. It turned out, that Bud was not at all happy about being naked and being maneuvered in to clothing. It seemed that he was perfectly content in the hospital blanket and snapped on undershirt. Clearly we weren’t taking him home like that though, and we persevered in getting him dressed. And after what seemed like an eternity, he was dressed, and I was ready to get him in to his car seat.
The car seat scared me, I’m not going to lie. The straps and harnesses, and his small body…yeah, it was scary. And let’s just say, that it took me a few weeks before I strapped Bud in to the car seat on my own. And even longer before I popped the seat in to the base in my car by myself. I know. But anyway..
There we were, ready to take him home, so out came the blue fuzzy bunting and the blanket. I got Bud in to it, and he resembled a stuffed cookie monster doll, but with a lot of extra fur. The bunting was not only too big on him, but also WAY too big to even consider placing him in to the car seat in. Of course, I panicked. What were we going to do? It was like -7 degrees outside!! We were going to kill our baby before we even had a chance to get him home, or worse, the hospital staff was going to take him away from us for being IDIOTS! (me especially)
My super-calm husband took the baby and strapped him in the car seat as is. He then layered the extra large afghan up over and around the baby. Then he went downstairs and drove the already warmed up car right up to the hospital door, where the nurses wheeled me, and where he popped Bud in with nary a peep. I sat next to him in the back on our first car ride home, watching him breathe, making sure he was warm, and working hard to not feel like a failure on my first day out in the world as a mom.
But soon we were home, and we settled in to a routine, and the days turned in to weeks, months and now, years. Bud will be 7 this January (“7 on the 7th “he remarked to me last week, “Isn’t that cool??!!”) and he remembers nothing of that first car ride home. And maybe someday he’ll wonder why there are no photos of him in his car seat like his sisters, preparing for his first trip out in to the world, but I don’t think he’ll ever wonder whether or not he was loved, or cared for, or whether or not we kept him safe and warm.
The first baby is kind of an anomaly. Although you’re the adult, you really are learning together. I didn’t make the same mistakes with Bud’s sisters. I packed lighter and smarter for the hospital. I knew more. I knew how to dress and handle babies (though nothing could prepare me for girl drama). I think that’s part of what makes Bud, my firstborn, so special. Each of my kids is special for their own reasons, but my Bud….he taught me how to be a mom.
And that is pretty awesome.