The professionals tell you to expect the unexpected when you’re pregnant. You can have a calm pregnancy, or a complicated one, and no matter how much you prepare, you never know what is going to happen in the delivery room or afterwards.
When my daughter was born I had a textbook scheduled C-section, but she had some trouble clearing her lungs afterwards so they immediately took her to the special-care nursery after I’d spent 2 seconds holding her hand while a nurse held her near me. I never got that “golden hour” that everyone gushed about. We didn’t get an update about our girl for a few hours after surgery, and I didn’t see her again, or hold her, for at least eight hours after she was born.
While we weren’t worried about her medical care, it was completely surreal and stressful for us as new first-time parents. More than a year later, I still have regrets about that first day with my daughter. She was first held and comforted by nurses, she got a pacifier and formula before I got to try to get her to latch, which ultimately led to me exclusively pumping. Just the other day, I got to change a diaper for my newborn niece and realized that I changed a diaper earlier in her life than I did for my own daughter.
If I had the opportunity to tell young parents anything, it would be to make a couple of “in case of emergency plans” so you and anyone that you’re planning to have in the delivery room know your wishes in case of complications for you, or your new baby. Tell them who you want to stay with you, who you want to stay with your baby, and if you want anyone contacted in case something doesn’t go as planned.
Despite the stresses and unknowns, we’re still thankful. Nothing was seriously wrong with our girl. She recovered quickly and we were able to take her home with no delays. I know our problems were minor in the big picture, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t difficult and painful for us. We learned a lot through the experience, and we’re learning that it’s OK to be sad about that first day while still being so thankful for all the great things that have happened since that day.
Jenny Ditch lives in Illinois with her husband and little girl and is so thankful that she had a fairly calm birth experience, despite a few bumps along the way.