I was so proud as we left the hospital and I was holding our bundled baby against the cold March wind. I gingerly got into the car and we took a hundred photos; in the elevator, putting her in the carseat, all of us in the car and going home.
We drove home alone. Slowly. I couldn't believe that all these cars were out there speeding by. Didn't they know we had just brought life into this world - slow down! Then it started to drizzle and we saw a rainbow, then another. By the time we got home I had seen half a dozen. It was God reminding us of his promise. I felt better.
We got home and unpacked the car, the baby and the flowers. The in-laws came over with take out from Woodranch and I ate like a pig. Our daughter slept the entire time, but it didn't stop us from checking on her between each bite. We had a great time laughing and oohing and aahing over how tiny and perfect and beautiful she was. We were wearing our rose colored glasses proudly.
It got late and everyone left. I insisted that my mother-in-law spend the night, but she was adamant. We had to spend the first night home alone. I thought she was being stubborn, because she usually is, or had some other plans she didn't want to tell us about. But she was right!
I remember CLEARLY sitting on our Ikea couch in our big empty house holding our newborn daughter thinking "Oh No! What did we do!" I remember little else about those first few days - the pain of labor, the poopy diapers, the challenges nursing, but I remember clearly thinking, "We are responsible for a life - why did they let us leave with her." There were a few tough bits with crying and such. Eventually baby and I were both crying. But we got through it as a family, together.
About 3 days later my mother-in-law came and stayed for a week or two. She cooked meals and helped with laundry. She even brought me the baby in bed to nurse and then burped and diapered her. It was wonderful having her there. A woman who instinctively knew what needed to be done, whereas we were a little clueless.
But having those first days alone - just the two of us - brought me memories I will cherish. It also built our foundation as husband and wife, mother and father, as partners. It brought us together as a couple and a family. I felt like it was me and him against the world. Like the time when I covered my eyes while he took our daughter's temperature, rectally. I love those memories.
You will never get them again - next time will be #2. And its totally different. There is only one first baby on the first night home. Enjoy those precious days and hours with your spouse, building memories that will last a lifetime. You will have another child and the first days home with him or her, but it isn't quite the same. That child just falls in line with the other kids. You remember how to nurse and what works best for you.
But that first time is precious.