PERFECT PARENTING: HOSPITAL MEMORIES.
My friend and wonderful new mom to a handsome baby boy sent me this piece "Because You Won't Remember" and I read the first few sentences in the middle of the night and thought it was all about the hospital memories. I really enjoyed it and saved it for the next day when I was more awake and could fully process it. Turns out, it was more on motherhood-- read my post on motherhood here-- and it got me thinking about those very first memories in the hospital, so here is my piece, "Because I Won't Remember."
Because I Won't Remember
Because I won't remember all of the details of our time in the hospital when you are older, I wanted to write you now, when you are ten weeks old and they are still fresh in my mind. Writing this now I cannot help but tear up. Not from sadness, but from having so many overwhelming feelings.
I'll always remember our labor story but I know that over the years some of the those first details will be a blur and will probably get mixed up with the memories of your siblings' birth*. That first night in the hospital was amazing. You were born at 11:05pm and I remember when the nurse called the time I remember thinking to myself a few things: that makes sense because Lillian was always so active at 10:00pm when I was pregnant and that's when things started getting real in the labor room. And I also thought to myself, wow, what a precise baby. Most babies are born at odd times- 11:47 am (like me), 3:03 (like your aunt Claire). I immediately wondered if this prompt arrival was an early indicator of your personality.
We left the labor room- me in a wheel chair, you in your hospital bassinet, wrapped so tightly, and your dad carrying all of San Francisco on his back-- he had his backpack, snacks, balloons from your uncle Danny (but just the mylar ones because the hospital made Danny pop the latex balloons, so when Danny brought the balloons into the room everyone was extremely puzzled as to why he brought deflated balloons and we were all laughing!!), flowers, my overnight bag, pillows, and more. Your dad probably carried twenty pounds down those halls, all while never taking his eyes off of you. Everyone met us in the recovery room and said their goodbyes because they were exhausted. Caitlin and Moncher were the last ones there and gave us big hugs and kisses. I now realize how proud they were of me and how in love they were with you.
You had teeny, tiny feet just like every baby. And around your ankle was a tiny security bracelet that said "Baby Girl Pedersen". I had a matching one and thought to myself this is the first of many matching things that we, as best friends, will have.
A lot of moms describe that first night in the hospital as terrifying-- constantly making sure that their baby is breathing. For some reason, I wasn't scared. I knew you were healthy and happy. I honestly felt so safe-- the safest ever-- we were in the hospital with the best nurses and doctors. Heaven forbid, but If anything were to happen to you I knew we were in great hands.
When it was just us three, your dad and I were starving! Some women want a glass of wine or sushi for their first meal after delivering. Everyone will think I am annoying for saying this but I felt as if I had just worked out, the last thing I wanted was something heavy. All I wanted was a salad or some fruit! We had a few snacks and tucked ourselves in for the night around 1:30am.
Your dad fell asleep on the couch that turns into a bed. For some reason it was so funny to see him sleeping there on that couch. He was out passed out!! I mean, he did stand for the previous five hours bent over the hospital bed. It was my first time as a hospital patient and I had a blast!! I felt so fortunate to be healthy, I know a lot of people hate hospitals because they remind them of loved ones in poor health.
I absolutely loved the adjustable bed. I would raise it up to eye level with you in your bassinet, then lower it to get out of bed to go the bathroom, then adjust the angle of the back support, and then adjust the foot support. It was all remote controlled and I was adjusting it so frequently that I thought for a moment I really want a bed like this at home; the kind made for elderly people. The nurse came in at one point and told me my bed was too high. I thought to myself, than why is this an option. But then realized I was four feet off of the ground.
I think I slept thirty minutes that first night. I wanted you close to me so I made a fort of pillows around me and laid you on your back facing me. I just stared at you for hours, only taking my eyes off of you to check on your dad and peek at the clock. I had a very funny relationship with that clock. It was an old-school clock, just like the ones in each of my classrooms in school. The hands slowly turned and I kept saying to myself, just make it to 5 o'clock am. For some reason that was what I felt like I had to do: take it one moment at a time and if we made it to 5am we would all be okay.
The next day was a Sunday and we were fortunate to have lots of visitors: of course your grandparents and aunts and uncles. We were missing auntie Erienne and Ed, of course. Dustin, Chris, Camilla and Clementine came by. Then Jan, Andie, Jack, Lori and Rob.
We watched the Warriors play but unfortunately they lost in the final minutes. But it was okay because we believed they would win and advance. It was such an exciting time for the Warriors and the Bay Area. Hopefully you'll grow up and learn to love Steph Curry like your dad and I do.
It felt like every hour a nurse or a doctor was coming in to perform a test or screening. I held my breath through each one, not exhaling until they said everything looked good. After a day that felt both long and short, it was just the three of us again. As soon as the sun set I played my "just get to 5 o'clock" game. Breaking the night down into hours somehow made it feel easier to navigate the feedings.
The second night was just as special as the first. It flew by but again, also went so slowly. I remember your dad took a shower in the bathroom and when I went in after him there was water EVERY WHERE- I was so confused. It was like he was trying to wash the walls or something. He told me that the shower head was broken and he had to hold the shower head hose and that's why water was every where. All I could think about was how could a brand new hospital already have a broken something or another.
The next morning we were ready to go home. I saw the paper signs in the room that said checkout is 11:30am. I thought this was a hard and fast time so I started packing up and really wanted to take you home. Since you were so healthy and happy they expedited our paper work at we were out on our way. I wanted to walk out of the hospital in heels like Kate Middleton but I didn't- mostly because I didn't have a pair with me. I swear, I could have.
It was a Monday morning so everyone was at work. It was nice that it was just the three of us leaving the hospital. Your dad went to get the car and they wanted to charge him $90. He eventually figured it out and we were only charged $30, reaffirming that you were our lucky charm. I snapped the photo above with your blanket. We had your name picked out months in advance and I had this blanket embroidered weeks before you were born. You wore a Kissy Kissy outfit from Claire and Mike- it was precious. I wanted a picture of the three of us and a woman walking by overheard me say that and snapped our photo.
It was a HOT San Francisco day and the car was hot. I was worried about it being too hot for you. We rolled down the windows, blasted the a/c and headed home. I sat in the front seat because I wanted to start off strong and giving you your independence. It was the most nerve wracking experience of my life. But you were fine on that six minute drive home. And so began our adventure together.
*editors note: yes, I hope we have three children