More Birth Stories
By Lauren Daisley
While pregnant, I read all about the importance of skin-to-skin contact for bonding with your baby, and I couldn't wait to start in the delivery room. But when the nurse handed my son, Casper, to me, he didn't nuzzle into my neck or root for my chest as I envisioned. Instead, at only a few minutes old, he seemed more interested in looking around the room, even though I knew he couldn't see more than 12 inches in front of him with that blurry newborn vision. Though he had just entered the world, he was entirely his own person. I already missed him, which took me by surprise. I didn't expect to experience the pangs of separation until much later, like when he started walking or going to day care. The oneness of being pregnant with him was over. Now it was time for us to build a new bond -- one that wasn't based on my expectations for the future, but on who this little guy was right now.
Lauren Daisley, from Cold Spring, New York, is a writer, TV commentator, and mother of two.
Scary delivery, healthy baby
By Bekka Besich
On the day our second daughter was born, I drove away from the house with the bed unmade, dishes in the sink and the vacuum out for some cleaning. My due date was six days away, and I naively thought I'd be back after a routine doctor's appointment. In the exam room, the nurse checked and rechecked my blood pressure, then quickly left and returned with my doctor. My blood pressure was too high. I needed to go to the hospital, and it was there that I first heard the words "preeclampsia" and "seizures".
Tears of worry poured from my eyes as my doctor explained that she wanted me to deliver that day. I was immediately placed on anti-seizure medication. The drug gave me an instant headache. It felt as if someone had placed the fuzziest of clouds around my head and I could not surface. I asked the nurses to turn down the medication because I wanted to be more present, more in the moment when my baby was born. They obliged.
Just hours later, my daughter Finley Juliet was placed on my chest. I couldn't stop crying. My husband Randy couldn't stop crying. She was here, and she was safe and healthy, announcing her arrival with the sweet sound of those angry first cries.
My arms ached for her, but because of the preeclampsia, I couldn't continually hold her. I cried because it wasn't supposed to be like that. But Randy gave me perspective. "I can't lose you," he said. "and neither can our girls." I handed her over to him and she looked so peaceful in his arms, arms she'd just met but clearly loved. Later, Randy tried to sleep. I stayed awake and stared and stared at Finley, filled with the matchless love of a mother who has just met her new babe.
Bekka Besich, from Mesa, Arizona, is a writer and mother of two. Most recently, she was the Great Expectations blogger at Parents.com.
Originally published in the May 2013 issue of American Baby magazine.