My daughter was born at 4:54 in the afternoon. We had skin-to-skin contact for over an hour immediately after birth and we got to breastfeed in that time as well. She was, as they say, a champion, with an amazing suck reflex and the strongest jaws imaginable. That first latch was incredibly painful but she seemed to know what she was doing. We were doing so well that I actually had to take her off so we could move to our postpartum room. I wasn't in a rush, but we still didn't know how much she weighed or how long she was and family members were starting to get anxious for the news. I was also ready to get settled and cleaned up as best as possible so I could hold my baby.
Unfortunately, they didn't bring her back until about ten that night. They said she kept spitting up, getting rid of all the fluid and mucus from her lungs. They wanted to keep an eye on her even though she was doing just fine bringing it up on her own. While I was worried, I was really pleased that she was taking care of business on her own without any help from the nurses or doctors. That's not to say I wasn't calling the nursery every hour, asking when she would be back with me. Through the postpartum pains, there was a very real ache for her to be in my arms and I didn't rest well until she was back in our room.
Once we were together again, I held her in the crook of my arm for hours. While my husband slept, I stared at her face, memorizing every feature. I buried myself in her neck, inhaling her scent. By the dim light of our hospital room, I fell head over heels in love. She was mine and I was hers. It felt very primal and I changed that night. I wasn't whole anymore – there was a piece of me that was gone yet there, in the crook of my arm. The protective urge stirred within me and I knew nothing would ever be the same again.
They say having a child is like having your heart walk around outside your body and while I understand that, I also think there is an unbreakable bond that forms at the same time. A bond that makes your stomach hurt when they cry, a bond that makes your chest swell with pride when they dirty a diaper, not to mention the bond that turns any mild-mannered woman into a beast at the mere thought of harm to her child. All that happened the night she was born.
Her birth changed me, but that first night sealed the deal. Not only was my daughter born on April 11th, her mother was born as well.