February 8, 2008

Just after the birth

When she was handed to me - the Hospital is very keen on skin-to-skin immediately after birth - I said "Oh my". I couldnt believe the warm, slightly damp, squirming bundle in my arms was really mine. Also, she was so pink and fair-skinned (ok, by our standards) I wasn't sure she could be mine. But already Mom and the midwives were saying "she looks like her dad". I could only coo at her, lost for words. I think they hadn't yet cut the cord when they handed her to me. DH remembers her body looking doll-like, her head looking more "real". I remember her head smelling like honey even though it was still damp and tiny bit bloody.

Already in her first few minutes she evinced some of her characteristic behaviour. It was amazing to see her little wobbling chin, her going red-faced, as she cried. And the alert way in which she looked around. That was when it really hit me. Here's a whole other person. With her very own quirks and mannerisms, different from me and her dad.

The midwife asked if I intended to breastfeed and I said yes and that I wanted to try latching her on. We placed her on the breast and she very precociously began rooting for the nipple immediately. How do babies know? I think she even had some, which would be the all-important colostrum. While she and I were thus engaged, the midwives gave me an injection to get the placenta out. And then stitched me up, I had pretty bad second degree tears.

Even in my tired state, I was yelling at Mom not to take photos of me. But now I'm glad they both took photos of the little one in her first few minutes. I was also bossily telling them to text such-and-such person. I made DH text my friends and then he mass-texted his friends and family.

A funny thing was all our phones had started ringing at the very moment the baby was emerging! It was my brother, calling from America, desperate to know what was happening.

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