(Excerpt from Expect This: A Memoir on Pregnancy)
The nurse took my blood pressure and temperature and asked us if we needed anything else.
Um, yes. Someone to show us how to take care of a baby, I thought. “I don’t think so,” I said meekly. Mason shook his head no.
Once the nurses left, my euphoria waned. I looked at Mason, panicked. “What do we feed her? When do we feed her? Is it two ounces like in Baby 411? What do we feed her with? What if she needs a diaper? Do we have diapers? Can you roll that thing closer to me?”
“Take it easy,” he laughed. He reached in the bassinette and carefully lifted the baby. She was wrapped up like a hard, little burrito. Soon she was cradled in my arms and I began to melt back down to my previous daze. Her eyes were still closed.
“You’ve had a rough first day already, haven’t you?” I asked the little burrito.
“Here’s what we’ve got,” Mason said as he pulled up a chair next to the bed. He reached over and showed me a piece of paper. “This is a log. We can keep track of when she eats and how much, and when she… um, goes to the bathroom and what, um, results from that. See? We’ve already done a diaper and a bottle.”
“You did a bottle?”
He smiled proudly. “Yup.”
“Wow…” I looked down at her.
“This is where all the supplies are,” he got up and went to the rolling bassinette. There was a drawer in the bottom. Mason opened it up and proceeded to pull out things and name them for me. “Diapers… wipes… premade formula… nipples… changing pads.” Then he went over to a cabinet, opened it and began pointing at things. “In here we’ve got gowns, blankets, baby blankets, towels, rags… ah, feminine products, these things—“ (indicating the mesh panties) “—and what appears to be those bed pad thingers.” I was impressed. I don’t know where I had been, but Mason knew what was going on. I began to feel a glimmer of… no, not confidence… maybe competence.
“What about clothes?” I asked.
“Yours or hers?”
“She’s wearing a little shirt under there.”
I stuck my finger into the opening of the baby burrito to feel the shirt, and felt warmth radiating from the wrap. A little breath came out of her mouth as if she was deflating a little. My eyes widened and my mouth opened and I looked at Mason. He had the same look of glee. “She made a noise!” I whispered loudly.
Before we knew it, it began to get light outside. We had arrived at the hospital around 9:30 p.m., and it was now nearly 8:00 a.m. It was snowing. Mason called it lazy snow; when the snow doesn’t all fall down in unison, but each individual flake zigzags gently down in no particular direction or hurry. Nurses had quietly come and gone to check in on us, to take blood pressure and things like that. We had barely noticed. It was just the three of us.