First day home with a newborn

First day home with a newborn

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  • Expectant parents daydream for months – around nine, to be exact – about bringing their newborn home.

    Four new moms shared that special day with us: Lilly, who plans a homecoming party for her daughter; Gloria, who has three sons and brings home a fourth; Connie, who has her hands full with newborn twins; and Crystal, whose baby girl brings joy into a household recovering from tragedy.

  • Lilly is 26 and a small business owner. She's also an athlete who enjoys bicycling, rock climbing, yoga, and weight-lifting. She's pregnant with her second child – the first with her husband, Neal – and is scheduled to be induced one week before her due date because her baby looks to be on the large side.

    After being induced, Lilly labors for six hours and gives birth vaginally to her second daughter, Tegan.

  • Sun shines down on the family as baby girl Tegan arrives home two and a half days after being born. She's greeted by her grandparents – Lilly's mom and Neal's parents.

  • Lilly is elated to have met her new daughter – and relieved to be rid of the Braxton Hicks contractions (preliminary uterine contractions) that plagued her for the final three months of her pregnancy.

  • Lilly's mom, Elinor, shares a quiet moment with her new granddaughter and contemplates who in the family the baby resembles.

  • Lilly changes Tegan's diaper on the dresser in the bedroom. Following Jewish tradition, Lilly and Neal haven't set up the nursery yet since doing so before the baby's arrival is viewed as bad luck. Samson, the family's 1-year-old Maltese and Brussels Griffon mix, wants in on the action.

  • Taking care of Tegan has felt easy so far, says Lilly. Breastfeeding is going well, as it did with Lilly's older daughter, and she's on such an emotional high that she doesn't feel tired at all.

  • Neal makes the first pot of coffee the house has seen in a long time – Lilly couldn't handle the smell of coffee while pregnant. Neal has taken a week off from his job as an attorney to help with the baby.

  • Big sister Juliette, 7 years old, holds her baby sister for the first time. She wasn't able to visit her sister at the hospital because she was sick and had a fever – which is why her pediatrician recommended wearing a face mask to protect the baby.

  • Grandfather Joel couldn't be happier to meet Tegan. He and his wife, Michelle, flew in from Long Island the day Tegan was born and will leave in a couple more days.

  • Lilly is thrilled to be having fun with her family, with her new baby in her arms. She had a difficult pregnancy and is relieved it's over.

  • Lilly and Neal planned a party to celebrate Tegan's first day home. It so happens it's also Thanksgiving, so Neal carves into a turkey.

  • The new parents retreat from the party and huddle with Tegan in the bedroom. Tegan is their first baby, and Lilly says it's brought them noticeably closer. "It's very unifying," she says.

  • Lilly soaks up some cuddle time and reflects on what it means to have brought a new person into the world: "I find it very profound that Neal and I will have a role in shaping who she is."

  • Neal was nervous that something might go wrong with the pregnancy or delivery, but it all turned out fine. He's relieved, excited, and overjoyed. "Seeing Neal look at our daughter like this is amazing," says Lilly.

  • Lilly and Neal say they can hardly believe that they created this healthy, beautiful girl together.

  • At Tegan's homecoming party, Neal and some guests watch a Jets game. "Life didn't stop when we brought Tegan home," says Lilly. "But it would've been nice to have a little more time with her alone before our loved ones descended."

  • Thirty-eight-year-old Gloria and her husband, Oliver, are expecting their fourth child. They have three sons: The oldest was born in a hospital and the younger two at home. Gloria wants a home birth with her fourth, too. She doesn't find out the baby's gender ahead of time.

    Gloria ends up giving birth in the hospital after all, because the baby was breech, or in a feet-first position. The doctor manages to turn the baby into the right position, and Gloria has a natural vaginal delivery. It's another boy! Rowan is born one week after his due date.

  • Gloria's exhausted when she gets home 36 hours after giving birth. She's hoping she doesn't fall down before she makes it into the house.

  • Inside the front door, Oliver gets a hug from their toddler son, Rhys, 19 months. Grandma was watching the kids at home while Gloria and Oliver were at the hospital.

  • Rowan is sleeping a lot, which gives Gloria a chance to rest, too. She's exhausted from her time in the hospital and has soreness and discomfort in her abdomen and pelvis.

  • Gloria has a bad headache, which she attributes to being dehydrated and tense. She has an osteopath come over and work on her head to release joint tension of the skull and face. Her headache is gone by evening.

  • Gloria and Oliver's oldest son, 9-year-old Doran, arrives home from his choir concert and meets his new little brother.

  • A new brother doesn't mean a free pass on homework. Doran gets help from his grandma Emmy, Gloria's mom.

  • Gloria holds Rowan while Oliver trims his tiny fingernails with a special newborn nail clipper. Rowan was accidentally scratching his own face, as newborns often do.

  • Gloria heads upstairs to take a shower, leaving Rowan with his dad. She gets support from Jing, a mother's helper who's been assisting with the older three kids for the last couple of months.

  • Oliver deals with the bills, cradling a still-sleeping Rowan. He's taken a month off from work to help with the newborn. Rhys, sporting his "Big Brother" jammies, helps out. He doesn't seem to mind the new baby at all.

  • Gloria's parents, Emmy and Shen, live about 20 minutes away. Emmy helps out with the kids every week. They dote on the boys, their only grandkids.

  • Oliver changes a diaper in the master bedroom. Rowan will co-sleep with his parents until he hits preschool age, just like the older boys. (Toddler Rhys still sleeps in his parents' bed.) After that, Rowan will share a room with one of his brothers.

  • Gloria gets some much-needed rest while Rowan sleeps alongside her. Oliver is getting the other boys ready for bed.

  • Soon enough, Gloria gets a visit from her energetic 4-year-old, Kailen. He's particularly excited to have another brother and sees the baby as his own special gift – Rowan was due soon after Kailen's birthday, so Kailen had been telling everyone that he was getting a baby for his birthday.

  • Brothers Doran and Rhys can't resist joining the fun. Now Gloria has her whole brood around her. She loves seeing them all together, but can't help but think maybe she should've stayed in the relative calm of the hospital for one more day.

  • The other kids are finally asleep, and Gloria gets a quiet moment with Rowan. She reflects on how grateful she is that labor went as smoothly as it did. Despite the baby's large size, his breech position, excess amniotic fluid, and a wrapped umbilical cord, everything turned out just fine.

  • Connie is 37 and a first-time mom. She and her husband of four years, Randy, are expecting twin boys. They're a little nervous about the sleep deprivation that looms, and know they won't have time to spend on their favorite shared hobby, scuba diving, anytime soon.

    Two weeks before her due date, Connie is induced and gives birth via c-section to fraternal twins Eddy and Jeremy. Eddy is born first, and Jeremy two minutes later.

  • Connie arrives home after recovering from her c-section in the hospital for four days. She's thrilled to be home and is hoping to get some peaceful sleep.

  • Connie feeds Eddy and Jeremy pumped breast milk. She breastfeeds, too, but likes watching the milk disappear when she gives it to them in a bottle. She tries to keep both boys on the same feeding schedule.

  • The twins are quiet and calm when they're swaddled. They don't seem to be aware of each other yet.

  • Jeremy is crying because he needs a diaper change. His newborn diaper is specially designed to dip low in front to avoid the umbilical cord stump.

  • Connie and Randy swaddle the twins after a diaper change. They try to do as much as they can simultaneously to keep the babies on a shared schedule.

  • Connie records the twins' feedings and diaper changes. The pediatrician will want to know this information at the first well-baby checkup, and it helps Connie and Randy keep track of what's happened with each baby – an extra challenge with twins.

  • Liz, a friend and neighbor, brings over chili for dinner so the new parents don't need to cook.

  • Liz holds the boys, and Randy holds up his own baby photo to see whether the kids look like him. They decide that Eddy looks like Randy and Jeremy takes after Connie.

  • Randy experiments until he finds a way to hold both boys and still have a free hand. Eureka! He's taking one month off from work to help with the newborns. Connie will be on leave for eight months from her job as a speech and language pathologist.

  • Connie breastfeeds both boys simultaneously – called tandem nursing. Moms of singletons keep track of which breast the baby nursed on at the last feeding so they can switch next time, but Connie doesn't need to bother.

  • It's the end of the first day home, and Connie and Randy are exhausted. It was a busy day, partly because the babies were hungry more often than expected.

  • It continues through the night, and Connie and Randy hardly get any sleep. They get up together to take care of the twins but soon realize they should take shifts instead – Randy until 3:30 a.m. and Connie after that.

  • Connie and Randy find that binkies help the babies doze off. Ahh, sweet sleep.

  • Crystal is 24 years old and has been engaged to Arnulfo for six years. They've been saving up to get married, and plan to finally tie the knot in about a year. They live with Crystal's mom and sister and are expecting their first child, a girl.

    One week after Crystal's due date, she gets induced. After laboring for 19 hours, the doctors decide she needs a c-section. She gives birth to healthy 8-pound, 4-ounce Hazel.

  • Crystal and Arnulfo get home and set Crystal's infant carrier on the floor. Arnulfo thinks about how his life has just taken a 180-degree turn and he now has an incredible responsibility on his shoulders. Crystal wonders how things will go now that they've left the hospital and don't have all that help around.

  • Arnulfo took a week off from his construction job to be with the baby. He's very proud to be a dad, and Crystal has a sneaking suspicion that he'll spoil their daughter.

  • Crystal breastfeeds as much as she can. Hazel seems to be picking it up pretty well. When Crystal has to pump breast milk, she expresses it by hand since she doesn't have an electric pump.

  • After the c-section, Crystal's feet swelled up. The doctor said it was a normal side effect of the surgery. Her feet were numb for the first 10 hours and now they hurt – the stretched skin is painfully taut. Arnulfo gives her a gentle massage.

  • Crystal's sister, Rebecca, helps her get up from the couch. Her c-section incision is still painful and makes it hard to move. Crystal doesn't like feeling hampered, since she's usually very active.

  • Hazel gets her diaper changed for the first time in her nursery. At first, Hazel will sleep in a bassinet in Crystal and Arnulfo's room (as well as in her parents' bed).

  • While Hazel rests with her dad in the other room, Crystal finally gets some sleep after being awake for 40 hours straight. The stuffed cow she's had since childhood keeps her company. Crystal didn't sleep a wink during labor, and after Hazel was born, Crystal couldn't resist staying awake to stare at her.

  • Crystal's mother, Maria, says that Hazel's arrival has given her a renewed appreciation for life. She's been depressed about her divorce and the murder of her son, Crystal's brother, a year ago. Now she can't wait to come home and hold Hazel in her arms.

  • Crystal keeps a watchful eye on sleeping Hazel and asks herself, "What can I do to make this child happy? I want her to grow up with a mind of her own, but I also want her to be respectful. I don't want to mess it up. How can I do that?"

  • Arnulfo is loving and protective of Hazel. He's even a little worried about her. "Whenever you do something, you need to think about the baby now," he says. Crystal hasn't seen this side of him before.

  • Crystal feeds Hazel some formula on the advice of the pediatrician. With breastfeeding alone, Hazel's weight fell too low. Supplementing with some formula is helping bring it back up.

  • Crystal burps Hazel on her knee. She contemplates how amazing it is that this little person has been inside her for the past nine months.

  • Crystal can see that even though Arnulfo's exhausted, he's very happy. "We've changed our lives forever," she says. "And we're thrilled about it."

  • Watch the video: FIRST 24 HOURS WITH A NEWBORN + BRINGING BABY HOME!! (September 2022).

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