A quick 24 hours after the birth of my son, my partner and I drove home to a version of the lives we'd left behind a few days earlier. Nothing would be, or could be, the same after that high-risk, nearly fatal pregnancy. Once we opened our front door and attempted to settle in as a family of four, it was hard for me to adjust. So to say there were some things I was afraid to ask for on my baby's first night home would be a horrific understatement. Fear is a powerful thing and, in the end, it silenced me when I should have been at my loudest.
During this time, our daughter turned 5-years-old, started her second year of preschool, and the family members living near us were no longer a constant presence in our lives. My pregnancy was extremely challenging and I was put on bedrest, but I also had to maintain my responsibilities in the house, regardless. My partner had to go right back to work almost immediately after our son was born, and my nerves (along with my body), were shot.
That first night home from the hospital, with a 5-year-old and a newborn now in my care, everything felt unsettled. I looked around our living room we'd abandoned days prior, and though there were delivery gifts and cards in abundance, I wanted to cry. I'd been through so much to have this baby, including two miscarriages, but those first moments being home with him weren't as beautiful and blissful as I had hoped. I was lonely, even though my partner was right there, and I was angry we didn't have more help. I was also, surprisingly, sad the pregnancy was over, but simultaneously thrilled to have finally completed my family.
In the middle of all those relentless, juxtaposing feelings, were a lot of things I was afraid to ask for. The first night home is a rough one because, and even though my partner and I had done the newborn thing before with our oldest, I didn't know what to expect. There was no routine already in place to help me navigate the difficulties of being a mom of two. Thinking back on that first night home with my newborn son, I so desperately wish I'd been more vocal and asked for the following: