After a bit of a rough labor experience, that ended with an emergency situation, I was more than ready to hold my baby close. While I didn't know it at the time, the moment right after the birth when you hold your baby and become acquainted is known as "the golden hour." And, it turns out, there were lots of things I loved about the golden hour and the ability to finally hold my baby in my arms. However, what I loved the most was the simple feeling of relief. Finally, my baby was safely in the world and my labor and delivery was over.
My baby had ingested some meconium during childbirth and, as a result, was in distress. So, for those first few moments after he was born, my son was taken away from me. I could see him, thanks to the buzz of activity all around him, and I couldn't hear him crying at all. My mom excitedly hovered over the doctor's shoulders relaying his condition back to me and telling me how beautiful he was. While those moments felt endless, they (thankfully) only lasted a few minutes. Then he was in my arms and there was no way I was letting go.
After waiting so long to meet our precious babies, it's no wonder moms are anxious to spend some one-on-one time with their new child. I loved every minute of the golden hour, including these magical moments:
I Finally Got To See My Baby's Face
For my entire pregnancy, like lots of moms-to-be, I imagined what my baby's face would look like. So, it was such a strange sensation to finally see him. He looked both familiar and brand new and I just stared into his beautiful murky eyes thinking this was the best blind date I ever had.
I Finally Held My Baby's Little Hands
I found everything about him so amazing in that first hour (and every day since, if I'm being honest).
He gripped my fingers, made little fists, and stroked my skin. He also did this adorable little move with his hands, where he held them up to his chest like a bunny rabbit. In other words, my son was adorable.
I Saw Myself And My Husband In Our Baby's Features
I am adopted, so growing up I never had that experience of recognizing my own facial features in my parents. When I saw myself, and my partner, in our son, it was honestly one of the most magical parts of the golden hour. I could see how much my baby looked like both me and my husband.
His little nose and mouth were straight from me, but his long legs and big feet were all his dad.
I Watched My Baby Respond To My Voice
I spoke softly to him and even quietly sang the same songs I had been singing to him in the womb. I am not sold on the science of the benefits of talking to your tummy, but I felt him respond to my voice in that moment. He turned his head, looked at me, and snuggled even closer. I loved every moment.
We Finally Named Our Baby
While my son and I snuggled and recovered from the ordeal of birth, I used his name for the first time.
Calling him by his full name felt special and momentous, as though all those months of pregnancy had been building up to this one special moment.
I Was Able To Inspect My Baby
I counted his fingers and toes, checked his ears, and inspected every part of his body to make sure he was as perfect as I imagined.
The longer I looked at him the more he seemed to change, as though his features were still fluid. It was quite hypnotic, and I couldn't take my eyes off him.
I Was Able To Start Breastfeeding Right Away
Although I ended up having a few breastfeeding problems, and needed the help of a lactation consultant, at the very beginning it was effortless. My son snuggled close and latched on instinctively.
My Care Team Understood My Wishes
Once the drama of an emergency birth was over and the room was cleaned up, my care team ensured all of my wishes were followed. This included leaving us alone in peace, leaving the lights dimmed, and allowing for skin-to-skin contact with a heated blanket over both my son and I.
I Felt Immediate Love
Some moms, especially if they have experienced a birth trauma, need time and space to bond with their baby. Luckily for me, though, I instantly bonded with my baby in those first few moments of the golden hour. I felt very emotional, happy, tearful, grateful, and incredibly protective. I knew I had never loved anyone as much as I loved my son.