My partner and I found out our daughter was joining our family approximately six hours before we met her, so you can imagine how overwhelmed we were during the first hours, days, and weeks of her life. Every sound and move she made threatened to make my heart burst, it's honestly a miracle I survived her adorable newborn phase. And don't even get me started on the moment my baby cooed in my arms for the first time, you guys. That intense feeling over overwhelming, pain-in-the-center-of-my-chest love was enough to make me explode.
My partner and I chose to pursue adoption and moved back to Houston, Texas, from Ireland, in order to make our dream — to one day be parents — a reality. But honestly, neither of us had let ourselves really believe it was going to happen until we were walking into the hospital room and meeting our daughter for the very first time. Until that moment, when she was finally in our arms, parenthood was just a hope we had to actively work to be realistic about.
And then, just like that, she was there: our baby, just staring up at us both. She was real, and our dream was no longer a dream. It was life, and we were finally living it. So every new move she made left my partner and I overwhelmed with emotions, from her first cry to the first time she opened her eyes. Each new movement or sound coming from our daughter was a reminder that we were finally parents. After more than five years of trying and wishing and waiting, she was here. She was home. So with that in mind, here's what I felt when my precious daughter cooed in my arms for the very first time:
Literally everything about my daughter was a surprise at the beginning. When my partner and I first took off her little hat, we couldn't believe she had hair! When she opened her eyes, it was like we'd forgotten she'd have eyes, we'd been staring at her perfect sleeping face for what felt like forever. So when she cooed, I was surprised. Again.
The first sounds that came out of my daughter's mouth was a reminder that, honestly, this was just the beginning. Before I knew it she would be talking, saying "mama" and "dada" and forming complete sentences. I was so excited for her future and to be able to share it with her.
When my daughter was a few weeks old, a Spanish friend sent a note of congratulations and tried to explain the feeling of loving your baby so much you sort of want to eat them. It's hard to explain, but it was the sentiment that I felt when I heard her coo in my arms for the first time. Yes, I was sort of heartbroken that I couldn't eat her up right that minute. Too weird?
Every new thing my daughter did was a relief in those first few days. She was in the NICU while they watched to make sure she didn't have any lingering health problems. Plus, we didn't know anything about her prenatal care or medical history, so my partner and I ended up becoming pseudo-detectives of sorts: inspecting every little movement she made. That coo meant we were headed in the right direction, even if we might have a long road to go.
The fact that the baby in my arms cooing was my daughter (my daughter, you guys) made me so incredibly proud to be her mother. She had picked me, and we had found one another after I had waited years to finally hold her. I was honored to hear that little sound. I was, and always will be, honored to be her mom.
I was finally a mother, with a baby that felt comfortable enough with me to coo in my arms. You guys, it doesn't get any better than that.
That first coo was a stark reminder of the woman who had brought my daughter into the world, but who wouldn't be there to hear or see all of her perfect milestones. Adoption is great joy and great sadness all rolled into one little package.
There is just nothing better than those coos when you're holding your newborn in your arms for the first time.