That airplane outfit.
You know the one. That tiny, little, white, button down jersey top, with a Peter Pan collar and airplanes and fluffy clouds picked out in silver embroidery thread. It came with matching grey and white striped trousers and was almost too cute to believe. Of course, while most people were worrying about whether they would attach the car seat properly and whether or not to have the baby circumcised, my number one post-baby priority was his first real outfit. I couldn’t wait to get him out of the white side-snap tees and the striped swaddle cloths, and ugh, don’t even mention that awful beanie. So yes, that airplane outfit – the one I bought when I was a few months pregnant and stared at from time to time, imagining the little body adorably snuggled into it.
That very outfit was the one we were staring at in confusion. How exactly was one supposed to get the baby into it? By now I had become accustomed to outsourcing all my infant needs…
NURSE! One last duty, please!
I think they were ready to escort us out by that point. After a few minutes the baby had been cleaned, and was finally dressed, just as I had imagined. And now to the car seat. I mean, I know they have no upper body strength, but still, why was he slouching so much in it? A bit over-zealous in our baby product choices, we had registered for the car seat and the snuggle insert meant to prop up a newborn. Except that the car seat actually came with an insert already, so we had just taken up all the space by throwing in the extra one. Now he looked doubled-over, and was squinting at us in discomfort (it only took us about a month to figure this out, by the way).
I was uncomfortable too. Until ten minutes ago I had no clothes to change into except for a fresh backless gown, and not the red carpet type either. The escaped mental patient type. Why did I have no clothes you ask? Well, let me take you back…
I was exhausted that morning. I hadn’t slept all night due to a baby who alternated between being hungry and sleepy, and decided to go through his first growth spurt immediately. I struggled to squeeze out enough colostrum to satisfy the tiny creature, who wanted to eat for 60 seconds before falling asleep, only to wake up 40 minutes later and eat again, for another minute.
This was a new hell I had never experienced. “Is it always going to be like this?” I wearily asked myself. Thank God for those nurses, who patiently helped me at every turn (no doubt counting the minutes until my release from their ward). And I had yet to shower one last time, in the dinky little bathroom with no shower curtain. Yuk! Let’s get this over with. One last shower and then I can go home! To my soft Euro-topped mattress, and my steam shower, and no more doctors coming in to check on my uterus just as I manage to nod off!
Clothes off, toiletries precariously balanced on the sink, I took the quickest shower of my life. Just enough water to get soap on, just enough to get it off. Brush teeth, wash face, I’m done. Lenses? Forget them. I think I need to lie down again. At least we had a relatively strict no visitor policy (relatively because of the few relatives that managed to show up without asking), with the exception of immediate family. I know, I know, I previously discussed my rose-tinted dream with you. The one where I wear fabulous loungewear and do the Royal wave at a gathering of family and friends. Delusional much?
I wore Victoria’s Secret flannel pajamas, and didn’t want to see anyone’s face while I was in the hospital. I almost passed out when my friend’s brother (a doctor there) stopped by to say Hi unexpectedly. It was wonderful to see him, but I was absolutely mortified that I was wearing glasses and sporting unwashed hair, with not even a smudge of lipbalm on my face. I didn’t even curl my eyelashes. This is near impossible to believe, because my Shu Umuera eyelash curler has gone everywhere with me since I was 15 and realized that I was not blessed with the long, thick lashes of my Bollywood idols. I don’t have image issues darling, I just have standards.
I’d lie down as soon as I could get my clothes on. Only, I didn’t seem to have brought any clothes. Shit. How could I have packed only pajamas and underwear, and NO clothes? Okay, no problem! I’ll just wear what I came in with (secretly anticipating my maternity yoga pants probably just falling off my hips at this point). Where are my yoga pants? Where are my UGGS?! How do I not even have shoes?! It turns out my well-meaning mother in law had taken everything home to wash. Only I still don’t quite understand why she took my only footwear. I was not going home in my Restoration Hardware Foot Duvets. Actually, I will admit, I did briefly consider saying “F*ck It!” and hailing a cab wearing only the foot duvets and my winter coat, five o'clock shadow on my legs and all, standards be damned. I think I might have even voiced the opinion, but the stares of my mother and husband put me right back into that hospital gown, and into bed.
After a little while my in-laws arrived with my original and now laundered clothing, and off we went. Only we didn’t.
“The door’s not moving. It’s stuck.”
“Andy, you’re joking. Just open it and let’s go, please.”
“I can’t babe, it’s really stuck!”
Sigh. I couldn’t make this shit up. “NURSE!” I expect they have some experience in this sort of thing. At this point, what was there that these ladies couldn’t fix?
Only they couldn’t. A full forty minutes later, the locksmiths arrived and released us. We were ready to leave. We walked at snail’s pace past the nursing station on our way to the exit. Why were they letting us just walk out? On our own! With a new baby! Didn’t the nurses want to come home too?! How could we be trusted?!
Of course it happened to be very windy day, and of course I hadn’t packed the baby’s brand new plush white blankey. And of course when I got home, the only thing I had asked for while I was in labor, that the pack’n’play be fully ready by the time we came home, was not done at all. As if I was going to let this little thing sleep in his actual crib, in a WHOLE OTHER ROOM!
Thank God for my mum, who put practicality above her own desire to bring her daughter home, and instead went ahead of us to unpack my bag. She even created a little post-delivery pit-stop in my bathroom, consisting of the only 4 things one needs to heal (take note, ladies): witchhazel pads, sanitary napkins, thermoplast spray, and a little squeezy water bottle (moral of the story – your mom is the best and you suck for yelling at her so much. Sorry Mum.)
All I wanted to do was sleep. Hudson refused to come near me when I came home, no doubt confused about why I only had one heartbeat now, and instead decided to give us an encore performance of his Nervous Nellie pee-scapade. Andy and I had a heated argument while on our knees, soaking up dog urine by the foot of the pack’n’play, while the baby was sleeping peacefully inside, and just as we got ready for bed, my aunt and uncle visited.
“How was it?” my aunt asked, in a sympathetic tone.
“I feel like I just gave birth out of my ass.” I replied.
You can quote me on that, verbatim.
That beautiful airplane outfit is now stained with spit-up that won’t wash out, no matter how expensive the Dreft. Much like everything in my closet. Especially the silk blouses. WHY did I wear silk blouses, knowing I had a baby who was going to deposit his regurgitated milk all over me? Well…priorities, darling.