April 24, 2020
Joe and I pulled into the dark empty parking garage as the clock turned to midnight. The whole street was silent. I was stunned by the silence that had washed over a usually hectic hospital. We got our temperature checked and both of us were cleared to enter. Off we went to be sequestered in our room.
Exactly three hours later our daughter Naomi was born. She was enchanting. The most striking face with a head full of luscious curly brown hair and the softest pink lips to kiss. She smelled like a sweet jar of honey. The purest gray eyes staring right into mine. The most delicate hands took my finger. We were connected forever. A moment I had been anticipating and imagining for months. All of my questions about what she would look like were answered in an instant. Who knew there was so much more room in my heart.
Naomi’s calm presence engulfed the room. In the dark early hours of the morning her light fills every inch of the hospital room. The room was enveloped in the color of love. Her calmness was unmatched. Her cries were faint. In between her cries there were moments of silence that tell me so much about her. She was peaceful and serene. Even being just minutes old, she was by far the biggest presence.
Naomi is the smallest silver lining of the entire year.
With the state of the world, our two nurses were isolated in the room with us. This was our pandemic pod. They made everything seem as normal as they could, which was such a blessing in a time of unknowns. I was fortunate enough to not have to wear a mask. But I couldn’t help but think of all the babies whose first moments will be greeted by mothers in masks. What a bizarre new normal.
A piece of our family puzzle was missing. Her older sister was at home and couldn’t visit. Luckily, we would be home the next day. Naomi met her 11-year-old sister Sienna the way most see each other in 2020: on FaceTime. She couldn’t wait until we got home tomorrow to see her new sister in real life. To finally meet her forever best friend. The next day we returned home and began settling into life as a family of four. The days are now full of warm snuggles that feel like the sun on your skin on a beautiful day. The nights are sleepless, just like we anticipated. Still, she is absolute bliss.
Everything is new, and nothing like when I had my older daughter. We have doctor appointments on Zoom. I have become an honorary pediatrician. I’ve learned how to measure, weigh and assess a newborn. Vaccines take place in the parking lot under a canopy tent with nurses in full protective suits. I have made a baby book full of FaceTime screenshots of people meeting her. The funniest memento is a newborn size face mask her grandma sewed for her; we’ve got to find the humor in this situation.
She has brought me joy when the outside world makes me feel despair. In a year of so much loss she is the silver lining. She has shown me the good the future will bring. She has brought laughter and smiles through a year of tears and pain. She has highlighted the beauty in a world constantly showcasing the ugly. She has brought purpose and routine to the long mundane days of quarantine. She has shown me how lucky I am to be surrounded by so much love.
In all the days I carried her she heard my thoughts. Felt my love. Listened to my voice and felt my touch. She knew me in a way so different from anyone else. A way that gives us such a deep connection. I cannot begin to imagine what 2020 would have been like without her. She completed our family in the biggest way possible. I gave all the love I possessed in me. And in return I received an infinite amount of love back.
She is a reflection of me.
*picture provided by author