Here she is, baby Lilah!
Lilah is the first baby for my daughter’s best friend since first grade, Anna. Poor Anna’s husband is a marine deployed to Afghanistan, so Rachel was there during the labor and delivery, and one of her main jobs was explaining to the father over the phone what all the yelling meant (i.e., calming him down). I can’t imagine how hard it would be to have a baby without my husband there, or to be a dad not there for his child’s delivery, worried about your wife and unable to do anything to help.
I went to the hospital to see the baby that evening, and as I held her, all the old feelings I had as a new mom came back. I remembered studying their faces for hours, memorizing every eyelash and dimple. I remembered thinking they were the most beautiful children in the world. I remember that feeling of almost melting as I held them. Sleeping with a baby on your chest isn’t the most restful sleep, but it is delicious. It’s like the difference between assuaging your hunger with a steak dinner or a big slice of cheese cake. The steak works better, but Lord, is that cheesecake amazing! I would be in my recliner, feet up so the baby couldn’t roll off the chair, with pillows under both of my elbows so they made a cage–that baby wasn’t going anywhere.
As I held Lilah, I also realized I could love any motherless baby presented to me, just as I did Cleo the horrible kitten — the baby doesn’t even have to be human! Is it because I’ve been a parent before? Or is that just part of being human, being able to love animals so different from ourselves, and children not our own? I think it’s just part of being human. I truly understand how adoptive parents can adore that child as much as their own biological children. Adoptive parents (and foster parents!) are angels, I think. They scoop up those kids in our society who have no one, and love them and care for them. What better definition of “angelic”?
Having Rachel at the birth had a great side effect: It reiterated that she in no way wants to get pregnant any time soon. I was surprised she could do it at her age — I sure wasn’t mature enough to coach a birth at 20! But the yelling and blood and pain and fear sure made her appreciate staying a non-mom for years to come! She said to me afterward, “I’m glad my baby is a kitten.” I wish all girls could watch a birth at a young age. Maybe the teen pregnancy rate would drop.
So I expect to be doing some babysitting while Rachel and Anna go out for sushi, and that’s wonderful. As long as I can hand her back to Mom after a while. Especially when she’s very smelly. Welcome home, baby Lilah!