There is something very surreal about bringing a baby home from the hospital. On the one hand, I couldn't wait to get home. But on the other hand, I couldn't believe they were actually letting me leave the hospital with this two day-old miracle.
As the nurse prepared my discharge papers, my husband and I dressed our new daughter, Emily. It's amazing how even though Emily is our third child, we still hadn't figured out how to get a baby dressed without her screaming hysterically.
My parents arrived with our two older children, Josie and Owen, so we could all bring Emily home together. Josie and Owen were bouncing off the walls of the hospital room, just as excited to bring home their sister as they were about the remote control bed.
I gave the hospital room one last look before I sat down in the wheel chair. The nurse handed me Emily and checked our id bracelets.
As I wheeled by the nurses station, I half expected the nurses to stop me and say that I couldn't leave yet. To tell me I wasn't ready to manage this baby and the two other children that were running ahead of me down the hall. But they all just waved and said good luck.
While the orderly pushed me through the long, white corridors of the hospital, I thought back on the last two days, on all of the prodding and poking and interruptions. It was time to go home.
But then, Josie and Owen started fighting over who was going to sit next to Emily in the car. Josie yelled at Owen. Owen pulled Josie's hair Emily woke up, startled, and began wailing. Maybe we should stay a little longer I whispered into Emily's perfect, little ear.
Just then we arrived at the front doors of the hospital. My husband was there waiting with the car warmed up and fully loaded.
The cool, crisp Bay Area air hit my face and revitalized me. I successfully handled the negotiations over seat placement. Both parties buckled up and seemed satisfied.
It took a while for my husband and I to figure out how to click Emily's car seat into the base. We argued while Emily sat patiently in her car seat on the curb. Josie and Owen got antsy and started to whine.
Another wave of panic came over me. Click. Emily was in safely and, ready or not, we were all on our way.
I pulled down my sun shade and looked in the rearview mirror at Josie and Owen. They were both leaning forward and peaking into Emily's car seat. They looked at her with wide eyes and sweet smiles. I could tell they loved her already.
"I'm so excited, mom!" Owen said as he sat back in his car seat. "Two babies!" He exclaimed.
"Two?" I asked as my husband and I exchanged curious glances.
"Yes. Emily and the one that's still in your belly," Owen said pointing towards me.
I laughed as I looked down at my postpartum tummy. "We're just having one baby," I said as I rolled down the window to get more fresh air. Definitely time to go home, I thought, and definitely time to get moving.