Ah, the golden hour.
That magical hour after childbirth when your brand-new infant is placed on your naked chest for skin-to-skin bonding, the first breast feeding of liquid gold, and contented bliss for mama and child. Or at least according to hundreds of mommy blogs on Pinterest, which CAN’T BE WRONG.
Enter reality, stage left. Waking up hot, suffocatingly hot, and asking my partner if the baby was still inside of me. (Spoiler alert: she was not.) Cussing at the sweet nurse, Jessica, when she massaged my just-had-a-tiny-human-cut-out-of-it uterus, which felt rather like my uterus was bread dough and she was the baker. Blinking my eyes to see three of everything but my baby. BABY WAS NOT PRESENT.
What? No magical golden hour? No bonding immediately after she was pulled from my depleted, aching body? No breast feeding colustrum, the perfect first food? No precious child in sight? Nope, nada, no.
Eight hours later, I was wheeled into the newborn nursery to see that darling baby. She was absolutely perfect. She was also on oxygen, hooked up to an IV, and covered with sensors. I painfully pushed myself to standing, and gazed at her with tears running down my cheeks as I blabbered on about her nursery and her dogs and everyone who couldn’t wait to meet her. Mama cried. Daddy cried. Our hearts filled up with that overwhelming, instantaneous love you can’t explain until you experience it yourself.
These post birth hours and minutes looked nothing like what I imagined, read about or planned for. My experience was not like the pregnancy books or mommy blogs said it would be. But in the end, even with the unplanned surgery, the baby in the nursery, and the long wait: it could not have been a more golden hour.