First Bath

Since I don’t have a ton to say about things happening at the moment, I thought it would be nice to go back a few months before this blog existed and record a few things that happened in the early months of Baby Abigail’s existence. For posterity. So this story is about her first bath, at the hospital, a few hours after she was born.

I don’t remember if I held her or not right away. Things were kind of a blur. I remember Abigail being pretty angry at first, but she calmed down quickly and remained relatively calm until bath time. When the nurse asked me if I wanted to give her the first bath, well, you can’t say no to that, can you?

The nurse asked a lot of “do you want to…” questions that first couple hours. Do I want to cut the umbilical cord? Do I want to take a picture of her while she’s covered in goop? No. Do I want a picture of her nursing for the first time? No. But I couldn’t say no to baby’s first bath, no matter how scared I was that I would trip accidently throw my newborn out the window. So we took this baby, just an hour or so old, out of her comfortable blanket, away from her comfortable mother, and put her on this pad under a heat lamp. Needless to say, Abigail was not happy.

The nurse is giving instructions, the baby is squirming and crying, and I’m just trying to not do irreparable damage. This little thing is so fragile, she’s smaller than my hands, and I feel like one wrong move would break her. Wipe away the gunk from her eyes, then her face, while reminding myself that this is necessary and that it’s not personal that she’s crying, she doesn’t hate me for taking her away from the only things she has ever known and I haven’t given her a complex that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

I get her clean-ish, about as much as I can, and I’m handed a little finger comb. Abigail was born with a head full of hair, and all the birth gunk needed to be combed out. You hear all the time about how soft baby’s heads are, and not to poke them or whatever, so, sure, no pressure or anything. I start to stroke the brush through her hair, as firmly as I possible can, which is not very firm at all.

And Abigail stopped crying. Her eyes widened, and she’s just looking up at me as I comb her hair, like this is the most novel thing in the world. And for her, I guess it was. She was quiet the entire time I combed the gunk out of hair. It was the first time since she was born that I was able to relax for a minute and collect my thoughts, and I figured, yeah, this will probably be okay.

The moment was not diminished at all when another nurse came in later and started scrubbing my baby’s head like a cast iron stove, complaining what a poor job the other nurse must have done in combing her hair because it was still so dirty while I stood there meekly and muttered, “oh, that was me.”

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