Over the holidays my stepfather suffered a heart attack which landed him in the ICU. It was very unexpected as he has always been a typically healthy individual. My family was shaken up, and spent most of our time at the hospital – just in case.
One afternoon my mother and I were sitting in one of the waiting areas near the main entrance when I saw a guy about my age coming in with two children in tow. As he got closer I realized it was Sam,* an old coworker of mine from a fine dining restaurant. I had just read on Facebook that his wife, Jennifer* (another coworker who trained me when I started) had given birth to their second child.
He was surprised to see me when I stood and was nice when I explained why I was there.
“You should come up and meet Amelia*, maybe it will cheer you up.”
I didn’t think anything of it, and was glad for the distraction.
A little known fact about me: I love babies. I caught this bug from my mother, who I deemed the Baby Stalker years ago. I love their smiles more than anything, and how that one sweet little smile can change your whole day for the better. But I was never certain if I ever wanted children of my own. I’m still not to this day.
When I entered the birthing suite (which, by the way, is more like a hotel suite at this particular hospital), I took in many things at once:
The warm, sweet scent of a baby. Toys and clothing from the other two children strewn about. Jennifer, who looked exhausted but happy. And finally Jennifer’s mother, whom was holding Amelia and rose to introduce both herself and the newborn.
“Would you like to hold her?” she asked
Amelia was sound asleep; a warm bundle of fleece and soft breath.
As I pulled her into my body to cradle her, something unexpected happened: A wave of heat poured over me so intense I had to pull Amelia away from me. It was so intense that I awkwardly held her inches away from me, trying to not be rude. I soon handed her back to Jennifer, wished them luck and congratulations and headed back out.
Once in the hall, my body temperature returned to normal. I caught my breath and returned to the waiting area.
Sometime later it dawned on me: it was the first time since my hysterectomy that I had held a baby. And the wave of heat wasn’t just a hot flash – it was a wave of hormones.
It’s fascinating how the body changes and reacts to outside stimuli, especially when you are a woman chock full of hormones.
But all kidding aside: other than my physical reaction, I had survived my first baby contact without a complete breakdown. And I plan to cuddle many more babies to come.
*names have been changed for privacy