Posted: May 12, 2013 9:00 AM
 
You've waited -- through months of pregnancy or months (or even years) of an adoption process... and then it happens. You see your baby for the first time. What thoughts go through your head?

I first saw my son, in real life, nine months and three days after I saw his adoption referral photo. I'd stare at that photo and the handful of others I received during the wait for hours on end. Hundreds of hours. I studied his little face, his beautiful eyes, the perfect bridge of his nose, his sweet tiny lips... all of him, until every piece of him was committed to memory.

But nothing could have prepared me for the moment I first saw him. He was handed to me and I was overwhelmed. I was full of gratitude... and overwhelmed. Once the reality sunk in that I was really holding him, I knew that I'd love him forever.

Fourteen months later, I saw my daughter for the first time in person, four months and five days after I'd first seen her photo. She was just as beautiful and amazing as I knew from those photos that I carried everywhere with me, but there I was again -- overwhelmed. And once again, reality sunk in -- she was my daughter -- and then love and gratitude took over.

Meeting your baby immediately after birth or adoption is a momentous occasion for moms, so we asked some of our writers what it was like for them.

It's a girl!^Lisa Steinke, who admits she was a bit under the influence of drugs from her C-section, had feelings of love -- and excitement because the gender was a surprise. She liked the name they'd picked for a girl better than the name they'd picked for a boy. So her first thought? "OMG, it's a girl! I'm so happy we can give her the girl name we picked out -- Harper!"

Relief^

"The first moment I saw my daughter, I felt immense relief," says Laura Tremaine. "Relief that she was crying with strong, healthy lungs, and relief that my long labor was over. That feeling of relief stayed with me for days, I hadn't even realized how anxious I had been about a healthy delivery."

Love^

"The first time I saw my children the feelings were the same: exhaustion, concern until I was finished counting all of their fingers and toes, and a twinge of disappointment that neither of them looked like me. Luckily, every one of those feelings were replaced by love and astonishment that I could actually make such perfect little people soon after," says Michelle Maffei

surreal^

"Seeing my son, Ethan, being placed on my chest for the first time after delivering him felt like an out of body experience. After dreaming and wondering what he would look like as he grew in my belly, it was the most surreal experience to actually see him and hold him," Kim Grundy explains. "I couldn't keep my eyes off of him... yet, as a brand new mom (who had never really even been around babies before!) I felt a little bit in awe of him. It was at that moment that I felt the sense of responsibility and the love that is being a parent. It was truly a life changing moment."

Gratitude^"When I saw my daughter for the first time, I was filled with overwhelming gratitude," Nichole Beaudry explains. "There, in my arms, was everything that I needed to heal the pain of over a year of struggling with infertility. Holding her simply wiped away everything that existed before her. I was amazed that one little person could have so much magic. Five years later, she still has me completely under her spell."

happiness^

"I delivered my son Nino by C-section and so I was behind a curtain while he was being born. The anticipation was so thick you could practically touch it," says Naomi de la Torre. The moment he came out of my belly he began to shriek and I remember feeling my whole body being flooded with intense happiness and relief. They wrapped him up and placed him on my chest and suddenly he became very, very quiet. I stroked his soft, buttery cheek. 'I am a mother now,' I thought silently to myself and was so filled with love, I felt like I might burst."

a better life^

"The first time I saw my first child and I met his eyes, I felt the weight of the world disappear around me. It was just him and me and though I could not have fathomed at that moment how my life would change, I felt in a small way that my life was already forever bettered. When my baby girl was born, I felt for the first time that our family was now complete," shares Molly Smith

The whole world^

"My first thought was that he was my whole world," recounts Jennifer Chidester. "After the worries of a difficult labor, amid the noise and lights of a busy operating room, everything else fell away and all I could see was his snuggly little face. I knew in that moment that he totally owned me."

Share with us!^What did you think the first time you held your baby? Share in the comments section!

Topics: adoption new parents

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Anonymous February 26, 2013
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Maureen Wallace February 09, 2013
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Laura, somehow I never saw this piece until now. It's beautiful. My experiences were so very different. Thank you for transporting me back to them.
Nichole Beaudry July 09, 2012
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This piece has me all teary eyed. So much gratitude and joy in so few words. Thank you for putting this together and for including me.
Laura Tremaine July 09, 2012
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So honored to be a part of this. It still brings a lump to my throat!
Jennifer Chidester July 09, 2012
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Love this! It took me right back there.