Published April 16, 2008 by
After nine months of anticipation, the two of you may feel that you have had ample time to consider the consequences of your pregnancy, perhaps even time enough to read about babies or attend a parenting class. But unless you have actually had hands-on experience with a newborn, your baby’s appearance may surprise you.Since many movies and television programs cast an older baby for the part of a newborn in tender scenes with parents after the delivery, it is no wonder that many first-time parents expect to give birth to a sturdy, smiling three month old baby. If you feel amazed upon first seeing your newborn, think of the astonishment he must feel.Although all his senses had been intact since the twenty-eighth week of gestation, his perceptions were muted while he was in the confines of the uterus.He was able to hear sounds, such as your muffled voices and his mother's heartbeat.Occasionally he could see soft light filtering into his world.He felt his mother’s movements and the gentle pressure of your hands as you caressed the outlines of his body. Throughout the pregnancy the uterus went through many changes.As the fetus grew larger, his movements became restricted as the ability of the uterus to stretch reached its limits.With the onset of labor, increasingly stronger contractions began pushing him outward.His head squeezed through the bony pelvic outlet or was pulled by strong hands through a cesarean incision.His soft body followed.Suddenly, his delicate skin was no longer cushioned by warm fluid.The air felt relatively cooler.Unfamiliar hands and fabrics rubbed against him.Brighter lights and louder voices bombarded his senses.Once separated from you, he had to take over all the life sustaining functions you had controlled for him.He was forced to take his laborious first breath.For him, birth represented a dramatic change. Once in your arms and tight in a baby blanket, he began to feel better, with his head snuggled against your chest, he heard that familiar heartbeat and felt reassured.Your voice also comforted him.As your adoring face moved closer, he scrutinized it.
In the next few days, he began to make the enormous adjustment to his strange new environment.Having survived birth is a testament to the fact that he is not as fragile as he looks.