One nice thing – probably the only nice thing – about the hospital being so far away from our apartment in Brooklyn: we got to see parts of the city that we otherwise rarely do. We didn’t notice much of the West Side Highway on our mad pre-labor dash that Tuesday morning, but driving back with my parents on Wednesday night, I was able to take in the scenery – the garish neon adorning the cruise ship piers, the ugly Frank Gehry building by Chelsea Piers (sorry; I know it’s redundant to say ‘ugly Gehry building’), the construction at Ground Zero, the highway tunnel that goes under Battery Park as it whips you around the southern tip of the island, the Brooklyn Bridge at night.
On Thursday morning, we were to drive back to the hospital to pick up Beatrice and Nyan – time to come home!
I plotted us a course that would take us along the eastern shore of Manhattan, up the FDR and Harlem River Drive – Google Maps said it was only a minute or two longer than the west side route – because I’d never been north of about 59th Street on that side of the island. It’s an interesting view all the way up, with lots of apartment towers built right over the highway, and then the wooded bluffs of the far northern reaches of the island.
But the scenery was, of course, secondary. It was a big day: baby coming home! We got to the hospital around 10am and ran into Dr. Shin, the OB/GYN who had seen us through the pregnancy but wasn’t there for the actual birth – because it was, of course, two weeks early, and also only about 45 minutes long, all told. He’s a warm, engaging and competent doctor, highly recommended. (That fact that his first name is the same as what we decided on for Nyan’s middle name was just a happy coincidence.) Beatrice and Nyan both passed their final check-ups just fine, so after some final advice from the nurses we were on our way.
(The nurses, by the way, kept telling us how adorable and gorgeous and all-around lovely Nyan was. We certainly weren’t going to argue, though I couldn’t help but think – cynic that I am – that they say that to everyone. But whatever.)
The five of us crammed into my parents’ SUV, Nyan strapped firmly into his car seat, and we headed back down the West Side Highway. I couldn’t help but be a backseat driver from the front passenger seat, telling Dad to watch out for this upcoming red light or that pothole. (Sorry, Dad! Just being an overly cautious new father…)
We made it home just fine, of course, aside from some serious parking woes that had my dad driving in circles for about half an hour… and then another hour after I pointed out that the space he had found was actually a no-parking zone. If the parents had been thinking about moving to New York – and I’m pretty sure they hadn’t been – that surely took care of that thought.
The rest of the day was a blur, in a good way. Diaper changes, feedings, naps for Nyan and Beatrice, taking photos, lots of phone calls. Thank god for my parents being there; they were able to show us how to handle even the most basic tasks (I was a complete neophyte, having never changed a single diaper before in my life; Beatrice had had plenty of childcare experience, since she is the oldest of six siblings, but it’s somehow different when it’s your own, and you’re exhausted) Mom even volunteered to take night shift duties that first night so Beatrice (and I) could get a much-needed full night’s sleep.