First Days with Toby

My lovelies, thank you so much for your sweet comments on our birth story. It felt so wonderful to reminisce. Now I’d love to share a few photos of the rest of our hospital stay, if you’d like to see…(This photo above is one of my all-time faves!)

About an hour after Toby was born, our nurse brought us to the maternity ward, where we would be staying for two nights. In New York City hospitals, you typically share a room with another new mom. (Is that true for other cities, too?) It’s totally fine, though, because a curtain goes around your half of the room for privacy, so you feel surprisingly separate; and it’s also nice to have another mom around to talk to. (Private rooms were also available, but they cost a whopping $900 to $1100 per night! Yowza.)

We lucked out and got the bed by the window. Looking over the East River, we watched the sailboats during the day, and the twinkling city lights at night. We felt like we were on vacation.

I was exhausted after pulling an all-nighter and giving birth, but also so high on life that I couldn’t sleep. I felt dreamy and giddy and wanted to soak up every moment with Toby.

A few friends came by and brought orange juice, sandwiches and bouquets of flowers. (This beautiful bunch is from Abbey, who arranged it herself!)

One funny thing is that newborn babies are typically sooooo sleepy that they won’t wake up even when they’re hungry. So, the nurses encouraged us to rouse Toby for a meal every four hours or so. But even when he was eating, he’d fall asleep at the breast, and I’d have to tickle his chin or cheek to remind him about the task at hand. :)

I adore this sweet photo. He looks just like his sonogram! Babies lose weight right after they’re born, so in this photo, Toby is a mere 5 pounds 8 ounces. A little sparrow! It’s crazy to remember on how small he was (especially compared to how chubby he is now:) He was floppy, smelled like milk, had wrinkly dinosaur feet, and was covered in that lovely newborn baby fuzz.

A funny thing about staying at a New York City hospital is that they’ll bring you free meals from their own cafeteria, but they also have a huge binder of neighborhood restaurant menus in case you want to order delivery. The first night after Toby was born we ordered in falafel!The nurses taught us how to swaddle Toby into a little burrito. Babies apparently love being wrapped tightly, since it reminds them of the womb; they also like rocking, bouncing and white noise–including hairdryers!

It was such a magical time. We were thrilled with our time at Weill Cornell, whose staff gave us such gentle care (the nurses were wonderful). Thank you again for reading our birth story and being so lovely all along the way. Sending a big kiss to all of you xoxo

  1. I know this post is kinda old. But I am delivering at weill cornell and have a question. Did your husband get to stay with u?

  2. Erin says...

    Wow. Reading your birth story has inspired me to write mine down. It’s such an amazing experience, and with “mom brain”, I’m afraid I’ll forget it. Little Toby is such a cutie, and you looked so radiant! (A very late) Congratulations!
    p.s. To answer your question, I had my own birthing room, and we were able to leave a few hours after I delivered. I live in Vancouver Canada, so our healthcare system covered all the costs.

  3. seriously one of THE cutest little newborns i have EVER seen, good job mama!

  4. Forgot to mention that you look great after giving birth!! I’m always amazed at mothers who still look great after giving birth!!

  5. I just saw this post today . . . you have such a cute story and such a sweet way of explaining it! I’m touched!! Happy Birthday to your sweet boy!!! Enjoy this precious time with him!!


  6. Anonymous says...

    Probably the prettiest child i’ve ever seen!

  7. Anonymous says...

    My son Benjamin Elliot was the same weight: 5lbs 8oz. So tiny. I still have the first outfit he wore in my dresser. It looks like a doll’s outfit. I can’t believe his 11 year old body was ever that tiny. This week l snuck out the front door with his running shoes to take out the garbage. Yes, his once miniture feet are now as big as mine!

  8. Your posts have made me even more excited for when my little one arrives. I too am having a boy and can not wait to hold him for the first time.

    I hope your enjoying motherhood.


    Maternity Bras
    Cake Blog

  9. Hey Jo- My little blog plugged your big blog today! I think you would approve. I hope so! I really enjoy your yours. Squeeze that cute Toby, Nan

  10. What a nice addition to your birth story post… I’m amazed by the first photo and how Alex’s thumbs are big enough that they could be Toby’s arms! :)

  11. Darling, it sounds magical and blissful. Your adorable, precious, sweet little family is such an inspiration. :)

    Rachel ♥♥

  12. Never ceases to amaze me how small babies are :) And I just have to say you guys are one cute family!

  13. The photos are so cute. It made me start to think about my own birth story. My daughter was born 13 months ago in Seattle. We were given a choice of rooms. All are private with a couch/bed and additional cots if need. What surprised me the most was the size of the birthing rooms and the room I stayed in. However my hospital is part of UW and is a teaching hospital so the amount of people in my room at any given time was astronomical.
    I loved the burrito warp that the nurses did for my little one. I hated unwrapping her to feed and change her diaper since she looked so happy in it.

  14. Just like the birth story this one is so beautiful. Your excitement and pure joy is so tangible and so refreshing. Both stories made me cry!

  15. kaela d. says...

    loved that story so much! thanks for sharing it : ) all 3 of you are lucky to have each other…

  16. awww, you all are such a sweet family. Toby is gorgeous, glad you al are doing well! :)

  17. valerie, that is so funny about the falafel! thanks for all these sweet comments :)

  18. Ohhhhhhh
    Que bebe tan guapo ;)

  19. i had falafel too, after giving birth!

    i loved your birth story, thank you for sharing it. the birth of our son was so so different, but several times while reading your story, i found myself nodding, “yes! same here!” just goes to show, each birth is different, yet really, so much the same. aren’t babies the best? sigh.

  20. gorgeous pictures! <3

    p.s. the bouquet on your window sill was my wedding bouquet

  21. i don’t think i have commented on your blog before, but i read it every day. Thank you for this story, it was beautiful to read

  22. Oh these photos are so so so beautiful!
    Toby is so adorable!

  23. SO loving the recap … and that photo of toby seriously makes me melt… so precious… xx pam

  24. Joanna,

    I love the way you describe this magical time. I can feel the sweetness and love through your words! CONGRATS again…

  25. Beautiful photos! What a great looking family and an adorable baby.

  26. Glenda says...

    enjoy every minute of every day with your lil man. they do grow fast. thanks for sharing your lil man with all of us. he’s gorgeous!

  27. It’s unbelieveable how a little life can grow so fast.. I still feel like my daughters were just born yesterday and they are already 4 & 6!!!! Enjoy those little moments with him – he’ll be running and running after one blink, Joanna!!!


  28. I love your pictures! your baby is so sweet.

  29. these are all so amazing! thank you tons and tons for sharing them. i love the pic in your birth story of toby and his big “puppy dog hands” as you call them. he’s such an adorable little guy!

  30. Anonymous says...

    This brought a welling of tears to my eyes, a reminder of what it was like in those first hours and days! Hard but wonderful!

  31. I could not live without swaddling and white noise! We have an iPhone app called Ambiance that plays brown noise all night, and it is just the best thing in the world.

    It was definitely hard to sleep after, but we went home 3 hours after delivery so being at home helped quite a bit!

    Great photos of Toby!

  32. Oh my God he was so tiny. I wonder how you had the courage to lift him as he looks so fragile :) He is lovely, you all are. I’m from Romania and I can tell you that 2 or more mothers staying in the same room is a common thing here. The costs for a private room are about the same here(3200 $ for 3 nights).
    i can’t wait to have a baby!

  33. I cannot get over how incredibly gorgeous you are in these photos. Please do have a post soon that includes beauty tips!

  34. Anonymous says...

    Toby is so cute and it’s amazing that he still looks like his newborn photos! My son changed so much in that time frame…

    p.s. Here in San Francisco you almost always get your own room for both labor/delivery and post-partum!

  35. thankyou thankyou thankyou! i love this and the birth story it’s so beautiful,love all the pictures, cant wait for more, much love.xx

  36. Isn’t it crazy how tiny they were? Amazing how someone so little can bring so much joy. Your little boy is beautiful!

  37. I love the way you describe your first few moments and days with Toby, so heartwarming and intimate. Makes me want one of my own. :)

  38. These pictures are beautiful. Thank you for sharing such a lovely moment in your life with your readers! I rarely comment but the birth story made me weepy with happiness. . . so sweet to read your honest account. He’s so beautiful and teeny in these pictures!

  39. j says...

    you look great post labor! I was swollen like crazy and my fingers looked like huge sausages!

  40. Thanks for sharing! These photos are amazing!! (And I never knew any of that information about NYC hospitals!)

  41. Joanna! this is so beautiful! you made my baby-crazy a little more nuts. What a wonderful story. Toby is so adorable and you two will make awesome parents! thanks for sharing with us!

  42. I was thinking how much he looked like his sonogram in that photo. That adorable little nose…

  43. When my mom had my youngest sister, I was deathly afraid to make any noise. So that was an interesting tidbit about them loving white noise. Sounds like you had an awesome birthing experience and first two days with Toby.

  44. So beautiful. That Toby is just a doll.

    I feel ya, I had ONLY back labor and yelled that my butthole hurt THE ENTIRE TIME! Nothing like what the books said would happen. Ah, books.

    I just got around to finishing my birth story this week. He’s seven months old and I still cried my eyes out.
    Owen’s Birth Story

  45. Aaaw, your blog frequently makes me all teary eyed in work! It’s so beautiful – well written and lovely pictures. I haven’t had a baby but I want one now! Ha. One of my favourite things is how much love you talk about your family with. Makes me feel all gooey. Thanks so much for being so open and honest in your posts, it really is inspirational.

    (I’m trying myself – any tips welcome!)

  46. Of course we want to see more pictures and hear more stories! Toby is such a beautiful baby. I love the way you describe swaddling him like a little burrito. :D

  47. i loved reading your birth story. and kudos! toby is a mere 3 months and you’ve already posted it! i just posted mine sunday, and my son is 9 months old :)

    i LOVE. toby’s puppy dog hands.

  48. Thanks so much for sharing these stories/ pictures. They are lovely. I’m expecting my first baby in a month and really eat up all these stories…

  49. This is a beautiful story!! You look absolutely glowing as a new mom!! :)

  50. jaime jo fisher says...

    such an inspiring and graceful birth story. toby is such a cutie pie!! congratulations to you three. thanks for openly sharing your story. i had to choke back the tears. SO AMAZING! take care,

  51. Anonymous says...

    Thank you so much for sharing this! The birth story made me cry and Toby is so adorable. Really, really touching.

  52. sam says...

    thank you so much for sharing this. i am pregnant and your post made me excited and in total wonderment of giving life.

  53. My husband and I are thinking about jumping on the “kid” bandwagon. Stories like this make my heart melt (and make me want to go for it). Beautiful pictures.


  54. Oh my gosh, I love him (Toby) and he’s not even mine. Such an adorable baby boy. Congrats to the glowing mommy :)

  55. what an adorable little profile photo! Congratulations a million times over. I know it was a while back but it is still so exciting I’m sure, every time you look at that little face. Thank you for sharing!

    -Morgan (Blackbird Fly)
    Blackbird Fly

  56. What precious and priceless pictures you’ve shared with us. They’re so touching and intimate. Glad to hear your hospital stay was nice. I’ve heard a lot of moms get sent home after one night.

    xx Vivian @

  57. Monica says...

    Too cute :) Newborns are so tiny!
    Thanks again for sharing…

  58. Since you ask for comps, single room in poshest DC hospital is $200 out of pocket per night, and spouses are permitted to stay. also free wifi in L&D as well as recovery rooms which was terrific! but no plethora of takeout options.

  59. I’m a new doula (and a mama too!) and loved reading your birth story yesterday, thanks for sharing! What a beautiful little guy!

  60. YOU look so pretty in the pictures!! with that sparkle that only happens to moms…
    congratulations!! I’ve been reading your blog for 2 years and wanted to thank you for sharing your lovely life with us ;)

  61. Great photos. Love the b&w one of you at the top but it was the cookie mag i couldn’t help but notice! You should keep that issue!

    Actually i have kept a Vogue for the month of my kids births. I feel it is a better representation of life at the time than a newspaper somehow..?

  62. aww your family is so beautiful : ) thanks for sharing!

  63. he is captivating! His little nose is so sweet :)

  64. I can’t believe he was so small either — cute as he was then, he is so much cuter with the extra chubs :)

  65. haha, nath, you’re so right — just like a little peach! and jess, alex wasn’t allowed to stay through the night. i thought i would hate that, but it was actually OK because we both needed sleep. he stayed late and came back when i woke up the next morning. and the nurses took such good care of me, so i never felt alone. xo

  66. esdelope, the black and white photos were taken on alex’s iphone, with the hipstamatic app. :)

  67. deanna, i sent Toby to the nursery one of the nights just so i could get some sleep (although i only got 2.5 hours anyway!). the nursery was only two rooms away and they would bring him to me to feed every few hours, so i still felt very close to him and knew he was in great hands. i liked having that option, since i was so exhausted! :) oh and my water didn’t break until halfway through labor!

  68. thanks for these sweet comments! anna, that’s so funny you mentioned the office — i remember that episode, and totally remember thinking that i agreed with jim and pam that i didn’t want to leave the hospital. alex and i kept saying, “oh, wait, we have to pack up this other thing…” “oh, i think he needs a diaper change…” so that we could stay a few extra minutes :)

  69. Love the photos and the birth story, many congratulations. It’s crazy how fast those babies grow – the newborn phase is so short!

    I live in San Francisco and we have private rooms. I’m not sure if this goes for all hospitals here, but speaking for myself and when I’ve visited friends, I’ve never seen a shared room (at least at CMPC and UCSF).

    Congrats again on sweet Toby!

  70. these photos are so sweet! you and Alex look deliriously happy …and what a view!

  71. such beatiful photos of the first few memories of toby’s life. you guys look just radiant! i can tell toby really is a (tightly wrapped) bundle of joy for you both!

  72. How sweet. Thanks for sharing. You still managed to look adorable. When we have a baby, my husband is only allowed to take photos of the baby. Okay maybe I can be in a few but no one will ever see them. :) Congrats!

  73. What a cute lil guy!!!!! You can almost feel the happiness through the photos! Soo cute!!

  74. LOVELY! From beginning to end I was smiling and enjoying every word as I was there!! I can only wish you happiness and blessings from here on!! Loved every little detail!!

  75. Thanks for sharing your story. It reminded me of reading my own story. So completely different, but the same mum-feelings. My sweet boy Finn is 11 months already. Being a mum is the most beautiful thing!

    Enjoy every minute of your Toby! He is really cute.

  76. So sweet. :)

    He was so tiny and is so very cute.

  77. I love Toby’s side profile pic, and his sweet little nose! How adorable. Your stories are so lovely, Joanna! <3

  78. We were at the SAME hospital (late 2008) and the nurses were FANTASTIC!!! Love the photos!

  79. Thank you for your stories. Warmly, Karen

  80. Loved reading your birth story and remembering those first few vacation, I mean, hospital days! I gave birth eight weeks ago and remember it all so clearly. Makes me miss my sweet fresh out of the womb little man.

    I, however, can NOT imagine having to share a room… I thought it was joke on ‘Friends’…definitely not a norm in other cities.

    Such sweet photos of your beautiful little man.

  81. he is perfect! just perfect!

  82. congrats to you and your husband and your sooo adorable new baby!! hope motherhood is amazing for you!

  83. Oh, Congrats! What a precious little one. You guys are one good looking family!

  84. What a beautiful birth story, as well as the story of the days after! Your Toby is just breathtakingly beautiful!


  85. I adore every bit of the story. All the pics are so dreamy. And Toby and you guys are so happy and loving. I esp. liked the room. Thanks for sharing Joanna :-)

  86. What a great view!

    Loved the birth story…reminded me so much of my own with my first daughter!

  87. I’ve been enjoying your posts so so much!

  88. Such sweet photos. He was such a perfect looking baby!!!!

  89. what a cutie, i love that first photo! i don’t think i’d be able to take my hands off of him!

  90. These photos are incredible. Your sweet, calm, and loving demeanor comes through in your writing, and your love for Toby and Alex is so apparent. What a wonderful mama and family Toby has…and what a wonderful life he has to enjoy. Congratulations on your beautiful family!

  91. Anonymous says...

    Beautiful experience. I followed you on Glamour and I have to admit at first I was like why is Joanna not enjoying being a newly wed for awhile before having a baby (of course it’s everyone’s personal choice), but your baby is adorable and I couldn’t wish someone more happiness. I am now getting off my soapbox.=)

  92. one of my favorite pictures of my daughter looks just like her sonogram photo. It’s amazing. I didn’t have to share a room with anyone.. but I live in Dallas.. not quite as many people as in NYC!

  93. Beautiful photos! You look so lovely and blissful! xoxo.

  94. jess says...

    aww, how cute he looks. great story. my obgyn is affiliated with weill cornell, so maybe in a few years i’ll be giving birth there as well.

    was your husband allowed to stay with you during the night?

  95. so very glad you had such a great birth experience (it’ll make you want to do it again sometime :))
    mine was completely the opposite, but the resulting little boy bundle is still just as wonderful!

  96. Aww, I loved reading this post, and the birth story. Thank you so much for sharing!

  97. It is so amazing how quickly they grow and change. Love those photos!!

    And I just love your hospital room view – spectacular!

  98. Wow. The magic of mommy’s milk. He’s certainly fattened up. His legs have a perfect chub to them. You proud parents are all smiles. Thanks for sharing more pics.

  99. hey i think i told you already that Iris looked just like her scan (sonogram) when she was born! so sweet!

    he was so tiny, ohmygoodness, what a little fuzzy peach!

    i couldn’t quite bring myself round to having a hospital birth, but then i didn’t have a view of the river and extensive take-out options! you New Yorkers! you know how to do things properly!

  100. Sweet Joanna, you look SO GOOD after giving birth! I love the first picture of little Toby and the one below it of you! Your stay in the hospital really did sound like a vacation and you definitely lucked out on the window bed! It’s amazing how all of your readers can see and feel the happiness in you and Alex. Wishing you all the more happy days to come!

  101. Thanks so much for sharing this story! Toby certainly entered a wonderful family.

  102. I can feel your happiness in this post. I feel so happy for your family, such a lovely little bundle of joy and ever changing life. wishing you joy together, all ways!

  103. He is sooo precious and tiny! What a beautiful family! xoxo

  104. Such a lovely story! I giggled at the part about babies falling asleep while eating. Also – what sort of camera did you use for the black and white images? They’re simply lovely!


  105. I love a swaddled babies! Especially one as tiny as your Toby. Thanks for sharing your stories-they are just beautiful.

  106. love your birth story! thanks for sharing! Toby is so sweet looking and you are glowing!

  107. I always forget how tiny newborns really are. So precious :)

  108. thank you for sharing such a special time with us. your mother’s glow was more brillaint than any diamond- congrats once again!

  109. What an adorable little pumpkin you have! I love the feeling of that baby fuzz on their heads when they are just born…fingers and toes are pretty adorable too.

    All the best to you all!



  110. Sweet photos. He looks so different now!

    I had both of my children at Albany Medical Center, and had my own room. I was in a little longer because I had c-sections. With the first, one of the biggest ice storms EVER hit the night after Edith was born, so we came home to a house with no power (fun). The second time, with Eric, it was an unseasonably warm 80 degrees.

    The thing that was the WORST about the hospital is the sleep! I found it really hard to sleep in the last trimester, then the nurses wake up you every 2-3 hours to vitals and medications, and then you go home with a baby who won’t sleep! Did you ever send Toby to the nursery? Also, did your water break? My water broke before I ever had contractions both times, so I definitely knew I was in labor!

  111. Oh he’s so adorable!!! Awwwww! Reminds me of my own baby..and it’s been 5 years ago, he’s so not a baby now :)
    And you guys are just glowing with happiness in these pictures. Thank you for sharing with us your story!!

    P.S. I live in Portland OR, after the delivery of our son, they put us in a smaller room (maternity ward), I don’t know why but they didn’t make me share a room with other moms. Unfortunately, we didn’t have such a lovely view like you guys had! :)

  112. I loved reading both your birth story and about these little moments in the next couple of days- you guys all look so sweet and happy!

  113. In each photo I can see the happiness and love you both have for Toby:)…Such a sweet post and all the photos are amazing…Did you print some out and made a frame collage on your wall? That would look amazing:)
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!! I am all teary again…haha
    Kisses, Joanna

    Ps: I am hosting a sweet GIVEAWAY today :) Hope you will join in :)!!!

  114. Oh! Amazing pictures! :) I Am glad you got that window by the river!

    P.S. Do you watch The Office? Because on that show, Pam had to share a room with another woman after she had her baby, and some funny stuff happened of course! :)

  115. Toby is so cute, thank you for sharing pictures@

  116. I just can’t get over how adorable he is!

  117. Toby so looks like his sonogram in that gorgeous photograph! Thanks again, Joanna, for sharing these stories. They’re so full of love and happiness and I adore reading them. :)

  118. Virginia H says...

    you are one sweet family. he’s so lucky to have you as parents and you must be so lucky to have a delicious little tiny toby burrito :)

    all the love in the universe for the three of you

  119. You are so gorgeous! Completely glowing! And I love Falafels! Great choice. And those sailboats are awesome.