Jamie Stelter is NY1's morning traffic anchor, and her husband, Brian Stelter, is CNN's senior media correspondent and host of Reliable Sources. On May 21 they welcomed their first child, Sunny, after suffering two miscarriages and undergoing IVF. They kept a diary of the real deal of new parenting leading up to Brian’s first Father’s Day. This is their story.
Day 1 (Sunday, May 21): We watch the sun rise in between my contractions. And we watch the sun set with our newborn baby girl, right? Wrong, we're all exhausted by evening! But more than anything else, we're in love. Brian and I confess we had both secretly wished for a girl. In between feedings and naps, he tells me, "This was the best day of my life."
Day 3: Date night in the hospital! I'm under doctor's orders to get out of bed and walk around, so Brian and I go for a romantic stroll around the maternity ward, rolling Sunny in her hospital bassinet. He's pointing out the windows, telling her about all the places in the city he can't wait to take her, and my eyes are welling up. He's already the best dad.
Day 4: I wake up shaking, freezing cold — and also drenched in sweat. I don't have the flu or bubonic plague, that's just my milk coming in. Why does no one talk about this?
Day 5: Our first full day at home. Bliss in between moments of disbelief. We have a daughter?!
Day 6: We take Sunny to her first pediatrician appointment and she's a superstar, totally chill the whole time. I'm already in awe of her strength and resilience. This teeny, 7-pound human amazes me.
Day 7: What day is it?
Day 8: How do you food shop with a baby? I ask Instagram after our first family outing to Trader Joes. Answers: You send the husband, you use delivery services, or you get creative with baby wearing and/or "mommy hooks."
Day 9: Find out what "mommy hooks" are.
Day 10: Brian tells me he "made an executive decision" to give Sunny a pacifier sometime in the middle of the night. I'd been hesitant about the pacifier, but I decide not to make it a thing. I'm too tired to pick a fight. Exhaustion has its benefits!
Day 11: Enter my Australian soul sister on Instagram — we're not sisters or even related, I just stalked her during pregnancy because we were due at the same time. (She's a model and blogger, and our daughters are a day apart.) In an insta story, which I screen grab to show Brian, she's giving her baby girl a pacifier. But not just any pacifier, the SAME one we've been giving Sunny. I'm now firmly on Team Pacifier.
Day 12: Back on Mother's Day Brian proposed a baby-related present and I told him the only thing I wanted was the baby's name or initials on a necklace. Today he hands me a box with a beautiful gold nameplate necklace inside: SUNNY. It's perfect.
Day 13: A dear friend comes over with a present for Sunny: an adorable pink Gucci dress. Baby's first Gucci. Family's first Gucci, for that matter.
Day 14: My other model soul sister on Instagram — another whom I don't know, but found during pregnancy, and Brian and I now talk about her like she's our friend — is drinking beer in her insta stories WHILE breastfeeding her son. She's also dancing in a bikini in front of a mirror, naturally. We decide to ask the doctor about drinking while breastfeeding, and vow to figure out the whole pump-and-dump thing.
Day 15: Sunny and I are home alone watching Brian's first show as a dad. He's back on CNN hosting Reliable Sources and I spend the whole time telling her that this is our new normal, this is what we're gonna do every Sunday. She spends the whole time snoozing.
Day 16: Is that the baby or a fire alarm?
Day 17: The doctor says I can have one glass of alcohol while breastfeeding. "I wouldn't drink wine WHILE you're feeding her. But one glass is fine." Okay! I surprise Brian with the info later. Because Sunny was screaming her head off during the appointment, he took her to the bathroom, thinking there'd be a changing table. There wasn't, and he was traumatized. I laugh, taking just a little pleasure in the DAD having that kind of out-of-control moment for once.
Day 18: It's our last night with a baby nurse, and I've already cried to Brian about how scared I am for her to leave. I don't even know what I'm scared of. He assures me I've got this. We've got this. And we do — but I still cry when she leaves.
Day 19: Do we have a mouse in the house?
Day 20: Oh, no, that's just a new sound coming out of our sleeping, squealing daughter. But hey, we're doing okay on our own! Good thing we didn't lay traps.
Day 21: Three weeks old today. Where does the time go? Everyone says the days are long, the years are short, and I get it now. I can't help but do the math in my head — how many more three-week increments until I go back to work? The thought is frightening and borderline unbearable. So I put it out of my mind.
Day 22: I bake a loaf of grain-free almond coconut bread and it feels so good to be back to cooking regularly. I've been making dinner most nights, trying to establish a strong evening routine for our family — dinnertime, bath time (though that's not everyday yet), reading time, feeding time, bedtime. Sunny won't remember it, but we will!
Day 23: About that feeding time. I'm exclusively breastfeeding, which is simultaneously the most rewarding and empowering and exhausting thing I've ever done. The days feel like endless loops of feed, feed, feed, pump, feed, feed, feed. I feel like a cow. But like, the strongest, most fruitful cow?
Day 24: Emergency shopping spree on Etsy for cute headbands and turbans, because Sunny's still losing that newborn hair, and her hairline is starting to look pretty freaky. Can't have that on Instagram.
Day 25: Time to plan Father's Day! I already got a little gift for Brian, but I need to think of some other special surprises. My parents, younger brother, and sister-in-law are coming over for brunch to celebrate, then Sunny and I will have the rest of the day with Brian. His first Father's Day! So far? I'd say his ratings are pretty good.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about kids or not, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because parenthood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.