As Danny and Laura Marsh sit on the couch of their East Ridge home, their newborn son Elias cradled gently in Lauren's arms, a question escapes her lips that has been asked by countless new parents on the day they bring their first child home: "What now?"
Moments earlier, Danny had carried Elias through the side door, still in his car seat. "It's a drive I've done a hundred times," he says, "but with a baby in the back it was kind of surreal." He took extra care, making sure he didn't run any red lights or drive too fast, and his hands gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles.
At Erlanger hospital, where Elias was born, the couple had settled into a comfortable routine of feedings and changings. They were content, much of the time, to simply watch their son in wonder. In the delivery room, nobody really told them what to do.
"It's just, 'Here's your baby!'" said Danny, and it wasn't until they were in the hospital room and working with staff that they began to learn how to feed and change their son.
Two days later, the wonder they feel when looking at their child is still there, but now Danny and Lauren are trying to work out how to fit Elias into life at home.
"You're used to being just the two of you, and now you wake up and there's a third human there that you have to take care of," said Laura.
Taking care of Elias is going to create a new normal.
Only a few days ago, they had been at Finley Stadium watching Chattanooga FC's NPSL championship match when Laura went into labor. The next morning, they had a son.
"I don't think I'm really scared," Danny said about the task of fatherhood ahead. The couple are more overwhelmed by organizing all of the forms and appointments and compiling the other small things that go along with a new baby, but even that is not insurmountable. "We will figure it out together," he said confidently.
Laura checks Elias's diaper, a part of the new normal routine, then checks again a few moments later after hearing an unmistakable sound.
She delicately hands the infant to Danny, and they walk to a nearby crib to change him together.
"It won't always take both of us to do this," he joked as they begin the first of many diaper changes at home.