Saturday, November 30, 2013

Seven Quick Baby Takes, Extrauterine Edition

So, this is the Tadpole, looking rather less tadpolish than he did back in April. Scott still isn't sure he wants me using Tad's real name in connection with other biographical details, so he gets to keep his nom de blog for now.

He was born on Wednesday, November 20, at 7:14 a.m., weighing 8 pounds and 2 ounces and measuring 21 inches long--pretty impressive for a 37-weeker. (Yes, I'm very sure of my dates, and he's a pretty typical 37-weeker apart from his size--very sleepy and not the most enthusiastic eater so far.)

I'm working on an incredibly long and detailed birth story, but for now I will mention that despite being a few weeks out from my due date, I went into labor spontaneously and it lasted for a little over 6 hours with no augmentation whatsoever, so apparently Tad was just really eager to be born.

Also, I am not sure if I got my first-timer-with-control-issues comeuppance or not. On the one hand, I had to go in without a written birth plan because, well, I hadn't written it yet. On the other hand, my nurse and the OB resident on-call were both awesome. And by awesome I mean they did exactly what they were told.

And yeah, my kid got delivered by a random OB resident because Dr. B didn't arrive until 10 minutes later. It wasn't exactly his fault, though. (The nurses called and told him to head to the hospital only about 30 minutes before Tad was born. And that wasn't their fault either; I was only at 6 the last time they'd checked me.)

The only time we had to resort to plan B was when I started hemorrhaging about an hour after Tad was born, but third stage and beyond were not parts of the plan in which I had a strong emotional investment. Dr. B was there for that.

Apparently you're supposed to have some kind of "look" right before you give birth. I say this because two different people have marveled over how I didn't look like I was about to give birth when I was.

First I called Dr. B's office to cancel my 38-week appointment and schedule my 6-week follow-up. The secretary said that I was the talk of the office on Wednesday because I'd just been in on Tuesday morning and didn't look like I was about to deliver and they all came in on Wednesday morning to, "Hey, Megan had her baby."

Then I called the instructor for the unmedicated birth class to tell her that Scott and I would be skipping the last three sessions. (We kind of had the final exam early.) It took her a few minutes to connect "I had the baby Wednesday morning" to the childbirth class that took place on Tuesday night, but when she did she was all awe, because she never would have guessed.

(Can I make an aside here to say that I am SO HAPPY I did not go into labor during the whole process of driving downtown and back for the class? We didn't exactly have a backup plan for that situation.)

Things I want to remember:

The baby's very long and impossibly detailed fingers and toes. (His long toes were the second thing I noticed about him after he was born. The first was checking to make sure he was still a boy. Yeah, I'm odd.)

The fact that his hair looks dark most of the time but is a sort of brown sugar color in the right light.

How velvety soft his skin was for the first day or two--I said once that his head felt like the end of a horse's nose. (It's still soft now, don't get me wrong, but there was a certain never-exposed-to-air feel that went away quickly.)

How sometimes when he's getting ready to nurse he waggles his head back and forth enthusiastically a few times before latching on. Probably this has some important role in positioning, but it sure looks like he's just REALLY EXCITED.

How when he's crying he'll cut off mid-sob in order to eat.

The look he gets after he's had a good long nursing session--slack-jawed, loose-limbed, milk dripping out of the corner of his mouth.

His ambiguously dark eyes--sometimes they look pretty much black, other times a very dark murky brown, other times iron gray.

The way he curls up his legs so his sleepers end up working more like sleep sacks, with the empty legs dangling.

And a million other things that I've already forgotten.

Scott has really taken to this whole fatherhood thing. For the first few days we were home, sometimes he'd just take the baby and sit down and gaze adoringly at him for an hour or two. (Then he had to start telecommuting and had less free time for baby-gazing.) He also sits up at night with the baby in his lap and reads stories aloud to him. (This usually happens during the time when he is in charge of the baby for a few hours so I can get some solid sleep before having to deal with Baby Snuffleupagus in my bedroom.) And he sings to the baby, and shows him funny internet videos, and all sorts of stuff like that.

He was really good in the hospital too. I started telling him several weeks ago that the one rule for him after the baby was born was stay with the baby. So when I was lying around being anemic, Scott made a nuisance of himself following the nurses everywhere. They could not even bathe the baby on the other side of the room without Scott getting all up in their business. I thought about telling him to give them a little space and then thought better of it.

Random side note: When I'm talking for the baby I refer to us as Beard Man and Milk Lady. I don't know why this amuses me so much; maybe sleep deprivation.

I feel like I should interrupt all this sappiness to note that having a newborn is really, really hard. There have been plenty of crying-in-the-shower moments--and for that matter, lots of crying-while-not-in-the-shower moments. Apparently it gets easier, though, and having a kid is not 18 years of doing nothing that doesn't involve some kind of bodily fluid. And yes, I promise to talk to somebody if the shower crying persists beyond a few weeks.

I've had a TON of help, too. Eldest Younger Brother stopped by the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for me and then came over and helped us get settled last Friday, when we brought the baby home. Tad thanked him by peeing on him during a diaper change.

Then on Saturday my mother and Andrea came over and cleaned things and held the baby and made food. My friend Grace also stopped by briefly on her way to Liza Jane's baby shower, saving me the trouble of finding a different way of getting Liza her present.

Then on Monday I called my mother-in-law and asked if she could send somebody over so I could take a nap. (Scott was telecommuting and couldn't commit to much baby-tending.) Oh and I also needed more prescriptions. (Apparently narcotics only come in 3-day doses, plus nobody had thought to get Scott more of the medicine he takes for his digestive problems. Side note: Should it bother me that random relatives were able to pick up my narcotics prescriptions with no trouble?) She dropped off Youngest Younger Brother, who took things out to the trash and unloaded the dishwasher and was generally useful if big-footed. (He's the tallest of the brothers now and might grow more if his feet are any indication. He made our apartment look very, very small.) My father-in-law also came by for a while after he got off work and hung out. Later that evening MIL stopped by with pasta and ice cream. The ice cream was supposed to be a belated birthday present for me, but I'm pretty sure it was actually an "If she called her mother-in-law asking for a nap she had to be really desperate and needs some chocolate" present.

On Thursday we went over to the in-laws for Thanksgiving and stuffed ourselves with awesome food while other people held the baby.

Yesterday my mom and Andrea came over again and did more cleaning and cooking and general helping out.

And now my whole family is coming over so Dad and the littles can finally meet the baby. (Teresa was sick last week so they were waiting for her to be un-contagious.) Which means I should probably wrap this up.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Nora Roisin said...

Yay. Good Father Scott. The baby will learn English faster!

I really enjoyed this. Sappy? Sappy is in the nature in which you relate. You are not sappy. Of course, maybe you want to be sappy...

The Sojourner said...

I think a certain amount of sappiness is acceptable when one has just had a baby.