Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A week of having a newborn

So I think I'll keep writing this blog a week behind the events which I'll be relating. Does that make sense? Anyway, it's the only way I think this is going to work. It's Tuesday, and we've had JP home with us for nine days. He seems to be liking us, though he's quite the serious boy. At any rate, he hasn't started packing his little bags...

On Monday of last week, he had his first doctor's appointment, and we met the pediatrician Kaiser assigned to us. I was a little apprehensive about having no idea about this person, but she turned out to be really great. We liked her right away. JP had a touch of jaundice, or his test didn't satisfy the her, so she sent us home with instructions to fatten him up... in 24 hours. At first I was pretty upset abut it, and as a new mom, I guess I get a pass on this, the first doctor visit... okay, so I'll be straight with you: I cried. I didn't cry at the delivery: at this, something I learned later happens to most newborns, I cried. I talked to a bunch of people who experienced this same thing, and one good piece of advice that I got was to (carefully) expose him, in small doses, preferably through the window, to sunlight. So we dragged a comfortable chair into the kitchen (the room that gets the most sun), and I nursed him in there. She also wanted me to supplement the breastfeeding with an ounce of formula, delivered via eyedropper, at each feeding, so we did that. Patrick helped a lot with the formula.

The next day we took him back, and he was tested and weighed again, and this time he came out clear: no jaundice. I know it wasn't as big of a deal as I originally thought it was, but I have to admit, I was very relieved. He's such a little, sleepy guy, and oh so cute: I just wanted him to be OK. And: he was.

It took us a couple of days to get a rhythm down with the breastfeeding. I did great in the hospital, but for some reason once we came home, I seemed to lose my way for a day or two. It started to hurt. On Wednesday, I was having a really hard time with it - JP seemed to be hungry every hour, and I was really frustrated; the plumber was here (our toilet was backing up), making a bunch of noise, and I was sitting in the baby's room, losing it. Then the doorbell rang, and I heard Patrick talking to our neighbor, Terie, who had had the perfect idea of stopping by our house with a casserole and non-chocolate sweets.

Terie is a Labor and Delivery nurse, a sweetheart, and the best person, at that exact moment, to have dropped by. Her timing was truly excellent. I called to Patrick to ask her to come into the baby's room, and she did. She sat there with me for at least a half hour while I cried, and she explained what was going on, and then she explained that that's how it just is... and that it would get easier. She gave me some tips for making it feel better, and had so much good information that she made me feel like I could do it.

After that, JP and I had a bit of a breakthrough in the breastfeeding department. It still hurt (and still does) but it's a lot easier to deal with, and we're both doing much better.

Since then, we've discovered that our boy's favorite activity is to sleep. Boy, he's a sleepy baby! I've had to re-read (a couple of times) the section in the "What to Expect the First Year" book on sleepy babies to reassure myself that he wasn't sleeping too much, but it seems that 10-day old babies... just sleep. He's very good at it.

Speaking of the "What to Expect the First Year" book... that book has been a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I know nothing about babies and so having a book like that is really handy. On the other hand, I find that sometimes I look one thing up and I end up reading something else, or the answer is vague, and I end up either more confused or freaked out about another issue... and I know I'm getting a little wacky with the new mom business (and Patrick does his best to reassure me that everything is OK)... but I think I'll settle down, eventually.

The big news is that a couple nights ago, I was finally able to stop setting alarm so that I could wake up in the middle of the night so that I could catch his hunger cues before they escalated to crying - my friends were starting to make fun of me. Last night I got 5 hours of sleep in a row, and felt like a million bucks. And I know he's eating enough because he's had much success in the wet/poopy diaper area and we're getting in all our feeding sessions.

I'll admit that there are still some things about him that are mysterious and that are probably 100% benign but they still worry me (for example, he's started making a funny little noise while I'm feeding him), but since he seems happy, and is eating, pooping and peeing enough, doesn't have a fever, and/or displaying any signs of distress... I'm going to assume it's okay and not go hunting all over the internet or in that darn book for an "answer." I'm not sure I agree with Kaiser scheduling him for the doctor once the first day after you take him home and then not again until three weeks later (seriously, they let us just take this kid home without confirming that we know what we're doing!), but we haven't hurt him and I've been assured that we can't "break" him... so we're okay.

Today I found out that the school I was hoping would take him for two days a week has a waiting list of about six months to a year. Since we applied in September, you'd think that might've been something they told us a long time ago, but nope. I've even called before to find out about this, so I don't really know what's going on. I know there are other schools but this one is for County employees and right across the street from Patrick's work, and we very much liked it the time we had a tour. We have a couple of other options but I don't like having only two months to figure it out. On the other hand, I wish I could just stay home. Maybe I'll start buying lottery tickets.

Well. I'm learning that motherhood involves lots of worry, an unimaginable sense of responsibility, almost instantaneous true love, and NO SLEEP. Patrick's going back to work after next week... so I'd better live it up while I have him here.

Here's a photo Patrick took of me while we waited for the doctor last week. I look a little tired, and a lot stunned. This little creature needs me... and I need him. I can't believe how quickly that happened.

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