Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Home with New Baby

So, about 9am on the third day in the hospital we packed up the mountain of baby stuff with a little help from the hospital nurses, stuck Berkles in the baby seat we had studied over for 30 minutes in the store before finally selecting based on color, and off we drove, headed home with our little bundle of joy.

The little booger even fell asleep on the drive, all half a mile of it. How cute. So, we took the seat inside and put it in the middle of the den, went in the bedroom and went to sleep. Turns out that's a bad idea, but we didn't know babies don't get much oxygen while sleeping in a baby seat. Looked happy to us, and after sleeping no longer than 37 seconds in a single stretch in the hospital, we left him there. Hell, I'd have left him on the roof if I thought he preferred it at that point. And so we all slept. Joyous, wonderful sleep, for a couple of hours.

Then he woke up, which was fine. Time to eat. So, we tried breastfeeding. And here was our schedule for the next 10 days:

Minute 1: Baby cries like it's hungry
Minute 2: Courtney whips out a breast, and somebody, just whoever is close, brings the baby over to feed.
Minutes 3-30: Baby screams at breast as if it's made of actual fire and is burning baby.
Minute 31: Baby magically latches onto breast and drinks for a while.
Minute 60: Baby falls asleep
1Hour Minute 20: Baby cries as if it's hungry...
Rinse, cycle, repeat.

Except sometimes, we skip the sleep part. All total, there is on average negative 432 minutes of sleep per day. In contrast, there are 7 migraines and at least fifty-eleven tears. And keep in mind, the baby can't make tears yet, so they're really all mama's tears. If someone came to our house they would have been justified calling social services, or maybe the police. Social services to say "there is no way these two people can care for a child, they need help." The police to say "obviously someone is coming in here and torturing these people when no one is around. Maybe the Chinese and their advanced methods with sleep deprivation."

So, finally I called BS on this whole situation and make Courtney give me one reason to not give the baby a bottle. In her totally destroyed and mind-altered state she couldn't come up with one in 10 seconds, so I made a bottle, and Berk drank it as if he had just caravaned across the Sahara.

And so that was the end of the great breast-bottle debate in the Willis house. Courtney was not happy and neither was I. We presume all the screaming at the breast meant Berkley was less than amused. But since the first bottle, all cartwheels and sunshine, much better sleep for everyone, etc. So, we stuck with it.

And after 7 days of wearing cabbage and ice packs on her breasts, Courtney's breasts returned to normal from the size of small planets.

Our next challenge was sleep (for the baby). We both used to go to bed at about 11, and sleep for 8 hours, straight. No waking up, no going to pee, nada. Babies are horrible at that it turns out. I slept light and if I woke up I was up for good. So, we went on a search for how to teach Berkley to sleep.

And after trying the cradle thingy, and his bed, and our bed, and a sleep sack, and a swaddle, and the couch, and the car seat again, and even pondering that roof idea, we settled on just dealing with it. We'd feed him about 10, then put him to bed until about 3am, then feed him, then again about 6am. This is not the same as sleeping 8 hours straight.

This went on for a couple of weeks, until someone suggested the novel idea we just NOT feed the baby in the middle of the night. Swaddle him tight, shut the door on the way out, and then walk back in there in the morning. That's it. This sounds very simple. We would feed Berkley about 7pm, change his diaper, put him to bed swaddled like a mummy (I call this baby jail), then close his bedroom door and do our thing until we went to bed. About 7am we walk back into the room and feed him again.

This is NOT so easy. The baby cries. And when you live in a home the size of a postage stamp, you hear it, all.the.time. But, sure enough, after a couple of nights he started sleeping the whole night. And has pretty much done just that every night since.

In The Hospital

Here, in this post, I tell you about our hospital stay. The one directly after the baby was born.

So, squirt, out came baby. And then the fun really began. The doc announced to Courtney that it was time to get the placenta out. By this hour the drugs from the epidural had kicked in, so he could have announced it was time to remove her kidneys with a butter knife and all would have been good. I, on the other hand, had heard some not so fun stories about this little process, and I was NOT drugged up. So, to work he went massaging her belly and being very nice about the whole thing while I stood watching with trepidation. Luckily, this went much quicker and more smoothly than the actual birth, and out came this... thing. It reminded me of a really shiny/silvery gallon sized zip-lock bag with spaghetti sauce inside. I was WAY more interested than I thought I would be. The doc noticed our interest and so yep, he just brought it right up into our faces to check it out. He turned it inside out, so then it was no longer silvery and slick, but instead very much like carpet in consistency, except still reddish purple and wet. So, there you go, time to play with new baby.

We got to hold him for 13 seconds, then we brought the families in to see everything. My 4 parents, my sister and her boyfriend, and Courtney's mom were there. Her dad was on the way.

So, in they all trooped, and the baby got passed around, my sister's boyfriend announced he was happy to be an uncle, and much merriment was had.

Then 15 seconds later, it was time to move to the "not so expensive, not as nice" room. So we all trucked down the hallway to a room to stay a couple of nights. Halfway there the fire alarm went off. Super.

We finally get into this room, everyone heads home, and we're alone, with this baby. We tried to breastfeed. How hard can it be? Take baby mouth, put on breast. Whammo.

NOT whammo. We turned, pinched, contorted, and the baby was just getting more and more angry. So, we gave up, and a little while later a nurse came in. She showed us how to do it right, and baby drank a little and went to sleep. Parenting is so simple.

10 minutes later, baby started crying. Well what the hell little man? You ate, your diaper is clean, you're all wrapped up and warm, nothing is wrong. And so on it went, through the night. Happy and sleeping a while, crying a while. Not a lot of sleep was had. It should be noted that for those without children that a baby crying in the room with you is roughly equivalent to someone exploding a 50 megaton nuclear bomb. Courtney was exhausted. I was pretty tired myself. About 6am, we sent the little guy to the nursery and slept in bliss for a few hours.

About 9, they brought him back to have more breastfeeding lessons. It went pretty well, and he ate a while and went to sleep. Through the day people came by and we told the same birth story over again and again. And the baby just sort of did his thing. Cry, sleep, pee, poo, rinse and repeat.

That night, we're alone again, and here we go. We want to be with the baby, but there was not much sleeping happening. And we try to breastfeed, but it isn't going all that well. The baby is best at screaming at us.

So, back to the nursery the baby goes, and to sleep we go.

Throughout all of these 3 days, it should be noted that Courtney is having to wear these gigantic maxi pads with an ice pack in them. I have no idea how she was comfortable or slept for one minute.

Also, if everyone did get settled and about to sleep, someone, anyone would barge in the room and want to test the baby's hearing, or make sure Courtney is drinking water, or something. Pure craziness.

Next morning, it's time to go home. They have circumcised the baby, we're all packed up, and down to the car we go. We live about 3 blocks from the hospital, so it's a short drive.

And upon getting home, the little man slept hard for a few hours. We all slept, more exhausted than we've ever been.