Monday, April 13, 2009

Bringing Home Baby

Two weeks ago, I was laying in the hospital blissfully unaware of what the coming weeks would bring. Although it was hospital food, I was being served 3 meals a day, and if I needed help with breastfeeding or wanted to take a shower, brush my teeth, or use the restroom, all I had to do was push the call button and a nurse would promptly be at my bedside to help me or take over baby care for a short while. The next day, we would be on our own - here's your baby, good luck!

On Tuesday afternoon, Mike and I changed Joey out of his hospital-provided getup, strapped him in his car seat, and packed up my bag. I had been so ready to leave the hospital so we could go back home and begin our new life, but when I looked down and saw Joey strapped in his little seat, I started to cry. I was scared to death. What was I going to do with this helpless little person when we got home? What if he had trouble eating? How should I dress him for bed? My head was spinning. Mike took me in his arms and comforted me, "Oh babe, what's wrong? Don't cry. This is what you wanted, remember?" I pulled myself together, and we headed out to the nurse's station to have the car seat checked. The nursing assistant walked us down to the car to make sure Joey was properly secured in the back seat, and we were ready given the OK to head home. I sat in the back seat with the baby as we made our way back to Morro Bay. He slept the whole ride home.

When we pulled in the driveway, Mike's mom and grandparents were here to greet us. To say I was overwhelmed would probably be the understatement of the year. We had dinner with Mike's family, and then tried to settle in. That was the night Joey showed us his true lung capacity. Mike was wondering if the hospital would possibly take him back, and I was totally lost - I had no idea how to comfort this screaming infant. He was crying, I was crying, it was a mess. After trying just about everything, and even though I said I wouldn't do it, we decided to try giving him a bottle of formula. It worked. He finished a 2oz bottle in what seemed like 3 gulps, and fell asleep. Plans change, lesson learned. The next night wasn't much better, but my milk had finally started to come in, and Joey was beginning to eat better.

On Thursday morning, we had an appointment with a lactation consultant, and in true Joey fashion, he put on a show and ate amazingly well. (On a side note, the lactation consultant noticed what looked like a scab on Joey's head. Instead of saying, "Yes, it's a scab," I told her that it was indeed not a scab, but poop that had dried on his head from a particularly messy blow-out that required an outfit change the night before. Apparently I had missed a spot when I cleaned him up. Mike said he would have lied, and I have been nominated for Mother of the Year.) That afternoon, we took him to his first pediatrician's appointment, and were amazed to learn that he was already weighing in at one ounce over his birth weight (and then the nurse left the room, and he pooped... twice). I was relieved to know that he was getting enough to eat, and the doctor said everything else looked perfect, too.

As the days pass, Joey is getting used to his new world. Although he hasn't quite got it down that we are awake during the day, and we sleep at night, he is getting better. He is changing every day, and I already find myself looking at the pictures from the day he was born amazed at how quickly these changes are taking place. He has started to make new noises - squeaks and grunts mostly - and although people say babies this young don't really smile ("It's just gas") I am convinced that he does. I am changing, too - learning what his sounds and cries mean, knowing when he needs to be held, and when he is just having a dream and can be allowed to continue sleeping. I watch his face as he sleeps, wondering what could possibly be troubling his mind and making him furrow his brow, or what is delighting him so much when he smiles and his face relaxes. I can't believe that something so small can produce so much poop, and I can't help but laugh when he farts (and he farts a lot).

I am starting to get back to the "real world," although sometimes I'm not quite sure what day of the week it is. I took Joey to visit his grandma and grandpa (and Ruby dog) yesterday, and with Mike back at work, it took me three hours to get out of the house. I now understand fully why moms often leave the house in their PJs, sometimes haven't found time to shower or brush their teeth for a few days at a time. So far, people have been right about one thing though - it is getting better every day.


Poodle said...

It's sad that when they're so young and teeny and you want to just stare at them all day you're also exhausted and completely out of it and it goes by WAY too fast.

I used to be so proud of myself if I remembered to brush my teeth before Geoff got home from work at 5:30.

None of the baby books tell you about that.

Ben said...

You're not a very good salesperson... Consider me officially in the "Scared shitless of what's to come" category, and frankly probably in the "Enjoy these six months while you can!" category...