And that is WITH the baby nurse that my fabulous Auntie Mimi got for me as a present. I think I was born without a maternal instinct, because nothing about this process has come to me naturally. The whole thing sounds so easy when you are pregnant and reading about it in a book, and then the little one arrives and suddenly *wham* chaos.
Let's just say the first twenty four hours at home before Rue Anna arrived involved very little sleep and a whole lot of tears.
I was originally sort of ashamed to admit that I actually (desperately) needed the baby nurse, but now I am working on letting the guilt go and just accepting the fact that a little extra help never hurt anyone. And I am learning so much from her, and things like getting the baby on a schedule no longer seems so daunting and scary. If nothing else, life around the house has become much more manageable now that everyone is a little more rested and I've had a bit more of an opportunity to rest and to recover from the surgery.
So, judge me if you will, but Rue Anna is a Godsend.
(Plus, it isn't like she'll be around forever. I'll have to sink or swim eventually.)
Otherwise, though, motherhood is pretty awesome. I could stare at Banner forever, and just adore all the noises he makes. I love nursing him, and have enjoyed watching his little cheeks and belly fill out slowly over the last couple of weeks. Obviously, I am a little biased, but I think he is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen (even if he looks like a little, old man version of Trevor).
Because I am so behind on posting, I am resorting to a list to get all the details I want to remember written down before I forget. So, without further ado, here are some recollections from the last twenty days:
- I went to work after the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit on January 3rd to finish a report. I didn't tell anyone I was there because I was worried they'd make me go home (I'd been working on and off even though I was technically on vacation). Once "discovered", though, I got into trouble because my coworker was worried I'd go into labor or something would happen and no one would know I was in the office. Except she was less than 50 feet away and just didn't hear me come in.
(I'd like to think she would have heard me if I had screamed, though. Or, say, calmly called her from my office phone.)
Of course, twenty four hours later (after it was common knowledge around my office that I actually WAS in labor the previous afternoon) made them all feel justified in their opinion that women who are 42 weeks pregnant shouldn't be allowed at work.
I'm just glad I finished said report when I did.
Oh, and I am totally claiming that I worked up until giving birth. Just FYI.
- I remember very little from the first twenty four hours or so after Banner was born. I can recall being wheeled up to the maternity ward and into my room. I have vague memories of people visiting me, but I couldn't tell you what we talked about or even tell you who stopped by unless a photo of them was taken. It is all sort of a blur.
The sunset from my hospital room (722 Truitt) on January 4th, 2012
This also goes for people I spoke to on the phone. To some, I sounded quasi normal. To others, I sounded...off. I told one of my best friends from high school that I was "just trying to speak English like everyone else" when she asked how I was doing.
So, if you spoke to me on January 4th, my apologies. In my defense, I was pretty heavily medicated and had lost a lot of blood.
- I DO remember refusing to take any pain medication less than twelve hours after the surgery. I honestly didn't feel that much pain and I didn't want the drugs coursing through my system as I started to breastfeed. I also elected to have my catheter removed as soon as possible (10 PM), because I found it disconcerting that people had to periodically come in and empty my pee and clean me up. I wanted things to return to normal as quickly as possible.
- I woke up at 2 AM on January 5th and had to pee. Because it was my first time after the surgery and catheter removal, I had to call for a nurse to assist me with the process. Except when I tried to urinate, nothing happened. It is honestly the strangest sensation in the world to have to pee and not be able to. It took a couple of trips to the bathroom and several glasses of cranberry juice to get the desired result. I will never taking being able to pee for granted again.
- I am sure I started trying to breastfeed the day before, but I can't remember. Trevor says there were some issues latching. By day two, though, those were long gone. B-man is a master latcher and champion sucker, and hasn't looked back since.
- The best thing about having the catheter taken out was being cleared to shower on Thursday, January 6th. Best. Shower. Ev-ver.
- The second night, Banner started to cluster feed (apparently common around 48 hours), and I didn't know what to do except latch him on. Except my milk still hadn't come in, and my baby was essentially using my boob as a pacifier. Nearly three hours later, a nurse saw what was going on and took my baby back to the nursery so I could rest. It took nearly a week for my nipples to recover.
- Breastfeeding did (and still does) make me drowsy. Trevor has the absolute worst picture of my ev-ver on his cell phone. I was lying in the hospital bed with Banner plugged into my boob while I was visibly nodding off. Even though he refuses to delete it and PROMISED to not show it to anyone, a surprising number of people have now seen it (jackhole!).
- Banner's blood tests came back with high bilirubin levels in his first few days of life. He was classified as being in the 95th percentile for jaundice, and I was told to feed him more often to encourage him to poop and pee (which is how the jaundice is eliminated from the body). This was agonizing before my milk came in because I wasn't producing enough of anything to get the desired result. We finally had to make the decision to supplement with formula to avoid having to put my baby under the lights. Luckily, we only had to do this for 48 hours before I started to produce enough milk to feed him on my own.
- Because of the high jaundice levels, the nurses intentionally sabotaged Banner's circumcision by bringing Banner to feed first thing in the morning the day after he was born. My OBGYN came in to do the procedure and found him nursing away. Apparently, doctor's won't circumcise a baby on a full tummy, so the surgery had to be rescheduled for the next day. After my doctor left, the nurses came back in giggling and talking about how my baby's penis could wait another day in effort to give his jaundice levels a chance to fall off a little.
- I was so relieved when my baby's penis got a reprieve on Thursday, but sobbed when they took him away to perform the procedure on Friday. It just seemed so unfair to come into the world only to have one of the most sensitive parts of your body operated on within two days after birth. But after the circumcision, Banner was no worse for wear. In fact, he didn't even seem to notice that anything had happened and was just (shockingly) hungry.
- In an effort to get my milk to come in as quickly as possible (to help treat the jaundice), I started trying to stimulate my boobs by using a pump on January 6th.
- Trevor slept at the hospital with me every night after Banner was born. I almost had to force him to go home periodically to shower, eat and get some rest.
- Trevor referred to the nursery at the hospital as "The Full Detail Service" because we'd almost always send him there half naked (because he'd blown his diaper off or managed to pee all over his t-shirt), but Banner would come back all clean, dressed and tightly swaddled.
- In case you were wondering, the Awesome Pawsome was taken care of by our fabulous neighbor, Becky, while we were in the hospital. She came by three times a day: once in the morning to feed them and put them outside in the dog run, again at night to feed them dinner and once more around nine or ten to close the doggie door (otherwise Haskell would go outside and bark at nothing in the middle of the night). Not having to board our dogs was a huge relief (especially considering I went into labor in the middle of the night), and it meant or pups' routine wasn't interrupted or changed. It also meant that Trevor got to see them when he came home and they all got to sniff him and Banner's blankets once a day.
- Banner gets the hiccups after almost every feeding. He didn't like the hiccups on the inside, and not much has changed since he started life on the outside.
- I was released from the hospital on Saturday, January 7th around 3 PM after I had over 40 staples removed from my c-section incision site.
- I pumped before being released and was so proud of myself because I had finally produced over 30 ccs of breast milk. Before that, I had been supplementing whatever milk I was able to express with formula. But 30 ccs was the magic number because it was what the pediatrician wanted Banner to be getting 8-12 times a day at this stage in his very early life. Finally producing enough milk on my own meant I no longer had to supplement with formula. I was so proud of myself.
Then, as I prepared to leave the hospital, I accidentally (and totally without thinking) put the breast milk in a sack to go home and it spilled all over. I thought I was just packing the pump parts, and forgot about the breast milk which we were saving for the 3 PM feeding before leaving the hospital. This sent me into near hysterical sobs. I felt so stupid.
All this proves that while it might not be okay to cry over spilled milk, crying over spilled breast milk is a completely other matter altogether.
- Banner weighed 6 pounds and 12 ounces on the day he was released from the hospital.
- As I mentioned above, the first twenty four hours at home with the baby were a nightmare. I was more exhausted than I think I've ever been before in my life, and Banner needed time to adjust to his new environment. My mom was staying with us to try and help with the baby so I could get some rest, but we all realized pretty quickly that none of us knew what we were doing. The baby kept crying and none of us could soothe him (in hindsight, he was probably just overly tired), and I was so worried that he'd stop breathing in his sleep that I couldn't relax and do anything other than worry and cry over him.
And, then, things I thought I knew went flying out the window. Like: How long can breast milk sit out at room temperature before going bad or how do you heat it up after refrigerating it? My breast milk - absent for what felt like an eternity in the hospital - came in with a vengeance by Saturday evening, and I was completely unprepared for storing it. I was still pumping because my nipples were - literally - cracked and bleeding.
Basically, I was overly tired and in a lot of pain. It was a looooooong night.
- The first couple of weeks after giving birth I cried a lot. This is apparently normal and somehow helps stimulate milk production. It doesn't make it any less weird, though, when you burst into tears on a brief dog walk for no reason at all.
- Because of the jaundice, Banner got to go to the pediatrician two days after being released from the hospital. He had been "exploding" pretty frequently since going home on Saturday, and we had all noticed that his little arms and body were substantially less yellow now that my milk was finally in. The doctor agreed, and didn't even need to run his blood to verify.
Another a good sign? That the little guy was up an ounce (6 pounds, 13 ounces) since leaving the hospital.
- Banner's schedule since coming home has been to eat every three hours during the day (9 AM, 12, 3 and 6 PM) and four hours at night (9 PM, 1 and 5 PM). His appetite has increased from 30 ccs per feeding to 4.5 to 5 ounces in two weeks.
- My OBGYN performed a Plastibell Circumcision on Banner, and the clear, plastic ring fell off exactly one week after the procedure. For reasons I don't pretend to understand, Trevor has ring on display on the shelf over the changing table and keeps threatening to have it bronzed and put on a chain.
- Banner lost his umbilical cord scab on January 17th. The good news is that it isn't on display anywhere and I don't have to worry about feeling guilty about throwing it away.
The bad news is that we don't know where it fell off, so there is a scab somewhere in the house. This initially bothered me to no end until someone pointed out that I shouldn't worry since a dog has mostly likely eaten it in the interim.
- At my two week doctor's appointment on the 19th I had lost 21 pounds in 15 days after giving birth.
I was also cleared to drive by my doctor, which was fabulous since I had driven myself to the appointment.
- At Banner's two week appointment on January 20th, my kiddo weighed in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 21 inches. The doctor was very impressed with his weight gain, especially considering that our little guy isn't getting chubby at all (he now has fuller cheeks and a little belly, but no baby fat rolls to speak of). Apparently, he is committing every last calorie to growth.
Still, he is in the 50th percentile for height and weight and the 45th percentile for head circumference. Not exactly the linebacker stats that Trevor was hoping for, but the little guy is healthy and that's all that matters.
Because of his good weight gain, the pediatrician has now given us the green light to let him wake up on his own at night. Trevor is hoping this will immediately translate into Banner sleeping through the night, but I have more realistic expectations.
- I cried more than my baby when they pricked his heel for the two week round of blood tests. I am already dreading his next appointment at 2 months when they give him his first round of shots. Trevor might need to take the afternoon off because I am not sure I am strong enough to go through that alone.
- I am producing a lot more milk than my baby needs, and already have a good store built up in the fridge and freezer. I often have to pump after nursing him just to get relief for my aching boobs.
- Haskell is afraid of the baby. He was the first one we let get close to him after coming home. He sat down and sniffed the Banner. Then his eyes got really big and he started backing away very slowly. He now prefers to spend his time either on his bed (shocker!) or in the dog run sunbathing.
I was initially worried about Gypsy because she was showing a lot of interest in the baby. That is until one day when I wasn't paying close enough attention and discovered her giving Banner a foot and leg bath. Now her daily goal seems to be how many "kisses" she can sneak in when she thinks no one is looking.
Alley is the only one I'm not very comfortable with. She stares intently at Banner and cries. It is possible she thinks he is a hairless squirrel.
- Banner graduated to size one diapers before the second week of life. We are still having a hard time containing him, however. That kid knows how to blow off a diaper.
- On Thursday, Banner peed all over the wall. On Saturday morning, he - literally - peed in my face (it went in my eye and mouth, people!). Then, less than twenty minutes later, he tried the same thing on dad. Trevor managed to block the flow, but it ricocheted off his hand and managed to hit the closet door nearly six feet away. The kid has range. He is committed to keeping us on our toes during diaper changes. And, yes, these are the results we are having WITH proper defensive protocol and utilization of things like pee-pee tee-pees.
- Sometimes Banner looks at me as if to say, "Really? Nine months of Adelle, Katy Perry and singing at the top of your lungs in the car?"
- I love Banner's pouty face.
- No one talks about what goes on after the baby, and, no. I'm not talking about the depression. I am referencing the night sweats, uterine contractions (as things shrink back to their normal size), bleeding, aching boobs/nipples, weepiness, loose abdominal skin, etc. There is nothing sexy about just having a baby. Oh, and my head? Yeah, still itches.
- I've decided that all pediatrician offices smell like germs and throw up (regardless of how clean the office may be). Trevor says he doesn't smell anything when we go, and that I am just being silly, but - seriously? Can you think of a bigger biohazard than a pediatricians office?
- Trevor can't pronounce Pertussis. When he called to schedule his shot a couple of weeks ago, he asked for the Per-TOO-sus vaccine.
- Banner always has his ankles crossed. Looking back at his sonogram pictures, it is how he held his legs in the womb.
- When Banner came out, he had his hands in tight little fists with his thumbs on the insides sticking out between the first and middle fingers. Apparently, this is a sign of good luck (in Brazil?!), and I had several people comment on it in his first several days.
- Ever since the first day, Banner has been able to lift his head up (briefly) and look around. We've also gotten a lot of comments from the doctors, nurses and pediatricians about how alert he is for a newborn. I think it is because he was late and just a little older and wiser than other babies his own age.
The picture where Banner looks like my dad.
(Taken Day One)
(Taken Day One)
The last few minutes of Banner's Birth Day.
Trevor sticking his tongue out at his newborn son in the hospital.
Middle of the night feeding in the hospital.
Hanging with dad.
Thor and his hammer.
After the full detail service.
Video of Banner's hiccups on his second day of life...
He has strong toes.
Lazy weekend mornings with daddy.
This is his surprised look.
Hi, Grammy Pammy!
Whadya lookin' at?
This is his "Seriously? You are my mother?" face.
Giving mom lip already...
(possibly my favorite picture so far)
(possibly my favorite picture so far)
Have I mentioned how much I adore baby feet?
Mornings with mom.
Sleeping on mommy's chest.
20 Days Old!