Sunday, February 7, 2010

A New Parent's Reflections

This was copied over from my now defunct blog.
Original post date: Sunday, February 7, 2010

So Rowan is a little over a week old and we are busy learning about one another. He is already an extraordinary person- he surprises me each day. Mostly his demeanor and expressions are very serious. The wheels are turning in there, I just have no idea what the 'lil guy is thinking!

Our little man is not fussy- you might even call him an “easy baby”- if having any completely dependent newborn is “easy”, that is. He is actually patient, makes a fuss/cries only when we have not followed his cues for eating soon enough or if we move him from a comfortable spot he wanted to stay in. He also hates to be changed- either diapers or clothes, so there are fusses at those times. But he is easily cheered after it is over, and I understand being upset over the lack of control of your own body. That must suck.

Yesterday, I learned that he will often put eating on hold for too long in lieu of sleep. We took an extra long nap before going on a quick jaunt to the lake (and the car ride always puts him to sleep, as does being swaddled in the moby), he ended up not waking and asking to eat and I just didn’t think about it. (I have been following his lead about food, feeding him when he asks.) But when he got home- OH! He was soooo hungry and upset after waking as we got him out of the car seat.

He didn’t know what to do with himself. He wanted the boob so much and was trembling and turning red when it was right in front of him. He couldn’t seem to settle down enough to take it because he was so worked up. It took a good 15 minutes to calm him down before he was focused enough to simply eat. Poor thing. We won’t do that again- even if he is sleeping, I’ll wake him if he hasn’t eaten in 3 hours, come hell or high water!

He is starting to show the most amazing facial expressions. My favorite of course, being a smile. He goes through a repertoire of these when he sleeps- each different emotion flickering across his face for a couple seconds before being replaced by another. These are accompanied by REM, so I wonder what he is dreaming about. It’s heartbreaking to see the really sad face he makes- I think it must be about being alone in the NICU without human touch and lots of needles and things being stuck into him. He falls into REM so quickly, too. It’s amazing. Yep, I sit around a lot now and watch my baby sleep. Good times!

Last night, I was so tired and sore (still recovering from pregnancy and birth- my insides feel like someone beat them with a baseball bat as they return to their normal positions inside my body, and the stitches and perineum are still sore as well) and could not get comfortable in bed. Rowan woke and asked to nurse, which I first attempted lying down. This sometimes works, but he is so small that my boob is bigger than his whole head and I end up contorting in weird ways to get the nipple position correct and sometimes it is more trouble than it is worth.

So I ended up sitting up with him on a pillow and nursing that way. But he wanted to do that slow lingering nursing he sometimes does, falling asleep on the boob intermittently so that it takes an hour plus. And I was in pain and unhappy. So I kept tickling him to keep him sucking and after 20 minutes, I placed him in the co-sleeper bed. Up until last night, he has slept with us in the big bed, which is working out fine for the most part. But I just wanted to stretch out, relieve my pain, and not worry about Ro in the bed!

Well, he was not happy. As I say, he is not a fussy baby, but he made quiet fretting noises and reaching out with his arms to find me. And then he sent me a thought (yes- I believe that)- it was of him, alone, in the NICU bassinette. He had no one to cuddle with and love him. He was lonely and scared. My heart broke and I immediately scooped him up and brought him next to me in bed. I was immediately rewarded- he looked deeply into my eyes (we keep a nightlight on for him now, so we can see getting up at night) and smiled the biggest smile I have seen on him ever. He was so content to be near a source of love and fell right to sleep. “Fuck the pain”, I thought. “He sleeps here, next to me.”

His umbilical cord still hasn’t fallen off, but it’s close. After that, we are free to bathe him. They did a bath at the hospital to get off more of the meconium, and he hated that. I hope it was a function of meconium being hard to get off and being in the NICU, rather than hating baths in general…

The birds are insanely jealous of the baby and have to have two humans supervise them when they are out with the baby. We hope that after a while they will accept their new flock member. Especially Tengu and Rah are aggro right now- Lullah is fine as long as she gets played with, she doesn’t care.

There have been a parade of people stopping by to meet Rowan and drop off food, which has been awesome. His first visitor was actually in the NICU- Cornelia Benevidez was in town and came by because she felt as though the labor must be finished- she even found out we were at SF General instead of UCSF (we hadn’t posted an update yet)! She did a blessing for Rowan while he was still in his oxygen tent. Cholla came by our house with borcht from the folks at Thermalia, Wolfy, of course, has been with us as the doula, making us food and such, Justin came by to make us tacos last night and see his Godson, and tonite Ben is coming as well. We are planning on taking him to see his Godmother Julia very soon as well.

Today we pushed the limits to see how he would do and took him to the Oakland UU church service. He did not fuss at all, actually, even though we both looked at one another with dread as the moment of silence began. We both had the same dreaded thought that he would choose that moment to start wailing or something. But nope- he is a sweet tempered, patient baby. Where in the hell did he get that from?

1 comment:

  1. Dear Lily,

    I have been reading your back blogs(?) for some undiscovered gems. As far as I know, you're the only parent I've encountered who seems to see things as well from her child's perspective. I never thought that a baby might cry during diaper/clothes changing because of lack of control over his/her body. Thanks!


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