Little Man’s First Week of Life

Okay, that last post was a little longer than I thought that it was going to be.  But, there was so much to talk about!  I promise that this one will be much shorter.  

The first week of Little Man’s life was a whirlwind.  He was born on Wednesday morning.  That afternoon, he met Teacher Man’s parents and sister and then by the evening he met my mom, one sister, and my brother.  It was so wonderful to see my family, especially my mom.  I almost melted into a pool of tears (thanks, hormones!) when I saw my family.  I was so nervous that I wasn’t going to see them until much after Little Man was here, that getting to see them right after he was born was the biggest blessing ever.  

That first night was a struggle.  Little Man was hungry all the time and I was up most of the night.  Considering that I hadn’t slept much the night before (I’d been in labor, remember?), I was pretty much a zombie.  But, I was holding my son and smelling his cute little head and I could be tired forever and it wouldn’t matter.  🙂

The next day, Teacher Man and I spent some time with just us and Little Man in the morning and then he left to go home and freshen up (really, though, I kind of felt like I was the one who needed freshening, but whatevs) and then go to school for a meeting that he couldn’t really get out of.  Little Man and I were alone together for the first time for about an hour.  I was a little worried at first (I don’t entirely know why), but it was glorious.  Just to simply be in his presence was a little bit of heaven.  

Later that afternoon, my mom and my sister brought me lunch (I think it might have been my second lunch of the day) and held Little Man while I ate.  Lunch was a salami sandwich — something I’d been craving my whole pregnancy, but had been forbidden to eat.  Delicious.

My mom and my sister left after a while to run by my house and clean (because they are amazing and basically saints) and Teacher Man came back.  The rest of the day was spent hanging out with different family members coming by the hospital, watching Little Man’s first Timbers game (which he slept through), and generally just enjoying each other.  

Earlier in the afternoon, Little Man got his first bath in the nursery and then was circumcised.  It was one of the more difficult things that I’ve ever done; we knew we wanted him circumcised and I knew that it was going to be okay, but it was still nerve-wracking to think about my poor little baby going through something like that.  So, I played Fruit Ninja.  That maybe wasn’t the most perfect of ideas considering the premise of the game, but it kept me distracted.  

I tell you this because that second night was not nearly as good as the first night.  Little Man’s Tylenol had worn off from the procedure and he was in some pain and cried a lot during the night.  We could have had the option of moving him to the nursery instead of having him room-in with us, but I didn’t want to send him away again.  So, we got him some more Tylenol and a pacifier and he settled down pretty quickly.  The only problem with the pacifier was that if he spit out the pacifier (as he did several times that night), then he would cry and we would have to get up to give it back to him.  Sigh.  

Other important things from Little Man’s first week of life include his first bath at home on Saturday (he haaaaated it), meeting some of our friends and their little babies (including L’s little girl that was born the same day that he was!), meeting my dad, and managing to stay alive for a whole week!  

My mom stayed with us for four or five days (after we got home from the hospital on Friday) and I don’t know what we would have done without her.  There were so many times during the night where Little Man would wake up and eat and then not go back to sleep or would just get up and fuss for no apparent reason.  My mom volunteered to sit up with Little Man so Teacher Man and I could get some much-needed sleep.  She cooked for us, watched Little Man so that Teacher Man and I could go out on a walk in the evenings (I needed some Vitamin D), and generally helped me feel like I wasn’t completely insane.  Little Man was a pretty easy baby (he still is), but I was REALLY emotional once my milk came in over the weekend.  Target Baby commercials made me cry.  It wasn’t all the time and I wasn’t overly depressed, just feeling emotional.  Seriously, I would have thoughts like, “I love my baby… he is so cute” and then the tears would start streaming down my face.  Not my finest moments, but it was so nice to have my mom here so that she could reassure me that I was very normal.  

Little Man also went to his first doctor’s appointment and he behaved like a champ!  Everyone thought that he was cute and he was gaining weight just like he should (for the record, he was 6lbs 15oz and 19.5in when he was born).  He peed on the exam table, but other than that it went really smoothly.  

One of my favorite moments form that week, though, was when he took him to Mass for the first time.  We went on Saturday evening — the Mass that Teacher Man and I usually go to.  Like many Saturday evening Masses, there are quite a few older people and Teacher Man and I usually sit near a group of older women — mostly widows and a few nuns.  The minute we brought Little Man into our pew, they were falling over each other (and the pews!) trying to get a look at him.  It was one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.  Little Man was perfectly behaved during Mass and slept the whole time.  🙂

On the Monday after he was born, my dad came into town to travel back to Idaho with my mom (and, clearly, to meet Little Man).  It was so wonderful to see my dad hold his grandson for the first time.  He is just completely in love with Little Man (how could he not be?) and it was so sweet to get to see them together.  He talked to Little Man the way that he used to talk to my younger siblings when they were babies and it was just adorable.  

My mom and dad left to go back home on Tuesday and I completely lost it and bawled.  It was so wonderful, so reassuring to have my mom with us and it was incredibly hard to see her go.  I’ve found that I have so much of a deeper appreciation and understanding of her role as a mother than I ever thought that I would have.  The connection between a mother and her child goes beyond words and is a different kind of love than any other.  

 

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Little Man Enters the World — 5/1/13

Some time has passed, making it easier to look at the emotional event that is Little Man’s birth.  

I was having some contractions Monday night, but they weren’t very bad and I was only feeling them when I got up to go to the bathroom (because, you know, that’s what you do when you’re pregnant).  I had plans with my friend L to go walking on Tuesday morning — not to help my own labor (as far as I was concerned, I wasn’t going into labor because I had almost two weeks before I was due.  L, on the other hand, was about a week late and was planning on being induced Tuesday night.  I wanted to help her along, so we decided that we were going to walk up and down some of the hills near her house and go to lunch on Tuesday.  

I woke up Tuesday with some cramping that seemed to come and go.  Braxton Hicks, I said to myself.  Nothing to worry about.  I’m not due for another twelve days.  

I decided to keep track of my contractions on my smartphone (thank you, technology and Contraction Timer app) and to do it as not-obviously as possible.  Easy.  Just click the Start/Stop button and L won’t be the wiser.  

When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I wasn’t entirely sure that I should be going on this mountain walk.  I was a little sore.  But, it wasn’t bad.  I would be fine.  I just needed to get out of my head.  

I met up with L and tried to be as not-obvious about the fact that this random cramp-like pain kept coming and going every ten minutes or so.  This probably would have been easier if I hadn’t been climbing hills and breathing more heavily than usual.  Oh, and “looking” at my phone every ten minutes.  

After about half and hour of walking and talking, L and I went to a little cafe for lunch.  I think she figured out what was going on when I would get these far away looks every eight to ten minutes and would stop talking for about thirty seconds at a time.  I told her that I’d been contracting this whole time, but that it was “probably nothing.”  This served two purposes: 1) in no way did I want to admit that I was actually in labor and 2) I wasn’t ready to give birth before L — she was supposed to go through this first!  

We started talking about what we were each planning on doing during the day: she was prepping for going to the hospital and I was going to clean the house and go to the store to get some laundry detergent.  We hugged each other, parted ways, and promised to text over the course of the day.  

I went home and my sister, who is a nanny for a nurse, called me.  She asked how I was doing and I said, “Well, I think I’m in labor, but I’m trying to ignore it.”  The proper amount of freaking out happened on her end and she told me to go to the hospital… or AT LEAST to call my doctor.  

“I can’t, I don’t have time,” I said.  “I have to go to the store and get laundry detergent.  If I don’t go, Teacher Man (my husband) is going to kill me.  I have a coupon that has to get used TODAY.”  My sister thought I was crazy and told me should was going to call our mom.  Funny how not much changes when you’re an adult.  🙂

My contractions (sorry, not contractions: abdominal cramps) were now about 6-8 minutes apart and my mom called.  We went back and forth and she told me to call me doctor.  I told her I would as soon as I came back from the store.  Doctor had said not to call before Contractions were five minutes apart and lasting about a minute.  We weren’t even  near there as far as I was concerned.  I wasn’t even  having  contractions, even though everyone seemed very worried about the fact that my baby was going to be born in the grocery store parking lot.  

I went to the store and got about 6 giant bottles of laundry detergent (because I had a coupon), which I probably shouldn’t have been carrying whether or not I was having contractions.  Which I totally wasn’t.  

I called my doctor when I got home (it was about 3pm now) and she said that it would be a good idea to keep track of the contractions and call her in a couple of hours.  

No problem, I thought.   I don’t have a bag packed anyway and I need to do some laundry and probably finish up the dishes from lunch.  

It did occur to me that I should probably call Teacher Man (he was on his prep period) and let him know what was happening.  He was giving a placement test after school that day and I wanted him to know that if I called him later, this was not a drill.  Luckily, he had his phone on… it was my second day of maternity leave after all!  

I kept track of my contractions while I packed my bag for the hospital.  I had no idea what to bring and managed to flip through my copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting and throw some of the stuff that they mentioned in my bag — some books, a journal, changes of clothes for me and Little Man, and I don’t even remember what else.  It didn’t matter.  I probably would just be coming back home anyway.  I had so much still to do — I needed to decorate Little Man’s room, wash some more clothes, clean the house, make some dinners to freeze for once Little Man came.  I didn’t have time to do be in labor.  There was stuff to do!

Finally, the abdominal pains (Braxton Hicks, I was still thinking) were about 4-6 minutes apart and I called my doctor.  Calm person that she is (one of the reasons I loved her so much), she told me that it might be a good idea to go to the hospital and get checked out.  She would call and tell them that I would be coming in.  You know, sometime in the next little while.  I called Teacher Man and told him that he should head home sort of now-ish.  He rushed home (thank God we don’t live far from school), packed his bag, and we got in the car for the twenty minute drive to the hospital.  I called my family on the way to let them know (they would have a seven hour drive to come and see Little Man once he got here) that we were going to get checked out.  No big deal.  I would call them if we ended up staying at the hospital.  

When we got there, I told Teacher Man to leave the bags in the car.  I didn’t want to be That Girl who goes to the hospital and comes in with all of her stuff only to be told that she’s only 1cm dilated and to go HOME for Pete’s Sake.  

We calmly headed up to the labor and delivery ward and checked in there (it was about 5:30pm at this point).  They took me in to a room and told me to change into a gown so the nurse could do an exam and see how far along I am.  The nurse admitted that she was skeptical — I was much too calm to be far along.  

We were all shocked to find out that I was already 5cm dilated!  I was admitted and dubbed the Most Calm 5cm Ever by the nurses.  Quite the honor!  

Teacher Man and I made the obligatory phone calls and texts to family and friends who were on the Need to Know list and he went to go and bring in our bags.  We were staying until we could bring our Little Man home with us!  

The next six hours were spent walking the hallways, getting my vitals checked, texting with L who had been admitted to be induced at a different hospital) and choking down some soup and a PB&J sandwich; I wasn’t sick, just much too nervous to eat!

At about midnight, I realized that I was kind of done with this whole contraction game (yes, now I was able to admit what they were) and asked for the epidural.  Best.  Decision.  Ever. I managed to take a few cat naps while listening to my son’s heartbeat on the monitor and trying to annoy the stupid automatic blood pressure cuff that they had on me.  

When the nurse came to check in on me around 3am, I asked her what I was supposed to do next.  If I was all numb and stuff, how was I supposed to know when the real show was going to start?  “When you feel like you have to poop,” she said, “give me a call.”  

Around 4:00am, I felt like I had to poop, called the nurse, who in turned called my doctor (she had popped in sometime in the evening as well to check in on me and I talked to her on the phone before I had the epidural).  

At 4:30am, the nurse came in to check on me again and I told her that it kind of felt like Little Man’s head was already outside of me and could she please check to make sure he wasn’t already coming out.  She looked at me like I had completely lost my marbles (which I might have) and checked.  “Nope, he’s still in there.”  Good.  

A little later, my doctor came in (about 4:45), checked things out and said that I could start pushing soon.  We sat and chatted with the nurses and the respiratory therapist.  I think Teacher Man was a little worried about the fact that I didn’t seem to be uncomfortable or in pain at all.  And I wasn’t.  Guys, the epidural was AMAZING.  🙂

5am rolled around and my doctor said that I could start pushing.  And push I did!  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I had worked it up in my mind to be; I pushed, chatted with my doctor and the nurses (Teacher Man still wasn’t sure what to do other than stand at my head and stroke my arm and help the doctor and nurses count for the contractions) and tried to get the baby out!

Then, all of a sudden, his head was there and they told me one more push and then out of nowhere there was a person where there hadn’t been a person before.  There was sheer joy and happiness when they placed this wriggling, crying, wonderful Little Man on my chest.  I cried.  How could I not?  This tiny baby that I’d spent the last nine months bonding with was suddenly here on me and he was (and still is) absolutely beautiful.  

I don’t remember many of the tiny details that went along with those first minutes after him being born.  My memory is just a flood of emotions.  The joy and love I felt in those first minutes for Little Man blew away any preconceived notion that I might have had about what this was going to feel like.  Everyone says that you immediately feel this love for your baby, but I never really thought that it would happen to me.  I was always worried that I would never feel that way.  But, really, it was the most amazing thing — I was completely in love with him from the minute I heard his tiny little cry.  

Teacher Man and I fawned and cried over our Little Man, they cleaned up whatever went on down there (I refuse to think about it), Teacher Man cut the umbilical cord, and then they cleaned up Little Man and we got to spend some time with just the three of us.  

I nursed Little Man for the first time with the help of one of the nurses.  It was a very different experience than I thought it was going to be.  It was pretty intuitive and went well, but the connection that I felt with Little Man was something that I wasn’t entirely prepared for.  

Once we spent some time together with just the three of us, the got us ready to move into our new room, I did the whole using-my-legs-for-the-first-time-in-hours drill, and then we called our families to tell them the good news and that they could come and visit whenever they were ready (or, in the case of my family, when they got in town).  

I was just so happy, sitting there in our hospital room with my husband and this new, shiny little soul that I promise to work hard to protect.