Monday, May 26, 2008

A whole new world

I can’t believe two weeks have passed since DJ, as I’ll call him here, arrived. Our sense of time has dissolved so much that we didn’t even realize Memorial Day was here.

It amazes me that things we thought were important a few weeks ago, like checking email every day, just aren’t now. Our days have become a continuous cycle of feeding, changing diapers, changing his clothes once he’s soiled them, holding him, smiling and having staring contests with him. He usually wins.

He’s thrown us a few curveballs already. First, he inherited his father’s blood type, not mine, so there was a danger of jaundice. DJ’s pediatrician thought he should spend time under special lights in the hospital nursery. The lights are designed to help his body process the chemicals that cause jaundice. We planned to have him in the room with us the whole time, so that was disappointing. DJ didn’t seem to mind. In his diaper with cloth “sunglasses” over his eyes under the lights, he looked like he was at the beach.

We minded, though, especially when they had to test his blood every six hours.

And then there’s the nursing. In the hospital, my ob/gyn said his wife called nursing “the second hardest thing you’ll ever do.” She was absolutely right. At this point, nursing takes two hands. The books I read when I was pregnant didn’t discuss what to do when his little arms are flailing between him and me, or how to get him to open his mouth wide enough to latch properly.

It’s important to feed babies every tow or three hours, even if it means waking them up. At night, thankfully, we can let him go four to five hours between feedings.

I now know it’s nearly impossible to intentionally wake a sleeping baby, though there are a million ways to do it accidentally.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The waiting game …

It’s hard to know that your life is going to completely change, but not know when. Will it be an hour? Tomorrow? Three days? A week?

To describe us as feeling antsy is an understatement. We've got lots of restless, nervous energy, but can't focus much.

I still hold onto the fear that I may not realize when labor begins. I know you’re thinking: How could you not notice? It’s supposed to be the worst pain ever. Well, during pregnancy you spend a great deal of time in pain. Your back hurts, pains shoot through your abdomen, bones separate and ache, and then there are the fake contractions (like the real ones, but irregular). The real contractions the doctors told me I have occasionally experienced don't seem to match the descriptions I've read in the baby books.

Here’s what I've been thinking every 20 minutes or so for the last week: is that a shooting pain or a contraction? How long ago was that last shooting pain? Should I write that down?

And now you’re probably thinking, ‘but you’ll know when your water breaks.’ That’s true, but labor starts with a water break in a small percentage of pregnancies.

Every conversation with our families starts with “I’m not in labor,” and I can only imagine how they feel every time the phone rings.

Today we had unexpected entertainment at the doctor’s office. Our highly energetic nurse pantomimed me experiencing my first real contraction and her encounter with other parts of labor’s early stages (I won’t gross you out by elaborating but trust me, it was bad). She also described her problems with yeast and generally had the attitude of a motivational speaker who had just gotten in the employee lounge doughnuts.

The consultation was encouraging and moderately alarming at once.

Luckily, I don’t think we have too much longer to wait. I took a quiz I found in the findingDulcinea Pregnancy Web Guide, called “Am I in labor?” And of course I’m not in labor, as I write this, but the results were encouraging. Of course, the quiz could be completely wrong, and my enthusiasm just wishful thinking.