One week ago right now, I was lying in a hospital bed, admiring my most marvelous newborn son. Our hospital stay was surprisingly decent for a crowded inner-city hospital, but we were all very happy to come home. Here's our status so far:
Alec: Right now, he's in the eat-sleep newborn cycle where he basically wakes up to eat and to object to the horrific state of his diaper (apparently he poops hydrochloric acid, given his vociferous reaction to it), then cuddles back down in our arms and goes back to sleep. He has the most amazing menagerie of animal noises when he's expressing his woe, with squeals that start out like a horse whinny and escalate up to pterodactyl shriek, and deep piggy grunts. I'm remembering some of the things I had forgotten about newborns, like the difficulty of diapering a violently kicking, crying little being without letting them get their feet in poo and stamping it all around.
He looks quite a bit like his sister did at that age. They have the same round cheeks, velvety dark hair (although he has quite a bit less than K did), Wolfman pelt of dark hair on his ears, shoulders and back and dark grey eyes. I expected K's to turn brown, but they surprised me by just turning a lighter grey. I'll be very interested to see what Alec's do. He has my father's nose and ears (or ear, I should say, since my father had mismatched ears and Alec's are mostly the same. But they're very much like one of Dad's ears). When I look at him, I see a lot of my father and brother.
Although he was nearly nine pounds, he was 95th percentile for height and only 75th for weight, so he isn't a fat baby yet. We started using the cloth diapers that were technically supposed to fit an 8 pound baby, but decided that since they went halfway up to his armpits and extended down to his knees that we should wait a couple weeks.
Me: I'm feeling pretty good, all things considered. Part of it is that they gave me much better drugs than I had last time - I was started out with a PCA pump of morphine and then given a nice combo of perc0cet and industrial-strength ibuprofen. As a result, I've felt much more mobile this time around. Things seem to be healing well, although the skin surrounding my incision has developed a nice case of cellulitis that earned me a round of antibiotics.
Breastfeeding got off to a rough start, which was starting to make me a bit neurotic and panicky, but tonight, the simple introduction of a nipple shield produced a lovely productive nursing session and a baby that has been sleeping contentedly for the past hour. Given that on Sunday, I was forced to switch to bottles because of a quite dehydrated baby who was refusing to latch, this is quite a relief. I don't feel like we'll be out of the woods until this becomes a consistent performance and he does well at his weight check on Thursday, but I'm a heck of a lot more hopeful.
K: is absolutely THRILLED with her baby brother. She loves holding him, and when I put her in bed with her last night while we read bedtime stories, she was in seventh heaven. On the downside, I found her in a pullup when I picked her up from preschool yesterday because she wanted to be like him (although she was still using the toilet, so I guess it doesn't really matter) and she spent part of today drinking milk out of a bottle.
She's definitely feeling pretty attached to me. Part of that is that she wasn't allowed to go see me in the hospital, which I felt just awful about. I agree that protecting tiny babies from swine flu is important, but every time I talked to K about what would happen when I went to the hospital, it ended with "And then you'll come see me and baby brother." Instead, she didn't get to see me for three days. I'm trying to make up for it by being as available as I can given that I'm often pinned under a baby. Thankfully, B's parents have been wonderful at distracting her with activities, bless them.
I'm sure life will get a lot harder as the extra help leaves and the honeymoon ends, but right now, life with a new baby is going pretty well.