Thursday, May 3, 2012

One week

We got home last Thursday, after a reasonably quiet hospital stay. Life at home with 3 children is remarkably calm for now, thanks to the heroism of B's parents, who do a fantastic job of keeping the older children occupied and relieve me of the need to worry about their physical needs, allowing me to spend my time on James's physical needs instead.

So how's it going?

Me: not too bad for a week post-surgery. I'm mostly off of narcotics. I'm still pretty tired and weak though, beyond just the tiredness of highly interrupted sleep. I spend a lot of the day on the couch, so it's easy to get illusions that I'm stronger than I actually am. Then today I walked up the stairs twice in relatively quick succession and later went out to Target, and was quickly relieved of any notion that I'm anywhere close to my normal energy levels.

I have all the normal lovely post-partum hormones, but one benefit of this being my third time around is I recognize them for what they are, which makes it easier to ignore them. That doesn't stop me from crying over a broken shoelace though.

Breastfeeding: I almost hesitate to say this, but I think it's going pretty well. We went through the usual first couple days of poor latching and frustration, then the discussion with the pediatrician over the large amount of weight the baby had lost. Like many things, I discovered that once you go through this with your third baby, it's all much less fraught. It also helped that with K and Alec, the problem was that my milk didn't come in until day 5, but by day 3, they were so frantically hungry they refused to try to latch any more. This time, my milk was actually coming in by day three, but James was having the worst time actually latching for any amount of time. So I suggested we try a nipple shield, got one from the lactation consultant, and had an entirely drama-free nursing session that ended with the baby falling off the breast like a swollen tick with a trail of milk drooling out of his mouth. And since then, I wouldn't say it's been easy, but we've been exclusively breastfeeding. He's producing plenty of wet diapers, lots of appropriately colored poop and had gained an impressive amount of weight at his first pediatrician appointment. The thing I could live without is his recent habit of spending ten minutes screaming into my nipple about how hungry he is before finally latching on and getting on with it. My best guess is that he's enraged over the fact that milk doesn't immediately squirt into his mouth the second his mouth gets near my nipple, which kind of sucks because it means I should delay introducing a bottle, since I don't want him to know there are easier ways to get milk. Of course, there's nothing that makes me feel more like handing him off for a bottle like trying to convince a crying, hungry baby to just latch on already, dammit. I know it will get better over time. It's just frustrating to make through to that point.

James: well, he's a newborn, which is to say that he pretty much eats and sleeps, with intermittent crying. He was 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and 21 inches, which is the 20th and 90th percentile for weight and height respectively. He is a long, skinny baby. When I heard his weight, I thought we would have to go out and buy some newborn size clothes, since all of our baby clothes start at 3 months due to our propensity for huge babies. But then I found out his length, and discovered that it doesn't really matter what size I put him in, he's going to swim in them. The only real difference is that in newborn clothes his wrists stick out too.

He has all four limbs, I swear.

At a week, he's already starting to have some alert periods when he's not also eating. He's also had a couple nights where he slept in some longer blocks. The six hours he did Sunday night wasn't as great as all that because he achieved it by cluster feeding until 2am. But Monday and Tuesday, he slept from 8:30 to 2, and then until 7, which is excellent for a newborn. Too bad I had stayed up until midnight waiting for him to wake up for one last meal before bed. I know far too well not to count on current performance guaranteeing future returns when it comes to newborn sleep, but I can even live with what he was doing before, which was eating every 2-3 hours during the day and 3-4 hours at night. It's a modest hope for that to continue, but hopefully realistic.

So to sum up: we're surviving, the baby is great and we'll see how things are going in a week when the grandparents leave.

Totally worth the chaos

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