So we are home, it is Monday at around 11:30 AM, and we have had our first night alone with the baby. It was not so bad as we expected, although he made diaper-stew 3 times between 1 AM and 7 AM. Where does all that stuff come from?
We got OK sleep though, and the baby did not die so all in all it was a successful night and we are fairly confident that we can keep him in a non-dead state.
All in all the whole experience has been a lot easier than I thought it would be! I particularly liked the c-section, although I know Johanna would have rather had 48 hours of pain for some reason. I like how it was all scheduled. I think a c-section is a pretty male approach to birth, it appeals to my sense of order. “You have a baby in you? Well hand me that x-acto knife, the big one, and let’s see what he looks like!”
Up until we made the c-section appointment, though, it was a very feminine sort of pregnancy, which is the way it should be I suppose. We had a midwife (who was really great actually), you may have read about our adventures in Santa Cruz lady-acupuncture complete with singing, and we haven’t even told you all about the birth classes we had to take. “Back in the olden days, all the ladies would get together and sing when they had birth pain! It was very super for a lady! These modern doctors and their modern ways, they must be coming from Mars or something!” I had a lot of practice in keeping my big mouth shut and being supportive while waves of annoyance washed over me.
So when we went in to see the OB who was doing the surgery last Tuesday he had a very appealing way about him that I appreciated. We asked him if we needed a “birth plan,” which is one of those things that every one of the squintillion birthing-books we have says is absolutely essential, and he says “Birth plan? What birth plan? Here’s the birth plan: we cut your belly open and take out the baby. That’s your birth plan.” I confess I like a bit of medical confidence, after we had the acupuncture we asked the midwife if that stuff had ever worked for her and she said “No, I’ve never seen it work, but some people think it does so I thought we might give it a shot.” That is OK I suppose, but I think you will agree that it lacks a little bit of the “do this to fix that” approach to medicine that I prefer.
So in any case, that is pretty much how it went – we went to the hospital, the doctors cut her belly open and pulled out the baby. As Johanna mentions, seeing him come out a little bit blue was scary; we’d both just read a New Yorker article about the advances in obstetric medicine over the last century and I remember the huge wave of fear that washed over me while reading about babies coming out blue. It was probably the first time that I had a real sense of what it must feel like to be responsible for a little life that you have only partial control over.
That day was pretty uneventful really, to be honest the whole weekend was a lot easier than I had anticipated. The baby slept almost the whole day, I trucked him back and forth between Johanna and the nursery about a hundred times, and Johanna and I observed that he was cute more than once. Johanna was very successful breastfeeding which was an immense relief, because that is another thing that we had been reading could be really hard. Here too was another divide between the male and the female way of doing things, though; the first few times I helped with the “latch-on”, and basically how I do it is I grab the back of the baby’s head, wait for him to cry, then shove his face into the boob with alacrity. I thought it worked pretty well but later we moved from that to the gently wipe the baby’s lips with the nipple approach, which works pretty good too I suppose. In any case, Leo has grown accustomed to snacking on Johanna and I think we are in good shape on that front.
The next couple of days were more of the same; look at the baby, marvel at his powers of cute (every time I took him back to the nursery, I inspected the other babies, and I think I can confidently tell you that, objectively speaking, the cuteness of our baby surpassed by a wide margin the cuteness of all the other babies), feed the baby, try and get that horrendously sticky and vile substance that he excreted off of his butt while trying to keep his feet out of it, getting peed on (twice so far), and just in general having a good time.
Then we went home, and here we are. It is better to be home than in the hospital, we all watched TV together as a family last night, and it was fun. Johanna is healing up nicely and has no trouble moving around, and the baby is still sleeping a lot. He has also started crying when he is hungry, which is a big relief because we have been a little worried about keeping to a feeding schedule during the nights if he didn’t make his desires known. I suppose in retrospect that that was a silly worry to have.
Well, that’s it! I guess we will probably have to change the subtitle of our blog now since his relationship with Johanna has become more symbiotic than parasitical at this point. Also, thanks to everyone that visited us in the hospital and bought us baby presents! Now we get to start using all that stuff.