In my last post I discussed the birth of my son. In short, it took a long time and was really gross, but both my wife and I were happy with the end result. Now I am going to discuss what happened when I officially became a parent. Like last time, I will start off by saying that everyone who helped us at the hospital was great, and by no means should anything I say be taken as a slight against the hospital or its staff.
Once the little guy came out I was suddenly very aware of how many other people in the room. There was me and my wife (obviously), the doctor who delivered our baby, another doctor watching our baby be delivered, two nurses (one encouraging Sarah to push, another… doing something I can’t remember), and four people from the critical care unit… or was it intensive care? My memory is already failing me. Anyway, when my son was born he was immediately carried over to the critical (or intensive) care people so they could suck the poop out of his mouth and nose before he took a big breath (that’s a thing, apparently). While they cleaned him up, Sarah and I just looked at him. I was already enthralled, and I’m sure my wife was too. That, and exhausted. After a few moments they offered him to me. I was incredibly nervous. I walked around my wife and the doctors that were tending to her, and made my way over to him (careful not to look at what the doctors were doing… I know there are some things you can’t unsee). As I held him for the first time, I was amazed by how alert he was. His eyes were open and clear, and he seemed to be giving me the “shifty eyes”. My first thought was that my son was evil, but then he peed on me, which made me realize he’s just a practical joker.
I walked him back around the doctors who were tending to my wife (still careful not to look at what they were doing) and took extra care not to slip on any of the fluids that were all over the floor (yup… that’s a thing you have to worry about). I held him for a few moments and then passed him over to his mom, which was awkward because she was still lying on her back. Even so, she still managed to hold him for a few minutes.
When they were done with Sarah and baby, we got a chance to relax by ourselves (with the exception of the nurse assigned to us) in the birthing room before heading to the “Mother-Baby Unit”. After moving to the new unit, I realized we were spoiled in the birthing room. The birthing room was private and I had a place to sleep. No such luck in our new room. The recovery room was semi-private and there was nowhere for yours truly to sleep. For the first night, we shared the room with another couple with a newborn (who will forever have parents who don’t seem to get along and a father with a face tattoo… poor kid). Luckily on the first night we had a nurse who didn’t mind bending the rules as I got to sleep on a gurney mat on the floor next to Sarah. What amazed us was how quiet our son was. Even with another baby in the room screaming (which was all the time), our guy barely made a peep. It was actually a bit of a relief on the second night when our son woke up screaming. It was nice to know that if he was hungry, he’d let us know.
What wasn’t nice was that on the second day our little bundle of joy wasn’t eating enough, which resulted in him having low blood sugar. This meant the pediatrician and the nurses wanted him to stay in the hospital for another day. This sucked because it meant we’d have to stay an extra day in the hospital, and, more importantly, I believed I had already failed as a parent. How could I have done so poorly that my son already had a medical problem? As it turned out the solution was as simple as supplementing his meals with formula, but for a moment I really thought I was the worst parent ever. What I learned from this experience is that breast feeding doesn’t exactly come naturally to babies. I mean, they know that they are hungry and they know that they need to suck to eat, but they don’t necessary know that they need to keep sucking in order to get food from their mom who isn’t producing a ton of milk (or as I also learned, milk-like substance… because women don’t automatically start producing what the average joe would consider milk). In fact, there were two different “lactation consultants” who gave Sarah advice on how to feed our baby and how to produce more milk. Who knew such a position existed?
Our stay was pretty uneventful after that. Our poor little guy had to undergo regular tests to check his blood sugar levels, but in the end he was fine. I didn’t get the gurney mat the second night, so I tried to sleep in a chair. When that failed, Sarah and I tried to share her bed, which was moderately more successful than the chair, but still terrible. The next day I went home to grab a camping mat to sleep on the third night. It wasn’t as good as the gurney mat, but way better than the chair.
We were finally able to bring our son home on a Wednesday. For those of you keeping track, we checked into the hospital on a Friday, which means we spent a total of 5 nights in the hospital. It was a long time, but totally worth it. I was thrilled to give our little guy a tour of his home. He is a big fan of my Funko Pop Vinyl Figures. I know this because it was the only part of the tour he didn’t sleep through.
So that’s how it all went down. It was a long process (especially for my wife), but I don’t think we would change anything. Except for the fact that our son likes to sleep during the day and be awake all night. I really wish we could change that.