Many visitors, surprising amounts of sleep, and schoolwork have kept me from finally getting a summary of what’s been going on posted. Below the jump, your first update on what life with two kids has been like in the home of the blogger.
It’s still a little hard for me to believe that the wife made it all the way to our scheduled c-section date. We were both quite convinced that the water would break early and we’d have to head in before May 17. But there we were, last Wednesday at 9:45 AM, her in her surgical gown and me in my bunny suit, ready to hit the ER. Things were definitely more laid back than last time, when after eight hours of laboring, the medical team rushed her into the ER to get the kid out quick. I had a decent sense of what was going on this time, and did my best to register the events around me. The extraction of child actually goes quite quickly: it was just six minutes after the first incision that our little C.’s head was pulled from her mother’s abdomen. That’s when the fun began. First, we were shocked by the full head of dark hair. Then, both our eyes bugged out (along with the medical team, who all work with S.) when we heard “7-8” called out for the weight. Almost a pound bigger than her sister at birth! We were both expecting something in the ballpark of seven even. As the surgery continued (I did my best not to look in that direction, but this time I heard more details than I cared to) S. became nauseous and had trouble breathing. Both were side effects of the spinal block. Unfortunately, the breathing problem persisted and we spent over an hour in a recovery room with S. on an oxygen mask. Fortunately, it was just the anesthetic and not something more serious.
With the hard part done, we settled in to bonding with out newest daughter. I was ready for fatherhood the first time, but it was definitely a learning-as-I-went process. This time, however, I jumped right in. While S. was recovering, I got to hold C. for most of her first two hours. Where I sat motionless with M., afraid I’d drop her or hurt her, I walked around with C., rocking her and talking to her openly. It took me awhile to get over the self-consciousness of talking to an infant when others can hear you two summers ago. Not this time. Poor C. got an earful about all the things we’re going to do together, how fun her big sister is, and so on. Our first night went about as well as we could have hoped. C. had a couple three hour stretches that allowed us to sleep. The next two nights, I brought M. home so she could sleep in her own bed, but I can’t say I had the best nights of sleep I’ve ever had. They were both the kind of sleep where I was out as soon as I hit the pillow and then suddenly it was 7:00 and Meg was chattering over the monitor. Oh, and that glass of Irish whiskey I had Thursday night? About three sips felt like an entire bottle. So much for fine liquor on limited sleep.
Saturday I brought my girls home. S., after getting through the initial breathing issues and getting onto her pain meds regimen, was doing fine. C. continued to eat well, loaded up her diapers with a vigor her sister didn’t discover for some time, and otherwise was a sweet, quiet little thing. She left the hospital at 7 lbs, 5 oz. where her sister left down almost a full pound at 5 lbs. 11 oz. While C. eats well when S. feeds her, this time we’ve not been afraid to supplement early and often with formula. Both S. and I agreed it’s not worth a screaming child to satisfy the views of people who aren’t in our family regarding breast feeding. We continue to balance the two, and it seems much less stressful on both mom and daughter than what we went through two years ago.
My initial assessment was that C., other than her hair, looked a lot like her big sister. I’m beginning to revise that view. Last night, I started noticing more and more elements of her mother in her face. Where Meg and I have more deep-set eyes, C. and S.’s eyes seem more prominent. The girls have, at this point, different chins. C. does seem to have my lips and nose, though. Her eyes are the classic newborn dark blue shade that Meg also had for her first 4-5 months. A big difference, however, is in C.’s appendages. Her fingers and toes and feet all seem to be much longer than Meg’s at the same age. Enhancing that variance is the fact C.’s feet slipped when they took the impression of them, making them look about two inches longer than they really are. Still, they’re long, so perhaps she has a chance to be a tall one. It’s hard to read personalities much at this stage, since newborns don’t really do much, after all. But she does seem amazingly laid back and pleasant. She gets a little fussy after she eats, and really gets angry when her diaper comes off. But other than those times, she enjoys just hanging out on her mom, dad, grandparents and aunts or in her bouncy seat.
All parents worry about how the older kids will react to newborns. Meg has done pretty well. She has some melt-downs each day, but it’s tough to know if they’re induced by the presence of a new kid or just a function of Meg’s age. We’ve been trying to include her in activities like feeding and dressing the baby, which she seems to enjoy. S. has preached a program of calm, kind, and consistent with Meg to help her get through these strange times. Dad needs to work on the calm part a little, as his tolerance for whining is even shorter than usual these days! Meg actually enjoys it when C. is crying. It makes her laugh. That could make for some interesting “encounters” if it continues as the girls get older. Fortunately for all in our house, Meg is still sleeping 11-12 hours at night and taking a good nap each day. If she suddenly reverted to waking up early and not napping, we would really be struggling. Best of all, anytime she sees a binky, which C. has not taken much interest in so far, she says, “Baby binky,” and has made no moves to pop it into her own mouth. Her sister’s name? “BabyC..” One word.
We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of help from family so far. The in-laws watched M. the first day and night, then again on Friday so I could get back to class. Two sisters-in-law came to town last weekend, and another comes into town today. Extra hands always help.
A couple funny stories from the hospital. First, during the surgery, after the baby was out, I tried to listen into what the physician and nurses were talking about while they were closing S. up. I didn’t catch the entire conversation, but it was something about building fences in backyards. Of course. What else are you going to talk about during major abdominal surgery? Later, S. told me that when the anesthesiologist told her the nausea was a result of her “innards” being put back into place, she thought of the Family Guy line when Stewie sees Lois acting like a bad ass and says, “Ooooh! Looks like someone wore their ovaries on the outside today!” I’ve promised to say that during the section if we do this a third time. Finally, in the next room from ours was an Asian family that we later learned were keeping things real, as far as people in their home country do (I’m guessing they were Japanese, but Carmel has a decent sized Korean population too, so I’ll go with the generic Asian to avoid a bigger faux pas), and made the nursing staff do everything other than feed the kid. Friday morning, as I was leaving for Bloomington, S. pushed C. down to the nursery so she could take a shower and whatnot. We had just left our room when the Asian couple came walking towards us, semi-frantically. First, the husband leaned in close to C.. I thought he was just admiring the most beautiful baby born in Carmel since July 2004, so I smiled and thrust my chest out a bit. Then, I noticed the wife got in close, too. I repeated my proud papa act. When they got a few feet away, S. whispered, “Did you hear what he said?” “No.” “He said, ‘Is this mine?’!” I guess it was the dark hair that threw him off. Keep in mind, S. was wearing the same new-mom gown that the other mom was wearing. It’s not like she was in scrubs or something. I hate to criticize the parenting methods of others, but if you can’t tell your kid from someone else’s, you might want to reevaluate the amount of time you’ve spent with the kid.
I know there’s much, much more I should be sharing, but hopefully that will tide you over for now. Keep checking the picture page and the Baby C. album. I’ll be adding photos regularly over the next few weeks, until we get sick of snapping one every 30 seconds.