“You have to be careful with babies. They hurt easily.” This was Kevin’s advice to Nemo’s father Marlin in “Finding Nemo.” And now he is telling Dave and I to be careful with our new baby boy Ryan.
Prior to Ryan’s birth day, I was getting pretty tired of being pregnant. Ryan was a mover and a shaker. Between his karate moves and my acid reflux, I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep for a couple months, so I was “naturally prepared” for the sleepless nights of a newborn. Because Kevin’s birth necessitated a c-section, the doctor recommended I plan for the same with this baby. I actually had a very easy time with my first c-section – it goes fast, recovery was easy, and it fits with my “I’m a planner” personality. So, I hadn’t given the c-section much thought.
We arrived at Good Samaritan Hospital at 9:30am on 9/30 after dropping Kevin off at preschool and visiting Noah’s so Dave could eat breakfast. I was immediately hooked up to all kinds of monitors, got blood taken, and got an IV. (Side note: At this point, Dave informs me Kevin is tougher than I, since he was able to watch the needles when he had blood taken. I had to crank my neck the other way so I couldn’t watch.)
Dave put on his clean room suit, hat, and booties. This is when I got really nervous. Dave had video-taped my last c-section, down to the gory detail – lots of blood, organs, scissors, smoke, etc. I was much calmer the first time when I had no idea what to expect and what they were doing to me “down there below the curtain.”
This time, I knew it was major surgery. The anesthesiologist had a difficult time finding the right spot when Kevin was born, so that step took several minutes longer than necessary and was rather painful. This time, the spot was found on the first try (~11:45) and things moved quickly after that (Ryan was born 12:02).
Dave was responsible for announcing “boy” or “girl” when Ryan came out squealing. The nurse then took Ryan away for the initial newborn checks and Dave followed. That left me on the operating table with the doctors sewing 7 layers of my body back together. The nurses counted sponges and tools and made sure nothing was left inside. They transferred me to another table and wheeled me out to meet my new baby. It is all quite surreal, enhanced by the fact that you cannot feel anything from the ribcage down for a couple hours.
The first several hours with a new baby is quite fun. You have lots of help from the nurses and doctors, everyone is all smiles. With so many friends on Facebook, it was easy to share the news. And with free wireless in the hospital, it was easy to email pictures. Not long after, reality sets in and the c-section healing starts and the tiredness sets in. I encouraged Dave to sleep at home instead of at the hospital – to be rested and to lessen the number of times Kevin had to be hauled around. I put Ryan in the hospital nursery from midnight till 6, giving me a chance to sleep. The first night in the hospital was dismal. I was still unable to walk, had an IV, a catheter, and some silly compression socks that whirled, buzzed, and tightened around my feet every 15 seconds. (FYI, these socks supposedly reduce the chances of blood clots from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000. Seems like my chances were low anyway, I would have gambled if I had a choice.) I laid on my back all night, shockingly still, afraid something would fall out when it wasn’t supposed to. So, no sleep that night. The next two nights were tube-free + Benedryl + Ryan in nursery = 6 hours of solid sleep for Heather. Then we came home. Turns out, Ryan is a great sleeper during the daytime. Since he was in the nursery at night, I didn’t get to witness his late night party behavior (interestingly enough, he held the same schedule in the womb). Our first night at home was a tough one. He was awake a good portion of the night – grumbling, whining, crying, and wanting food (but thankfully no serious screaming). So, the tiredness is definitely here, for both Dave and I. And when I’m tired, I’m completely irrational. I started crying today because I couldn’t get my apple through the apple-slicer. Yeeesh.
Oh, and here is the coolest thing! The moms of Kevin’s preschool classmates have scheduled to bring us dinner each night for several days. We’ve only known these women for a few weeks – I’m touched by their generosity and hope to return the favor. Last night, we had eggplant lasagna, bean soup, and French bread. Yum.
Kevin is taking this all in pretty good stride. He visited the hospital just a few times for a few minutes. Here he is giving the hospital breastpump a whirl.
He is a pretty flexible kid, we’ve learned over the last 2 years. All in all, he’s very nice to Ryan – interested in his little fingers and toes, combing his non-existent hair, noting he has no teeth to bite a pretzel, saying ‘good morning’ and ‘good night.’ But there was plenty of crying from Kevin that first day home – frustrations over things seemingly unrelated to new baby. Our rockstar babysitter Dena, has cared for Kevin several times recently with her 6-month old baby in tow. This has given Kevin great exposure to babies who need gentle handling and can’t ride a tricycle or wave hello. My parents are willing to help out quite a bit by taking Kevin, picking him up from preschool, taking him to garage sales, you name it. He loves this time with my parents and is fully engaged and happy when with them.
Little Ryan is faring well. He is a moderate eater, albeit slow. We are trying to keep him awake during the day (hoping for sleep at night). He doesn’t seem so interested in Kevin’s matchbox cars or Finding Nemo, but he does seem to notice the ceiling lights and our big sunny windows.