So today is Sebastian’s one-month birthday. I can’t believe it’s been that long, it’s gone by in a blur. Although there are some very early mornings when sunset and sunrise seem to run together and it feels like it’s been quite a long time. But here he is, a month old … he’s still little, probably just over 7 pounds now. He’s on the verge of being too big for his preemie diapers, I think.
Observations and things I’ve learned in the past month (in no particular order):
• I’ve been impressively attentive in some areas and embarrassingly negligent in others.
• I now wear between 3 and 5 different shirts per day, everyday.
• Watching him be born is something I’ll never forget.
• Michelle can make him smile by tickling his cheek with her hair. It’s pure bliss.
• Our moms seem to have magic dust in their fingers the way they can get him to fall asleep.
• I have become horrible at calling/emailing people back. Sorry about that.
• When he figures out he’s hungry or has a dirty diaper at 2am, he patiently waits for us to wake from our sleep, wipe the cobwebs away, and calmly tend to his needs while he quietly entertains himself with cute little coos and ahhs. OR he goes from zero to 95 in a heartbeat while we fall out of bed and stumble for the lights with our hearts racing, and he doesn’t stop until he gets whatever he wants. Believe whichever story makes you happier.
• Breast feeding has been so much more difficult than we’ve ever imagined, thanks to a horribly painful thrush infection. Yeast be damned.
• Diapers and formula are REALLY expensive. Once he’s bigger, we’re going to switch, at least in part, to cloth and/or “G” diapers, which will require more work, but should save money and the planet earth.
• I’m pretty sure he enjoys peeing on me.
• Health insurance companies have no heart whatsoever.
• Hospitals are great. Nurses and doctors are wonderful. But despite what they say, our best interests are not at the top of their list. They have their protocol and there’s no amount of reasoning or pleading I could have done that would have convinced them NOT to keep our son from us for the first ten hours of his life, all because his breathing was 2-3 breaths too many per minute for them to allow him be with his mommy. Sure, they admitted that this fast breathing was absolutely no danger to him and that the magic number was 70 and they couldn’t let him leave the nursery if it was even one breath above that. Sure, they could have EASILY monitored him in our room so that Michelle could breast feed him early in his life to create that bond in the crucial first 8 hours that you can’t get back. They could have let that happen instead of starving him and causing him to get jaundiced because they wouldn’t let him eat for the first 10 hours until he was so weak he couldn’t latch on, forcing us to supplement him with formula. The nurse told me flat out to my face that she did not care whether he breastfed or not, she wasn’t letting him leave because she wasn’t allowed to let him leave until that digital readout said it was below 70. And he had to read below 70 two consecutive times … and they only checked him every 30 minutes, which again could have EASILY been done in our room. Would it make sense that being taken out of your mother after nine months and taken across the hospital to a strange white room and placed by yourself naked in a pan and left there alone for hours instead of being cuddled by your mom and dad might make your breathing elevate a point or two? No sir, rules is rules.
• Nicole, our doula, was indispensable. I have no doubt that God specifically led us to her after other doula(s) didn’t work out. I can’t imagine doing this again without her.
• Navigating the families and trying to make everyone happy has been a stress we didn’t anticipate.
• He looks so much like Michelle when she was a baby, it’s ridunkulous. Awesome.
• We have terrific friends and wonderful parents.
• We’ve tried to somewhat limit his exposure to people and places thus far … after about another two weeks or so, he’ll have the doc’s go-ahead and then we can feel more comfortable taking him around crowds. At the pediatrician’s recommendation, we go to restaurants with him sometimes now when there’s no one else there. Did you know that if a baby gets a fever before a certain age that it’s VERY bad and they have to spend a few days in the hospital and, among other things, get a spinal tap? How come? Not really sure, but we’ve had several doctors tell us that.
• Going back to work when you’d rather be at home with your wife and brand new baby just plain sucks.
• Yes, photos are coming very, very soon.
• The past month has been more difficult than I could have ever imagined. But at the same time I can’t believe we’re really parents, and that just makes me happy. Since he’s been born I’ve pretty much been floating between feeling completely desperate like I don’t know how in the world I can be strong enough to pull this off, and feeling so happy and blissful that I could just explode in a field of butterflies and daisies. Or unicorns and glitter. Either way, I’ve cried a lot.
• I could list lots more. But I need to wrap this up, I have work to do and a baby to get home to see.
I can’t believe it’s been a month since the 40 hours of labor came to an end. Insane. And I know time will only speed up as he gets older. I love him. I love Michelle. I know I’m supposed to be her rock, but she’s totally been mine. I hope i can pull myself together and be the dad I want him to have.