Monday, June 9, 2008
We're trying, with some success, to forget the whole hospital ordeal and move on. Thanks so much to those who commented - I can't tell you how good it felt to get reassurance from you that what happened really WAS fucked, and we weren't just psychotic crunchy people with a grudge against western medicine.
Anyway, it helps that Evan is so goddamned perfect it hurts. She sleeps, she eats, and she is awake, wide-eyed and mesmerized by light filtering through the tree leaves. She smiled yesterday -- her first true, eyes to mouth smile -- at the dog. She loves to float in a sink full of warm water, as long as she's got a two-handed, iron-clad grip on the finger of a larger, sturdier individual. She is instantly rendered unconscious, even in the midst of a full-blown hiccup attack, with a head massage. She tolerates kisses with a look of mild disgust.
As fucked-up as her arrival was, our 1 Great Triumph was that she never had one drop of formula. E pumped every three hours starting the morning after her birth, and her milk came in on day 3, which I consider a minor miracle due to the circumstances of her delivery. Evan was bottle-fed breast milk at the hospital, and once she got home she transitioned to breast-feeding within a week. Her diminutive stature and narcoleptic behavior made it difficult at first, but an extremely strict lactation consultant with many small plastic instruments and a bubbling cauldron turned things around, and then they were off and running.
Some minor bumps along the way:
1. Choking at every feeding. We realized that E's boobs were functioning like beer bongs, forcing milk down the poor baby's throat at a speed alarming to a newborn. E made some adjustments (switch sides every 2 feedings) and things have improved. She still chokes at the first feeding on the new side...any advice on how to prevent that? I've experienced few things as heartbreaking as listening to my tiny, hungry infant splutter and gasp for air. Although her milk-bong induced coma is sort of hysterical.
2. Excessive, at times scary, projectile spitting up. I'm embarrassed to admit that there were a few times in which I felt afraid of my baby. Note to new parents: don't prop up your baby and stare at her in the middle of the night in a darkened room. Babies look kind of creepy in dim light, and when their eyes suddenly cross and white liquid shoots out of their mouth, jesus christo, who wouldn't say a little prayer?
Anyway, we spent a couple of days worrying that she had reflux, so we called our lactation consultant who laughed and pointed her finger at us and laughed some more. You'd know if your baby had reflux, she said, cryptically. Just prop her up when you feed her, and don't bother me with such nonsense in the future, fools, for I am busy ensuring the babies of the world Gain Weight and Thrive, and frankly your baby's thighs are much too large for that preemie diaper she's wearing.
8 pounds, 2 ounces on her due date. I could not be more proud of E. She set about the breastfeeding thing with steely-eyed, lock-jawed determination and lucky for all of us her body cooperated and Evan is totally thriving.
And you know what? Since the day I met her, the longest this baby has cried is the time it takes to stuff a pre-fold diaper into a cover. Slap the diaper on, pick her up, and girlfriend's like, waa- what up, gangster? What was I crying about?
I don't presume that things will stay so easy forever...but it's hard not to feel like we lucked the fuck out with this one.