The first five days

12Aug08
Ironically, these are devices for improving your babys healthcare.

Ironically, these are devices for assuring your baby's health.

It’s incredibly tempting to give you the minute details of the first five days of my son’s life. It’s been incredible. Words of description lag by miles behind the joy. I’ve seen my wife as never before. I’ve seen myself as never before. In the shining grey pools of Buster’s eyes, I’ve seen promise, destiny, and legacy all at once. I’ve found my meaning.

But it is my meaning, and it is my family’s intensely intimate experience. And I’m going to selfishly hold it as close to my chest as possible.

In writing this post, I’m also reminding myself that this blog is not about my family as much as it is about helping you with yours. And I’m supposed to amuse you. So here’s some stuff I learned since Buster busted loose.

Billy Rubin is not an actual person messing with your baby. Bilirubin is related to jaundice, a very typical occurrence, but one that requires the hospital to monitor its levels carefully in the first few days. Billy Rubin is a producer who pulls on his pants one leg at a time and then makes gold records.

Nurses are powered by astounding levels of sugar and saturated fat. Maybe it’s because of the crazy hours, or living around the stress of panicked patients and arrogant doctors, or just a tremendous amount of denial, but a lot of those nurses are very overweight. I’m not judging – in fact, I’m telling you this is a good thing for you. You can use the baked goods section of your local supermarket as a means to better healthcare. The dozen donuts I brought in for the first morning instantly changed the willingness of certain people to go the extra mile for us and by the third treat, the staff was eating out of my hand. Especially if I wasn’t paying attention while holding a muffin. Trust me – bring sweets.

There is no such thing as pumping “in style.” For some odd reason, the most popular breast pump on the market is named the “Pump In Style” by Medela. When I walked in to the hospital room for the first time to see my wife hooked up double barrel-style to a machine pulling liquid from her body through plastic funnels, “stylish” was not the word that first sprung forth. Maybe the marketing folks thought by putting the pump in a bag that doesn’t look like a carrier for a missile control box from Spies Like Us, it becomes stylish. Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing to witness. Breast pumping is just not.

Your friends will indeed surprise you in their levels of reaction and support. MakesMeHoller was right. Most of our friends were as awesome as expected. But some were just totally weird and either ignored my announcement completely or sent bizarre responses. With one friend I found myself dragging out a response until I realized I just needed to let it go. One extended family member wrote back only, “That’s a nice name.” Couldn’t muster a “congrats.” On the other hand, some people with whom I didn’t previously feel as close went out of their way to send touching messages and offers of support.

You will lose all sense of time and space while looking at your baby. In a few cases I think as many as 30 minutes passed while I was just staring at Buster. You’ll be fascinated by every facial expression your kid manages. Make sure you repeat aloud to yourself the reason your wife sent you into the nursery until you have completed your assignment. The lack of sleep combined with the irresistible urge to stare will render you useless without such tactics.

You will be willing to punch out an elderly lady to get your kid to stop screaming. It’s pretty freaky to me that the mere sound of your baby crying will cause milk to drip from your wife’s breasts. But I am also pretty sure that the baby’s cries have equally strong effects on Dads. When I’m locked in on Buster trying to quickly swaddle him and he gets upset, I can’t hear anything else in the whole world. In the first few days I think I batted about .200 in swaddling – one success for every five tries. I’m up to about .750, but that drops down to like .150 when the kid is crying. Overall, I think I would platoon myself and only put myself in the lineup against lefties in domes.

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6 Responses to “The first five days”

  1. 1 jnbammer

    It is amazing how time flies when holding a new baby. Good to hang onto that feeling because they will test you later. During those times, I try to remember those first few days and smile.

  2. Breast pumps resemble airhorns.

    (Useless commentary from the uninitiated and thoroughly overawed.)

  3. 3 starrbuckdaddy

    I agree with all of your sentiments. Since my boy is only two days older than yours, taking him home was a moment I wish I could do everyday.

    My wife also pumps and it looks like it hurts, but she says it doesn’t. She has the same Pump in Style pumper (is that the correct term? Sounds dirty…) it doesn’t scream style to me either.

    I look forward to reading more!

  4. 9.5 Weeks and I can finally experience the things you talk about. I am not only excited but nervous over that changes that will take place. Its nice to read what you have been through to ease my worries and get a heads up on what to expect.

    DaddyKV

  5. Ahhh, swaddling is an art form. When we were in the hospital the nurses would wrap LG (little girl) like a burrito in about 6 seconds flat. While I’m not that good (yet) I am the swaddle master of my domain. My wife prefers the velcro ones (Swaddle Me) and I think they work just fine too.


  1. 1 I weakly gesture toward something I already did « dad or bust

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