Now I Get It

Ah, now I understand why people say things take longer when you have kids. I thought I'd get the photos up by now, but as it turns out, I've discovered higher priorities to take care of during William's naps.

Like opening the mail we haven't so much as glanced at since April 9th. Reviewing our checking account to see if I've paid the bills for which we've received cut-off notices (fortunately, yes, checks just missed statement date). We've got to make the call to our insurance company to add a dependent to our policy (oh, and by the way, he's already spent over a week in intensive care. . .). I suspect that we'll actually be able to claim our medical deduction on our taxes in 2009, since we've already blown through the 3% of AGI limitation unless I make a substantial amount trading. Another statement I don't even want to look at, I haven't checked the market in over a week.

I guess that's all not so much about having kids, but particular to having a kid in the hospital for over a week.

I really only have about 20-30 minutes worth of taking care of William per three-hour cycle, since Terry is very actively involved in parenting and all I really have to do is feed the boy. So in theory, I've got 2.5 hours free out of every 3 hours. But now that my body is used to just lying in bed (it's about time I got to rest!!), I exhaust myself if I have to go up and down stairs. So if it's not within easy reach of the bed, I prefer to wait for Terry to get it for me. And I've got a major case of "mommy brain". I'm in a total fog. I've even got to wear one of those little bracelets to remind myself what breast to feed William from (I forgot a few times, got engorged, and became highly motivated to remember correctly from then on). And I fall asleep a lot, the whole "sleep when the baby sleeps" thing is convenient. Since if I don't nap, I find myself falling asleep when the baby eats, and that can be problematic. And if I'm not sleeping, I'm eating. The ravenous hunger persists (I was also really hungry all last week, but it was a nuisance to eat often since I couldn't have food at Will's bedside). And I've discovered I can knock back a full liter of water during a commercial break, not feel bloated at all, and still be thirsty again in a half hour (not that I've been watching TV since I've been home, but HGTV was usually on in the lactation room of the NICU, where we could drink water).

Terry, however, is as productive as ever. Despite the fact that he, too, now takes naps during the day (he never did that before). But he's doing laundry, straightening up, bringing me meals, drinks, reading to William, and taking care of all but the 5am diaper-changes/potty training.

The potty training is actually working out fairly well. William is already responding to our cues (we started cuing him when he was in the hospital) and Terry's got him going in his pot some of the time. I'm not going to worry about getting him over a pot myself until I'm more mobile and can move faster without soreness. We've been using cloth diapers since Sunday, but Terry doesn't have enough experience to change them quickly and William gets fussy when changes take a long time, so we've decided he'll use disposables sometimes. I haven't had a problem with the speed of cloth diaper changes, so I'll probably stick with them. I'm not changing the diaper often anyway, as I mentioned.

We're still trying to combine attachment parenting with elimination communication and baby-whisperer strategies to come up with something that suits us. We like attachment parenting, sort-of, but it seems to us to put the baby too much in control. But while we do want William to get into a routine, we're fortunate that we're not bound by a rigid schedule, so we don't really have to be strict about it. Where the techniques are downright incompatible is overnight. But only until William gets older and can sleep through the night. At that point, the different strategies can coexist. Now, we're winging it. Just like all other new parents.

One of the good things to result from William's long initial hospital stay is that neither Terry nor I feel particularly overwhelmed by taking care of the baby. It's MUCH easier here at home than taking care of him when he was attached to all the wires and tubes. There, it was a production just to hand him from one person to the other, there was so much cord-management required we'd sometimes need a third person to hold the cords so they wouldn't pull out of him as we moved him. Once breastfeeding began, though, those leads were popping off all the time. I just couldn't manage getting him into position without touching his chest and setting off annoying beeping alarms. And just going to sleep after the 11pm feed is much easier than driving 30 minutes home and going to bed. I had to wake up during the night to pump while he was in the hospital, and had to use the special NICU bottles and labels etc, which took a lot longer than it does to breastfeed him during the night now that we're home. Yeah, relatively, it's a piece of cake to take care of him now. I know we're in the "honeymoon" period where he sleeps a lot, and things will change when he's awake more, but for now, I'm pretty happy with our family routine.