It's one of those things that opens the floodgates to memories, gratitude, shamelessness, sleeplessness, grouchiness, "holy-crap! This-is-hard!ness," awesomeness, and blissfulness . . . . among other things.
Jacob Doc Peton literally popped into this world at 3:30 pm on October 20th, 2011. He was 6 lbs 10 oz - right on par with a Peton baby. Seriously, I counted them, three and one half pushes and he was here. It was a fast labor. All of mine have been pretty fast, but this one takes first prize.
You know those mandrake plants on Harry Potter with the squished up faces and if you hear their screams, you will faint or die? Little Jakie looked like a mandrake for the first 48 hours of his life. I have a way better picture, but it has a bit too much of my leg in it, so I won't be showing that one. But this picture gives you some idea.
One of my favorite parts. I loved looking at their faces when they came in the room to meet their baby brother for the first time.
How are we holding up? Pretty good, I'd say. We've been having our feeding issues, which we fully expected because it's just how things work with me and babies and boobies.
I feel like I have to explain myself, so I will. I don't adjust smoothly to new babies and the first 6 weeks or so. I've learned that about myself over the course of the last 14 years and now 4 babies, so I feel as if I've entered this new phase with a healthy attitude about my limits and parameters. It's so liberating and refreshing. But I guess it kind of offends some people. Weird, I know.
First of all, until you've had a sick baby spend a week at Primary Children's Hospital and held her through the night, not knowing if she would make it, please understand our reluctance to have many visitors. Kate had some struggles and spent two bouts in a hospital because of something as simple as a cold. Neal and I decided to get the word out that we don't want any visitors for 6 weeks, especially at the hospital. I understand that some may be offended or feel slighted because of that, but I'm really sorry. We're doing what we feel is best for our family. I won't judge the cabbage-covered-boobie ladies, because we all do what we think is best for our kids and our own mental health (more on cabbage boobies later).
Secondly, feeding is not natural at our house. My babies are small and have little tolerance for weight loss. Three of them have also had jaundice. Jake especially. Let me share with you my experience in feeding all 4 of my kids. . . . . .
*alert ----- you are entering a "too much information" zone. Enter at your own risk.*
I've never been successful with breast feeding. But I should be given an A for effort, that's for sure. Little jaundice babies are sleepy. Sleepy = lazy. Lazy = poor suckers. Poor suckers = no food. No food = littler babies. Littler babies = how the hell do I handle a ginormous engorged boob? Engorgement = pain. Pain + cracked, bleeding nibbles = this sucks. Really. My dang nibbles aren't normal, either. In fact, they are opposite of normal. So bad, that the nurses all say, "Wow. You have a bad case." Thanks.
I spent some time at the lactation clinic at the hospital, which is great, by the way. Super nice nurses with great advice. I, however, drew the line at the suggestion to put cabbage leaves over my breasts to ease the engorgement. It sounded like a halloween costume gone terribly awry. Or an idea straight from Vermont. Anyway, the nurses all kept saying, "Wow. You have a bad case."
Speaking of the nursing support group, yes, it was a room full of boobs. I walked right in and wow. I saw many different shapes and sizes and colors. Big boobs, little boobs, brown boobs, black boobs, white boobs, lesbian boobs. I saw them all, I think. And they saw mine (oh man, I just cursed my blog for google search results).
I had yet to try a pump. I have a terrible relationship with pumps. Terrible. They don't work on me. The just skin my nibbles and add extra iron to the milk in the form of blood. I've been known to speak in hyperbole at times, but in this case, I am not exaggerating. Just ask my husband and mom and sisters. Actually, don't ask Neal about my nibbles. He would turn red and be terribly awkward. But, the nurses talked me into trying the pump again. Big mistake. I'm ruined.
I've been hand-expressing (true self-expression, by the way. I didn't have to get a tattoo or nose ring or anything like that). So, between letting Jacob "practice" his suck skills, with the added barrier of a nibble shield, feeding him a bottle, changing his diaper and clothes (because he pees through every outfit every time he pees), and then hand expressing, that's 2 hours. Then, it's time to start all over an hour later. Only the nurses told me I needed to feed him every 2 hours, which would mean all I would be doing is sitting in the rocking chair, bruising my breasts (they're bruised by now), and feeding a baby. Possible? Yes. Has it been done before? I'm sure it has been. Practical? No. Oh, and did I mention I have 3 other kids I have to take care of?
We decided to cut our losses and as of this morning, little baby boy is going to be raised on formula, just like his big sisters. Which means I can start smoking and drinking again! Kidding, lest I be judged.
So. . . . . this ordeal I've gone through with every one of my kids means I sit around topless for hours at a time. I don't need the added worry of the doorbell ringing and someone wanting to visit. It stresses me out, I'm sorry. Really, I am.
And, lest I forget to add, it's wonderful to bring a new little person into our family. There is something so peaceful about bringing a new baby home. I love it. Even when I'm so tired in the middle of the night, trying to figure out how the heck his pee shot so far, I still can't help but smile and get all goose-bumpy with love for him.
Welcome to our home, Jacob Doc!