The New Reality

 

Keira is just over a week old now, and the euphoria of her birth has worn off. Though I am still amazed that she is Megan’s and my baby, we’re also well aware now that we have a baby to take care of, full-time.

That first night, it was cute seeing her sleep, andwe were ready and excited to jump at the chance to respond to her and help her when she woke up and cried. Boy did that get old quickly. Now, it’s just a part of being a parent to a newborn, I guess.

I had watched a Baby Blues cartoon a while back where the couple, Daryl and Wanda, had all these ideals about how they were going to raise Zoe, their first child. Megan and I had the same intentions for Keira. But we, like probably every new parent out there, learned quite quickly that this wasn’t supposed to be the case.

Thankfully, one of those night happened while we were still at the hospital. We were still in our “ideal” stage, where we felt Keira would only be breastfed and would not have to rely on a pacifier. Well, after the first few diapers changes where Keira really filled hers up, she went dry for most of the day. Megan had been doing well in training Keira to breastfeed, and so we thought all the other things would fall into place. With her having had the Caesarian section, though, her breast milk was supposedly going to take longer to come in.

But we stuck with the breastfeeding, and Keira, for the most part, kept drinking in the colostrum and/or milk, as far as we knew. But she didn’t pee or poop into her diaper all day, and she started getting irritable, as well as possibly dehydrated. We refused to use a pacifier but ended up relying on putting our pinkies in her mouth to pacify her, constantly. And we could tell that her mouth was really dry.

But we hoped that this somehow would pass, that she magically would just cry herself to asleep if we waited it out long enough and dealt with her crying, which went from a cute soft cry to loud, lung-searing burts of wailing. Just when we thought she’d calm down, about a minute later she’d start fussing, and work herself into a frenzy again. This went on repeatedly and we were at wit’s end, getting desperate. Now we felt like crying too.

I knew things were getting bad when talk of a pacifier was not about “calming her down” but “shutting her up.” We finally called a nurse, who brought one over, and suggested some formula too, as a supplement since Megan’s milk hadn’t come in yet.

That changed things in a hurry. Keira took to a pacifier quickly, sucked up the formula, and calmed down a lot. The nurse even offered to care for Keira back in the nursery so we could get some rest, but we declined for a bit, as we felt like doing so would be a cop-out. Also, we were supposed to bring Keira home the next day, so we needed to cram in the experience fast!

And we were scared about being on our own with her. But after seeing how much more calm Keira was with the pacifier and formula, we felt like we had a few more tools to work with. And our way of thinking had changed too. Gone are the ideals of how we’ll take care of and raise her; now it’s more or less a matter of survival for us, and we would use all the different tools and tactics available as needed.

And my sister Barb, who has three young kids of her own, reassured me that Keira would be OK with this. After all, she said, our plan of a natural childbirth had gone out the door with the C-section, and we still ended up with a beautiful little girl. Things will work out with taking care of her at home as well.

I think that our meltdown with Keira at the hospital was a blessing in disguise, because it helped us prepare mentally for the kinds of situations we’ll be facing with Keira. If everything had gone smoothly while at the hospital, we’d have gotten very scared and desperate the first time Keira cried uncontrollably at home.

She’s gone that route a few times now since we’ve come home with her. And Megan and I have since settled in to life at home with little baby Keira–well, as settled as you can get with a newborn, which isn’t much.

But we’re not scared of the challenges we’ll face. At least they should be coming slowly so we can adjust and prepare as needed.

Then again, people have told me the time will fly by, and in a lot of ways it already feels like they’re right.

We’ll roll with it.

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~ by davidllee on March 2, 2010.

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