Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gas is on the Rise

Things with the new boy are progressing fairly normally. In three and a half weeks he has gained over 2 pounds and weighed in yesterday at over 10 pounds. He doesn't look fattened, but his cheeks are very squishy and his mom say his fingers have gotten fatter. He still has the skinny baby legs and arms, so I guess most of the weight must be in his head.

He already can move his head around and hold it up pretty well. He still smacks his face into my shoulder when I hold him, which of course causes his to cry. This morning mommy noticed how baby Jack has started trying to roll over, and he can at least get onto his side a bit. She had him in his bassinet so she could shower and noticed it was lopsided when she got out (it rocks and wasn't locked in a prone position). Jack rolled a little to one side, since he can, and made it tilt.

He sleeps pretty well during the day and seems to always be hungry. When he wakes he doesn't really cry to announce his hunger; it's more of a yell. A lot of times I think his hunger determines his mood: If he's not satisfied he will scream through diaper changes, baths, or other attention. When his belly is full he's a real treat to be around, especially when he's still awake and wide-eyed. Problem for me is, he takes SO long to eat and it seems to take so much for him to get satiated. I feel like he's overfeeding and we're on our way to having a very large (obese) boy. On top of that, I have a paranoia that giving him formula is like making him drink soda, though I know it's silly (kind of).

In the evenings, however, especially after like 9PM, Jack starts to get fussy to the point that feeding and changing him doesn't calm him down like it does earlier in the day. Apparently the gas inside him builds up and he finally needs to pass it, which gives him fits. When we told the pediatrician about his behavior (loose stool, crying/screaming) he gave his diagnosis: the dreaded COLIC. My wife knew this was my biggest fear (is there a small fear?), a colic-y child, especially after I told her how I read so much about its challenges. At least for now it's not too bad, only occurring in the evening, but it's right before bed time. During the day he feeds and falls asleep pretty easily, and stays asleep. At night he feeds then yells for a while before either needing to be changed and fed again, or eventually falls asleep after midnight. He sleeps for a couple hours before needing more attention, then repeats this a few hours later.

Last night we gave him an anti-diarrhea medicine which seemed to do the trick (I guess we will see before/after the next time). We tried Mylicon but it didn't seem to take all that well, though we know people who swear by it. I wish there was something more natural to help him, but at this point it's about him and us getting some comfortable sleep. Again, it could be (or might get) worse, and his colic could strike during the daytime too. We know this will subside eventually but also know it won't be easy going until then.

It's been very frustrating for me since I read all about this and learned how to help him cope, but when it came time to act my education seemed to fail, at least so far. Swaddling is nice, but he's gotten strong enough to squirm an arm out during his gassy fussing. The "shushing" in his ear has not worked at all. Holding him on his stomach only makes him madder. We have not tried white noise, but since he does get to sleep eventually, I only think it would just be noise for noise's sake.

Apparently I need to be patient, and attend to his needs as best as possible. Getting frustrated doesn't help anyone (mommy especially). It's not Jack's fault he ended up this way, so I'm definitely not mad at him. I admit I was really concerned/worried/dreading about having a colic baby, but now I have one and will still have to love him the way he is, maybe more even...

P.S. Please excuse the blurry quality of the photo. It was taken with my Smartphone on 2/22/09.

Friday, February 6, 2009

He Arrives

On Sunday, February 1st, at 10:09AM Mommy and Daddy in Waiting welcomed Jackson Race into the big, wide world. We knew he was coming around that time due to elective Cesarean Section. The fear from my wife was Jackson might be too big, any induction could be harmful to the baby and end in c-section anyway, or there may be shoulder dystotia in the boy and he could suffer a broken shoulder or worse. So my wife elected to deliver that way, and it ended up being a decent decision, as Jack had a loose knot in his umbilical cord. He must have jumped through it early on in the pregnancy but thankfully it never tightened. The nurses commented, however, that it easily could have gotten tighter during a vaginal delivery.

Anyway, he's here and, yes, life has surely changed. It's been five days but I'm still in disbelief, like I'm watching a movie of someone else's life. He's so tiny, making seem almost unreal, but hearing him breathe and seeing him stretch, etc., makes it hit home every time that this is the big dance now. I pictured this time of my life for months but now that it's finally here, I'm still in awe.

He's a bit fussy, which makes me feel he is definitely MY child, but each day that has passed has make me enjoy him more and get to know his tendencies better. Like almost any baby, he's surely no fan of getting his diaper changed, but the venom in his cries and screams during the changes really threw me off in the early going. I'm feeling pretty comfortable changing him, especially after NEVER changing a baby ever before, but Jack makes it sound like he's in real agony. This really freaked me out but the nurses and doctor haven't found any reason to believe his behavior is any concern. "He's a screamer" has been the answer. So now I make sure to have the changing table prepared to cut down the time he's "wide open."

The things we didn't want to do, like using a pacifier and supplementing his breast-milk diet with formula, has been invaluable so far. Once the wife gets her body used to his needs and can really get the milk flowing, we didn't see any other way around the formula needs. Our doctor approved so we did what we felt was the right thing, at least for now. The pacifier first became necessary during the boy's circumcision, which was sort of a late decision. I can't easily tell you how I came to the decision of getting the procedure done but I stomached it. The nurse gave Jackson a pacifier with sugar water to calm him, and it had a good effect. I told my wife that if I had seen the procedure prior to making the decision, I probably would have gone the other way. I wasn't disgusted but it just really seemed unnecessary. Oh well, he can replace it when he gets older if he wants...

But along with "screamer" our boy's also gotten tagged with the label of "sucker," hence our continued use of the pacifier. We knew he couldn't use my wife's nipples to pacify whenever he wanted so we gave it a try with some success. He hasn't lost his early ability to latch, so we're pleased, and we try our best to limit the pacifier use.

In later posts, now that the "in-waiting" tag of my blog sub-head is no longer necessary, I'd like to explore my feelings about this new chapter of our lives. I've found myself being much more affectionate towards the boy than I thought I would, and surprisingly comfortable with him in my arms. I can't get over how easily my wife has taken to motherhood, though I've known she would be since we got married. She's already able to multi-task effortlessly. Sometimes I feel I'm not doing enough when stacked up against her efforts in breastfeeding the boy. So I try and help out by making sure she has water to drink, changing Jack's diapers every chance I get, keeping the changing table ready to go, cooking meals, and other household chores. Last night I went to the store for some dinner items and ended up getting 10 times as many items on my list, just so we'd have things to eat that we'd both enjoy (Ben & Jerry's FroYo, e.g.). I still won't feel I'm doing enough compared to what she's gone through over the past nine months, and especially over the last few days but I hope I'm building a good foundation to build upon a strong fatherhood and marriage.