Life As Is

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Sunday, February 13, 2005
  Mode Shifting : Some weeks are more exciting than others. This has been an exciting one.

First off... my new kid is a-do-rable(*) scroll down and look at that picture. Do you see his little hands how they are placed just so? So, yeah. He seems so tiny but everyone that's around babies a lot tells us he's a big boy.

I updated Thursday's post--which served as an informal birth announcement--with the official birth stats. People like to get those. Go check them out.

Now that I've hung out with him for a while I can also tell you some things about his personality. Two words: long and loose. Our first baby was compact and more fragile. This one is limber and strong. He can hold up his head well, and he has extended arms like a basketball player. He doesn't like being swaddled up in a blanket either, more of a lounging fellow. Stretched out with room to move. Kris says that's how he was on the inside, too, only there wasn't much room to move (which explains the bruised ribcage).

The first three days of his life passed by worry-free; sleeping, coo-ing, cah-ing. Major family bonding time. Sawyer hovered around paying much attention to his new little brother.

On Thursday Adrian was admitted to Meriter Hospital. It was a very difficult day. Medically, there wasn't that much wrong with him. He had excess bilirubin (red-blood-cell by-product) in his system, and, because of the bili-backlog, his baby-sized liver couldn't do all the work that was being asked of it. They put him under a bank of low-intensity UV lights for about 24 hours beginning on Thursday afternoon.(**) I had a very hard time with it. Kris and I were there the whole time, but we couldn't pick him up when he wanted to be held. The feeling of helplessness was enough to trigger thoughts of how hard it would be if something ever really went wrong. We kept having to remind ourselves: "There is nothing wrong!" And it was true, there wasn't. But we had no frame of reference... I was just glad to get home.

They gave us a UV blanket(***) to wrap around him, which we did, as he slept peacefully over the weekend.

Since then it has been an around-the-clock teamwork effort. Check out this routine: Every two hours the alarm goes off, Kris nurses him, pumps out whatever is left, and then we force-feed him the milk that was just pumped. That's my job. By the time it's done, there's little time for sleeping before the alarm goes off again. We also have to build in time for changing him, adjusting his UV-blanket-thingy, and pausing to admire his adorable cuteness.

Why in the world, you ask, would we force feed our baby boy (who is not lacking in chub, as you can see in the pictures above)? Short answer: flush out his system so we don't have to go back to the hospital for any more fun in the sun. And, how (apart from very carefully) does one force-feed a long and loose, one-week-old, bouncing baby boy? The main ingredients are milk, a pinky finger, and a syringe. And perserverance. Also, if you want to do it well, read up on Pavlov.

That's the time we've been having. I feel really close to Kris. She and I went through that routine together for 48 hours straight. It was a no-questions-asked, let's-just-do-this kind of thing. The best part is that Adrian is doing exceptionally well. This afternoon, as we were closing the book on the routine and the whole bilirubin episode, one of our nurse-midwives, Mary, came over to our house. She is an expert in all things lactatious and has been working closely with us for the past few days. Today she triumphantly weighed him: 9 lbs 8 oz! He's excelling in his growth!

Good boy. You're not such a rebel after all.

It's been an exciting week.

*You perfectionists out there, and anyone who enjoys reading aloud, may appreciate knowing the author's intended pronunciation: This kid is ah doh rob lay. Four syllables. Try it again. FYI--these are the kind of tips that will all eventually be compiled in a single volume, the companion guide to *Life As Is.* Take each page as it comes.

** The lights converted the bilirubin into a form that he could process (read: expel) at a rapid rate.

*** Cheesy trademarked name: The Bili-Blanket. There is a private company on Park Street that contracts out with the hospital to supply them as needed. The guy was nice enough but he grew miffed when I made him wait while I read every piece of paper he wanted me to sign. My behavior made more sense to him after I explained that I was a law student.
He is soo cute, it makes me want to go for #4...
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