Friday, July 17, 2009

langley at one month

dear little boognish,

sunday you turned four weeks old. four weeks! that’s a whole month that your father and i managed to keep you alive, even with a rabid pit bull in the house! who’d have thunk it!? when we first brought you home, i don’t think there was a second that passed that we didn’t think, “holy shit. we can have all the degrees in the world, but we really should have been given a manual of some sort for this kind of thing. why were we allowed to just prance out of a hospital with nearly seven pounds of TERRIFYING RESPONSIBILITY??” the last time we walked out of anywhere with seven pounds of responsibility it was aiko, and she was in a freaking shopping cart. i don’t think the nurses would have looked kindly upon that kind of exit for you.

one of your first nights in the house, your dad asked if i had been setting the alarm clock to wake up and feed you. i said no, i woke up when i heard you on the monitor and got up to take care of you. he looked at me like i was the most amazing thing he’d ever seen and told me i was a great mom. granted, he was about 95% asleep at the time, but i take all the compliments i can get these days.

another night, i woke up to feed you and tapped your dad to ask him to get you and bring you to me. he stood up, leaned over and started moving his hands around the bed. i asked him what he was doing. “i’m looking for the baby!” i told him you were in your crib in your room. “i know!” okay, then what are you doing, i asked again. “i’m petting malichai!” i tell him i need him to go get you and bring you to me so i can feed you. “i know! i just wanted to pick malichai up and give him to you to hold for awhile!” i found it quite hilarious that your obviously still asleep father thought that i might like to hold a 65-pound dog while i waited for my baby to be brought into the room. i’m just glad i didn’t wake up one night to find him trying to attach a pit bull to my breast. that would have been awkward for all of us.

after a few days, you were getting yellower and yellower, and at your first doctor’s appointment the friday after you were born, we were told to take you to the hospital for a bilirubin test to see if you needed any kind of treatment. the doc said we should be worried about a number any higher than 15 and you came back at 27, which meant we needed to have you admitted to the hospital right that minute and get you hooked up to IV fluids and under some bili lights. this was not enjoyable for any of us. we took you upstairs and the nurses tried to insert an IV in your arm, and you were a little champ. you didn’t even cry except when the tourniquet was wrapped around your bicep. they tried a few times, but they couldn’t get it to work with your tiny little veins, so eventually they had to put the IV in your head. your head! i was doing pretty well until about the third time they tried to stick the IV in your arm, but by the time they were putting it in your head, i reached freak-out level and had to walk away to keep from beating up the nurses for something they couldn’t control.
once the IV was in, they put you in your little cart under the blue lights with these crazy goggles on your face, and i have to tell you, you were so stinkin’ cute under there that i could barely even cry about it.
i didn’t completely lose my cool until i was told that you would have to remain under the lights at all times until your levels came down, which meant i wouldn’t be able to breastfeed you as i had been doing exclusively to that point, and one of the nurses said it would be likely that we would be spending father’s day - that upcoming sunday - at the hospital. i felt horrible.

we were given a room to stay in so we could be with you whenever possible, and eventually we were allowed to help feed you by syringe, which is supposed to keep nipple confusion at bay for breastfed babies. your dad got to feed you for the first time, so that was nice for him, but i felt like a complete failure as a mother, and i just missed being able to hold you and look at your little face and feed you myself. i kept crying and crying, and your dad kept telling me you were going to be okay, but i really wasn’t worried about that. i knew you were going to be fine, even though the doc told us we might have to airlift you to phoenix for a transfusion. yes, it sounded scary, but i never thought it would be necessary...i don’t know why. i just knew you would be okay. in the meantime, though, i missed you so much i couldn’t be consoled. we were able to sit with you as much as we wanted, but looking at you through plastic wasn’t enough to make me feel better.

the next day, your level was coming down, and i was allowed to have you out of your light box for 30 minutes to feed you. i cried the whole time the first time i got to hold you again. we asked for your level to be checked again late that night, and we were told you would be able to come home sunday, so that night, your dad and i celebrated with a little illegal wine in the hospital room. the next day, we gave your dad his father’s day cards before we took you home. poor guy, spending his first father’s day morning in the hospital with his little yellow baby. you looked much better though, and when we took you home, for some reason we both felt like we were allowed to do more with you. that sounds weird, but up until that point, we were probably a little overly careful with you. i guess being released from the hospital a second time made us think we couldn’t possibly break you.
you should know that the whole time you were back in the hospital, the dogs were lost without you. your dad and i took turns running home to take care of them and take showers and whatnot, and every time, the dogs ran around the house looking for you. when we would leave, they would run to your crib and peek through the bars, wondering if maybe you were in there and they were supposed to keep an eye on you while we were gone. when we brought you back home, i swear we could almost hear them breathe a collective sigh of relief.

since our little jaundice scare, we’ve had to start supplementing your diet with formula, which makes me feel a bit like a failure again, but you’re gaining so much weight and looking so much healthier that i just don’t care. at your one-month checkup wednesday, you weighed in at eight pounds and you were already 21 ¾ inches long! you’ve been able to lift your head up quite a bit almost since the day you were born, and you’ve got a grip on you that is absolutely incredible. we’re constantly amazed at how strong you are. your little eyes are focusing better, and i think you might start getting confused as to why your parents don’t look more like all your brothers and sisters, who try to be in your line of vision as much as possible. one day you’ll be told by someone that those things are just your dogs, but you’ll know better - they’re your protectors and your biggest fans, and they’ll beat the crap out of anyone who says otherwise.

you’re about to start fussing in the other room, and i have to figure out how to deal with that and get dressed to go to court, even though all i want to do is hang out around the house with you all day, maybe do a little tummy time, maybe take part in a little spit-up marathon. it’s a rough life we’ve got, eh?