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February 10, 2001
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago

Baby Time

Baby time is different than real world time.

Most of the last week's been spent in baby time. Feedings, diaper changes, burpings, exploring, sleeping, and just plain skin-on-skin contact soothing. Life reduced to essentials, and something to do with every minute. Especially since it takes about forty minutes to do a breastfeeding run and then another thirty to pump and feed him the results. He has everywhere from five to seven feedings a day, and, well, there's most of ones time.

There were a few forays into the real world in all this time, too.

Just the Monday after getting home we all went grocery shopping after we'd fed him a pumping. So Jet slept the whole trip and we had a merry time wandering about Safeway. For me it was a first, and I was feeling as newborn as he really was. I was still shuffling from the aches and pains and still not breathing really well from the cold. The cold was the worst thing for the longest time about the whole experience. That and the sleeplessness as I was stupid and had been jealously guarding John's sleep at night rather than taking into account any of my time to sleep.

Really, with two adults, they really have 48 hours between them. If we each took ten hours for sleep and ourselves, that leaves 28, and if 24 of them is spent watching the baby, there's still 4 hours of time. This isn't counting the fact that the baby sleeps too and it's possible to sleep while the baby's sleeping, even if we're watching him. The latter was something I wasn't quite sure I believed until I had proof, practice, and sleep debt deep enough to make it so that I had to sleep while he slept. The books all say to sleep while the baby sleeps, but it took a bit to figure out how.

It took us the week to figure it out. I was so glad we had it to ourselves. So many decisions to make and things to figure out.

We had Debbie over with dinner on Tuesday after an adventure to Costco that had already left me tired and coughing hard enough to cry. That's when I finally broke down and asked John to take night shift, too. He did just fine, and I finally slept enough to help with the cold a little. The cold was driving me insane by Wednesday and then Wednesday evening, the 'stool softeners' that the hospital had given me caught up with me and gave me gouting diarrhea. Not fun. I was really surprised by my body, though as it kept on producing milk for Jet in steadily increasing quantities.

The weather outside started producing snow. In steadily increasing quantities as well. And we planned the battle plan to get us to my massage appointment on Thursday morning.

Michele was flabbergasted to see me at her office. Most women do not get to her office barely a week after giving birth. Most women, it seems, don't even get out of the house for the first few weeks. Luckily, we'd had a number of people at work who'd given John and I a great example, and we had done our adventures wisely. And I got my massage while John and Jet got to run around Xilinx and surprise the heck out of everyone. They even walked into the system architecture meeting and Jet got put in front of the video conference camera to be shown to people around the world for the little while they were there. That was pretty cool. Everyone loved him and thought he was wonderful.

They all got another look at him on Saturday, when John and I dressed up and brought Jet with us to the Founders' Day party. It's Xilinx's yearly party, instead of a holiday party without any idea who celebrated what holiday, they have a Founders' Day party for everyone to go to, get cool prizes at and socialize. It was at an old manor that had been converted to a party space, and we spent our hour plus a bit down by the food instead of up where the loud music was. Jet slept through everything, being held by four different people (who had all washed their hands as we requested), the loud music, the announcement of the drawing prizes, and being held like a football by John through the party and everyone going "Oh! They have the baby with them!"

John was wearing his gold Zoot suit with burgundy silk and the great burgundy saddled shoes. Gold chain, black hat, and everything to go with. I started calling it his Big Daddy suit and everyone loved it. I matched with a forest green corduroy dress in that era's style from the J. Peterman binges I'd had a few years ago. Half a dozen people asked where we'd gotten the Zoot suit from and we handed out cards happily. It was a great hit with the baby in hand. I think the photographer wandered by and caught us several times as we seemed to be one of the more interesting couples to photo.

I was exhausted by the whole thing, but happy to have gone. My breathing cleared up with some of the exercise involved, and finally, I felt a bit like my cold might actually let up.

All in all Jet's been wonderful. He's protested, loudly, when something really bothered him, he's been quiet when content, and pretty much has figured out sleeping when he's eaten. So we've had the time to do a few things, and are getting gradually better about figuring out what's really necessary and what's not, including letting him settle himself down on occasion. It's been really nice.

An interesting side effect of always having something that I need to do for him is that I haven't been depressed for this entire period. Too much to do and too much needed of me and it's been surprisingly easy to be patient with him, even when he's been crying with gas for a few hours. It's obvious he's in pain. While there's not much I can do with some of his gas if it's deep in his system, simply soothing him has made it look like he's a little better able to get through the gas cramps. So that's been good. Everything I've been doing is needed and wanted and helps. That seems to be making all the difference.

I did cry in frustration Wednesday night at my cold, the stupid pills, and my whole body exploding all at once, but since then everything's gotten incrementally better with rest, food, and a little exercise. I even managed to get thirty minutes on the exercise bike today and felt much, much better afterwards. My right hand is still numb, so I'm staying off-line for a while. My body is gradually coming back to being my own, my belly's flattening, I've lost 20 pounds since Jet's birthday of the 23 I gained for the pregnancy, and I can eat full meals, breath full lungs of air, and have no heartburn anymore. I can have sweets without that awful taste in my mouth afterwards, and I can curl my knees up towards my chest again and put on my shoes without losing my balance. Those are really nice.

The only thing that made me a bit sad was getting into a bath the other night and finding that I missed the times when my belly moved by itself in the bath. On the other hand, my whole belly now *fits* under the water, which is a boon unto itself.

Tuesday Mom and Dad come, that should be something of an adventure in and of itself...

The great good thing is that John and Jet and I have set up our routines and we know what it is that we're going to do now, and how to do it and what the results are likely to be. We have a relationship going now that I'm very glad of. John's been great throughout, doing everything to help out to his full capabilities and with both our capabilities in focus, it likely isn't all that much of a wonder that we have managed to find time to sleep, get to things on time, and fit a company party under Jet's belt even before his actual due date.

The one interesting thing that's come out of all this is that I actually can now see why so many women would want to stay at home all the time just to take care of their kid. I'm greedy about my time with Jet, since so much of it is laden with the whole feeding work, the few hours I get with him awake and aware are precious. Even asleep, I can watch him for hours if I didn't have so much else to do and get ready for. It isn't that he needs it, it's that I'm greedy for my time with him. That surprises me a little, and I'm glad of it.

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