Friday, April 02, 2004

Emily's first days

It should be no surprise that I've had more important things to do over the past week than play on the Internet. Emily is an all-consuming project. She's doing great, though, as is Misty.

Mom and Emily

We spent five days in the hospital after the c-section, so we didn't come home until Sunday afternoon. Staying in the hospital had its ups and downs. It was nice to have nurses to look after Emily for a few hours at night if she started a tantrum (which she did every night) so that we could get some sleep. Having a slew of people around to answer questions and quell our nervousness was comforting.

On the other hand, people walked into the room constantly. There were family and friends visiting, nurses checking on Misty, nurses checking on Emily, nurses bringing pain medication, nurses performing blood tests, nurses performing hearing tests, nursing interns, Misty's OB-GYN, Emily's pediatrician, dietary service, housekeeping, the hospital photographer, lactation consultants, and a woman conducting a survey about the housekeeping. My favorite was when the director of nursing stopped by and disturbed us to apologize for the phone disturbing us. Apparently, a page listing our room's phone number had gone out from the nursing desk to all the doctors on call. We got several confusing calls within a few minutes.

When it finally came time to leave, we had mixed emotions. We were happy to be getting out of there to the comfort of our own home, but we were frightened at the prospect of suddenly being on our own. It was real then.

For the first couple nights at home, Emily screeched for several hours instead of sleeping. The first night we didn't get her to sleep until 3:30 a.m., and the second night's episode drug on until 7:37 a.m. We were fast becoming flustered. It wasn't so much the lack of sleep — we could always nap during the day when Emily did — it was that there seemed to be no comforting her. She wasn't hungry, she didn't need changing, and she wasn't interested in being rocked to sleep. She just screamed. We knew there was nothing wrong with her, but it was terrifying nonetheless. When your baby is screaming, you want nothing more than for whatever it is that's bothering her to cease. I have decided that the most beautiful sound in the world is the moment your baby stops crying. Not only is everything OK, but it's finally quiet, too.

Misty's mom came and stayed with us Tuesday and Wednesday night. The idea was that we'd have someone to help us in the middle of the night when Emily threw her fit of fuss. And wouldn't you know it? She slept though the night both days, waking up only when she needed her diaper changed.

Buttons and Mango meet Emily

The shih tzu duo have had mixed reactions to the baby's arrival. Buttons is enamored with her. She wants to be wherever the baby is and is constantly trying to sniff her and lick her. Mango is less enthusiastic about Emily. She's held the office of baby for a few years now, yet suddenly this new baby has staged a coup. She's behaving very well around Emily, but you can tell that she's a bit sad.

In all, being a parent is a wonderful experience, though it's exhausting. I've gotten six or seven hours of sleep each night over the past few nights, and I've taken a nap or two each day, but I still feel like I could conk out at any moment. With the exception of Emily's occasional unconsolable screaming fits, parenting has been fun and surprisingly easy. I had been worried that I'd never really held an infant or changed a diaper or anything like that, but with Emily I just did it, and it came naturally.

I love being a dad.

Dad and Emily

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