Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This Family Will Never Be The Same

Here we are. It's nearly the close of day two at home with our newest member of the family, Rory Elizabeth. So far, Lindsay and I have experienced a full range of emotions in just 48 hours. Rory is now 3 days old. In that 3 days, Lindsay and I have experienced happiness, worry, joy, frustration, fear, anxiety, a little anger, and a lot fulfilling satisfaction.

I will admit it. I wasn't quite ready for Rory to come into the world when she did. For some reason, Rory's birth just seemed so distant - even all the way up until Lindsay finally went into labor. This time, pregnancy just seemed to fly by. I remember with Michael, it seemed like forever for Lindsay to get to her second trimester, then the third, then each and every week that dragged on - each week slower than the last. Though time went by at the same pace it did with Michael, it felt like it was just last week that Lindsay came to me, tears in her eyes with a pretty smile on her face, and said "I'm pregnant again." Suddenly, we found ourselves in the labor and delivery ward of the hospital, and before I could think, there was a baby lying on Lindsay's chest. How did that happen so fast?

Well, if I didn't have time to get myself into the mentality that a new life was about to come into the world, I surely shaped up fast. Lindsay and Rory only spent the night in the hospital and it was now time to bring her home. Reality still hadn't quite sunken in yet. My mother brought Michael home and he was asleep. Lindsay took him into his room and quickly laid him down to finish out the nap he started in the car. Then Mom and sis were in the house oogling and googling at our baby girl. I had an engagement that I could have gotten out of, but figured I should attend since there were plenty of people at home with the new baby girl.

When I came home that evening, it was just Lindsay, me, Michael and our new baby Rory. Gone were the nurses and doctors. Gone were visitors, and in its place was the responsibility I have to be Rory's father. I'll admit, I was a bit overwhelmed, but I had a day to get back into the habit. You see, I was able to get a little lazy with Michael because he hasn't been completely helpless since July of last year. The kid has his routine down and knows what to expect on a daily basis; Michael is also a fantastic little boy.

The first night was a night of frustration. Lindsay was upset. Rory was up all night crying and we couldn't quite figure out why. Fortunately, I found a couple hours of sleep, but it really wasn't enough. I stayed up with Rory for a couple hours and did my best to comfort her while Lindsay took in some very much needed sleep. I couldn't feed her since Lindsay is breast feeding. The most I could do was rock her, console her, and make her feel comfortable.

Finally day came and Lindsay was awake (sort of) enough to go at it again with the feeding. Still, Rory didn't seem to be getting enough to drink even though she was feeding almost every half hour. Lindsay determined that due to Rory's very tiny size, she was having latching problems. There is no problem with supply. It was just getting that supply from Mommy to baby. Fortunately, Lindsay came out with this bag that had liquid similac bottle in them - two ounces per bottle. I dropped the contents of one bottle into our Dr. Browns bottles. When I put that bottle to the baby, she sucked it right down and immediately went to sleep. She didn't even give me a chance to burp her. I turned her over and gave her a few pats on the back for good measure, but instead of belching, she just laid there asleep and as content as could be. I gently placed her in the co-sleeper and watched her sleep in peace for nearly two hours. Last night was a lot better. Lindsay began pumping and we supplemented her supply with Similac as needed.

Lindsay had a 9am appointment with the Pediatrician, so I stayed home with my boy while Lindsay took Rory in. The doctor's report was that she was strong and healthy. Her reflexes were right on, and the doctor also noticed that her neck muscles were very strong for a girl her age. With a clean bill of health, Lindsay came home to a husband and not-so-baby boy that were waiting for her.

Today was a good day. Lindsay has been able to feed her baby girl with her own supply and I think we only needed a few ounces of the Similac to supplement. I feel a lot better because even I can hold a bottle and feed my daughter. It makes me feel a lot better as a dad since I can actually do something about my baby girl when she starts fussing and looking for that nipple to suckle on.

With the supply problem pretty much figured out, we were able to devote a lot more attention back to Michael. Part of the reason we were really frustrated, yesterday, was because Michael was not getting some of the attention that he needed and was doing anything he could to get it; that included doing things to make us mad. However, things were different today. Michael got his individual attention from each of us, and that made his day. He spent a lot more time looking to me for love and attention, even more so than he usually does. This made me feel good because I really love my son and I enjoy our time together. Michael didn't even protest when we had to divert attention from him to take care of his baby sister. That's good. We also found that tag-teaming on Rory and Michael was effective. When we changed Rory's diaper, Lindsay just changed Michael's too. When Michael started getting too rambunctious, I simply plopped him in his high chair and let him sit close by while I prepared dinner. He enjoyed that a lot more than I expected he would. I got him to say a new phrase today as well: "OH YEAH!" No, seriously, I said, "oh yeah" and he copied me. So we took turns saying it as obnoxious as we could to each other. Yeah, that's how Michael and I roll.

Some of the really extraordinary stuff was happening on the newborn front, however. Rory was asleep on the boppy pillow. Her head was facing her left. When I left the room and came back, her head was facing right. I asked Lindsay if she had moved her, to which she said no. Then I noticed Rory moving her head to get more comfortable. After an hour, I roused her for a diaper change; well, she was already stirring. When I had her on her back, she rolled over to her side - then to the other. If she only realized that her arm was in the way, she could roll right over onto her belly. Rory really likes to lay on her belly, which strikes me as odd because Michael hated it with a passion. He really hated tummy time. Rory, on the other hand, was all about it. Lindsay had her on her belly, propped up in the boppy pillow. There she was just laying there with her head up, looking around the room with her big blue eyes like it wasn't anything. Child, you're not supposed to be able to do that yet - not at 3 days old! Amazing!

Rory is our little tree frog. She lays on her belly with her legs tucked up under herself with her little butt sticking out. She even managed to push the boppy pillow out from underneath herself with her legs. She's a strong little girl. I have to hold her extra secure because, unlike Michael at that age, Rory will kick with her legs and feels like she's about to springboard off my arm across the room. That's something to get used to. I'm happy about it though. She is going to crawl sooner than Michael, I think. I think she's going to do a lot of things earlier, and it's not just because she will have Michael as an example; although I know that will play a part in it.

In any case, I'm hoping tonight goes as well as last night. Rory was such an angel today and Michael was just happy as can be being my little man. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. Ah, the joys and excitement of being a new dad all over again.



  1. That was a really beautiful and heartfelt post James. I am happy I got to read it and I am excited for you because you have a new baby girl. Keep up the good work and I hope you will continue to post on this blog from time to time as Rory grows.