February 23, 2017 by 8junebugs
Dear Alexander —
Whoa! Where did that month go?!
Little bird, your birth story is much less complicated than your big brother’s and definitely influenced how this month has gone, so let me start with that:
You were a scheduled c-section! There’s still a lot of controversy in 2017 about how people have babies, so let me cut to the chase: This was the best choice for us, and for you. I waited until I was 8 months pregnant to let the doctor schedule it (she saw this coming from the pregnancy test); even then, I was willing to cancel it if you showed any intention of coming out on your own.
Once we were in the hospital and they were monitoring you and hearing that you hadn’t budged from my right side in about 6 weeks, everyone was pretty sure we chose correctly. Your brother got stuck in my right hip before they went in after him; judging from your position, you were headed in the same direction.
(Should you grow to have daughters of your own, and should they follow in my footsteps and your late grandmother’s, and should conspiracy theories about the rise in c-sections still be at a dull roar if they choose to have children, know this: Genetics are the reason behind the rise in c-sections. In ye olden days, more women died giving birth. C-sections allowed women who would’ve died in childbirth to live and to pass their genes on to their daughters, who were also medically able to have babies and live to care for them. Major surgery ain’t fun and it was never my first choice, but holy cats, kid, it beats the alternative.)
We also went into your birth with the advantage of a decent night of sleep (relatively speaking) and some advance planning that held up when you didn’t come on your own — Grandpa was able to be here to take care of Gray and meet you from the start, which was a blessing we’ll talk about when you’re older. I have fantastic pictures of you with him and lots of other people!
I do not yet have a decent shot of us as a family. The photography racket that did the in-hospital pictures when Gray was born nor longer operates at Alta Bates. Which is a good thing, but it does mean we don’t have the same sort of heartstring-tugging video of your first day or three.
You will likely hear about this for the rest of your life, buddy, because I’ve told everyone in the world: You were born napping. Dr. Foley opened me up and looked for you, and the next thing I heard was, “Oh, were you asleep? Oh, I’m sorry little guy!” And then every woman in the room — which is to say, everyone but your father and the anesthesiologist — cooed their welcomes to you.
You were born at 9:11 a.m. and both of us cried. Truth be told, the previous nine months had been so busy and not a little stressful that I hadn’t realized how anxious I was to finally meet you.
When Gray was born, the policy was to give the non-birthing parent skin-to-skin contact while sewing up the mother. This time around, less than four years later, you got to stay with me, on my chest, tucked into a little tube top sort of garment, while they put everything back where they’d found it (I hope). That was more amazing than it sounds. I could just stare and stare at you while you snoozed — after remarkably little fuss while they did just the bare minimum of cleanup, you went right back to sleep.
The recovery room was a preview of what was to come. You slept and I recovered quickly. We were up in our room before lunchtime.
As with your brother, I could see your tongue tie immediately, although I couldn’t tell then that it was actually more severe. The difference this time was that we knew what to do; instead of asking for help, we asked for a nipple shield, and you were able to nurse right away. Being able to eat and therefore being more willing to sleep made such a huge impact, dude — from the start, everything went a little more smoothly for you. Daddy and I took turns holding you and cooing about how lovely you were, but honestly, we were also at a loss for something to do. With Gray we were surrounded by nurses and lactation consultants, and with you…well, you slept. When you tried to eat, you could. And then you slept again.
Dr. Ahsan was ready to let us go after two nights. We sent Daddy home and spent a third night there on our own. This may have been a misstep on my part, as that’s when you started to wake more and demand more. Whoopsie. We figured it out.
From the moment he met you, Grayson has been your biggest fan. He loves to boop your nose and sing to you — “Alexander Babyton. My name is Alexander Babyton. There’s a million poops I haven’t done, but just you wait. Just you wait.” He says you’re his best friend and he loves you, and he can be talked into almost anything if the reward is doing something with you.
You had your tongue tie clipped before you were a week old. It was so severe that the doctor who planned to do it stepped back and waited for one of the surgeons. You were pissed off about the first attempt, but when the surgeon actually made the cut? Not a peep. You’re in the middle of your first cold, courtesy of Gray’s preschool, and you’ve already had a little extra erythromycin for a clogged or infected tear duct.
Even so, you’ve been smiling and trying to hold up your head since the first week of your life. You are a good-natured cuddler who snoozes on the regular and does not like to be in a bouncy seat when everyone else is at the table. You sleep better swaddled than not, and better still if we leave your right arm out. We’ve switched co-sleepers to help you stay on your back, and now that you’re congested and a bit gassy, it helps with that, too.
You love eating and stretching and sleeping and following your giant big brother around with your eyes. You’re pretty okay with most other things, too, except for the snotsucker, but that’s just good sense.
Basically, Alex? You’re pretty fantastic and we’re so glad you’re ours.