The last week has been pretty crazy, to say the least. I'm utterly in love with this new little man in my life, although I have to say the crying thing really isn't my cup of tea. What are my cup of tea are all the other little noises, the twitches, the bemused looks. When he lies staring at me while I rub his feet.
Gabriel is a boob demon, and while we're not trying to establish patterns just yet, we're noting down when he feeds (mostly to check he's getting enough and that Nic gets some rest when she can). Today he fed twice overnight, and is now heading up for his "every hour and a half" routine that he has been in the last couple of days.
I'm a lot more relaxed than I thought I'd be, and even (dare I say it) less tired. Nic is still pretty exhausted, but she's slowly learning to sleep when he sleeps and snatch the occasional 30 minutes or so when I can keep him occupied when he's awake. It's a learning game for everyone, I guess.
We both had a moment a few days ago - myself on Wednesday, Nic on Thursday - where we were sleeping with him in our arms and fell asleep ourselves, to wake up to a soundly sleeping baby. Both of us instantly went into panic mode - "Oh my god, the baby isn't breathing" - And then realised that actually, he was just fine - super snug, in fact. I think that's the first step down the road of not being terrified that he's going to die every waking moment. Hopefully we can continue down that road as he gets older!
The start of the last week was just hideous. Nic's labour was long, ended in an episiotomy and a nasty tear and a forcep delivery when we'd hoped for (but not explicitly demanded!) a c-section after the first few hours proved a very labourious (if you'll pardon the pun) exercise. I have a feeling that Royal Essex County were running at, and possibly well past, capacity on the day Gabe was born, as the moment he was born pretty much everyone vanished from the room, and we were basically left to our selves for the next day.
When we did finally move downstairs to the post-natal ward, instead of the private room we'd been promised the day earlier we ended up on the ward with three other mothers rotating in and out of the beds around Nicky. No space, very little privacy, constant noise, and hardly any staff around to help out with the process of moving Nicky out of hospital and back home. She was getting no sleep at all over the nights, and was only managing to sleep when I came in to hospital and walked Gabe around. Of course, this being brighton, fathers have to go home at 8.30pm and are not allowed back in to visit till 10am the next day, so Nic put up with three days of this before finally flipping.
The last day in hospital was simply ridiculous. We demanded to leave, and it took the entire day (from 9am to 6pm) to arrange Nic's medication, have a doctor finally come and check over Gabriel (yes, three days after he was born!) and to sign the paperwork. All available midwives appeared to be in triage mode, and it looks like teaching new mothers to breastfeed is higher up the priority list than organising and signing discharge papers. Eventually I had to collar a midwife and follow her around until she sighed, went into the office, signed a piece of paper and gave it to me.
When we finally got home, Nic was super-emotional (understandably) but got a few hours sleep in between feeding, and excepting the occasional crazy moment she's been steadily improving sleepwise and moodwise up to today. We even had visitors yesterday, which with Jay and Sal was ok, but with Nic's sister and kids - well, just a bit too much stimulation I think.
I'm now proficient at sip-feeding, bottle-feeding and changing shitty nappies. like Jason said, it's really not so bad after you've done it once - it becomes more a routine thing.
And the boy himself? he's just wonderful. he's noticably more alert today than last week, very energetic, and hasn't lost any weight between birth and today. he eats incessantly - we put him on a bottle of expressed milk last night to give Nicky a break, and he ate and ate and ate, well past the point of full, then spat a load of it up on my T-Shirt before demanding more boob from mother. Wonderful stuff!