Its been a couple of months since it all started, so hopefully I can remember enough details to make this somewhat interesting. I wanted to start this installment of father knows best with an ode to the women who have to carry the load for the majority of the lead up and after effects of a birth.
Our experience was an interesting one. My wife spent nine plus months being doubted and told she wouldn't be capable. The way everything was presented made me think med students desperately need classes to teach human interaction. The intent seemed more to scare/intimidate my wife into doing things the way they wanted them done. The issue was my wife's blood pressure. The first scenario presented by perianatology was a stillbirth, then it was a risk of a baby that's too small, then somehow one that would be too big. This is not how to deal with people. Fortunately, we had done enough research, and had an OB who's thinking was in-line with ours, that my wife was able to stand firm and convince them that a wait-and-see approach was acceptable. Even still, she was told repeatedly that a natural birth was essentially out of the question. We even had an induction scheduled for the due date, which we grudgingly agreed to as a compromise. The baby had other ideas, as my wife went into labor two weeks prior to the estimated due date, at the zoo, looking at giraffes.
I came away from the birth impressed and fascinated by the process and what a woman is capable of doing. I could see instinct take over when my wife would have a contraction. It was amazing the way she was able to listen to exactly what her body was telling her she needed to do. Whether that was go silent and concentrate early on, or changing positions and doing different things to cope with the later, more difficult contractions. Eventually, she did ask for an epidural, but things were going so well, and she was not at all desperate or convincing in her request, that we (myself, her sister, her friend, the OB, and the doulas) were able to convince her to keep working towards the birth she wanted from the beginning. She took a small dose of narcotic roughly half way through, but that was it. In the end, she did it. She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl naturally and almost entirely as we had planned and hoped. It was quite incredible. We even left the hospital within a day, and could have left earlier but the hospital required at least 24 hours after the birth to be able to talk to a lactaction consultant.
That was probably the last thing that will ever go as planned, if early indications are correct. The first night home was very, very difficult. The trinket wanted to eat. Constantly. When she wasn't at the breast, she was screaming until she was red in the face. I don't think we were truly prepared for that. There weren't many good nights following that for the first few weeks. To top it off, she had lost a good deal of her birth weight and was bordering on the percentage of weight loss that doctors get nervous about. I had no choice but to make a quick trip to Madison to the hospital to get breast pump parts, then to a woman who ran a breast milk bank for donor milk. All of which was around Camp Randall Stadium. On a Saturday evening. The day of the Badgers first home game of the year. I think I gained a small step towards understanding just what it means to be a parent that day.
Eventually, we finally figured out the answer to the trinket's problems. She has reflux, and eating started a nasty cycle of burping, refluxing, eating to soothe the reflux, then eating too much because of it and getting more reflux. She was prescribed some medicine to help, as well as a couple trips to a chiropractor, and things are much, much better now. Aside from that, she's remarkably healthy and has a very strong neck. The treatment for the reflux is helping and she's sleeping more now than she did two weeks ago. I still struggle a bit with feeling useful as I can't do much to calm her, although we have introduced a bottle so I can occasionally feed her. I'm trying to be patient, but I have good days and bad days when I get frustrated and saddened by my inability to help her. But, I believe those bad days are starting to get some distance between them.
I think this has been a long winded way of saying that, so far as I can tell, there's always reason to be optimistic that things will get better, and, hopefully, things will always keep getting better no matter how old she gets. I look forward to helping her through her journey in life and her helping me and my wife through our own journeys.
Its gonna be a hell of a ride and I desperately hope she likes Back to the Future.