Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Settling In

We did indeed return home on Saturday morning and started settling in straight away. Mac and Mary Ellen fed us all weekend and Heather filled up on steak and home-made burgers to help replenish the iron she lost.

We've been playing with all the new toys essential infant accessories we received at the baby shower. I had assumed that most of it was to make mother feel special - rather than for practical purpose - but as I marvel at the invention of the heated wipe dispenser, it dawns on me that I've got the baby bug pretty bad.

Adjusting to our new life is predictably challenging. I'm sure we're experiencing much the same ups and downs that all first-time parents go through.

Feeding Owain is the biggest challenge that Heather has faced and can be very frustrating for both parties. Heather assumed that her only discomfort now would be the many - but slowly fading - pains from the birth itself. Instead, breastfeeding hurts her every time Owain latches on. Today was when milk started coming through and that has made a big difference.

Another problem is postnatal depression. I was fully expecting this as Heather has been on an emotional roller coaster ride since the first trimester. It still catches us out because there are a number of things to be very happy about as well as a lot of scary new problems to face. When the mood swings hit in, everything seems impossible and doomed to failure. She feels guilty about every mistake she makes and the sound of the baby crying breaks her heart. A strict diet of painkillers is the best help as lifting the physical pain really makes the sun come out.

Mostly, it's one big treadmill: the baby is fed, burped, changed and put down to sleep and at that point, he's ready to feed again. Getting this rhythm right is our main aim. As he adjusts to life on the outside and we get proficient at performing these tasks, the sleeping bit should constitute a larger part of the cycle. That way, we can sleep more too. It's heading that way gradually.

The good news? Owain is the most precious little creature ever. Maybe it's because he was so late but he is very alert and full of beans. He seems imbued with much personality - even though my good sense tells me that he's little more than a machine for converting milk into sticky green poo. And no, there is no such thing as too much information; sitting at the dinner table on Sunday, I realized I was freely talking about all sorts of unpleasant bodily functions with no consideration for anyone's appetite.

Just touching or holding him is a reward in itself. He's desperately delicate. On his first day, his skin was so soft that I literally didn't have sense in my fingers fine enough to feel it. He's also surprisingly strong. Holding his arms and legs down to change or dress him requires not-inconsiderable effort. This makes it a traumatic ordeal as he feels as if he'll tear like paper if I'm too rough yet escapes my grip like a cage fighter.


jen said...

John, I don't know what to say. It's so moving what you've said here, I've been a bit teary. Who knew you had it in you to produce something so perfect? Makes me remember my lot, and how much I loved them being babies.
I just wanted to say..you have a beautiful son, enjoy every moment, because every moment is special.

Love to the three of you xxx

Kate said...

John, the tears really started to come with this sentence :"On his first day, his skin was so soft that I literally didn't have sense in my fingers fine enough to feel it."

Such a poetic dad.

He is just the cutest, you are right. I could never have enough pictures of him, keep them coming.

I remember the feeding thing being hard at first too. And then when the milk came in, that was quite the experience.

I hope the hormones settle soon. I think it is mostly intense for the first few weeks. I remember feeling these surges of hormones, and it was as if I were being injected with them.

When you talk about Heather as a mom, I can so picture every single thing you are saying, as if I am watching it.

Thank you, again, for keeping us up to date!

Hope to see you soon! I think he may be a little too delicate yet for the rough love that Zora is going to give him. Oh, she wants so badly to hold him (and I bet squeeze him), when she sees him on the blog.