Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't break the baby!

[6 month update]

I amaze myself every day! It's a wonder that a small, fragile, dependent little thing like a baby has survived being in my care for the past 6 months. Honestly, I can remember that first night in the hospital after he was born. He slept in my room and never left my side. He was laying there sleeping in his little baby bed placed next to my hospital bed. Each time that he would wake and cry, it caused fear and terror in me. I was afraid to touch him. I didn't want to break him.

I held out on changing his dirty diapers and let the nurses, family, and other visitors do that chore while I still could. I not only depended on the nurses to change his diaper, but also to swaddle him since I just couldn't seem to do it as well as they did. I remember there was this tough Russian nurse that would come in and swaddle him so tightly, it reminded me of deli meat wrapped in that waxy paper. When the pediatric nurses came in, they would ask, "Did Helga swaddle him?". The only time I really touched him during that time was to practice nursing, which started off badly for me as well. He just wouldn't latch on.

When we were released from the hospital, I was on my own, but my mother and sister were usually around, and I depended on them a lot. Especially to clothe him because that scared me too. Can you imagine being THAT scared to break your own baby? A couple of days after our release, we were admitted back to the hospital because Diego had jaundice. Where my mother was concerned, I was OK because the pediatrician reassured me that it was common. Once relieved of that concern, I was somewhat happy we'd be back in the hospital: the nurses would take care of Diego's diapers again!

During those 2 extra days in the hospital, I learned to nurse better with him thanks to the nurses. I think the nursing made me bond with him more. Since he had jaundice, he had to stay and sleep in the nursery. I only got to see him every 3 hours when it was time to nurse. This made me miss him a lot. By the time we checked out of the hospital the second time around, I was mentally ready to take care of my newborn on my own. Well, ok not exactly on my own - my mother was there but you know what I mean.

Fast-forward 6 months, hundreds of dirty diapers, bottles, and restless nights later and I'm amazed at what that fragile 6lb little baby has become - an 18lb husky little baby boy. I was so happy to learn that at 6 months SIDS risk is substantially minimized, though I don't take it lightly. But it's great to finally feel like I've got it down, and I'm not going to break my baby.

I can just enjoy my 18lb baby boy who is starting to bear his own weight while sitting, squeal with delight, and grab things. He's on track to sit on his own and crawl. And trust me, I'm preparing for that because with crawling, comes a whole new plethora of ways that my baby could break!