Apparently Max has 13 pages of commentary, and that takes us to when Jack was just born. I look forward to seeing what he’s written.
As for me, I’m just trying to hit the high- and low-lights, as opposed to being in depth. When last we left, it was 10pm on Tuesday, January 17, Jack wasn’t yet 24 hours old. On January 18, I went to the hospital first thing. I went to the nursery before seeing S, telling myself that I only wanted to stop by, say hello, and drop off the teddy bear “Grandma” had sent for him. (Note: I actually put some vanilla oil on the teddy bear, so maybe Jack would associate vanilla with good, soft creatures, like me!) As I came in, the doctor was about to examine him. Jack was asleep, but woke up immediately with all the poking and prodding the doctor was doing. Don’t get me wrong, the doctor was doing his job well, as far as I could see. Jack just didn’t like the stethoscope. He said that Jack had had fluid in his lungs when he was born, and his APGAR score was low. However, that can be par for the course for babies born in C-sections. I knew that the cord had gotten around his neck a couple times during the delivery.
Aside: If you haven’t seen the movie The Baby Dance, it ends with the baby having the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck such that she might have sustained irreversible brain damage, but they didn’t know for sure. Stockard Channing still wants to adopt the baby, but her husband doesn’t, so… It’s your classic scary movie for adoptive parents.
Back to the NICU: I asked the doctor, is it possible that Jack sustained such damage. The doctor politely answered that Jack was alert and moving around, and showed no signs of permanent damage. Yay! The doctor told me I could pick Jack up, but when I did, an alarm sounded. A militant nurse asked, “Was he awake?”. “Yes, he woke up when the doctor examined him.” “Oh, OK. We don’t like you to pick them up like that.” O…. K…. Anyway, she swaddled Jack and I got to hold him for a bit. Being alone with him was amazing. I could smile and stare and squeeze a little bit without feeling guilty about the fact that S wasn’t going to get to do that for too much longer. It was then that I really got to see his eyes. I imagine that most people would think they were just brown, but there was a whole world of deep color in there. Like seeing the ocean in the dark. It’s black, but you know it’s blue so it tricks you like that.
We spent a great deal of time together at the hospital that day. I visited my new friend in her room on the 8th floor. (Labor and delivery are on the 7th floor, along with the NICU. Post-partum maternity is on the 8th floor, along with some random type of medical conditions or something. S was on the 8th floor, Jack was on the 7th.) Anyway, Julia was happy that I had gotten to hold Jack, and was glad to have me back to visit a bit. At lunch, I wanted to go down and see Jack, but my hunger actually won out. I couldn’t bring my “lunch” (frozen yogurt and water) into the NICU, so I spent a little time by myself, and then went back up to S’s room. I wandered back down while the militant nurse was feeding Jack, and I got to spend more time with him. He was so tiny and beautiful! The nurses had a huddle, so I had to leave the NICU.
S’s sister-in-law, 2 nephews, and her sister-in-law’s mother came to visit. I had been told about these nephews, and most of it was about how rowdy they were. However, apparently I was lucky because the nephews were on their best behavior. One of them took to me immediately, as I helped him figure out his Incredibles Happy Meal toy. I was able to take pictures of the nephews with Iggy as well. The sister-in-law was physically gorgeous and personality-wise was extremely nice. She brought a gift for Jack: 2 outfits, a blanket, and a hat. (One of the outfits was a premie outfit, so I thought it wouldn’t fit. I was wrong, but that’s another day.) I was glad to have met this part of the family. When I was ready to leave the hospital about 2 hours later, the nurses were still in the huddle, so I had to say goodbye to Jack through the window.
There had been much speculation about when Jack was getting out of the NICU. First, they said Thursday night, then Wednesday evening, then Thursday morning. I went back to the hotel. Max hadn’t been at the hospital. I think that not being able to hold Jack was eating him too. I was uploading pictures to the web when S called: “They’re bringing him up!” So, she got to spend time with him in her room, sent him back to the nursery while she slept (“he has such a low cry, I didn’t think I’d hear him”), and got to spend some time in the morning before we showed up.
Now, it’s Thursday, January 19. Jack is almost 2 days old. Finally, Max gets to hold him. We get up to the room, and S is feeding Jack. When she’s done, S transfers Jack to Max’s arms. He held Jack like a pro. Whether he felt it or not, he assumed the father role immediately.
S’s family came in. Jack was visibly upset by having the pictures taken by the hospital photographer. I can’t remember who put him the little crib thing the hospital had him in. He was fussing and just grumpy. So I picked him up and held him. S said that she didn’t think he should be handled anymore. I think I replied that he was upset, so he needed to be calmed down. Anyway, Jack calmed down fairly quickly, and S’s sister was visibly jonesing to hold him, so I gave him to her. Each family member took a turn holding Jack. Iggy was introduced to his new baby brother. He was very gentle, and kissed him on the head. However, Iggy was upset that his mom couldn’t pick him up, or even have him on her lap. A big C-section no-no.
We left early that night, because the rest of S’s family was coming, and they wanted some time to say a proper goodbye. We had court on Friday morning at 8:30, so it was for the best. We left our camera, so they (and we) could get some shots of the baby with his birth family.