Home from the Hospital

Carly and I became parents back on August 4th. It’s really cutting into my blogging time. Nobody warned me about that.

Here are a few things I’ve observed.

We delivered at Abbott Northwestern. That place it great. Friendly and knowledgeable people. We were in good hands throughout the process. We ended up spending four days at the hospital, which started to create some cabin fever, but that was better than unprepared parents panic.

The one bone I have to pick with Abbott is that they don’t seem to have a system for coordinating patient visits in the post-partem rooms. They seem to know the health of mom & baby based on electronic charts, but they tend to show up in waves that lead to the patients doing triage between nurses, lab techs, doctors, room service, and housekeeping. If nothing else, a “someone’s seeing this patient now” light outside rooms might help stagger things. I get the impression that everyone’s busy doing great work, but doesn’t realize how patients end up getting peppered with visits while already exhausted and stressed out. It’s a small thing that could be done better with some coordination.

Whoever invents a baby bottle with an auto-shutoff like gas station pumps have should win the Nobel Prize. This would avoid a lot of hiccups from kids whose appetites get ahead of their stomach’s capacity.

I’ve learned the difference between pre-burp and pre-poop expressions. We did not know these when we got home from the hospital, so the first time our daughter stopped breathing and turned purple we freaked out. That turned to laughter when she gave out a burp that – on a scale of 1 to Bill Murray – was around a six (like Rudy the Rabbit, she needs to focus on burping from the diaphragm.).

We’ve received a ton of food from friends and family. Very thoughtful, and awesome food. I now know what a food shelf for yuppies would look like.

We used a doula. For those of you not familiar with doulas, they’re essentially birth coaches. They meet with you ahead of the birth to help you determine how you’d like things to go down, then show up during the birth to help counsel you through the process. They can be a real advocate for future parents in the most stressed out situation they’ve ever been in together. Of the people in the hospital with us, our doula was the only person we’d met before that day since our doctor doesn’t work weekends. Our doula made a huge difference for us. While nurses and doctors know the mechanics of birthing babies, they can be a bit mechanical in their approach. Their advice is sound, but it’s different from what someone who knows you and your wishes while provide in a very stressful situation. Our doula was a friend of ours, Greta Fay. Would we recommend Greta? Absolutely.

Sleep deprivation: The biggest thing that I didn’t understand about sleep deprivation with a newborn is that three hour feeding cycles means that they need to eat starting every three hours. As in, this doesn’t mean there are three hours between feeding cycles. It’s more like 45 minutes on with 2:15 recovery, assuming the newborn didn’t chug down more than her 2oz capacity stomach can hold, leading to hiccups or worse.

Weighing in. When trying to tip the scales at 6 pounds, it helps to not poop on the scale, Ms. Five Pound Fifteen Ouncer.

Daddy Blog recommendations. Here are a couple of local dads who know how to write about their kids: Scott Schneweis at NewDadToBe.com explains the shortcomings of the gender pencil test, among other fun anecdotes. Reuben Collins sprinkles his blog with posts about his daughter, Kung Pao, including a post about their first family camping adventure. He also explains KP’s nickname.