Monday, November 21, 2005

Stardate 59889.16 – General Thoughts on Fatherhood

Now that Loren is 10 days old, I thought I’d post some general thoughts on the birth of our first child and the experiences of these first 10 days. While the last week has flown by, with the lack of sleep over the first few nights those first 3 days felt like an entire week. It was Monday, I believe, when Cheryl realized Loren had been home for only 2 days…although we both swore it was much longer than that. I knew that getting my normal 7-8 hours of sleep per night was going to be impossible with a newborn at home, but what I didn’t realize was how multiple days of sleep depravation wreck havoc with things like short-term memory. Those first few days I frequently found myself going into a room with no recollection of why I went there. Once things settled into a little bit of a pattern things were better, but it wasn’t really until Sunday (yesterday) morning (9 days after the birth) that I got up from bed and actually felt rested.

I greatly overestimated my ability to continue to get some work done during the first 10 days. I was able to skim e-mail, but the exhaustion made me not amenable to doing anything more than that simple task. I just could not focus – and still find that by lunchtime I am pretty much shot for the day. Yesterday I had to go to 4 stores before I could find newborn Pampers diapers, and once I got home it was like I had worked an 8-hour day…I was just useless for the rest of the afternoon.

I also find that I cannot read anything more deep than Entertainment Weekly. The Economist has been impossible to digest. So I have watched a lot of television. There is always a Law & Order on somewhere, so I have watched a lot of SVU and CI since I don’t regularly watch those shows (less chance of seeing one that I have already seen, although I am now starting to run into that with SVU). Even movies are tough…a 45 minute attention span is about all I can muster.

So back to my discussion on work – I have a fairly important couple of items that have to be taken care of by December 1 and I am finding it really, really hard to focus on them. I urge any new father to take at least a week if not two off from work after the birth of a child. I cannot help with the feeding, but I find that I am doing most of the other chores like kitchen cleaning, cooking, diaper changing, vacuuming, running errands, and taking out the trash. Cheryl really is tied down to Loren and her frequent feedings, so she just cannot do these other chores. People who know me know that I am happy to help out, but this past week would have been completely impossible if I had tried to work a regular day in addition to helping out Cheryl (and I have the advantage of working from home). The bottom line is that I am not getting the stuff done during my time off that I thought I’d be able to slip away and accomplish. Too many other things going on, and I’m just too tired.

We’ve also been doing a lot more laundry than I anticipated. We go through at least one changing pad cover a day, sometimes more. Loren seems to love to pee right after a poop when her diaper is off and I’m in the process of getting ready to get the new one on her. And yes, I do try to fold the old one under her as to absorb the pee, but it still runs down her back onto her clothes and the changing pad cover.

We also had a lot of visitors in the hospital and at home, which has been great. Our friends have been very supportive and all agree Loren is the cutest baby in this quadrant of the galaxy (until they go visit their next friend’s baby, I’m sure). But I’ve had to really work at not being overly protective of Loren, and specifically I have to force myself to realize that we’re not the only people who can hold her and won’t break her. I think you hear so much about all the low-percentage possibilities of harm that one tends to be paranoid. At least that is how I feel – a little paranoid.

We’re to a point now where Loren is eating a lot, and hopefully gaining weight as a result of all this eating. We’ll probably weigh her tomorrow to check on her progress. But this situation means that Cheryl is constantly feeding, or trying to nap when Loren naps. She is still quite exhausted, so I continue to try and help out where ever I can.

I guess the big adjustment for me is in realizing that things just do not go smoothly. We’ve had some worries about sleeping arrangements, breastfeeding, and number of dirty diapers (Cheryl has forbidden me from discussing dirty diapers in the blog, so this is as much as I can say). We seem to have lots of questions on things like humidifiers and air purifiers. Friends and family have been very supportive and helpful, and we have a great pediatrician whom Cheryl and I both like a lot, so we’re getting the answers and learning that we don’t have to panic at every little thing that seems to be a little out of sorts.

That is probably enough rambling. Right now I’m killing time while I wait for our groceries to arrive. Then I’m going to have to try and get a little progress made on some of this work, while Cheryl and Loren are napping.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

ahh you still have lots to learn grasshopper....