Simon's birthday weekend

posted by Jeff | Sunday, March 7, 2010, 9:23 AM | comments: 0

By now, I suspect most of the people who know us have seen photos of Simon Jeffrey Mattoni (the child formerly known as Baby Puzzoni). What a day. I'm gonna try and peck out some thoughts, or at least an account of the day, while it's still fresh in my mind. Naturally this is largely an account from my perspective.

I got up at 6 a.m., Diana got up slightly earlier. The hospital is about 25 minutes away, and we were there by about 7. We checked in at the reception and were in our pre/post-op room shortly thereafter. Nurses Tiffany and Shain, the latter of which is a U-Dub nursing student, along with Karen, who I think was a senior nurse tending to paperwork and such. The room is a typical birthing room I think, with the baby warmer and stuff. Haans, the anestesia doctor, explained what he'd be doing and how it would feel. I thought his analogy that it would feel like her entire lower body was encased in concrete was interesting. I got all covered in scrub stuff, Diana got her IV line, and we walked next door to the OR.

This was the point where I started to panic a little. There were already four or five people in there being busy and doing stuff. It was typically cold, with typical harsh lighting, and the room just made me feel incredibly uneasy. As I said many times, this was the part that gave me the most anxiety, no matter how routine it was.

The first part was getting the needle in place to deliver the spinal block meds, which involved Diana trying to lean forward sitting on the table, braced against Karen. I could see the fear in her eyes, which scared me, but Karen quietly kept talking to her close while I kind of looked at nothing in particular. The drugs hit fast, and Diana was on her back in no time. Another doctor came in to assist Haans, and Dr. Block's fellow (they need a different name for women!) also came in. With everyone in masks, it was hard to distinguish people, but I remember her because she had a pierced eyebrow. Seattle is so gloriously liberal in that sense.

In terms of observations, that's largely where they ended. Next there was a lot of talking, suction noises, and some serious wrestling to get the little guy out. My focus turned to waiting for the first cry. When Haans said he was out, and I didn't hear anything, that concerned me. While I was looking at the floor at Dr. Block's feet up on a stool (she's only five feet tall), someone said, "Look at that red hair!" The next thing I knew, he was over at the table getting toweled off, his little blue feet in the air.

They invited me over to see him, and he let out a few little cries, and that's when I took the first photo. Knowing he was in good hands, I went back to Diana, who was looking over toward him. Momentarily, they brought him over to me, and Diana was able to rub his face a little. Because of his size at nine pounds, they were a little worried that he might be using a ton of energy to stay warm, so they checked his blood sugar, which he absolutely didn't like. It was pretty low, so they said we'd get some formula in him as soon as we got to post-op.

About fifteen minutes later, they were finishing up with Diana, and I kind of trailed back and forth between her and Simon. They had dropped the curtain, and as I was standing there, I happened to look over when someone pushed on Diana's belly, which pushed out a massive gush of red fluid from her vagina. As upsetting as it was to see, my mind was largely blocking things out like that. Earlier I had seen clear plastic things hanging out that could have been filled with placenta or intestines for all I know. I just blocked it off and was switched off emotionally. Right up until the time they wheeled her out, I was terrified that this could be the last place we ever talk, even though rationally I knew that was not likely.

Me, Simon and Nurse Shain were last out of the OR except for a few people cleaning up. Despite being just around the corner from our room, and seeing Diana be wheeled out then right, I got into the hall and didn't know where to go. That's how disengaged I was because of the fear.

But once we got back to the room, everything felt better. The warm sun coming in the window and the inviting view of the Cascades grounded everything. The excellent bedside manner of the nurses helped too. We took some more photos, and I gave Simon a quick feeding of formula to get his blood sugar up. I remember thinking at the time, wow, he's never done this before. Ever. How does he know? He figured it out pretty quickly, even though a lot of it dribbled out the side of his mouth. Before we left, we even had our first shot at breast feeding, which wasn't a remarkable success, but we're pretty sure he got a little colostrum to get him started.

We ended up being in there for about three and a half hours. In addition to lots of foot poking to check Simon's blood sugar, which he hated, he also got a little bath and some super toasty time under the warmer. Diana was the primary reason we were there for that long, as she has a lot of blood clotting that wasn't coming out. So there was more of the pushing, with lots of clumps of blood. That this didn't bother me still surprises me. I mean, it's hard to put into words the quantity of blood we're talking about here.

The walk to our room didn't take long, and we were in at 12:30. Simon didn't really crash into some serious sleep at all most of the day, and we had a great many people in and out during the day. Diana was still bleeding, as expected, though she had one gush that was again pretty substantial. She felt it and asked me to look, and she was just swimming in it. I must have been into helper mode because I still can't believe this didn't cause me to freak out.

I escaped for a short breather down to the cafeteria, and got a really mediocre turkey burger. I didn't care that it sucked, since I was so hungry. I also made some phone calls to my parents. I was missing the Cleveland Clinic at that point, partly because most every facility was so nice, and also because we missed Dr. Bowersox. It wasn't that we questioned anyone's ability here, it was just that Dr. B-sox made us feel like everything was possible.

Feeding Simon was a little challenging the first day. It's easy for the baby and mother to get easily frustrated since they both have to learn how to get it right. Plus Diana is extremely well read and we took the class, so expectations were high. By midday Saturday though, they're both doing pretty well. We've had a couple of lactation specialists help too. He latches on harder each time, so when the full milk comes in the next day or two, I suspect he'll have no problem at all.

As Friday went on, and it seemed to go very fast, we started to get into a pretty good rotation of tending to him and feeding. There really hasn't been any time that he was completely out of sorts. If he gets upset, he either wants to be wrapped up, eat, or have his diaper changed. At one time it was all of the above.

Simon is an overachiever in many ways. While "they" suggest that one poopy diaper in the first day is about normal, he had at least six. He demonstrates amazing muscle control with his head when he's not tired, and has a hell of a grip.

Last night, after a lot of somewhat irritating turnover in nurses, we got Nurse Stephanie, which is pretty much Simon's third favorite person. He goes out of his way to be charming to her, and she just loves him too. Not even a day old and he's already into pretty blondes! I keep telling him that she's married, but he gives her the big blue eyed stare and stops crying anytime she's around.

As it turns out, we like her too, because her bedside manner is just off-the-chart awesome. We were lucky enough to have her the second overnight as well. She knows her shit, is extremely helpful even for the gross parts of nursing and has gone out of her way to help us feed and be comfortable. I can't say enough good things about her.

Last night, I wrapped up Simon and propped him up in the Boppy pillow next to me on the fold-up bed while Diana fell asleep. He slept like a champ for several hours, but I did not. I was too worried about him accidentally suffocating or something. As it is, I found myself always wondering how babies keep breathing, so all I could do is watch him. By the time 5 a.m. rolled around though, he had moved to Diana or something and I was out. A bunch of people came in before and after the shift change, but I only kinda remember any of it. All told, I think I got about four hours of sleep.

Poor little Simon had to go off to get his circumcision, and he was clearly not happy about that. The positive side is that he would sleep for much of the afternoon. During that time, I headed home to feed the cats and what not, and Diana encouraged me to just stay there for a bit, get some real food and take in a nap. That added another two hours or so to my count, and it helped immensely. That it was such a beautiful, 60+ day helped. It was a little hazy, but you could see Baker to the north and Rainier in a wonderful self-cast shadow.

By the time I got back, Sam and Helen Ann were in visiting (they've been staying with Joe and Kristen since yesterday). They left shortly thereafter, and the three of us actually had some nice quiet times together. Diana needed an iron IV because of all the blood loss yesterday, which sucked because it was really starting to bother her. At least she got the catheter out last night, and was freely urinating on her own terms and walking around, if very slowly.

Once Nurse Stephanie returned for the evening, of course Simon was at ease, and he's learned the skill of belching. There is only one other family in the unit tonight, so it's very quiet. Simon slept a lot today after his little surgery, but he's doing OK. Diana is pretty exhausted, and I'm starting to burn out, but I think we'll find some time to sleep tonight.

So how am I feeling about it all? It's hard to say. I haven't had a lot of time to think about it. The truth is that on my drive home, I didn't even feel like Simon was my kid. We definitely need more bonding time outside of the hospital, where I get EST (exclusive Simon time). After two days, much of my effort has been placed toward just getting enough rest to put up with his ridiculous cuteness. I think the leave time will be great for making adjustments, and frankly just reconciling all of the change from the last year.

Welcome, Simon, to the family!


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