Well, it was finally Monday.Â We had to call in at crap-o’-clock in the morning to check on the details, and then got had to have them call us back.Â We’d gone to bed fairly late (in hindsight: shall this happen again, I think we’ll be aiming for a much better night’s sleep considering), and were still sleeping when they called back to tell us to be there at 11:30.
We finished up, and headed on in (we were even *gasp* running on time, so I didn’t even really get to speed – figured the “pregnant wife” excuse probably wouldn’t go over well if we got pulled over and they checked the details :P).Â We got in to find… an empty desk.Â It turns out that to get into the secret Kaiser Labor and Delivery club, you have to ignore said empty desk, walk in the door with a “Ring Doorbell before entering” sign taped over by plain white paper, and stumble around until you find someone with a clue (which can sometimes be hard, at Kaiser 🙂
We eventually got checked in, and had the new guy helping us to check in (thankfully, this time, with the help of one of the clueful people working.Â After a few minutes, one of the nurses came over to shepherd us to our room, and get us garbed up.Â The stylish “We need access to your butt-crack” robe for Kirin, and a very stylish blue-green… sauna suit.Â Elastic cuffs on the arm, neck to ankle length, and a puddle of sweat building in each arm.Â None of this really made sense to be wearing, as they wouldn’t be doing anything medical beyond setting up the IV for probably, oh three hours.
The IV was… fun.Â Most of the time, we’d swear she has no blood – referring to the fact that her blood pressure is usually in the 100-110 / 50-70 range.Â I’m pretty sure the nurse was thinking the same, as she seemed to have some trouble getting it in.Â They finally had to use her left hand, and when they got it, they got it so good that it shot blood several feet across the floor in the process – so I guess she -does- have some blood in there after all.
Our nurse(s) had a decent sense of humor, or could at least take a joke.Â They had to do a bit o’ shaving in preparation – I told Kirin that she’d left her a nice star design in the process.Â One of the other nurses jumped in with “Really?Â She usually does hearts”.
One of the awesome things about dealing with a medical institution which has no doubt been sued a few too many times, Kirin got to answer every question they had on the average of 3 times.Â Â Things like: “Have you ever been hospitalized?”, etc.Â Seriously, I think she had a canned speech by the end.Â They had the surgeon come in and talk with us for a bit before finalizing things.Â She asked if we were sure on the c-section, and offered to do one last check (to see if a trial of labor / induction) would be reasonable, if we weren’t.Â I think I talked her into taking up the offer – she’d been waffling on the whole thing before, but wasn’t really keen on the whole “operation” thing.Â The doctor did the normal checks and pokes and prods, and declared “Well, you’ve made the right choice.” – evidently, things hadn’t really progressed in the last two and a half weeks, and he -still- hadn’t dropped.
After waiting a random amount of time, we rolled on in to the OR.Â Or, rather, she did.Â I’m still have no idea why I can be present for the procedure, but not, say, for the spinal, and other preparation.Â But nooo, I had to wait outside.Â Sitting on a crappy little chair.Â There was a little window in the door, through which I could make faces at Kirin, and see some of what was going on.Â I caught glimpses of them bending her in that “stretch out the gap between your vertebrae” way, and then there was someone in the way, and finally, I saw a look on Kirin’s face that screamed: “OMGWTFBBQ”.
The surgeon came out a bit later to let me know that she was doing better now, but that Kirin sorta panicked a bit after the spinal took effect. I can’t really blame her – I would imagine that would be a tremendously freaky experience.Â When they finally let me in, we all discussed the “noone’s going to tell Kirin what’s going on” rule (by her choice).Â Turns out: I didn’t really want to see what was going on, in general, as I am fairly squeamish, and I really don’t want to see that.
Not to say that I didn’t peek – my seat was sort of next to Kirin, but there was the machine the anesthesiologist was using. Which in turn means that from my point of view, if I looked a bit to my right, I could see what was going on.Â For the most part, all I saw was the doctors’ backs, but I occasionally got a glimpse of what was going on.Â But I sure didn’t keep watching for long.
My job at that point, was to distract Kirin as much as possible so she’d calm a bit – they had a sedative to give to relax her, but it’s the sort of thing that they can’t really give until the kid is out.Â Other annoyances (by proxy): having a nose itch when your arms are strapped down to the table thing – at first, we had to have the anesthetist give her nose a scratch -Â after that, strangely the anesthetist didn’t mind me removing Kirin’s oxygen mask to give a scratch now and then.Â We talked about random stuff (can’t even really remember what) until about the point that I peeked, and saw them starting to yoink him on out.Â A few moments later, we heard a shriek pierce through the room – he’s got some -lungs-. Once he was out, they popped Kirin a little sedative, which calmed her dow to the point that I thought she was going to start napping a few times.
After a few minutes, they stole me away to come watch them assess him.Â He’s huge, and he’s got a full head of hair, and he’s still crying. He seemed to calm down (aka – quit screaming) when I reached over and touched him.Â They gave him an Apgar score of 8 or 9 – the only thing I noticed that seemed off was that while he was a nice bright pink in general, his feet were a little blue – but that worked itself out.Â Someone commented that he looked more like a one-month old than a newborn – and it’s really kinda true.
They bundled him up after finishing up their testing, and had me hold him, and carry him over to show Kirin. Let me say now:Â 10 lb., 3 oz. Heavy kiddo!Â We somehow talked them into unstrapping her arm from the table so she could touch him.Â I basically sat there staring at him as he looked up at me – such a cutie. :)Â Eventually, they finished the last set of sutures (well, staples) and shooed me out the door.
I took my seat (same seat from before the surgery) since Tristan is, well, tough on my back muscles 🙂 Various members of the team that did the surgery trickled out and congratulated us/me.Â One of the surgeons also mentioned that Kirin had lost a bit more blood than they normally like – but she was doing okay.
We wandered on over to the recovery room, with me carrying him.Â It’s an amazingly big room – it turns out it’s basically a much more spacious version of the “Mother/Baby” rooms, but with more gear.Â They ran more tests on Tristan, and offered to give him a bath, which we accepted.Â They eventually took Tristan off of the ginormous heat lamp, and let Kirin hold him for a while.
The stay – note that this is a little blurry to me – getting a few hours of sleep here and there tends to severely mess with your sense of time.
We finally got moved into our final room – a considerably smaller, but otherwise fairly equivalent room.Â One of the good things about Kaiser (at least in the Santa Clara Homestead campus) is that 95% of the recovery rooms are private rooms.Â This is partly because they encourage “rooming in” – basically, the newborns don’t really ever go to the nursery.Â I think this is likely a sneaky trick to avoid paying someone to work in said nursery, but it also has the positive effect of having you get used to taking care of the kid, while there are nurses around who can help you if you’re entirely incompetent.
The room consisted of your standard issue adjustable medical bed, a rocking chair, a pull-out chair, some tables, a TV player with DVD & VCR, a sink, and the mini-crib.Â Oh, and a private bathroom.Â Overall not too shabby for a place that’s generally considered cheap.
First – the negatives – the pull-out chair/bed thing SUCKED.Â First off, it’s about as wide as I am, meaning there was no way I could sleep on my back without having my arms up in the air.Â Second, the chair was hell on my back.Â The good news though, was that I got so little sleep that I was thankful for any I could get, and it turned out that it was less bad on my back than carrying Tristan around was 🙂
There was a lot of good in the room though – we went through a ton of DVDs since we were up at all odd hours of the night, trying to get Tristan to sleep.Â The little crib thing was awesome – it was basically a bassinet on a cart, with a big storage drawer that was magically always full of whatever we needed to take care of the kid (diapers, wipes, alchohol swabs for the cord, and later gauze/petroleum jelly for the circumcision wound – it was regularly restocked).Â Between that and the sink in the room, it made taking care of the kid much much simpler as we were trying to figure it out.
One of the “fun” bits was that Samurai was home, so I had to run back to walk him and check on everyone, and get food.Â One of the downsides is that while they expect that you’re going to be staying there, they don’t provide the partner food.Â Thankfully, Kirin (being notoriously picky when it comes to food) wouldn’t eat half of what they gave her, so I tended to steal bits here and there, and go out and snag something for us both when it was time to check on the dog.
See, we expected that I’d be able to dart off “about” every 8 hours to check on things.Â The problem is, Tristan didn’t agree.Â Since Kirin was roughly stuck in bed in the beginning, there wasn’t much she could do to console him whilst I was out – so we tried to time it when he had just fed and nodded off.Â Unfortunately, this led to me being able to go at very sporadic times (like a 4am run).
One of the fairly annoying things is that even when Tristan decided to nap, there was still a neverending brigade of nurses and doctors coming in – for the first day and a half, it was about every half an hour.Â Makes sleeping, well, infeasible.Â Some were routine checks, some were nurses coming to give pain meds, there was the occasional lactation consultant (since Kirin wanted to breastfeed).Â The timing is also not ideal – there’s a 1 am weigh-in for all of the newborns.Â They did a hearing test at about 6am.
The first test was sort of scary – basically, it consists of strapping some freaky plastic things over his ears, attaching electrodes to various parts of the head, and presumably making noise from the ear piece and seeing how he reacted.Â The first test (which I went to) didn’t go too well – the electrodes kept trying to fall off – in the end, it failed him.Â The next night, they did it again (I was either home at the time, or passed out), and he was fine – I’m wondering if the faulty electrodes weren’t to blame the first time, but either way.
We learned a ton in a few days – I’d never really cared for an infant, but most of it’s pretty straightforward, so far. My first few days basically can be reduced to a flowchart:
Baby crying? <==========\ ||Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || \/Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || Is he mouthingÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || everything in => Feed = | sight?Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || ||Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || \/Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || Is he no longerÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â || mouthingÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || everything in => Burp = | sight?Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || ||Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || \/Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || Does he feel warmÂ Â Â Â Â || or cold?Â =>Â AdjustÂ = | ||Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || \/Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || Check theÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || diaper? => Oh crapÂ Â Â = | ||Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || \/Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || Is he restless?Â Â Â Â Â Â Â || => Move/rock/bounce =_/
So, I decided to try to get Samurai into the kennel for a few days – but it turned out his vaccines were about a week out of date, so they couldn’t take him.Â Well, let’s just say, Samurai got a walk about every 12-14 hours thereafter, but he survived. So I wound up making a ton of trips back – handy for all those random things that we needed and forgot, etc. Many DVDs and food items found their way back to our room as a result.Â And I managed to sneak a hat home to let the cats get used to his smell.
Thankfully, Tristan seems to have this sense such that when we’re both getting really sleep deprived, he’ll manage to randomly take a 4-6 hour nap.Â That said, it -could- be that we just got so tired we could sleep through crying – towards the end, I was sleeping so soundly that Kirin literally could not wake me without getting up, walking over to me, and poking me.Â Calling my name / letting Tristan cry at me / calling my cell phone which was sitting next to my head / etc. all failed to wake me up.Â Really creepy.Â But that said, the nurses would eventually come and check if he cried for too long (usually when we were preparing to feed him) so it seems more likely that he really did just powernap for several hours.Â Too bad the hours range wildly.
Finally, on Thursday, they were to be discharged – I took home most of the not-really-needed stuff during the last dog-run, and we were pretty much ready to get out the door when they came by at 11 with the discharge paperwork.Â Â Except that they weren’t ready.Â It took until about 3:40 (hint: there’s a nurse shift change is at 3:30) to actually hear back from them, and then things weren’t even wrapped up until about 5pm.
Here’s one I don’t understand:Â they make a huge deal about making sure you have your carseat, and it’s properly installed, and that they won’t let you take the kid home unless you’re set.Â Except that it’s all lies. They had someone wheel Kirin down, and before I even brought the car around, the person was gone.
We got home, introduced Tristan to the cats and dog, fed him, and… immediately left again!Â To Babies R Us, to pick up certain things we hadn’t been sure on.Â Like diapers – well, we had diapers, size N (for newborn!). Unfortunately, Tristan decided to entirely skip that, and go on to the next size up.Â We also got a Medela breast pump – we both think the whole breastfeeding thing is generally a good idea – unfortunately, we’re slackers, and it’s rough getting all the angles etc. right to get him feeding – and then he gets REALLY flustered if you don’t fix it fast enough. Oh, and he’s stuck in power-gnaw mode. So far, we’re both loving it – it’s a lot easier on her to actually express said milk, and it means that I can actually feed him without her actually having to be physically present and taking part in it, which is a Really Good Thing(TM) when he wants to feed every 1-3 hours.
And that’s basically where we are now. I’m sure I’ve left out details (and likely important ones at that), but things are still hazy.Â Sleep deprived.Â And I just spent an hour and a half typing things instead of napping while Tristan was sleeping…