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Mark - part 2
One thing I forgot to mention in the last post describing the labour and birth. In the lead up, we had been discussing songs for Mark to be born to. I suggested a range of songs, such as Up There Cazaly. One I suggested was Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire for during crowning. When Bec got to that stage, she snarled at me, "Guess what song I've got in my head." Being somewhat preoccupied with everything that was going on, particularly frequent trips to our well laid-out birth room (the midwife kept asking, "Have you got..." "yes, it's in the birth room."), I couldn't guess, but she later told me it was Johnny Cash singing, "and it burns burns burns, the ring of fire.
Anyway, from where I left off, I had my new son on my chest, the birth had happened, the second midwife went off to her next call and Bec was being looked after by the first. Mark started rooting around near my nipple for a feed. It wouldn't have done him much good if he had latched on, so I passed him back to Bec. He got so excited by his mother's nipples and by having his first feed that he forgot to breathe. The midwife took him, blew in his face and he restarted. There haven't been any problems since. I got both Bec and the midwife a cup of tea each and some biscuits all round (except Mark). He started crying, so I took him back onto my chest and sang him soothing songs. The first song I sang to him was Hypocrisy's Roswell 47. I have since found out that I can soothe my son by singing Heavy Metal songs to him (by the way, as a warning, future posts will be affected by the fact that the writer is a besotted father)
As a precaution because of the first breathing incident (and because we would have had to go into the hospital the next day for tests anyway), we went into the hospital. We got a room of our own and I sat singing to Mark (he seems to particularly like Non-Intentional Lifeform - so much so that Bec has taken to singing NIL songs even though she doesn't like them!) while Bec got some sleep. We were eventually seen by the paediatrician at 1AM, after which Bec and I fell asleep. It has been a long time since we shared a single bed! At some point in the night we changed Mark and he threw up all the liquid in his lungs and a fair bit of colostrum. We got all the tests done by about lunch time the next day and since all was normal we went back home. Mum and Dad were here and Mum had done a lot of the cleaning and stuff from the previous day.
The last two days have really just flown by. The books all tell you about all the problems, like what to do when he cries, when he won't feed etc. So far we have been exceptionally lucky. He happily takes to the breast like he has been doing it all his life. He sleeps well. While he isn't particularly fond of being changed, he is usually soothed quite quickly just by me singing to him. The thing the books never seem to tell you is all the good things. How fascinating your baby is just sleeping or stretching or yawning or doing any one of a number of things that just don't mean anything to anyone else but make your heart melt, and you could do for hours. Having this little person sleeping cuddled up on my chest in the morning while his mother gets some well earned sleep. Having him reach out and wrap his little fingers around my finger.
I'm also amazed at how quickly he is developing his communication skills. He can already burp, fart and make it known that he wants a breast. All he needs to do is learn how to ask for a beer and he will be set for life!
We have gone for a couple of walks and he has met a few of the neighbours. I am glad I get a little bit of time off for paternity leave just to spend with Bec and Mark. I will try to get some photos on Bec's site in the next day or two.
Comment from Anna Every
I'm really enjoying reading your stories Alex, they are so well written. You are so right about the books forgetting to mention the wonderful bits. They make it sound as though it is going to be months of screaming, vomiting and dirty nappies. Really though, that is such a small part of it. The wonderful cuddles and eye contact and love are really what it's all about. I can't wait for Mark to give you his first smile. It will just make you melt! Congratulations again. Anna.
While intellectually I know that when he moves the smile muscles, this is just him working the muscles, proud new parents that we are, we can still call them smiles. And it does makes us melt
My favourite procrastinations
The Head Heeb - Jonathan provides a balanced view on various Israeli and (former) colonial states in less developed regions of the world.
The Bladder - a sports satire site. Well worth a look.