Monday, 6 October 2008

Jake Fernie one month on

So we've done a month and it's been fun. And knackering. The first few days is really just a case of staring in wonder at your boy and patting yourselves on the back at how clever you are and telling your wife / husband how proud you are of them. Then you get some confidence and before you know it life starts to return to 'normal'; you're not on the phone to the hospital every time he cries, you know which positions get the best burp and you can jump out of bed at 4am with alarming enthusiasm. So this is now our 'normal' life, one where we don't really do a great deal other than look after Jake, which I believe is the whole point! The walls do start to close in so it's important to do normal stuff, we had a meal out after a week and although we ate it in record time worried all the while he'd wake up, it was good to try and have a life. Of course I get to go to work which serves a few purposes. Firstly it pays the bills, secondly it gives me respite from any incessant crying, squirming, unsettling which in turn makes me miss him more and thirdly, it allows me to have a separate life. It also has its downsides as it means I can't take over from Clare during the day and babies are very trying at times. The major upside about bottle feeding is that both parents can share the feeds and if there's anything that can make you forgive 3 hours of a baby shrieking at you, it's looking into his eyes when he's getting the good stuff. This is where the NCT network has been so good as well as Clare's friends who are almost all pregnant as it gives distraction during the day and a good reason to go out. We find he sleeps better if he's had fresh air which is same for all of us I guess.
I remember writing about how the thought of sleepless nights were the last of my worries after we found out about the cleft(s) and how insignificant their prospect now seemed. Well, given that the clefts now seem almost non-issues, the sleepless nights have come back to worry me accordingly. During the first week Jake slept for 4 hours, woke for a feed and change and then slept for another 4 hours which is really very doable, especially if you alternate it between mum and dad. An eight hour kip every other night is pretty good. Jake's timing is impeccable though and managed to slip into a wake up and scream pattern every 2 - 3 hours just as I went back to work and this has settled nicely so that we really don't know now when we should go to bed, if at all! We thought it was best to feed and get straight into bed (Friday was 9.05 pm - rock 'n roll!) but then he might struggle about for an hour then wake 30 minutes later as we drop off. So it's tricky but that's what it's all about I guess. He also knows the second I put the dinner on the table. Not the minute or roughly as I'm serving up, literally the second it goes down he starts crying. So we've got good at eating in hurry or one-handed.

The first month is definitely different and hard work but it's also wonderful and fascinating and while you do find yourself longing for when he sleeps through and can be awake without screaming or feeding, it's important to take it all in and enjoy it as it's going by so fast. Everyone I know with a 2, 3 or 4 year old sees him and says how you forget how tiny they are and how quickly time goes. So I'm trying to film it all, photograph it all and document everything so we can remember it.

He's got dry skin and baby spots right now but other than that all the health workers are really happy with his progress and weight gain. I got my first proud-dad moment when he aced his hearing test as he was the first cleft-affected baby in 6 years to do that, which I was naturally not surprised about....I got teased at school for having big ears and it seems now, finally some good has come of these gigantic lugholes!

2 more of the NCT babies have arrived since the last post and Clare is hosting this week's get together at our house which may not be big enough to cope with 5 pushchairs! Jake is probably all of 18 inches long but the stuff which comes with him has taken over the entire house.

Till next time, he's a picture of Jake with his proud Grandad.

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