When we were preparing to leave the hospital, our nurse, Gwendolyn, mentioned that we would eventually be able to distinguish between Elena’s different cries. She said the ability wouldn’t come immediately, but shouldn’t take too long–maybe a week. Jenny has probably caught on more quickly, but to me it still seems that all the cries mean she’s hungry. However, on Saturday night we had an incident where a lack of crying disturbed us. All appears to be well now, and it was probably just first-time parent jitters, but we did worry.
After a doctor’s visit on Friday, we remained worried that Elena wasn’t eating enough, since she hadn’t given us anything in the way of stinky diapers since we came home. As it had been more than a week, the doctor recommended that we supplement her diet with a mixture of formula and corn syrup twice a day. The first few times we gave her an ounce of the mixture, but faced with an ongoing absence of results, on Saturday evening we upped the supplement to two ounces. An hour later she was asleep in her bassinet while I was on the computer nearby. A sudden, strange sound came from her direction, and I looked over to find a disturbing amount of spit-up and a baby in distress. Her back arched, her eyes seemed to be rolling around in their sockets, and she was less responsive than usual. Jenny came in and we calmed her and cleaned her up, trying to ascertain if she was all right. After we did all that we could, we laid her back down.
At 2:30 am, I happened to wake up. Elena was still peacefully asleep, but Jenny was awake, and told me that Elena hadn’t wanted any food since the spit-up incident, at least five hours prior (which is too long an interval). Even though she didn’t seem to be hungry or awake, I put her down next to Jenny and she ate, which was a good sign. I went back to sleep, and didn’t wake up again until a more normal hour. At this time, Elena was asleep again, but seemed to be a little bit unsettled. I decided to change her diaper, and was delighted to find it extremely full. (Before having a baby, I never imagined that I would feel that way about a dirty diaper!) Since yesterday morning, everything has been completely normal with Elena. Her appetite does seem to be greater, but that’s a development that we cheer.
A few days after returning from the hospital, I went in to school to pick some things up. On the way out, I stopped to say hi to Nancy, one of the department secretaries and the brains behind the whole operation. She’s a very grandmotherly figure, all the more so since she has a one year old grandson. Amidst the pleasantries and congratulations, she commented that having a baby really does change people. As her example, she said (paraphrasing): ‘in the several years you’ve been around, I’ve never known you to be one who discusses bodily functions. However, here you are today, happily discussing poopy diapers.’