Life with 8 kids isn’t too different from life with 7 kids. So if anyone out there is considering the leap from 7 to 8, know it isn’t difficult. In fact, living without heat the past 11 days during a nasty cold snap has been infinitely more stressful than dealing with a sweet, sleepy newborn. (For the record, only 3 of the 8 have been sweet and sleepy. The rest screamed like pterodactyls through their infancy. I know no one knows how- or if- pterodactyls screeched, but they screeched on Land of the Lost.) Going down to 50F was tolerable, but once we got to the 40s, 30s– eek– 20s, it was painful to get up in the middle of the night to pee, only to have your bee-you-tee-tee hit an icy toilet seat. I kept the baby either bundled or directly against me the entire duration. I wonder how eskimos manage their newborns?
Perhaps because I was spared the last 24 days of the pregnancy, I don’t feel that bad. Usually after I give birth I feel like my midriff and private parts have been through a wood chipper. As of this moment, besides somewhat sore boobs, the only pain is from the six inch bruise the IV hookup left down my inner forearm. Because I’ve been pregnant so many times, and because I was bleeding so much, they left that horrible thing taped into my arm for 48 hours. But otherwise (ahem) I seem back to normal, albeit I haven’t tested the waters.
I put off bringing the baby in for a checkup for fear they’d stick him back under the lights. Head to toe his skin is a mottled reddish-orange. I forced myself to go in today, and was relieved when the pleasant pediatrician assured me he was jaundiced only on his face, and that any other discoloration was due to his slight prematurity.
My mother often tells me I was jaundiced as a baby and was kept under lights for weeks, and this inhibited her bonding with me. My mother was never an emotive type but she always sounded terribly sad when she related this story, similar to when she talked about mother cats mewling for kittens once they are given away to new homes.
The non-verbal three year old has taken surprisingly well to her new baby brother. This evening she carefully placed her finger by his fist to allow him to grab onto it while she gazed at him thoughtfully. Who knows what she was thinking, but it seemed like good thoughts. I probably shouldn’t call her non-verbal, strictly speaking, because after watching me nurse the new baby a few dozen times she started saying “boobs.” (Or, “boo;” she has difficulty with final consonants.)