For the first mornings after RR was born, the nurses would drop her off with me around 4am. Who knew 4am was the time parenting began each morning? They would turn on the bathroom light, which would flood the room with a gentle glow, and then I would hear the squeaky wheels of the plastic bassinet (RR’s chariot) being pushed into the room. From 4am until 8am, we would wait for my wife to come join us. I sent my wife home every night to preserve some sanity with the dog, as well as to allow one of us to be relatively well-rested. It also helped that we live mere moments away from the hospital, so her comings and goings didn’t take very long. RR and I patiently counted down the hours until my wife would arrive, since, unless I wanted to hit the nurse button, we were trapped there together on the bed. Trapped, in a good way.
The C-Section made me more immobile than I could have ever imagined. Between the IV’s, catheter, leg compression gadgets, I was bed-bound until Saturday morning (approximately 28 hours after delivery), when a very bossy (and nice) nurse unhooked me from all of my contraptions, and got me seated in the glider with RR in my arms. Even then, though, I couldn’t get out of the bed or the chair without help, most certainly if RR and I were alone. So there we sat, RR and I. Her on my belly or my shoulder, taking turns sleeping, nursing, having naked time, and texting early morning pictures to my wife. There was no TV, no iPod, no laptop – only the two of us, and my not-very-smart cell phone.
The room was quiet and dark until about 5:30am, when we could see the sunrise through an inch-tall gap at the bottom of the mini-blinds – the outside world begin to lighten up gradually, starting with a dark shade of blue, and making its way to being sunshine world-colored. Those four hours were blissfully serene – it was before the magic 8am hour, when breakfast was delivered, and the parade of doctors and nurses would start. When my wife would arrive, she would open the blinds, and take RR by the window, where she would gaze and bake in the sunshine. We blame this for her outstanding bilirubin levels.
Ever since we’ve been home, she still wakes up to start the day around 4am. It doesn’t matter when her last feeding was, or if she’s wet, or if she was just up at 3am – 4am is when her morning alarm clock goes off. We’ve been going to bed around 10pm or 11pm, and then my wife gets up with her for the late-night 1am feeding. The 4am shift, though, is usually all mine. Sometimes, I can convince her to go back to sleep by 5am, but most of the time, she prefers to stay up until around 5:30am/5:45am, right when the outside world starts to turn that familiar shade of blue as the sun rises. She’ll go back to sleep, seemingly, after the sun is almost fully up, and then we both go back to bed until 7am or 8am, when the day officially starts for the whole family.
It’s certainly a good thing we like her so much – there’s not a lot of things I can tolerate (much less look forward to) after being woken up at 4 o’clock in the morning on a never-ending daily basis, but feeding her in the dimly lit living room while we wait for the sunrise is something I might actually miss – that is, if ever she grows out of it.