So here it goes… my first attempt to write a blog! And I couldn’t imagine a better topic to write about – my little bear cub Roman. I say bear cub because my husband and I call each other “Bear” (not sure how that name came about), so it’s only natural that he’s our bear cub. He decided to arrive into the world a week earlier on April 25, 2014 and was born the same day as his cousin – what are the chances! He weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces and was 21 ¾ inches tall. I’ll never forget the moment when he was placed on my chest… skin to skin contact – something so many books encourage & simply one of the most beautiful feelings in the world! Although I was still in quite a bit of pain (not sure how people say the pain automatically goes away when you see your baby!), all I could do was smile while he lay on me grasping my thumb with his tiny hand as if he was going to hold on forever. Poor thing was crying so loudly – probably saying, “Why on Earth did I have to leave such a comfortable place?” It may sound cliché, but it is a miracle.
The first couple days of parenthood were definitely a shock in terms of lack of sleep. The first night the nurses brought him into the nursery so I could get some rest and brought him to me every 2 hours when he was hungry, but the second night they told me if I wanted to breastfeed it was best if he stayed in the room with me. Our little man wanted to eat every hour and sometimes even less than every hour. Boy was my boy hungry! It turns out babies have a growth spurt during this time, which makes them EXTRA hungry! (I must have missed this chapter in the two baby books I read.) I was exhausted and I barely knew what time of day it was! But after a few days of feeding, burping, and changing him (with the occasional visits from family & friends), your body adapts and life all of a sudden has a different meaning – you realize you’re holding the most precious teeny tiny baby in your arms – the next generation.
And of course my SLP brain started to kick in! Before Roman, I had administered speech language evaluations such as the PLS-5 & Rossetti Infant Toddler Language Scale numerous times, and now the milestones were coming to life one by one! I was talking to him non-stop during the few minutes he was alert and even when he was fast asleep. Within the first hour of his life, my doula encouraged me to introduce breastfeeding to him. Here is where I saw natural instincts at its best. Without even being taught, he was searching for the milk by rooting. Sometimes (selfishly) I would even bring him to my cheek and pretend he was kissing me, but he was of course just a hungry growing boy. Right off the bat he automatically made sucking motions when I gave him my finger, which seemed to be very soothing to him. And I couldn’t believe he was communicating so well by crying. Let’s just say – someone definitely doesn’t like diaper changes!
The next step was the Newborn Screening. Doctors were telling me the results. The tables were definitely turned… this was something I had only asked parents of children I was evaluating. And now someone was telling me about my son! As an aside, did you know that in 1965 they tested for 1 disorder and today they test for more than 40?? The doctors said he passed the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening with flying colors. And then the next day it was time for the circumcision, which was definitely more difficult for us than him!
We went to our first doctor’s appointment a day after we left the hospital on April 28th. My mother joined me and I must add grandmas are definitely the cutest…the love & happiness they feel with their first grandchild is like no other. It deserves a whole blog in itself! She literally snapped a photo of every step I took while pushing the stroller in the streets of NYC. A walk that should have taken 10 minutes took 30 and we were of course late to our first doctor’s appointment. But I now realize that being on time for anything is a thing of the past! He ended up weighing in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces. Unbeknownst to me, newborns lose a few ounces of weight in their first few days of life and are supposed to be at their birth weight again after 2 weeks. While there, I was so proud Roman was putting one foot in front of the other when the doctor was holding him upright. Turned out it was another reflex! And then he had to get the dreaded prick of the heel to get his bilirubin levels tested again, which he obviously was not a fan of!
The first week passed by in a flash while we ooo’ed and aaah’ed over his “first” sneeze and hiccup. He will definitely be overwhelmed by the amount of pictures and videos when he is older (keeping up with the photo albums is a full-time job by the way!). Times have definitely changed with all this new technology that I barely know what to do with, but by the time Roman is reading this, it won’t even be so “new” anymore. My husband and I joke saying that when he is a teenager they’ll have things called “face computers”. We already have some great material that we can use to embarrass him in front of his future girlfriends ☺. In any case, I hope our little bear cub Roman doesn’t think he has a crazy SLP mom! I’m so excited to be on this journey of mother & son with him. I am also thrilled to share his milestones as well as what I’ve learned being a first time parent with you!