In the beginning there was life.... And a sick three-year-old, a sick husband, a throwing up peeing in the house dog, and not enough breast milk for the newborn. This, in a nutshell, is how the first week of Gage's life went at our house.
It started off well enough. Gage was born on a Thursday, we took him home on Friday, and Jason's parents stayed with us through the weekend. Those first few days were blissful. Gage and I practiced nursing, Jason and Jack spent time together, and my mother-in-law did the dishes. Then came Sunday. I haven come to realize in the seven short weeks we've been the parents of two, things can go from perfectly calm to mayhem in the blink of an eye. Sunday afternoon, Jason's parents left. Sunday evening, we discovered Jack was running a fever. Sunday night, Gage fussed for hours straight in the middle of the night because he could not get enough milk. By Monday morning, we'd gone from blissful to a wreck.
Our plan had been to, with Jason off work, spend that first week getting to know and enjoy our new family dynamic. It instead turned into a moment-by-moment fight for the survival of our sanity. I nursed, pumped and bottle-fed Gage. Jason took care of Jack, who had a whopper of a virus, complete with 103-degree fever and vomiting. Our dog, Zoe, who was lucky I was still remembering to feed her, decided to show her displeasure at being completely ignored by peeing all over the guest room bedding where Jason and Jack had been sleeping to keep the germs away from the baby. Jason discovered this one evening while he was transferring a sobbing Jack to the guest room after he'd thrown up all over his own bed. With so much going awry, Jason didn't even get mad. He sighed and accepted it as a matter of course, as he tossed the stinky dog pee bedding downstairs and went on a hunt through the house for more queen-sized sheets. I would have helped, but I was tethered to the breast pump for the tenth time that day.
As the week went on, things went from better to bad to worse. Zoe threw up all over the carpet upstairs. Apparently, due to our lack of communication with each other, she had been getting double-fed a lot. Jason came down with Jack's virus, and Jack continued to run a high fever. I told myself over and over that this could not last forever and we would get through it. Aside from a crying spell over my inability to make milk, I stayed pretty calm, considering. I attribute a lot of it to the fact that I got to sleep alone with only Gage in our big king-size bed, so I was getting a good eight or nine hours of sleep each night. Jason, on the other hand, was sleeping with a coughing, fidgeting, sick Jack who has the habit of sticking his feet down your underwear when you sleep next to him. By the end of the week, Jason was sick, seriously sleep deprived and definitely not okay. One morning (Thursday, Friday, I have no idea) he hit his breaking point and could no longer rationally deal with Jack's incessant coughing and whining. This is when we switched kids. I laid with Jack in his bed, stroked his hair and told him stories. Jason sat in the rocker and fed Gage, relieved at the relative quiet of a newborn. Friday morning, I called the pediatrician and got Jack an appointment. Jason took him in later that day, and it turned out that besides the raging virus, Jack had his first-ever ear infection.
Jason took several more days off work than he intended, due to his own illness. My parents came over and helped, which was an absolute life saver. And we made it through. It was the longest week of our lives, but we came out the other side, and things have gotten better since. We are adjusting to life with two kids after surviving what felt like a bizarre fraternity hell week. That first week wasn't at all what we'd expected or hoped for, but if we got through that, the rest of it should be a walk in the park...right??