May 28th, 2008, 10:56 AM
Bebe Numero Dos - Estoy Loco
These past few weeks have been very stressful. My wife went in to labor six weeks early. Our second daughter is still in the ICU and currently weighs in at 4lbs. 5 oz. That's the size of a small bag of bird feed. SUET! The size of five stacked Whoppers. Or a Big Gulp. Or 135 Totino's Pizza Rolls!
In spite of her size (I could have fit her in my cargo pocket) she's very healthy and should be coming home soon.
[edit: baby is now home hurrah]
My wife, bless her heart, currently has more chemicals coursing her veins than the Stooges-era Iggy Pop. This causes her emotions to ebb and flow. They ebb like a hot brick of shit plummeting from a 757. And they flow like a menstruating rapper on a raft.
I've learned a lot of new things since our 2nd daughter was born and I re-learned a few things, too. Swaddling a baby is like riding a bike. Baby heads are like a medicine ball attached to cooked linguine. Refrigerated breast milk can easily be mistaken for gravy. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Because I'm not one to be selfish with information I thought I could share some insight with you all as you could find yourselves in a similar situation one day.
Here are lists of medical words/phrases I've recently (re)learned:
DILATION and CURETTAGE - Actually I didn't learn these words, I learned the aptly named acronym: D&C. This procedure is done immediately after the mother has given birth and hasn't naturally passed the placenta.
A doctor shoved their arm (yes, ARM) so far up the vag I thought my wife had an Adams apple.
In this procedure they scrape the uterine walls for remnants of placenta using a tool called a curette. It looks like a miniature mace.
When a woman gives birth she typically passes the placenta (afterbirth) without incident. Some uterus' think, "HEY WTF I WUZ UZING THAT!" and they hang on to the mass of congeries like they were winning lotto tickets, refusing to let them exit. This can be detrimental to the health of the mother and must be addressed quickly to avoid massive blood loss. If not tended to it can result in death. Serious business. And I don't feel like being a single father.
Though if I was a single dad and I had a sitcom it would be called: Me & My Girls - And Our Jar of Placenta. The opening credits would close with a camera zoom on our family portrait. Sha-na-na-na!
GENERAL - This particular word wasn't new to my vocabulary but the meaning had changed. When hospitals refer to a "general" they're usually referring to a method of anesthesia. What's so general about a general? Why was I expecting a man in a uniform or maybe even some cereal? A hospital "general" brings the patient to a reversible loss of consciousness. This method is perfect for what would otherwise be a painful procedure. However, they opted not to give my wife a general during the first 45 minutes of her D&C. And by that time whatever painkillers they had given her for the birthing process had long since faded. Homegirl was getting plowed without medication.
The other types of anesthesia I heard of are local and regional. There might be others. I don't know. I got confused because they all sound so geographic. "So they're all from around here, eh doc?"
EPIDURAL - Short for Epidural Anesthesia in most cases. This form of anesthesia is very common in childbirth. If the woman is in a considerable amount of pain during the labor process (OMG GET THIS MOTHER@*^#$*$ THING OUT OF ME OMFG!!!) she can request to have this injection that basically numbs her from the abdomen down. It blocks sensation and pain. My wife was supposed to get an epidural but the anesthesiologist was stuck in a Dunkin Donuts drive-through debacle. When doc wants a maple with sprinkles he means it!
OVERACTIVE LET-DOWN - This isn't what it sounds like at all. According to Wikipedia it's actually the "forceful ejection of milk from the breast during breastfeeding." It's also referred to as the Milk Ejection Reflex. MILK EJECTION REFLEX - COMING TO AN AMPITHEATER-R-R-R-R-R NEAR YOU!
But guess what? The mother doesn't actually have to be breastfeeding for this to happen. It's often a woman's physiological response to start letting-down when she hears a baby cry. Did you know this? YOU DID NOT! Granted it doesn't happen to women who haven't recently given birth or are currently feeding, but damn that would be hilarious if it did. This causes some nursing women to wear BREAST PADS.
BREAST PAD - A tit tampon.
INCUBATOR - This term has lots of definitions but when related to infants it references a temperature controlled, fully enclosed crib. Think giant glass shoe box without the fun little chewable silica gel packets. While an incubator can often spark adverse emotions (OMG MAH BABEE GONNA BE BABY IN TEH BUBBLE 4EVA!) the device is simply making sure the baby has the right core temperature. Premature infants often lack the body mass and fat of a full term baby. Meat on the bones helps to sustain the correct temperature. That's why you always see skinny people shivering. Freaks!
I must admit that I was a bit confused because I also heard a nurse referring to an intubator and I thought she had a speech impediment. I said something to our doctor because I wasn't comfortable with a mentally handicapped nurse around my daughter. Sure, they need jobs, too, but maybe pushing shopping carts or fitting monkeys for tuxedos - not in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
"Incubator," I said to her.
"No, sir. Intubator."
"Incubator?" I asked. "Incubator!" I demanded.
"IN-TOO-BAIT-ERRRRRRRR" she replied like I was the retarded one.
"Ah. Yes. Of course."
I still didn't know what the hell she was saying but I'm above arguing with a retard.
INTUBATOR - Not an incubator.
MECONIUM - I think you should Google MECONIUM.
This is a newborns first stool. And by stool I don't mean a heightened wooden chair I mean bowel. And by bowel I'm not talking about AEIOU and sometimes Y you yidiot.
What's so amazingly interesting about this bowel movement is that aside the fact that it looks like chewed Levi Garret, it's not actually digested food. It's made of materials the baby ingests while in the uterus: intestinal tissue, hair, snot, amniotic fluid, bile, unneeded office supplies, water, etc. The other difference is that it's sterile which means you could harness its power and use it to fight evil. What?
There are so many more words and phrases I could share but let's be honest; you're probably too dense to remember most of them and you're starting to drool. In a couple months when my life is back to normal I will have forgotten all of this crap. Again. And I hope to never again have to remember what I've re-learned.