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There are days in all of our lives in which our life irreversibly changes forever. A few weeks ago, I had such a day. My partner of 7 years and I welcomed into the world a new baby boy. Little Julian was born via C-section in early September at 7 pounds and 3 ounces, and is so far healthy and happy.

My partner and I welcomed our baby son, Julian into the world in early September.

Regular readers might know that I already have a child for all intents and purposes. When I met my partner, she already had a 3 year old daughter from a previous relationship. We've had full custody of that child, and so I've been raising as my own. Since I didn't even meet her until she was 3 years old, I missed out on all the baby stuff. In fact, she was just finishing up potty training when I met her, so I never had to deal with diapers. I had a daughter, but I never had a baby.

The only time I've ever had to deal with infants and diapers and bottles was years ago when a co-worker and friend friend had twin daughters through (I think) in vitro fertilization. She was raising the girls as a single mother and needed some extra help, and since she lived a few minutes from me, I offered to go over and help watch the babies from time to time so that she could take care of chores around the house. She taught me how to change diapers, feed babies, hold them, and calm them when they were crying. One of the twins was particularly responsive to me, and always seemed to calm down when I held her.

They were my little "practice babies", and I was sad when their mother decided to move out of state to the midwest to be with family. She had limited support here (even with friends and colleagues like me trying to help out whenever we could), so I can't blame or fault her for the decision.

But now I have a little baby of my own, and so that practice is finally paying off!

With my partner bed-ridden after the C-section, I was responsible for diaper changes in the first couple days.

In fact, I had to put that practice into effect almost immediately. Since my partner had to have a C-section, she was bed-ridden for the first couple days after the delivery. This meant that during those first couple days in the hospital, I was on full-time diaper duty. Newborn diapers weren't exactly what I was prepared for. The thick, black, sticky meconium was quite a bit different than what I remembered from the practice twins. Having a boy also meant I had the risk of being peed on during a diaper change, which isn't really a problem with baby girls (as far as I've been told). Though Julian has actually yet to pee on us directly. He did pee on his own face once though. I was holding is legs up to clean him after a dirty diaper, he started peeing while pointing right at his face. He was not a happy baby.

Life changed forever

Anyway, we checked into the hospital for the C-section on a Wednesday, and were scheduled to be discharged on Saturday afternoon, but my partner is a tough cookie and was doing very well in her recovery, so the hospital discharged us a day early. I think they were making a habit of not keeping anybody in the hospital any longer than necessary given the ongoing COVID pandemic.

The first night at home was rough.

What we weren't really prepared for though, was that the epidural that my partner had received for the C-section was just starting to wear off after we were discharged. She wasn't feeling much pain at the hospital, but that night, after we got home, she was in a lot of pain. We had also failed to factor in the fact that our bed sits up a bit higher than the hospital bed did. She had a lot of trouble getting in and out of bed. That first night out of the hospital, she was in a lot of pain struggling to get in and out of bed, and the baby was crying wanting to be fed, and I was pretty overwhelmed. I wasn't sure if I should be packing her up and taking her back to the hospital.

She had been prescribed Ibuprofen as well as an opioid pain reliever. Thankfully, the Ibuprofen was sufficient to relieve most of the pain. We both wanted to avoid the opioid unless absolutely necessary, since we both know that it's potentially habit-forming and has some nasty side effects. Thankfully, she was able to get by without having to take any. Like I said, she's a tough cookie.

Since then, we've been adjusting to having a newborn in the house. I still intend to keep going about my business as best I can. I'll still be blogging, still doing YouTube video essays, still co-hosting PolyCast, still attending UNLV football home games (and even a Raiders game), and I'll still try to squeeze in the occasional video game or board game whenever possible. But I can't promise that I'll be able to keep up the same pace. I had to scale back my responsibilities on PolyCast for the time being. I had been responsible for the live streaming, editing, and publication of episodes, but had to off-load those duties onto the other co-hosts for the foreseeable future in case the baby prevents me from attending live recordings or doesn't give me the time to do the editing and publication.

I've tried to keep up the blogging and video essay-ing as best I can, but the time spent working on those has meant less time for actually playing games. As such, my backlog is growing. I've barely played Axis Football 21. It took me well over a month to play enough of Humankind to feel comfortable reviewing it. I have a few other game reviews that I'm still sitting on because I haven't had time to play enough of them to warrant a review. I downloaded, but still haven't been able to play Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye yet. And I've also been sitting on games like Disco Elysium, Cyberpunk 2077, and Imperator: Rome, among others.

I've been trying my best to get the hang of multi-tasking with the baby and my other personal commitments.

I'm doing my best. But if any of my regular readers or YouTube viewers are wondering why content has slowed down a bit, this is why. I still have a full-time job in addition to the responsibilities of taking care of a new baby and squeezing in extra sleep whenever I can get it. I may have to lay off a bit on the bigger projects and focus more on smaller, quicker content that I can hammer out more reliably. In any case, I'm not planning on going anywhere, and if you want to help and support my blogging and video content creation, I do still have the Patreon campaign going. I would definitely appreciate the support -- now more than ever.

Thankfully, Julian has [so far] mostly been good about letting us sleep. My partner is breast-feeding, so she's up with him more than I am, since I can't really do a whole lot. But sometimes, I will get up and bottle feed Julian so that my partner can get some extra sleep -- especially on mornings in which I do not have to go into work. My partner is on maternity leave for these first few months and is able to offset saying up late by napping during the day. And the baby has his grandparents over several times a week to keep him company while she works on chores. There have been some nights, however, when he has been fussy and we didn't get any sleep at all. Boy, those are rough.

How the heck did prehistoric humans survive with such high-maintenance offspring?!

I frequently find myself wondering aloud: how the heck did the human race survive with babies that are such high-maintenance? Sleep is important for both mental and physical health, so how the heck did caveperson families do this without modern conveniences like bottles, swaddles, formula, moist wipes, electric lights, indoor plumbing, and so forth? I'm no anthropologist, but I can only assume that it was our social and tribal nature that made primitive child-care possible.

My guess is that primitive hominid mothers probably acted as rotating nighttime wetnurses for everyone's babies. This would not only allow the other parents to get a full night's sleep, but it probably also gave each baby a wider variety of antibodies and nutrients, since each mother's milk would likely have been a little bit different. Again, I'm not expert in anthropology, so I don't know. But if true, it would be just another example of how our species is reliant on socialization, cooperation, and communal behavior for our survival.

A COVID baby

Having a newborn during a respiratory disease pandemic has also posed its share of extra challenges. My partner and I are both vaccinated, as are most of our friends, family, and neighbors. But our 10-year-old daughter is not old enough to be eligible for any of the vaccines currently available, and she's going to public school. This has brought the stress and anxiety of worrying that she may contract COVID from school and bring it home to Julian, whose immune system may not be strong enough to combat the infection.

Hopefully the fact that his mother received the vaccination during the early stages of the pregnancy will mean that he has some antibodies from her, and he may be receiving additional COVID antibodies from the breast milk. If so, he should have a higher likelihood of avoiding serious illness if it does spread into our household.

I also have seasonal allergies, so I frequently have sniffles, phlem, and sore throats. A couple weeks prior to the delivery date, my partner and I both came down with mild colds. Our COVID tests were negative, but I was still sniffly in the hospital after the delivery. Even though I had tested negative, I still put on a mask and washed my hands before touching or holding Julian, just in case. He didn't actually get to see my face for the first few days because I was wearing that mask.

I wore a mask whenever I held Julian as an extra precaution against COVID.

We also have to isolate him from friends, neighbors, and family who aren't vaccinated. I'm in with pretty progressive and socially-responsible crowds, but we do have some friends and families who have bought into the vaccine disinformation that is floating out there. Some of them were people who we visited with regularly prior to the baby's arrival, but who haven't been able to visit since Julian's birth, since we don't want to take unnecessary risks of exposure. It's tough to maintain this bubble around the baby, and I can only hope that our precautions are not straining the relationships. But we live in the 21st century, and I am not going to let my baby get sick and die of a preventable disease because some people refuse to accept vaccinations that are almost certainly safe, and which are free and readily available. I'm reminded of a line from the first episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks (one of my favorite lines from the show): "We live on a spaceship. Nobody is dying of a spear wound!"

I'm kind of a worrier to begin with, so the baby has just given me a whole lot more to worry about. The first couple weeks, he frequently sounded congested when breathing, and he sometimes snorts or grunts. Those noises (and any other unusual noise he makes) made me a bit of a nervous wreck in those early days. I was constantly sitting up in the middle of the night to watch him, and sometimes I would even get up and poke him to make sure he's still breathing. He's just so small, and so fragile.

Seeing him now, it's hard to believe that (if all goes well) someday he'll be a full-sized person. Probably taller and stronger and (hopefully) smarter than me.

We made a little tiny person.

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Comments (1) -

10/23/2021 10:32:07 #

You're exactly right about your wonderings on prehistoric child-rearing. Children are meant to be raised by their whole community, not by one or two parents. The phrase "It takes a village to raise a child" is not just an idiom, it's literal. Children are meant to have a wide swath of support and different parental figures all teaching them different life lessons and skills and philosophies, and adults are not meant to give up all their independence and personal time when they have children. The lack of communal child-rearing brought on by the rise of monogamy has had catastrophic affects on both children and adults, and thus on society as a whole. Without communal child-rearing, there is an immense increase in depression, alienation, and isolation in both children and adults. Lack of communal child-rearing has led to problems like pedophilia, suicide, and infanticide, due to the lack of healthy child-non-parent interaction, the lack of safety that comes with communal overseeing of the wellbeing of all the community's children, the lack of freedom of children to roam around from person to person within a tribe to spend time with different people as they so desire and the lack of freedom in adults to still live their own lives after childbearing, and so on.

Humans are a naturally promiscuous and fiercely egalitarian species with very intense instincts about sharing, and our natural instincts are to share everything from resources like food and shelter to intimate partners. Jealousy and hate come from seeing others have something we don't, whether it's a toy or food or a partner, and when we feel that we are just as welcome to something as others, those feelings go away and we feel comfortable and content. Monogamy only came about when agriculture was invented, which itself introduced the concepts of property and withholdance from our fellow man, as some individuals (specifically men) started hoarding all the food. Before this, nobody cared who fathered which child, as all adults in a tribe were every child's mothers and fathers; everyone shared lovers and child-rearing responsibilities. Now that people had property and withholdance, the men who controlled the food supplies started offering other men access to their food only if they would work for them (help farm the crops, help protect the crops from thieves [people who rightfully felt that the food should belong to everyone and not be hoarded by a few], etc) and offering women access to their food only if they would promise them sexual exclusivity so they would know who their children were and thus would have heirs to inherit their property when they died. Agriculture thus created capitalism and monogamy, concepts of property and withholdance which are in direct conflict with our fiercely egalitarian sharing nature, and these concepts have created endless suffering throughout the ages: war, cheating, murder, theft, heartbreak, suicide, rape, on and on.

Long story short: child-rearing has become a sad mess because of monogamy, itself a sad mess, because of agriculture, the biggest and saddest mess of all which has caused endless other sad messes. Anthropologists say that agriculture is the greatest error in human history, one from which we may never recover. All this information is explored and explained in far greater detail with an immense amount of research and sourcing in the book Sex at Dawn. The paperback and hardback have different subtitles ("How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships" and "The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality" respectively), but they are the same book.

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Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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