The Swaddle Debacle

Sometimes, projects fail. It usually makes me really angry when they do. This is one of those times.

Despite the fact that Charly is 5 months old, we still swaddle her. It is high time to wean her of that habit, I know, but that means interrupted sleep patterns, and I just don't think I'm ready for that. Since it has warmed up here (aka the heat outside is unbearable) Charly needed something lighter than her flannel swaddling blanket. She had a pesky rash that I thought was heat rash (turns out it was eczema- Aveeno baby cream is clearing it right up!) so the pressure was on to try to find her one of those nifty swaddlers that wrap around her and velcro- making it less likely she would wriggle out and wake herself up by flailing her arms, which she totally does.

Source

We searched Target high and low, and all they had were gauzy swaddling blankets for $40 or a swaddler in a size too small for Charly. And it was a boy swaddler. I'm totally OK with my child wearing blue, but this thing was just ugly. I wouldn't have bought it for a boy either. I know that's silly- its for sleeping for goodness sakes! It was too small anyway, so we checked a few other stores (with no luck) and headed home. I devised a plan to create my own from old t shirts. The next day I got to work, creating a pattern based on the swaddler design above. I'm not a person that just whips up my own patterns for things normally, so I was pretty proud of myself. I sewed most of the day in an effort to have it ready for bedtime. When I was finished, it looked awesome.

Ok, maybe it looked a little like a baby straight jacket, but I thought it was awesome. I sewed the velcro strips perpendicular to each other on the two flaps for maximum adjust-ability.

We eagerly shimmied our squirmy baby inside, pulled the flaps tightly around her, fastened it up, and bam. Hands out. Instantly. I handed her to Matt and walked away and threw a silent temper tantrum. Out came the flannel, and she was back to her regular swaddle.

The next day, once my silent tantrum was over, I went to the fabric store to see if I could find any gauzy fabric to mimic the $40 blankets we had seen. Matt didn't want me to, because he didn't want a repeat of the day before, but I insisted I'd keep my cool, and that this project would be super easy and require much less of a time commitment, so the emotional stakes would be lower. Lo and behold, my fabric was half off, bringing the price of a 44" square swaddling blanket to just over $4. Woohoo! All I had to do was serge the edges (and in reality it would even work without serging) and then put it to use! Here is my little dear after waking up from a gauzy swaddled nap:

Yes, she does wake up that happy. The kid is crazy. The lesson? Sometimes the simple solutions are the best ones.

Advice from a new Dad

Well I did it! I have kept a child alive for almost 5 months. Shocked…impressed…I am, to tell you the truth. I can’t remember the last time I held a child before Charly. I have held a watermelon if that’s close enough. It’s the same thing right? About the same size and weight and you thump them to tell if they are ripe. You can tell I was very prepared for this whole fatherhood thing.  I know everyone is thinking, “at least Holli is there to keep things straight.” And it’s a good thing too, who knows where we would be without her. So I thought I would throw out some basic advice to other new or soon to be fathers.

Source

Advice #:1 Breathe…
So you’re a new Dad.  Just take a moment to relax. Life is not going to be the same. It won’t be worse, just different. You can’t just go out and do whatever you want whenever you want anymore. For some men who would rather just stay home and not go out, this gives you the perfect excuse. For others, it takes time to adjust.



Advice #2: Your child’s scream will never be music to your ears…
I don’t care what people tell you. A screaming child is obnoxious. Just thinking about it makes me anxious.



Advice #3: Off button…
A Binky is the closest thing to an off button. It’s not a guarantee, but always worth a try. Bless the man/woman who invented it!

Advice #4: Kids are not rational…
You can throw reason and logic out the window when dealing with your child. One second she is laughing the next she is crying. I just don’t get it!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI8ybD9WOeo]



Advice #5: Try counting to 4…
When trying to calm down your child try counting to 4. 1 – Does she need to be changed? 2 – Does she need to eat? 3 – Does she need to sleep? 4 – Give her to her Mother. Works every time!



Advice #6: Never shake a burning baby…
You should never shake a baby…even if they’re on fire. It’s never happened to me, but thought you should know.


Sorry folks, no picture for this one!


Advice #7: Babies are cougar bait…
Try walking through Macy’s on a weekday and tell me how many 40+ woman come up and talk to you. You will draw a large crowd of middle aged woman. They are ravenous and will attack. I’m sure if you are in the mountains your baby may also attract real cougars.


BMW Photography

Advice #8: Remember the Boy Scout Motto…
Be prepared my friends! I have an equation of how much extra time you need to get ready and out the door with a baby. Take the total minutes (hours) it takes your wife to get ready in the morning. Multiply that by two and add an additional half hour. That should give you enough time. Preparation is the key to any outing. You need to pack diapers, burp cloths, extra changes of clothes, toys, books…and the list goes on. Also, be prepared for your child to spit up and/or poop right before or right after you leave. It’s inevitable.






Advice #9: Worship the ground your wife walks on…
She is the one that does all the hard work. You may take the baby for a half hour or so while your wife tries to relax, but really she is the one doing all the dirty work. So you better spoil her.






Advice #10: Enjoy being a father…
There is nothing better than when your child falls asleep on your chest, bath time, when you first come home from work and she gets all excited, or when she is asleep in your arms. Just enjoy being a father.   




My Birth Story: Things don’t always go as planned Part 3

Part 3 of the birth story is finally here! After a lot of procrastinating, I’ve finally written it and posted for all the world to read. If you haven’t read the previous posts, part 1 is here, part 2 is here, and if you enjoy a more humorous commentary, matts version part 1 is here and part 2 is here.
Ok, everyone caught up?
So we leave the hospital Sunday in our sweet ride with a little bundle of joy wedged between us in a carseat. She sleeps most of the 45 minute drive back to our house and we can’t help but comment on how surreal it is to be taking her home. It feels strange to be back in our own house, even though we’ve only been gone 2 nights. Somehow it feels like going back to our same old house and our same old stuff just doesn’t feel right because we know everything about how we live is changing. Matt’s parents drive up shortly after us (bringing both their car and ours from the hospital) and unload to stay and help us out for a few days. We get ‘settled’ (nothing felt settled at that point) and go to bed early. I’m still recovering from surgery and everything is a little labored, so I can definitely use the sleep. Matt’s mom, Lori, slept on the sofa sleeper in the nursery to stay with little Charly, change her when she woke up, then bring her in to us so we could get as much sleep as possible. Ha. Sleep. Funny.
I was really tired. (taken on a phone, sorry its fuzzy)
It was nearly every 2 hours that our little girl woke up and wanted to nurse, which would take maybe 45 minutes. That equals out to a schedule sort of like this: 12 am- wake up, nurse until 12:45. Go to sleep for an hour and 15 minutes. 2 am- wake up, nurse until 2:45. Sleep for an hour and 15 minutes. Repeat. My friends, that is exhausting. So little sleep is not conducive to recovery. I took lots of meds that first little while and tried to not move too much since it was painful, but I probably over did it early on. I just hated being so stationary.
So Monday morning rolls around. Matt’s dad makes breakfast and Matt and I are in a bit of a daze. I’m not really sure what to do. One thing is for sure, I LOVE holding my baby. Matt and Steve make plans to go to Roanoke to get some supplies Steve needs to finish up the cradle he is working on for Charly (so she can sleep in our room once our help leaves) and to pick up a few other items. They leave and I decide I should probably shower, so Lori takes care of Charly. Quickly I learned that everything is a laborious process when you are recovering. I hadn’t really considered how often I use my abdominal muscles until they had been cut straight through and then reattached. Let me tell you, it is a lot.
That day, I tried to relax. Lori was wonderful and made food, refilled my drinks, and brought me my meds. We hung out on the couch most of the day while the boys were out.
Remember how Charly was awesome in the hospital? Well, she proved to be a little more difficult once we brought her home. She wouldn’t nurse as well and kept getting angry during feedings. I’d have to calm her down, then try to latch again. She also screamed a lot more. Like a lot. I was kind of beside myself. Here I am, exhausted, dazed, hurting AND drugged, with a screamy baby that I was supposed to know how to help. It didn’t seem like anything worked. Once she started screaming, she was screaming. I was nervous about giving her a pacifier because of things I had heard about nipple confusion, and I really wanted nursing to go well. She would calm down some when we let her suck on our fingers, so we used that a lot.
Monday, as Lori and I are caring for her, we keep going to change her diaper and it is dry. In the hospital they give you a sheet to chart when you feed, how long, when they have wet or poopy diapers (‘bowel movements’ and ‘voids’) etc. I, being a bit OCD in some things, took a liking to this chart and filled it out religiously. I would analyze it and review it multiple times. I probably took it a little too far, because when I eventually stopped charting this stuff it was completely liberating. So I was obsessing over this chart and noticing that all her diapers had been dry and clean. All day. Since Sunday afternoon at the hospital. I’m getting concerned about it but I’m trying not to be a crazy obsessive new mom. Matt and Steve get back that evening and I’m pretty irked that he has been gone our whole first day home with our new baby. Even though Lori was there, I felt kind of alone without my partner in crime. We try to relax that evening some more, but I’m getting more and more worried about her diaper deal. She should have a whole lotta dirty diapers this day (according to another chart they gave me) and she hasn’t had one. I’m feeling out of control- I don’t know what is going on with my screaming baby who used to be an angel, she’s angry every time we try and nurse, my husband has been gone all day, and I’m worrying that something is wrong, plus, remember, I’m tired and hurting and on drugs. Ok, so bad combo, right?
We decide to put Charly in our room in a pack and play that night. I don’t remember why, but I remember that it was what I felt like I needed. Nursing gets more and more frustrating as she latches less and less and screams more and more. Up until this point I felt like I held it together, but that night I break down and I sob. I feel like a terrible mother. I don’t know what to do. I feel helpless. I don’t remember how long I cried, but I remember that I used a lot of tissues. I don’t think you can fully comprehend the emotional state of a new mother unless you have been through it, but I was a complete wreck. I think I cried more that night than I have in the past 3 years combined. Matt and I talked and cried and, eventually decided we needed to take some sort of action. He suggested I call the hospital. I call Labor and Delivery and ask if they have any record of her peeing and pooping after about noon on Sunday. The nurse who answered snippily said “uh- you mean voids and bowel movements?” Yes that is what I mean! Hello! Who actually says that on a regular basis who isn’t in the medical profession? And really, you want to pretend you aren’t sure that’s what “pee and poop” means? Let’s be serious. Her snippy-ness was almost enough to send me into tears again. She transferred me to a nurse in the nursery and she said she had the same record I did- noon Sunday. When I told her why I was wondering she got really concerned. In a way that was completely validating. I had been so worried about it and it seemed like everyone was downplaying that- probably because I was such a wreck and they were trying to calm me down. She asked a lot of questions. She said she thought that Charly wasn’t getting enough milk. I told her my milk hadn’t come in and that someone in the hospital (can’t remember who) told me it could be up to 5 days. She said that it should be in by now and if it wasn’t we needed to get her something soon. We had some free formula samples on hand but I was still worried about nipple confusion. She was totally reassuring. She said she breastfed all 3 of her children until they were a year old, so she totally supports it, but that if it were her she would prepare some formula and give it to her from a medicine dropper to avoid the nipple confusion risk. If I knew who she was I would send her flowers. I felt so much better after I talked to her. I didn’t want to supplement, but this was a serious thing. She told me to continue to try breastfeeding and then pump if she wouldn’t latch so that my milk would still come in. Although it made for even longer feedings (try to nurse, then formula feed and pump) I felt a lot better doing something.
The next day we had a visit with the pediatrician. We explained what had been going on and she too was very concerned. She told us though that it would be ok to go ahead and give her the formula in a bottle and to go get some lab work done so they could make sure everything else was ok. At this point she had one small wet diaper, but still no poop.
We headed over to the local hospital to get the lab work. I was on the verge of tears from the moment we walked our 4 day-old through the hospital doors. Something about being there made the whole situation seem so much more dire. When we took her back for her labs I lost it again. They put that tourniquet around her tiny little arm and I just couldn’t handle it. I was already in such a fragile state. Charly screamed but then calmed down as Matt comforted her. She didn’t even make a peep when they put the needle in to her tiny veins and drew a few vials of blood, but I silently sobbed. It hurt so much to see her like that, and it hurt even more that I was in such a state that I couldn’t even be there to comfort her. I had to walk out of the doorway. I didn’t know how Matt was so strong, but I felt yet again like a failed mother as my child cried in the room next to me.
We went home knowing that we would get a call when the results were in. Less than an hour later the pediatrician called and said that her electrolyte levels were low and she was dehydrated and that we needed to go to the hospital- either Roanoke or Augusta (both 45 minutes away-our local hospital is pretty small-town and limited) and take her to the ER. We chose Augusta, where she was born, packed a few things and left. Matt’s parents left shortly after us. I cried a whole lot more- on the way there, while we were checking her in, and each time I explained to a nurse what was going on. As emergency room visits usually go, it took a long time. They ordered more blood work, then determined she needed an IV. The nurses were fabulous with her, and the doctor was very kind and efficient. We were there for over four hours, most of which was waiting. The IV itself only took 10 or so minutes, since a body as small as hers only needs a little fluid to make it healthy, comparatively. She took it like a champ and slept the entire time she had the IV in. We thought we would be released shortly after that, but the nurses said something about the doctor being worried about ‘failure to thrive’ and needing to check things little more. Hearing those words just about sent me back over the edge, but if I remember right I didn’t have enough in me to even cry again. The doctor checked her out and asked another ER nurse, a woman who worked for 15 years in labor and delivery, to come and check her out. She was wonderful. We were feeding at the time so she watched as I nursed and said I was doing everything right and hopefully my milk would be in soon. She was very encouraging. While she was in with us Charly finally ‘voided’, and as I was changing her we had an explosion of meconium. Never in my life had I been so happy to see so much poop!
Charly with the IV in her arm. Doesn't that just break your heart?!
At her suggestion the doc said they would go ahead and release us and that we should check back with our pediatrician shortly to follow up. Finally, we left the ER, grabbed some Wendy’s on the way home (it was already about 7pm) and tried again to get some sleep. Lori was great and prepped all of the bottles, washed them, and again had Charly sleep in her room so she could wake up with her. We continued to try to breastfeed then someone else would supplement with formula while I pumped. The difference in her was night and day- she was a calm baby again! She still got pretty upset while we were trying to nurse, but the rest of the time she wasn’t screaming that screeching pterodactyl scream from her dehydrated days.
Wednesday we went for a follow up with the pediatrician. The visit went well and she said Charlotte looked good (aside from her jaundice that was lingering, which apparently exits the body through bowel movements) and asked us to do more follow up blood work and to come back Saturday for another check. We again headed to the lab at the local hospital, but this time I held it together. The results came back later that day and everything looked good. I called a lactation consultant that I had met at a health fair I worked while I was pregnant. She wasn’t there that day but a breastfeeding peer counselor was. I detailed everything we had been through and why we needed help. Her response was disheartening. She was very focused on why my milk hadn’t come in and why everything was fine until we left the hospital, instead of focusing on what we could do to help now. She said they must have been giving her something else in the hospital before we left and had a very judgmental tone when I told her we were supplementing. I didn’t set up an appointment with her.
Thursday we finally got some time to relax. I called and talked to the lactation consultant I had originally tried to call and set up an appointment for the next day for her to come to our house. Finally, we had a day with no doctor visits. We continued our feeding routine, which was very time consuming, and painful for me. Pumping and breastfeeding at each 3 hour interval hurts.
Friday the lactation consultant, Marcia, came and she was fabulous. It was a difficult time for me, having been so set on breastfeeding, to be giving her a bottle. I was a little bit ashamed of it, even though I knew that we really didn’t have an option. My milk was just starting to come in, but there wasn’t nearly enough of it to feed Charly. She still required about 2 ounces per feeding after I breastfed her. Marcia gave us some great tools and a lot of encouragement. She wasn’t belittling at all. She was so totally supportive, and it was exactly what I needed. We tried some things to help wean her off of the bottle, or at least get her used to nursing better, but they weren’t very successful. She did suggest some things to help increase my milk supply, and some of those were more successful. She followed up with me though, and continued to validate my efforts, which was exactly what I needed.
The next day my mom came in from Utah and was able to help so much while she was here. She was here for 2 weeks and we kept her busy with feedings, laundry, meals and errands! I don’t know how we could have done everything without all the help we had.
Our feedings went pretty much the same for the next month. Breastfeed, bottle and pump. It was exhausting, but I didn’t want to give up. It meant so much to me to be able to breastfeed, to have that bond and to give my child the best nutrition possible. Eventually though, I knew I needed to head back to work and that I couldn’t spend an hour at each feeding. I started exclude breastfeeding because I felt that was the least effective part. She wasn’t getting much food when she nursed, but if I continued to pump she could at least get some breast milk. The first time I excluded breastfeeding and I gave her the bottle (which someone else usually did while I pumped) I realized I had been missing out. Each feeding I was trying, unsuccessfully, to get her to nurse. She would be upset, sometimes I would get frustrated, and then I would pass her to someone else who would satisfy her needs. It felt so good that first time I bottle fed her to finally have her calm and happy. For us, because of the issues we were having, breastfeeding hadn’t been a bonding experience. Bottle feeding was.
During all this hullabaloo, Matt received a call to interview for a job he hadn’t applied for. That was Friday, while the lactation consultant was at our house. A week later he went to Northern Virginia for the interview. Two weeks later, the day I returned to work (when Charly was exactly one month old) he received the job offer. We commenced packing with the help of my sister Erin (who had flown in to help with the baby) and two weeks later, with a six week old, we moved to Leesburg. It was crazy and hectic, but I feel so blessed. Matt’s 2 year job hunt ended a month after our sweet girl joined our family, and I get to be a stay-at-home mom. God’s plan for us may not be our own, but it is so much better!
Now she is exclusively bottle fed. I found that being home with her (which I now get to do because of the move and new job) it was difficult to continue to pump in addition to taking care of her. It was still so little milk that it didn’t make it worth it to me. I am still an absolute advocate for breastfeeding- and I’ll try again with my next child- but I am at peace with the way things have worked out. I do not feel bad that Charly is bottle fed. I don’t feel like a terrible mother. I tried my hardest, for a lot of hours, to make breastfeeding work. Do I wish it would have? Absolutely. But I have a happy healthy baby, and that is priceless.
I certainly didn’t want to have a cesarean birth, but I am at peace with that too. It was traumatic, it was painful, and it made it difficult to care for my newborn, but in the end, I have a happy healthy baby, and that is priceless.
I have learned so much from this experience. It was the most trying time of my life. It was the hardest, most emotional thing I’ve been through. But I made it. I made it, despite all the bumps in the road, despite doubting myself like I’ve never doubted myself before, and I am a darn good mother. Whether I had my natural birth or a surgical one, whether I breastfeed or bottlefeed, I am a darn good mother.
Today, Charly is an absolute joy. I’d do it all again if I had to, every last part. I have a happy healthy baby, and that is priceless.

My Birth Story: Things don’t always go as planned Part 2

Where did we leave off…
If you haven’t read part one of my version of the birth story, read that here.
For those of you who have, we begin on Thursday, January 13th. I had my pre-op appointment that day with Dr. McMillan and was disappointed to find out about the post-cesarean happenings, but Matt had planned an evening with Indian food and we invited our friends, the Soffes, over to partake with us. Matt was considering it his last culinary hoo-rah before the baby would arrive and wanted to share it. The Soffes came, we partook, and it was delicious. He roasted a whole chicken, folks. My husband is amazing. If you don’t already know this, then you probably a) don’t know him AND b) have never read our blog. Anyhow, delicious food, good company… the evening was a success. I had two more days of work left before the big day, and I remember mentioning to Matt that I just really wanted to be done with work, didn’t want the two more days.
Fast forward to about 12 am. I find myself awake and feeling the urge to use the bathroom- not uncommon for a woman as pregnant as I. I consider myself lucky in the fact that I usually only woke up once or twice to relieve myself during the night, probably a result of not drinking enough water. Here at 12am, I looked at my clock and realized that it was indeed 12 am and that this was my THIRD time getting up to use the facilities in the hour and a half that I had been asleep. Strange. I then also realized that the urge I was feeling was a little more of a pain than usually. Literally- I was feeling pain. Sharp, low pain. I used the restroom and went back to sleep, bothered that I had gotten up so many times already. Next thing I know it is about 12:45 and once again I am up with a low, sharp pain. So sharp that it gets me up out of bed, and in my sleepy stupor I once again head to the bathroom because that is what I usually do when my pregnant self wakes up in the night. As I wake up a little more I realize that I don’t need to go but this pain is a little persistent! I woke Matt up and told him I was hurting and that I was a little nervous- I hoped everything was ok with the baby. We talked about it briefly (“do you want to call the hospital?” “no.” “ok.” ) then went back to sleep. 1:15 arrives and wakes me up again with sharp pain, at which point the thought finally occurs that these pains could perhaps be contractions. I hadn’t thought too much about contractions since I had a schedule… I had a plan that no longer included labor. I continued to feel bouts of pain, which I can now identify as contractions, every ten to fifteen minutes. They woke me up, I jumped out of bed (cause it hurt less standing than laying down) and then wrote down the time because I knew at some point someone would ask me about it. Matt was in and out of sleep as I continued to jump out of bed, turn on lights, walk around, etc. 2:30 rolled around and I decided to call labor and delivery. I knew if I wasn’t going to have a cesarean they would have told me to labor at home a while, but since we knew at this point a cesarean would be necessary they said to call about anything unusual. The nurse there told me I could try a hot bath, drinking some water or a heat pack to see if it slowed the contractions or stopped them, so I told her I’d give that a try and call her later. I knew at this point that walking around felt better than laying down and that I wasn’t getting much sleep so I drank some water and jumped in the shower. The hot water felt good but didn’t slow the contractions. I pretty well knew at that point that the baby was going to come early, but since I knew that the process would be the same whether I went to the hospital then or in a few hours, I decided to my hair and makeup, shave my legs and get dressed. The last thing I wanted was to be dirty, since I wouldn’t be able to shower for a while after the surgery. Once I was all ready, had bags packed and was confident I didn’t want to labor at home any more, I woke Matt up and let him know I was calling the hospital and I felt like we needed to go in. It was about 5:30 am when I called them to let them know we were coming and how long it would be, and then Matt went ahead and showered too. It was all a little surreal.
Driving to the hospital was not at all what you picture. We weren’t rushed. There was no screaming. We just packed the car, calmly drove to the hospital and commented on how weird it was that we were going to have a baby that day. We arrived and went to the ER, since the regular entrance is closed after hours and an awkward orderly wheeled me up to the maternity ward. They weighed me in and immediately got me hooked up to monitors that showed fetal movement and contractions. Some contractions I was having without even knowing it! It was right around shift changes so we had quite a few different nurses at the beginning, but our wonderful nurse from the version, Diane, came in around then and switched with the nurse that had been assigned to me. We were super grateful because the nurse that had been assigned was WEIRD. She was super nice to me and to Matt, but made snide remarks about the other nurses and was rude to all the other nurses, and even the doctor, that came in! We were happy to see her go and so happy Diane would be with me in recovery, especially since she already knew about our whole situation from the version earlier that week. They let us know that the OR would be available in about two hours and we would be good to go. All this monitoring and testing and prep took a long time- we arrived at the hospital at about 6:30 am and found out and heard from the doc at 8 that they would go ahead and get us in around 10.

Hooked up to monitors and ready to go!
At this point (8am) I had IV fluids going already and I still felt pretty calm. I kind of knew what to expect- I knew it would be quick, I knew I didn’t really need to do anything, and I knew once I was stable I would get to hold my baby. The nurse continued to prep everything and right on time they took me in to the OR. Matt left to go put our stuff in the recovery room and was given some awesome surgical gear and I walked with Diane down the hall. Once I walked in the doors, things changed. I got anxious. Really anxious. I held back tears. It was so stark. There were machines and I couldn’t see the faces of all the people because of masks and the surgical table looked more like an altar for sacrifice. It was grim. To be honest, if I weren’t familiar with modern medicine I would think it was the scene of some initiation into a cult. I tried to keep things light and keep my mind off of my impending doom and talk about whatever I could. I talked to the anesthesiologist a lot. He was nice. He explained the process of the spinal and made small talk. Once they were ready to numb me up I lost it a little bit more. My voice was quivering but I was still holding it together- barely. They rolled me on my side, scrubbed with some iodine and inserted the needle. I felt a huge amount of pressure, like when I had the epidural earlier that week, but almost immediately my toes started to numb. Before he could even remove the needle I was commenting on how quickly it was working. They hurried and flipped me back onto my back so the medicine would distribute evenly and had my lay with my arms stretched straight out to my sides. Shortly after that Matt was allowed in the room and I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. He held my hand and I cried and told him I didn’t know why I was crying but that I was ok.
Everything was so foreign- the process had been explained to me so well and yet when it came down to it I felt completely disconnected. Most of the nurses I never met and they never talked to me. Thank goodness for the anesthesiologist who kept me updated all along the way on what was happening and asked how I was doing- otherwise I would have felt more like a cadaver than a soon to be mother. Matt held my hand the whole time as we both sat nervously. It was a bizarre feeling… I felt the pressure of the scalpel, of hands moving around, but I didn’t feel pain. The anesthesiologist warned me “now you are going to feel some pressure as they push the baby out”- boy was he right. That was the strangest part- feeling my belly (my HUGE belly) shrink back down. I remember thinking, “so that’s what my normal belly feels like.” I heard the doctor exclaim “all the pipes are working- she is pooping and peeing all over the place!” before I even heard a cry. I suppose that makes sense… she did come bottom first. Soon I heard that squawk of a cry and one of the nurses commented on the fact that she had hair. They dangled her dripping body over the curtain near my head and said “here’s your baby!” She literally was dripping goo right next to my face and was bright red, screaming at the top of her lungs, but all I could think and say was “she’s so cute!” I loved her then and there.
Getting checked out in the nursery
Matt went back with the nurses to the corner of the OR to clean her up, weigh her and all that jazz. He yelled back that she was 8lbs 9oz- what a whopper! I couldn’t believe I had a baby that big, and at that moment was grateful I didn’t have to birth all 8lbs 9oz of her. I’d been telling people all along that I wanted a big chubby baby, but I didn’t want her to get chubby until after she was born because it sounded so painful to birth a big baby. I guess in some twisted way my wish came true :)
As the doctor and nurses continued to work on me, Dr. McMillan declared to me that he figured out why she couldn’t turn during the version- I have a double uterus! His remark, “we weren’t trying to get her to change addresses, we were trying to change zip codes!” He’s a funny guy. Yep, my uterus is divided with a septum down the middle that separates it into two chambers, and this poor girl was squished into one of them. How I had six ultrasounds and it was undetectable was beyond me, but essentially the other chamber was just smashed to one side and she resided in the other. How’s that for a little birth surprise!?
Once she was wiped off they brought her back and held her to my face so I could kiss her and then they whisked her away with Matt to the nursery. It was about that time that the morphine they gave me kicked in, which I didn’t have a good reaction to. I threw up a couple of times, once in my hair, but I really didn’t care at that point. I started to feel really shaky though, and couldn’t keep my shoulders still. The anesthesiologist said he was going to give me something to help me relax a little, and that is the last thing I remember from the OR.
In the recovery room I was with Diane who was monitoring things as I dozed in and out. Matt came and checked on me at one point but they had to wait a little longer before they could bring my sweet baby in. I barely remember holding her for the first time, but I’m fairly certain I breastfed her at that point and she did great. Family came in and held her and I think I was in and out of sleep at that point as well, although at the time I remember thinking that I was much more alert than I thought I would be. That day is a blur. I remember that I was stuck in bed and that I had to wear these awful compression things on my legs. They made me sweat and they made my legs itch like crazy! I hated those darn things. They were the worst part of recovery.
The next day was my birthday! We had some awesome cupcakes that Candice picked up in Richmond and several people came to visit. It was a busy day with visitors, bathing and getting out of bed. I was doing great though, and so was our sweet baby. They had to continue to check on me at night to give me meds and also bring Charly in to be fed. We opted to keep her in the nursery because we were both so incredibly exhausted. I always thought I would want to keep her in the room with me, but I was honestly relieved to have someone take her at night so I could just sleep. Recovery is serious business!
Sweet Charly girl being held by grandma. I'm recovering in the background.

Sunday was a little more relaxed. The doctor on call came and checked me and said that if we wanted to we could go home that day. We thought we would be there until Monday so we were very surprised. We talked it over and thought that sleeping at home in our own bed would be a good change for us, so we opted to do that. That was our first mistake. We should have stayed the extra day…
The rest of Sunday went well. We packed up, had Charly checked out, arranged for Steve and Lori to come help us out at home, and my co-worker and friend Leonard arranged to pick us up from the hospital in a limo! Yep, we were riding in style!
Matt and I ready to get in the limo- I've still got quite a belly!
The hospital stay itself was pleasant, we had great nurses, and our sweet baby was doing awesome. She was breastfeeding like a rockstar and I was feeling great. Wanna hear more? Part 3 will tell you all about how things went down once we got home.

My favorite thing about being a new mom...



... is watching this sweet baby sleep. Seriously, is there anything more precious than a sleeping baby? She loves sleeping cuddled up on my chest like this.

And since she is her mother's daughter, she has the unique gift of being able to sleep in strange positions.
Exhibit A (excuse the flash)
She also tends to sleep with her mouth gaping open, when it isn't being occupied by a binky.
Isn't that adorable?! You can still see the outline of her pacifier.
Yeah, the late night feedings are an adjustment, and I may have worn a Chuck Norris t-shirt with spit up on it for the second day in a row today (because I'm just that classy), but she makes it all worth it.