Precious little Audrey’s birth sure was a quick one…and unexpected on this particular day.
My 39 week doctor’s appointment was scheduled for the afternoon of January 6 (3 days before my due date). I preferred a morning appointment because it works better with Raley’s nap time, but all they had open was an afternoon. And in hind site, I’m glad it was. Raley and I got to spend a fun morning together playing dress up and watching Disney movies. Little did I know that was the last day I would spend with her as my only child. In just a few short hours she would be a big sister.
I felt perfectly fine, going into my appointment, just huge and uncomfortable, like every other woman at 9 months pregnant. I truly thought that everything would be just fine and I would be going back home to wait it out. Although before I left for my appointment I made sure all my bags were packed and everything was together so maybe it was some kind of intuition.
At the appointment the nurse took my blood pressure and it was a little bit elevated. My doctor was concerned about sending me home with my blood pressure being high because it can restrict blood flow to the baby. So he decided to send me straight to the hospital and start pitocin.
I got into my labor room at about 4:30 in the afternoon. The nurses then asked all their admit questions, hooked me up to the monitors and started my IV. After clinic (about 5:30) the doctor came in and broke my water and then they started the pitocin. At 6:00 I got my epidural.
At 6:30 the nurse checked me and I was about 5-6 cm. They wedged me onto my right side to help baby get into position and help move things along. They kept saying that it was going to go quick, but I didn’t know why they kept saying that. But boy were they right!
On my side I could feel alot of pressure with every contraction and it kept getting worse. I definitely feel like I felt more this time than I did when I was in labor with Raley.
Raley came up to see me at about 7:25. The way she ran in to see me and gave me huge hugs and kisses melted my heart. At 7:27 we took our last picture as a family of 3.
I was still feeling a ton of pressure so the nurses came in and checked me again. I was already completely dilated and ready to start pushing. The nurses called the doctor and he came in the room at 7:41 (I know this because I posted our family of 3 picture as he was walking in!)
We stayed skin to skin for about 2 hours. I had decided before I came in that I wanted to delay the first bath in order to do skin to skin for longer (they did the bath very early with Raley.) But longer skin to skin is something that Madison Hospital does standard now, which I love. I think it’s one of the most beautiful things that a new mom can do with her newborn baby. After 45 minutes to an hour she latched on her own and fed for over an hour.
After she was done eating they weighed her and got her cleaned up. She was 7lb. 12oz and 19.25 inches long. She had a ton of hair and it looked a little lighter than Raley’s did when she was born.
By the time they got done bathing it was after 10:00. Finally Raley got to come in and meet her baby sister. Her reaction was even sweeter than I could have imagined. She was smitten right away! The first thing she said to her was “I love you.” I’m not sure what I was so worried about. Of course my sweet girl would love her baby sister!
The first night went great. She ate well and we got a little sleep in between. The next day she cluster fed some in the morning but then once visitors got there she slept for a few hours. She would really only cry when she was hungry.
Night two was a little more difficult. She kept eating and eating and it was becoming incredibly painful. Every time we thought she was full and would send her to the nursery she would get upset and they would bring her back in to eat again. One time I just sat there and cried the whole time she was eating. I blame it on the hormones, lack of sleep, and how painful nursing had become.
The nursery nurse was very helpful. She said that her frenulum (the piece of skin under her tongue) was tight and sometimes that prevents babies from getting enough milk when feeding. So even if they feed for a long time they may not get full. She brought in a pump so I could express some milk in order to give her a little extra. That seemed to help and we got a few hours of sleep.
At the next feeding we did the same thing but this time when we sent her back to the nursery she started crying and the nurses couldn’t console her. They brought her back in to me and told me that she probably just needed her momma. So I walked her around for a little bit and she calmed down and finally fell asleep. This was actually the first time I felt like I truly bonded with her. Up until this point the only times that I had really gotten to hold her was while she was feeding and during that initial skin to skin time (and a majority of that was spent feeding.) It’s hard not to feel like all your good for is food in the beginning. Everyone else gets to hold a calm, sleeping baby and I get her back when it’s time to eat. It’s hard to form a bond when that’s the case
But finally I felt like I was good for something more than just milk. I was the only one who was able to calm her down because I am her Mommy. I realized that she’s known me for 9 months and she loves me and she wants to be close to me. To me this bond, being able to calm her when she’s upset, is so much stronger and means so much more than nursing does. People say nursing is the greatest bond between….. you know what…I’ll get on my judgmental breastfeeders soap box another time.
Anyway, once I got her fast asleep in my arms we both laid down and got a few hours of much needed rest. I know they say that’s a no-no while in the hospital but we were surrounded by pillows and David offered to stay awake to make sure everything was ok, which I appreciated so much.
The next afternoon we got to go home. We were afraid we would end up having to stay because she was a high risk for jaundice. But luckily her bilirubin was fine so we got to go home. Yay! We were so excited to be back home with our little family.
The first thing I did when I got home was pump and I’ve been pumping ever since. It has been going great and I truly believe that making the decision to exclusively pump is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
The first few weeks at home were very tiring (and recovering physically after baby #2 with a toddler running around is pretty rough). But we are all adjusting to our new “normal” and learning as we go. Raley adores her new baby sister and tries to help whenever she can. I’m excited to watch their bond grow as they grow up together. They have no idea how lucky they are to have each other.
Thanks to everyone who sent texts, messages, calls, gifts, food and prayers our way. It definitely made the transition a bit easier on us to know we had so much support.