On September 1, 2014 at 1am, my water broke. Eight & a half hours later, at 9:30am, Elizabeth Alta Reynolds arrived. She weighed 7lbs 5oz & measured 19.5″. She is healthy & beautiful.
That may be all the information you need, in which case stop reading now. The rest of this post is about the crazy first week of being a mommy.
I was 37 weeks and six days. My birth plan was hand-written on a small piece of notebook paper which we just barely remembered to bring to the hospital.
When my water broke, it scared the crap out of me. I had actually been fretting all weekend about whether or not my water was broken or not because on Thursday night I had woken up to realize I’d wet the bed a little. I was terrified it was the “trickle” version of my water breaking & not just my new lack of bladder control due to the little head in my pelvis. This however, at 1am Labor Day morning was unmistakeable. It felt like a water balloon popping inside me. Which I guess is pretty much exactly what the amniotic sac is, so that makes sense. Water everywhere! I scooted myself off the bed & pregnant-lady waddled as fast as I could to the shower as Brian called the doctor & got permission to labor at home for a little while.
During those first couple hours of labor, I took a shower (well, a rinse) & ate two lime popsicles (Edy’s brand fruit pops are freaking delicious) while Brian gathered up stuff for the hospital (what, you thought we’d have the “ready to go” bags all done by 38 weeks? Ha.). Oh and timed contractions. Which at this point were just an annoyance. They hurt some, make you catch your breath, but they were a tiny fraction of pain compared to later.
When the contractions got to be three minutes apart I started to get nervous & called the doctor to tell her we were going on in to the hospital. Riding in a car while having contractions is not fun. Luckily we don’t live that far away. Upon arrival we go to check in, which I thought would be quick because I pre-registered… Wrong. They still asked all the questions & then gave me these consent forms to sign. She’s all initial here, here & here and I’m all I don’t sign things without reading them. So I sat there & read between contractions, got all the junk signed, she slapped a bracelet on my wrist & we were off to a delivery room.
I’m elated that we were successful having a natural birth. I was blessed with amazing delivery room nurses who were supportive & actually helped Brian coach me. No epidural, no pitocin. The only intervention was an episiotomy which I’m told went well & didn’t tear (I can’t see it, and I don’t really want to look, so trusting them on this one). The serious contractions were insanely painful, but they were absolutely right in Lamaze class – they are like riding little pain waves & if you can hit the rhythm of it with the breathing it feels slightly less like you are going to die. Pushing was painful too & crazy exhausting, but way more satisfying than contractions because I felt like I was doing something as opposed to just stuff happening to me.
Then our baby came out!! This is going to sound really cheesy, but that feeling of her actually escaping was the best release ever, I felt like I might fly. Brian cut the cord & they took our little daughter to weigh & measure & wipe down a little then brought her back to me. And all of a sudden I’m holding this tiny little perfect alien-looking angel baby girl.
We stayed in the hospital two nights after that, a crazy blur of nurse shift changes & doctor visits & instruction. Everyone keeps telling you to try to get some rest, yet every time I thought I was going to get a nap between feedings, another person would show up throwing info at me. Highlights of chaos:
– Nurses trying to convince me to take Percocet & me explaining over & over that I don’t like the way it makes me feel (loopy & nauseous with no appetite) & my pain is controlled fine on the Motrin.
– The paperwork for the HepB shot got lost because the very first nurse I had was either a space case, or had had a crazy 12hrs, or all of the above. When my pediatrician showed up, she came in & asked if I’d like the hospital to administer the shot or if I’d been waiting on her, and when I said they gave it to her already, I watched the nurse do it right there next to my bed, there was a scurry to figure out what happened. That whole ordeal made me glad I wasn’t on Percocet. They did finally find the paperwork, it had been misfiled.
– Not one food order I made came to the room correctly or in less than an hour. They keep telling you you need 2500 calories, but clearly they weren’t concerned enough to make sure you had access to them.
– Brian giving the hearing test lady the 10th degree. Getting the baby tested before you leave the hospital is Tennessee state law, Brian thinks this is a silly state law, hearing test lady can do nothing about it. Brian doesn’t understand why this wasn’t made more clear in our prep classes, again hearing test lady has no answers for him.
– Brian didn’t stay with me the second night, I was there alone & had a crazy tattooed night-shift nurse. By this time I was insane tired, the adrenalin rush had run out and the fact that I had gotten maybe six-ish or so hours of sleep in the last 48 hours, plus brought a new human into the world, was catching up with me. I was so tired I felt cross-eyed. So I asked her to if she would take the baby to the nursery when I was done feeding her & she refused! Two hours later of unsuccessful attempts to get Libby in a swaddle she didn’t bust from, plus a poorly latched feeding because I was too tired to have the patience to de- & re-latch a gazillion times, I called her back almost I tears & then she took the baby to the nursery.
– The portrait studio people came by & then called no fewer than three times to ask about getting Libby’s portrait taken. Not that I wouldn’t have wanted to, it’s just that I didn’t see when that was going to happen. It would have involved me putting on clothing & spending time in a portrait studio instead of napping with my baby in a bed.
– We had three appointments with the lactation consultant, which I highly recommend if your hospital offers the service. They made me feel so much more confident & less anxious about feedings.
Speaking of lactation, I was wholly unprepared for what “milk coming in” was actually like. Basically, my breasts got so humongously engorged I felt like they were going to explode off of me. And they were leaking. And tiny little Libby could barely latch, but that was okay because they were essentially just spraying/ dripping the milk in her mouth like faucets so she didn’t really have to suck. Oh my gosh you guys it hurt so bad, I was miserable & crying. A call to my friend Audrey plus several internet googles finally helped me formulate a game plan. I took a warm shower to extract some of the milk & then I used these little boob ice packs my mom bought for me. That routine lasted for three days – breasts leaking like faucets & aching like they’re going to explode. Libby was practically drowning in the stuff, she seemingly spit up half of what she drank. But we got through it, and too much milk is the preferable problem to too little milk, so feeling lucky about that. I just wish I’d been a little more prepared as to what “milk coming in” entailed because it was a little traumatic.
I’ve only called in the pediatrician once over the umbilical cord falling off – it didn’t bleed when it fell off but it bled the next day. Verdict: no big deal. Give her a bath. She was totally relaxed for the bath, seemed to like it. Which was great because I was all braced for a wet fight – I guess I was thinking ti would be like washing the cat I had in middle school?
Other than that, it’s been a steady routine of snip-its of sleep, milk, poop, pee, and making goofy faces. We’ve been staying in Brentwood with my parents since leaving the hospital because we had window replacement & a deep clean scheduled for our house & we didn’t want our tiny newborn hanging out while all that work was happening. The grandparents have been thrilled to get to see her every single day to ooh & ahh over her every baby move 🙂 We just spent the first night back at our home & the change didn’t seem to phase her (although Brian & I are adjusting – still soooo much to do… including putting together that crib!).
She is a wonderfully easy-going baby so far, we are excited to see her little personality continue to develop! Here are more pictures because we’ve been obsessively taking them: