Our baby girl is here…and it’s so surreal! I was aware that pregnancy does typically result in a baby, but it just never felt real. Even when I looked like this… It was hard to grasp what my big belly meant.
Now that she’s home with us, it’s slowly sinking in that this precious little girl is our greatest and most miraculous DIY yet. We couldn’t possibly be more in love or feel more blessed than we feel right now. Through the fog and haze of sleeplessness and a little bit of terror, we’ve never been so happy.
I’ve been trying to process and really soak in the events of the last week. I want it to be a memory that always remains vivid and clear. I couldn’t think of a better way to process and relive the moments than to share it with all of you!
I was due December 1st, and by Wednesday the 3rd I was basically on the verge of tears constantly. I was beyond over being pregnant. I was having nerve pain in my back and feeling pretty uncomfortable. Not to mention, I have the patience of a two year old. I was sooooo ready and frustrated with being pregnant. I was desperate for a distraction.
I convinced Shane to go Christmas shopping with me that Wednesday. We walked all over that mall and I managed to get nearly all our Christmas shopping done. It was exhausting. By the time we left my feet ached and my body was desperate for a long nap. I’m fairly certain I had my first contraction as we were walking out of the mall. I had been getting very frequent Braxton Hicks contractions but something about this one was different. It didn’t exactly hurt, but it stopped me in my tracks. We sat on a bench for a minute while I regained my composer then headed to the car.
I really didn’t consider that I could possibly be going labor until hours later, even though the contractions continued on the drive home. I had just been to the doctor the day before and I was only dilated 1.5 centimeters. The doctor really made it seem like I could be in it for the long haul. He did strip my membranes, however. He told us that if it were going to work it would be within 48. Well, i guess it worked along with my “Shop till you pop” method.
Once we got home, I noticed I had lost my mucus plug. (TMI I know, but it’s life…literally. It’s a part of creating life.) I decided it was time to just give going into labor all my effort. I rolled around on an exercise ball, walked around the house, and walked up and down our basement steps despite my incredibly tired body. The contractions continued and quickly went from 20 minutes apart to 6 minutes apart. They also went from “Is that pain? I think this one may hurt a little.” To “Ok. These definitely hurt.” Shane, the little slave driver he is, insisted I continue walking up and down the stairs. We had left mall at 5 and it was now close to 11pm.
I just still wasn’t certain this was really it, though. We tried to go to bed but obviously my mind was somewhere else completely, and the contractions were bad enough to keep me awake. I felt the urge to get things done around the house just in case this was it. I got up and wrapped presents. Kinda silly, but it made me feel better. By this point my contractions had been every 6 minutes for over an hour. I gave the dr a call. He said it sounded like I was in labor and should go ahead and head to the hospital.
It wasn’t really until then that I considered the possibility that we might be meeting our little girl soon. We packed up and headed to the hospital. They hooked me all up and could see I was having contractions, but then they checked me and I was only 2.5 centimeters dilated. I was positive the extra centimeter had happened over the course of the last few hours, but the nurse wasn’t. They almost immediately started threatening to send me home. I was pretty determined to not go home without a baby. Shane and I walked the halls a lot that night, stopping every 4 or 5 minutes to brace myself against a wall through a contraction. Progress was really really slow. We had been at the hospital 6 hours and the nurse, who I really really loved was going home about the same time the doctor was making his rounds. I had progressed to 4 centimeters and he gave me the option of breaking my water to speed things up or go home and wait it out a bit. I could not imagine going home at that point. The contractions were really really painful so we opted to not look back and have him break my water. It wasn’t until about 9 am, after being there for 8 hours, that they officially admitted me for delivery.
Here I am after 9 hours of labor. Clearly between contractions.
The new nurse got me all situated and moved into a delivery room, and about an hour later I was given the chance to get an epidural. I admire all of you who go without it, but after watching several birth videos of births with and without it, the epidural births always looked so much more peaceful and enjoyable. I wanted to be able to somewhat enjoy the experience. After 10 hours of labor, I was really really ready for the epidural even though I was incredibly nervous about it. Turns out it wasn’t so bad and I could breathe easy again! Shane and I tried to get some rest. We had been up the entire night by that point.
The doctor finally came in and broke my water a few hours later. Things still progressed pretty slowly, but it seemed like it was going quick and easy for me, until suddenly it wasn’t… My epidural stopped working on one side of my body. I was already 8 centimeters dilated and the pain was intense. When you don’t have the epidural you feel the contractions build in intensity, but since mine just suddenly stopped working, I was just thrown into the middle of the most intensely painful contractions. I know people have babies without epidurals all the time, but I knew I wanted an epidural and I just wasn’t prepared to go without. The nurse (who was also really wonderful like the first nurse) was uncertain if the anesthesiologist would even do another since I was so far along. I was terrified and overwhelmed. Everything was going so well and now I was worried I was going to have to go without an epidural for the remainder of the labor. Luckily, the anesthesiologist took pity on me and did do another. It was pretty uncertain if it would even work because we didn’t really know why the first one stopped working, I was a bit traumatic to go through the epidural again. Especially during intense contractions. The anesthesiologist call me a “hot mess.” Hahaha I was a hot mess. My hair was completely matted, I had lost one sock, and not handling the pain very well. Thank goodness for that anesthesiologist. He was great! Luckily, the second epidural worked. I did have some spells of low blood pressure, which made me really nauseous, but I was much much more comfortable. By the time the whole epidural process was done and they were able to steady my blood pressure, it was time to push. By the time we were pushing, our original nurse was back. She was so amazing. I really couldn’t say enough good things about her. She took such good care of me after delivery, and made me feel so comfortable with all the poking and prodding. I can imagine that experience not being nearly as nice with someone you weren’t feeling comfortable with. She was amazing, though, and in my head we are now best friends. Haha. Anyway… we were 21 hours into labor, and I was seriously amazed that I was ready to push! My doctor says there is some heredity to labor. My mom went overdue at least a couple of weeks and had to be induced for all 4 of her deliveries, and my sister had to be induced and had over a 30 hour labor and delivery. Here I was ready to push 21 hours after going into labor completely on my own. Call me cheesy, but I was so so so proud of my body. I really felt so empowered. After a few days of perspective and recovery, I told Shane that delivering our baby girl was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had and I have to say I sort of loved it.
I only had to push for an hour, and then they handed me our beautiful baby girl. The pushing was so surreal and the hour flew by. I sobbed when they put our baby on my chest. I knew I would cry, because throughout the entire pregnancy I teared up just thinking about the moment they handed me my sweet girl. But I ugly cried, out loud, uncontrollably. It was such an amazing moment with such intense emotions. I know I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.
Jolie is a perfect, healthy little girl. She was a big 8lbs 7oz and 21 inches long. I kind of had the feeling she might look like Shane, but it turns out she looks like me. My mom brought me my baby book, and our baby pictures are very similar. We think she may have Shane’s eyes and can’t wait to see how she changes and develops over the next few months.
Now on to the other nitty gritty details….
Are we getting any sleep?
Not really. She seems to have her nights and days mixed up. Shane and I took shifts last night. I got about 4 hours with a feeding in-between early in the night and then about 3 hours this morning. Shane slept about 5 hour between my sleeping. She’s not really fussy at all she just doesn’t want to be put down. It’s adorable and exhausting all wrapped up into one little package. We are hoping she will slowly figure it out. She’s already gotten a bit better.
How’s the recovery for me?
Rough… I really never thought about the recovery side for me. I figured I’d be a little sore, but “sore” doesn’t cut it. Again with the TMI, but I had Level 3 lacerations, which is apparently almost as bad of tearing as it can get. Walking, sitting, standing, pretty much everything is difficult. I have to just take things really really slow and remind myself that if the laundry doesn’t all get done…that’s ok. In fact, the laundry probably shouldn’t all get done.
The rest of my body seems to be making an awesome recovery! I really couldn’t be more thrilled with my how much my belly has gone down in only 6 days.
It’s definitely not what I used to look like, but who cares?! Besides, It’s been about 6 months since I felt this tiny! I’ll take it! I’m sure it will only get better from here. I have about 15lbs to loose, but I’m thinking that will come off pretty easily with breastfeeding. I may still be throwing out the bikini’s though. My belly skin is pretty stretched and I now have one of those weird innie/outie mom belly buttons. I’ll spare you that picture. It isn’t pretty. I’m not sure how much those things will go back to normal. Like I said, though…Who cares? It’s all well worth it. For now I’ll just enjoy time with my new baby, and a few months down the road I’ll worry about getting back into shape.
I was incredibly nervous about breastfeeding. I’m not really sure why. I guess I had heard so much that it can be really difficult. I knew I was committed to breastfeeding, but I really worried about struggling. The good news is we aren’t struggling at all! I nursed her within a half hour of birth and she latched right on without a problem. I won’t lie…it hurt and it hurts worse now, but watching her sweet little face while I’m feeding her totally dulls the pain. She’s eating about every two hours, and I’m incredibly lucky because she’s a quick eater. It only takes us about 12 minutes for a full feeding. I was a little worried about how much she was getting so yesterday I went to a breastfeeding support group where they weighed her before and after a feeding. She got an 1.5oz in 11 minutes, and she wasn’t even as interested in that particular feeding as she usually is. It was so good to get that peace of mind and know that we were doing it right. This first time mom stuff certainly comes with a lot of feelings of doubt. She also had her first doctor appointment and was up 6oz since we left the hospital. She’s already back up to 8lbs 5oz! So, she’s definitely eating well.
I’ve had a few crying spells over nothing. Mostly, I was just feeling scared and overwhelmed. I’m feeling like I’m getting the hang of things now, though. I’m feeling really really really happy. Exhausted but happy. I’m sure we will have our days. I’m bracing myself for them, but I’m already reminding myself that you always get through those days.
How’s Shane as a daddy?
I’m pretty blown away by how well Shane is doing! I never doubted that he would be an amazing Dad, but I had no idea how naturally he’d take to it, or how into it he’d be. His first time holding her he jumped right on the opportunity for skin to skin contact. It might have even been his idea…I can’t remember, but it filled my heart to see him wanting to bond with her in that way.
He’s continued to be amazing. I’m not sure I changed a single diaper in the hospital. Since getting in and out of bed was difficult, he did it all. He even spent the majority of the nights up with her. He has still changed way more diapers than I have. He’s really doing a great job of taking care of both of us, and he spends so much time loving on and interacting with Jolie. I can tell he is really bonding with her. It’s adorable!
What’s the shape of our house now?
People that know me and the way that my house is alway tell me, “Just wait until you have kids.” I know Jolie isn’t old enough to contribute to the mess yet, but she does come with a lot of stuff and she’s a total time vacuum. I’m happy to report the house is staying clean. We’ve alway had a good routine of keeping things in order, and it’s been easy to just maintain that. There might be a bit more baby gear hanging all around than I thought I would like, but I told Shane that I kind of like it. It’s making our house feel more lived in and more like a home than ever.
Our family of 3!
We are getting newborn pictures tomorrow. I can’t wait to share them with you once we get them back from the photographer!
We’ve never been happier. Thank you to all of you who have wished us well and congratulated us on our new addition. We really do enjoy sharing this incredibly special time in our lives.