All I can say is WOW. Mind blown. From labor to delivery to seeing her for the first time, holding her in my arms, hearing her little cry, and feeling the most intense kind of love I’ve ever felt in my life, I have been changed forever. And absolutely for the better.
There are so many “parts” to the first week, I feel like it’s easiest to just categorize the individual experiences since they each hold their own significance in how first moments with little Evie played out.
**What I’m about to talk about is my personal experience and I realize everyone has their own way of doing things. I respect ALL ways and encourage each person to do what’s best for them and their baby. This is what I’ve found so far to be best for me & mine, and I appreciate your encouragement as well 🙂
Labor & Delivery
To sum it up: it went FAST! I had no idea what to expect. I mean, I’ve heard plenty of stories, but you never know how your own will play out. People say “you just know” when true labor begins, but I wasn’t so sure. Here’s how it happened…
I was sitting at my computer after a day of getting errands done with my husband (it was exactly one week after my due date, and exactly 10 months from the day I conceived–I know that because of this) and I heard and felt something that resembled a champagne cork popping. It was such a weird feeling I thought I should I text my doula if she had any idea what that was. She told me my water just broke. She said to just relax, go for a walk, and not stress as that can slow down the progression of labor. So I popped in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (as you would) and just zoned out. I didn’t feel much besides a tiny bit of little cramps here and there, but nothing painful. After the movie my husband and I went for a walk to try to get things moving along, and finally I decided to just get some sleep since not much was happening. And then it happened. It was strong, it was painful, and quickly got more intense with little time in between. My doula was texting encouraging again to relax and breathe through the time in between contractions. But I didn’t have much time in between contractions!!! My husband decided to call her, and thank goodness on speaker, because I ended up having a contraction and she said forget coming to our house, she’ll meet us at the hospital, I sounded much further along than what was expected.
When I showed up they checked my cervix and I was 4cm dilated (10cm is baby time) and 70% effaced. She was ready and I was dilating quickly. The contractions from the get-go were 3 minutes or less apart and about a minute long. They just continued to get more intense and they got me a delivery room right away. By the time they checked again I was 7cm. I started thinking about getting some relief at that stage. From the moment in started there were no breaks. It was great and not-so-great at the same time. Labor was just moving right along, especially for the first baby, but I also never got that “down time” that usually happens since it’s normally a more progressive experience. So by 7 I was definitely considering some alternatives even though I knew I wanted to try my very best to get through it without anything. By 8cm I started saying I should get the epidural. At just starting 9cm I said GET ME THE EPIDURAL. And it was the best thing ever. I am SO glad I got it. And then I reached 10cm! Because I intervened with my body’s natural labor (which was clearly let’s get the baby out as fast as possible), my contractions slowed down. And then we had to wait a bit. They gave me a tiny dose of pitocin to kick them up again, and the little amount worked like a charm. They were back on and I could start pushing. Nobody told me how hard pushing is (I know it’s a little harder with an epidural)!!! I never thought I was a screamer, but by the end of holding my breath for those 10 seconds and then pushing for another 10 seconds, there was definitely a sound of exasperation at the end!!! And three times in a row?! How did I not know about the pushing?!
After about 45 minutes to an hour of pushing, and getting to feel the oddest yet most amazing sensation of my little girl leaving my body and coming into the world, she arrived. And I’m crying now thinking about it again. Hearing her little cry. The nurse putting her on me, skin-to-skin on my chest. Pure bliss. I was finally holding her in my arms. And it was then I realized I never wanted to let go.
First Night at Home
We decided to only spend one night in the hospital. The nurses were all surprised we opted to leave as they would have allowed us one more night. My husband and I mutually decided, after spending one night there and hospital staff coming in and out all hours of the night doing taking vitals on baby, me, etc., we were over it and wanted to be in the comfort of our own home. But then we decided to try to follow the “rule book”, when deep down we both knew a) there is no rule book for children and b) we already knew particular things Evie liked after 2 days spent with her, and the “rules” went against them. So we made her cry. A lot. And that made a long night for all of us. We laughed the second night, but that night it wasn’t so humorous. For one, she can’t STAND being swaddled. I know. Most people swaddle. I’m all for it. But Evie loves her hands. Every ultrasound (except one!) consisted of her hands over her face. It’s clearly comforting for her and when we attempt to go against it, she gets really upset about it and we don’t think it’s worth it. We also tried to put her in her bassinet, when she’s pretty much been sleeping on me skin-to-skin the whole time. So we’re not following rules anymore. You live and learn. We’re following our intuition and our babies cues. I always default to “old times” and other parts of the world where half of these things didn’t even exist, and babies/newborns were just close to their mom. And it’s working out great. I’m also aware the newborn phase is over before you know it, and I’m bottling each moment I have with her this way before she’s too big to do it any longer.
The most challenging feat of them all. Evie was born weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces. By the time we got to the pediatrician on the Wednesday (she was born Monday morning, June 29th), she had dropped 13% of her body weight (normal range is 0%-10%) weighing in at 5lbs 2oz. That sent me into a downward spiral since I was scared my milk wasn’t/wouldn’t come in and my poor baby was dehydrated (she’d barely had any sort of “movements” what-so-ever) and I was failing. The poor thing was so small and I felt so helpless. And the last thing I wanted was formula (a personal preference, so many of my friends have used it and of course we come out more than fine). The doctor said I must supplement to get her what she needs. And naturally that’s what I wanted too, just not with formula. It so happened that one of her other patients was in the lobby who let her know the last time she had a bunch of extra/frozen pumped milk if anyone needed it. The woman came into our room with her adorable little well-fed boy and we ended up crying together over the struggles of breastfeeding, for completely different reasons (latching vs. no supply). Everything checked out and my husband went to retrieve the liquid gold that night so Evie could be fed properly. We also ordered this little contraption called a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) which is a very skinny tube that feeds through a bottle so she can still be on the breast while simultaneously getting fed. It’s a bit of an ordeal between keeping the bottles filled, warmed, and ready then setting them up to attach over and behind me so it drips properly, and then of course getting it into her mouth in a sneaky way for her to not notice too much. And then keeping it in, even with taping it down. It’s a lot. But it’s so worth the alternative to me, a bottle, because I just love having that bond right now. Evie loves it. So I will continue as long as I can and I know I’ve only lasted this long because my husband is home with me doing half the work. Hopefully I will start producing more, I’ve been taking these great supplements (below) and made these oatmeal “lactation” cookies (that are soooo gooood). “Evie TV”
Our favorite source of entertainment, hands down. “Evie TV” is so much fun. It consists of us propping her up on our legs and watching her go through a circulation of different faces from puckering up her lips to raising her eyebrows to rolling her eyes and then giving a big smile which at this stage doesn’t mean a lot yet, but we like to think it does! We laugh, we record it, and it’s heartwarming. It’s true no matter what your own child is the cutest, smartest, best little creation in the world!
Oh.my.goodness. As if I wasn’t already sure I married the perfect person for me, this has brought my admiration for him and confidence in us to a whole new level. I do not know what I’d do without him. He does everything. Dishes. Laundry. Makes me my high-maintenance healthy meals (when I can’t!). Walks and plays with the dogs. Does skin-to-skin time with Evie. Changes her all the time. Gets up in the middle of the night whenever I need. Refills my water over and over and over again. Since we’ve been together the man gets 3 home cooked meals a day. He didn’t even know where anything was in the kitchen. He has certainly proved he’s more than capable of doing it all! I’m so, so grateful. I never want him to go back to work. Ever. He’s my rock, and we are such a good team. I know that there will be hard times (there already have) having children but I know this has brought us so much closer. We need each other, and our daughter needs us. Seeing him hold her and love her makes my heart melt. It’s simply the best.
I know that was long…and believe it or not that was definitely a shorter version as you can only imagine how much goes on in one week with a newborn!
Any tips or experiences from other moms reading this?! I’d love to hear from you! XO