Day 1, Monday: Let’s cut to the chase. Labor was intense. About 36 hours of pre and early labor yielded only 2 cm dilation. Disappointment. My body was so tired when I got to the hospital that I ended up vomiting multiple times from pain and probably exhaustion. Baby’s heart rate dropped below 100 and everyone got nervous. They put me on IV fluids and oxygen, confining me to the hospital bed for several hours. They broke my water when I got the 3 cm, maybe only out of pity, and the contractions continued – strong. I opted for Stadol, which I thought might dull the pain of the contractions. I felt drowsy, but as far as I could tell, I felt every contraction. Mom and Josh took turns sitting with me, praying for me, and letting me squeeze the circulation out of their hands. Not sure how many times they tagged out but I bet their hands needed some chiropractic work when it was over.
This was not the natural birth I planned. But God redeemed it, baby and I stabilized and I finished my labor in the birthing tub. At 12:51am we welcomed John David into the world. What a moment! I thought I would cry but it was so surreal I didn’t know how to feel. He was beautiful – still is – with that head full of hair I dreamed about. The pain of labor gone, my reward lay on my chest, sucking his fingers. Perfection.
I was so high after the birth that even though I’d hardly slept in two days, I stayed up until 7am just to look at John, reply to text messages and attempt breastfeeding for a second time. I slept one hour and 45 minutes all day. We had visitors and nurses and doctors shimmying in and out. It was wonderful to rejoice with friends and family. John was so loved, so welcome.
Day 2, Tuesday: We went home today, somewhere around 36 hours after birth. Nonna (my mom) picked us up at the hospital. She would be staying with us all week. I had no idea what a difference that would make.
We decided to have our home/small group that night so everyone could meet and greet the baby. We thought this might divert a steady stream of activity throughout the week if everyone could see him at once. We still hadn’t slept much at this point.
Day 3, Wednesday: Hormones, post-labor pain in the “bottom” region, a week’s worth of minimal sleep and embarking on the most life-changing week ever in my 29 years = the perfect storm. Breastfeeding hurt, sometimes, but it was so inconsistent and I didn’t know what I was doing. Had my first meltdown on the couch, mom and Josh trying to console me as I confessed my pain and incompetence at the whole parenting thing. Nonna comforted me.
In other news: I guess my milk “came in” today. My mom said I would probably feel it but I didn’t. Just felt swollen but all my other body parts were in strange form so I didn’t really know what was happening.
Day 4, Thursday: John’s first visit to the pediatric doc was uplifting. Her eyes opened wide when she heard that he was already back to his birth weight after two days. “When did your milk come in?” she exclaimed. I didn’t know – it must have been that strange feeling from yesterday. All was well with John. He was healthy.
That night brought more tears as I forget the good news that John gained 5 oz in two days, which is an excellent indicator that I am not such a bad mother after all. Mom more or less sent me to bed at that point. There was no reasoning with a sleep deprived, hormonal female.
Day 5, Friday: John gave Nonna the royal treatment today as he launched a fountain of pee into the air, dousing everything within reach. Now in the laundry: his outfit, swaddling blanket, the changing table cover and the curtain. Josh’s attempts at diaper changing received a similar result.
My faithful, to-the-rescue friend, Kim, brought nipple shields by the house on the way to work. Breastfeeding was a more enjoyable experience for everyone, especially John – it seemed he managed to get quite a bit more milk than usual with them. I was hurting less than normal, which was a nice change.
Kim and Mike brought Luke over for dinner. As parents we decided that since we are friends, our sons who are three months apart, will also be friends. Best friends…but no pressure. Babies have a different way of showing interest and affection. It might seem from the picture that they didn’t have real chemistry, but I beg to differ.
Saturday, Day 6: Nonna went home. We were so sad to have her go; she was sad to leave too. She cried a little as she confessed her gratitude that we had invited her to be with us all week. We couldn’t believe she was thanking us since she spent her whole week cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and holding John so we could rest or do other things. Mothers are amazing creatures – I’m so thankful for mine!
Sunday, Day 7: Gramma (Josh’s mom) returned for another snuggle session with John. Aunt Tish, Aunt Sandy and cousin Brayden joined her. John is the first grandbaby on both sides. He is long-awaited and not at all under-appreciated.
Day 8, Monday: John is one week old today. Happy one week, little baby. Ack! I love him more every day. Just so adorable – I need to invent a new word for how fantastically wonderfully cute he is! Tried to do a photobooth photo shoot with John but he was a bit wobbly from having just eaten. Here’s what we got. My favorite is the one where his head is flopped into my chest. He’s shameless. And I LOVE him!