Thursday, January 26, 2012

Transition to Motherhood

So I think I left off describing the labor and delivery. The next couple days in the hospital were so surreal. I was EXHAUSTED, battered and bruised as I boarded the emotional roller coaster named hormones. All I wanted to do was admire my new baby girl, consumed by every fold of plump skin, each strand of her fine hair and the sound of every cry. I was AMAZED. That obsession, however only fed my fatigue. I didn't want to sleep.

Everything I read, every trusted advisor all instructed emphatically, "SLEEP while you are in the hospital". Take advantage of the nurses and focus on healing. But I didn't WANT TO. I was living on 10 months of anticipation becoming a reality. Don't get me wrong, there were times that I DID get some sleep, but I was consumed with guilt each time the nurses wheeled her away to the nursery.

We had one nurse that was so awesome we wanted to take her home with us. She introduced herself as "the breast whisper" and she really was. With all I was feeling, I had to take on the next challenge of learning to breastfeed. With everything I observed from watching my sister and the aid of the skilled hand of the 'breast whisper, we didn't have any major challenges to overcome.

Poor Hubs could not sleep very well on the stiff hospital cot so the last night I told Hubs to go home and sleep. It took a lot of insisting, but he finally agreed. It was also New Years Eve, so before he left to get some shut-eye, he brought in some sparkling wine and we rang in 2012 as a trio.

Sunday, New Years Day, we were both discharged and ready to go home. As we put Caroline in the car seat, I burst into tears. I could do this in the safety of the hospital. Our world consisted of a small hospital room and I'd mastered that. Now we were getting into the car and going home. It felt like we were opening the door to all the "what if's" that had haunted me. It took some hugs from Hubs, who was eager to get home, stocking up on supplies and reassurance from the Breast Whisperer before I was brave enough to take the next big step in this journey.

We made it home and it was only a couple more hours before Bubby showed up. (Momma T is Bubby if I haven't mentioned that already).

I'm still a little embarrassed at how the fatigue and hormones coupled with the amazement and endorphins of meeting my new baby girl stripped me down to a scared, tearful shell of myself. Hubs stepped up to reassure me and give hugs at every turn, but it was Bubby's deft hand and confidence that kept me from literally falling apart. The first 24 hours were painful. Caroline cried for what felt like 24 hours straight while we tried every soothing method we could Google. She even became hoarse from all the screaming. My heart was breaking. She was hungry and my milk hadn't come in yet. Once it did, she calmed down. Too bad I was still on the hormone, fatigue ride of my life.

For those of you that haven't been through this yet, this is evidently what they call the baby blues. According to Doctors and the books it's normal-HA! About once a day I'd have a crying spell. Sure didn't feel normal when I was so happy to also be so full of tears. I was so conflicted by why I felt this way, especially when the easy cure was to pick up and snuggle my baby girl! But like all hormonal waves, it just took some time for them to balance (or burst through my tearducts like a broken damn).

I heard/read somewhere that the first month is more about the Mom than the newborn . Once I satisfy her desire to eat and sleep (on a two hour rotation) she doesn't need much. SO TRUE. It's me that has the most to learn as we transition into our roles.

Lesson one: I needed need to learn to get some sleep. Take care of myself so I can take care of her.

A million more lessons to go....
The Rineharts

Monday, January 16, 2012

Two Weeks in

I can't get over how quickly the time goes while simultaneously every day feels like a lifetime as Caroline and I learn each other a little more.

She gives me a good block of time in the afternoon as she naps. My hope is to use this time to document and explore all the details from the labor, deliver and her first hours/days at home, to the joy of the daily monotony of motherhood, at least for the next 10 weeks or so.

Everyone told me how quickly the love for you new baby erases the pain of labor. They were right, however in the moment I remember thinking "who are those crazy misogynistic women who chose to forgo an epidural?"

I was induced for Caroline so we were scheduled to go into the hospital Thursday night at 9pm. I was nervous and excited and in TOTAL denial. I knew there was only one way to meet my new baby so instead of getting prepared, I just didn't think about it. Hubs and Momma T went with me to the hospital to check in and get started. Momma T went to stay at Aunt Biscuits house to get some sleep as Hubs slumbered beside me, oblivious to my growing discomfort.
It was a long night that included catheters, fetal monitors, breaking my water, pitocin and an epidural. After a long night, the epidural provided me an opportunity catch some z's and shift in an attempt to reposition a possible posterior baby.

All was progressing as planned, until at 9cm the epidural stopped working on the right side. Before I know it I found myself rocking rhythmically, moaning like a freight train with every contraction. OH THE PAIN. I think I was that way for about an hour before they could track down the anesthesiologist who proceeded to reposition the needle in my spine. AND THEN, the relief! At that point I was 10 cm and it was time to push. And was I ever ready to push. I was good an numb now, which of course made it feel like all the good pushing was doing was making my face beet red. But the constant reassurance from Momma T, Hubs and the team of nurses gave me the confidence to keep pushing with the same enthusiasm. When She was finally crowning, we paused to wait for the Dr. Momma T and Hubs were so excited that they actually were jumping up and down. I think they even exchanged a high five. It was awesome. Their excitement was the adrenaline I needed. Turns out that Caroline was indeed posterior, or sunny side up. It took a lot more pushing and exertion to get her out. It was the coolest, craziest, strangest, most awesome sight to see her come out, looking right at us. Then they said it. "It's a girl". I couldn't believe it. I cried with such joy and excitement as they laid her on my chest. She is perfect. The rest is a major blur. I remember Hubs cutting the cord and Momma T bouncing around awaiting the go ahead to tell the family that had gathered in the waiting room, Baby Caroline was HERE.

What I remember next is a slurry of euphoria, utter exhaustion and joy. Luckily that euphoria stayed with me for a couple days, because the pain was following right behind my first visitors.

More on the first days with my new baby to come. I have a little squeaker to attend to right now....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's a girl

I can't believe it, but it really is a girl. Baby Caroline was welcomed into the world on 12/30 weighing a healthy 8lbs, 1oz. The past week has been a whirlwind of emotions that I'm still trying to grasp a hold of. There will be many posts to follow where I give you some of the details of labor (not too many) and the subsequent days of learning how to be a mother, recover, and expressing my undying gratitude to Momma T and Hubs, who have been taking care of me so I can take care of our precious baby girl.

Here are some of the first pictures while you wait for more... I promise this blog won't become entirely devoted to my daughter and motherhood, only for the next few months for sure.