Friday, June 24, 2016

Josie's 1 Month Update

I'm not sure how to begin this post, or what format to follow, or even what to write.  So I will just wing it, which is exactly how we've been living life this past month!

My last blog post wrapped up when Josie was 2 weeks old, and the first 2 weeks had went pretty smoothly.  She was adjusting well, as was Stella, and I was feeling good.  And honestly the first week after Mark went back to work wasn't too bad.  Granted I didn't get much done except care for the girls, and we mostly stayed home as my incision was still healing, but I expected all of that and enjoyed a pretty peaceful week as May came to a close.

Everything changed when June began and Josie hit the 3 week mark.  I remember clearly the first outing I went on with both girls...just a simple trip to Brimfield for Stella's return to speech therapy.  Josie didn't sleep at all that day.  And not only did she not sleep, she cried and fussed the ENTIRE DAY!  I had never experienced such a thing with Stella.  She wouldn't even calm down for the car ride!  I remember telling Mark about it when he got home (also very irritated since he managed to run his phone over that day!) and I was just in disbelief and ready to start a new day!  That weekend we had plans of attending our town's yearly Fun Days.  It is something we always look forward to, and even though we knew it wouldn't be a "night out" I was really excited to take the girls.  It was beautiful weather and we were so ready to get out of the house!  But Thursday was not a fluke.  It became our way of life for the past 3 weeks.  I know that doesn't sound like long, but after hour upon hour of crying it feels like years.  Perhaps even an eternity.  Needless to say we stayed home that weekend and attended to our colicky baby.  We did run to Bradford Sunday night to take the new double stroller for a spin and let Stella play at the park. 
Stella helping Josie try to take the pacifier!

Week 4 was much the same.  The crying and fussing would begin around 6:00am and continue until 10:00pm.  I only wish I was exaggerating.  She would sleep from 10:00pm until about 4:00am every night, wake to eat, and go back to sleep until 6:00.  I think this was only out of sheer exhaustion from the day's work (all that fussing must be hard, plus she doesn't nap more than a few minutes at a time and will wake at the drop of a hat...although baby girl can snore!), but I am grateful nonetheless, it has been my only saving grace (apart from my husband, Paw Patrol, iced coffee and Moscato of course!)  I did take her into the doctor and he sent me home with a packet on colic.  All suggestions that I had already tried.  I attempted to just accept that she was an unhappy baby, but colic is defined as "crying or fussing for 3 or more hours at least 3 days a week" (according to the handout from my doctor).  Josie cried about 15 hours a day at least 6 days a week.  I couldn't shake the feeling that something else was up, especially with the problems she had in the hospital when she was born (all those air pockets and throwing up blood).  I switched her to Gentlease formula hoping that would help and started gas drops, but no luck.  I would have to leave when Mark got home almost everyday.  I'd go grab an iced coffee and just drive around, sometimes at Johnson's State Park, just to have some quiet and calm down.  It was so hard on all of us, Stella slowly because irritable as well.  I was so pissed.  This was supposed to be the summer we went places and worked on Stella's social skills now that I had cancelled most of her therapy.  And now this!  Don't get me wrong I am grateful for my girls, but colic just sucks!

As week 5 rolled around, my dad and his girlfriend offered to come over and watch the girls so Mark and I could grab a quick dinner in town.  It was our first time out alone, and even though it was only a few hours it was really nice!  My dad's girlfriend thought it seemed like Josie had a tummy ache.  That was what really got me started thinking.  I thought it was still the "fetal position" but her legs are always drawn into her chest.  She spit up all the time, even after we switched to the dreaded Dr Browns bottles (helpful because she stopped spitting formula out when she drank, just a pain to clean).  Not to mention the constant crying and air pockets at birth.  I decided there was definitely more at play than colic and vowed that night to get to the bottom of it.  But then the next day I started getting terrible aches in my abdomen.  It felt like I had just had the c-section, despite little pain for the first 5 weeks.  On Friday the pain was so bad Mark had to come home and care for the girls because I could barely walk.  Turns out he wasn't much help, he had thrown out his back!  We managed to go to the hospital to x-ray Josie (showing more air pockets) and then I headed to my doctor in Peoria for the pain, plus my incision was turning red.  He just cleaned it up and put me on an antibiotic, but it wasn't infected yet and he wasn't quite sure what the pain was from.
Typical Josie :(

Saturday was our 5 year anniversary.  Mark's back was better, but my incision was worse.  It had turned completely brown and was pretty painful.  After doing some much needed yard work, Mark took Stella to Kewanee to grab dinner since we couldn't manage anything else for our anniversary.  He also came home with cake and flowers, very sweet :)  Josie had SCREAMED ALL DAY so I was pretty stressed.  After the girls were finally asleep around 9:00 Mark and I had dessert, a bottle of champagne, and opened one of the bottles of MamaJuana that we had bought on our honeymoon.  It was the perfect ending to a stressful day, and we decided to celebrate more when everyone is better!
Our honeymoon drink and one rose for every year of marriage :)

Sunday was Father's Day, and Josie was still screaming.  Unfortunately I was worse, my incision was now seeping fluids.  I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and we just rested all day.  Mark took Stella to his family's cookout that evening for a few hours while I started in on the new season of Orange is the New Black (3 episodes in and not impressed dang it!)  I ended up calling the hospital and emergency hot line at my doctor's office that evening because my incision just wasn't getting any better, but I fell asleep and they never called back.
Daddy and his girls.  Happy Father's Day!

When I woke up after a crappy night's sleep on Monday, my incision was bleeding bright red blood.  Mark took Stella to his parent's, and then me to the ER.  They said fluid had been building internally (must have been what caused the pain the week before) and then it started draining, which was good.  I was never told drainage is OK, would have been good to know!  That afternoon we had to take Josie to OSF for an ultrasound to make sure nothing was twisted in her stomach.  If that was all clear, we could do a trial of acid reflux medicine.  Thankfully the ultrasound showed everything to be normal, so after a weight check at the doctor's on Tuesday (she was gaining weight thankfully, despite all the spit up, but only because she was eating small amounts all day long!) we went and picked up AR medicine for Josie. 

Which brings us to week 6 and my postpartum check-up.  When I went in (with Josie, Stella went to my in-laws again) the appointment was rushed because he had to go deliver a baby.  He agreed with the ER doctor and said my incision is headed in the right direction, will just take a while to heal.  Very frustrating given I was looking forward to BEING healed and enjoying a nice spa day and clean house as my postpartum celebration.  Oh how life laughs when we tell it out plans!

Yesterday we had a play date in Atkinson with the girl's cousins while my car got fixed (yep, on top of all that crap my car decided to break again!).  Which brings me to today.  Here is where we are at:

I am still healing.  My internal pain is gone and I finished my meds yesterday, but the incision is very uncomfortable.  Even walking isn't very fun yet.  I'm running on survival mode around the house so I am mentally exhausted and I just look like crap.  Little sleep and 2 minute showers while the vacuum runs and Paw Patrol blares to keep your kids happy will do that to you.  I am SO ready to jump back into my diet and exercise routine.  I sure hope it's soon.

Stella is regressing.  I've found her sleeping in front of her door holding her doll.  So unlike her.  She isn't sleeping well and is really acting out.  Not enough attention and constant stress takes a toll on even the littlest of children.
Trying to have as much fun with our girls as colic/AR will allow!  A day out for a birthday party.

Josie is still miserable.  Yesterday I did get a smile out of her...the first one yet!  She also had about an hour where she was awake and didn't cry!  Doesn't sound like much but a huge step in the right direction for us.  She is spitting out her medicine, so I'm still trying to find ways to get her to keep it down.  I also switched to AR formula today in hopes that she stops spitting up and throwing up.  she has been taking 3oz lately too.  I've been talking with a friend who has a 2 month old in a similar situation, so she gave me a bunch of tips for the medicine today.  I am so hopeful that it will help.  I also bought some Dr Browns pacifiers today to see if she will take those.  She likes the paci but can't keep it in her mouth.  These curve up to keep it in and also are supposed to prevent them from sucking air.  Just what an air filled baby needs!  So for now I am trying everything I can (a chiropractor visit is next on the list if the medicine doesn't help), and surviving by running the vacuum and bouncing her in the bouncy chair.  Sometimes going outside or a car ride helps too, just depends on the day. 
Finally the first sign of relief and the first smile!  Isn't she just beautiful!!

Mark is doing pretty good and has been a blessing through this.  I know most difficult phases in life take a toll on a marriage, but if anything this has brought us closer.  Not that we don't have our days, but we know we're better together.  Kaiser is handling everything like a champ!  He's in his outdoor kennel during the day (although it has been in the 90's lately so he's been in a few days) and sleeps in the living room by me at night (still on the couch for now).  He is healing nicely too!
Cuddles for Stella Anne
Kaiser is so happy to sleep in the living room again, always by his baby of course!

I really hope July brings some nice changes for us.  I always hate dwelling on the negative.  I do count my blessings and thank God everyday, but there's just no denying some phases in life are hard.  And some things just suck.  But the bad times make the good ones better.  I love my beautiful family, and I am going to work my butt off to get things back to "normal" next week.  I am really hoping to get the house cleaned, do some grocery shopping, and get into a "routine".  And if that doesn't happen after I have exhausted every avenue for Josie, I pray for the strength to find a way to be motivated and calm through the stress.  No matter what it looks like, my goal for next month is to make things better for Stella, and to bring Josie as much relief as possible.  I know I must first take care of myself to accomplish these goals!  So I'm off to get some things done (if Josie and Stella will stay sleeping when I take my foot off this bouncy chair that is!)  Be back in a few short weeks for the 2 month update :-)  Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Josie's First 2 Weeks

I am going to pick up where I left off with Josie's birth story.  This post will be about our first 2 weeks at home.  We were really lucky this time, Mark got to take 2 weeks off work so that made things SO much better for my recovery!  All things considered I'd say the first couple of weeks went pretty smoothly...

What We've Been Up To: Week 1
Sunday my mom brought Stella back home in the morning.  She did NOT do well at first.  She was excited about Josie and loved her so much (even shared her beloved puppy with her, that's how we knew she was special to Stella!) but she threw a huge fit every time Mark or I picked Josie up.  Ran to her room screaming!  By the end of the two weeks she was over this phase thankfully, but it was rough at first.  Mark went and picked up Kaiser from the vet while my mom was here.  It was so nice to have him back with no cone or cast.  He was happier, plus he was able to stay outside in his kennel now and the fresh air did him good.  He still slept inside with us, and thankfully he didn't get worked up over Josie like he did when Stella was born.  Just used to being a big brother by now!  Mark also was able to mow the yard and run to Wal Mart on Sunday, so we were doing pretty good getting caught up around the house!
Sisterly love.
Josie got Stella a Big Sister gift...Paw Patrol goodies of course!  She already knows her well!

Monday was my due date, and Josie was 5 days old!  We had a doctor appointment, and everything looked great except he thought she looked jaundice, so we had to go to the hospital for a check.  That proved ONCE AGAIN to be a nightmare.  We went to Kewanee Hospital thinking it would be a quick routine test, but we were so wrong!  I wasn't prepared, so I was without my pain meds and therefore very crabby :)  We had to register, which made me mad from the beginning.  Josie's birth hospital, doctor's office and this hospital are all OSF.  We shouldn't have had to do everything all over, but their computers aren't synced.  By the time we got into the room, Stella was super tired and crabby.  The room was freezing so Josie wasn't bleeding very well.  They stuck her heels 6 times before they got enough blood!  I'm usually pretty nice but I wasn't nice to those nurses!  The rest of Monday was a fussy day for Josie and mama!  I couldn't blame her after that experience :( 
Swaddled, Rock-n-Play bed, and music giraffe...sleep essentials for Josie Mae.

Tuesday Mark had to take Kaiser to the vet for his shot.  Jenny came over and hung out with us.  It was a pretty relaxing day and Mark was able to get some stuff done outside while I had help.  Stella didn't nap though, so she was pretty fussy by bedtime!
Kaiser watching over his girls.

On Wednesday morning we went to my friend's house to get Josie's newborn pictures done.  She stayed awake pretty much the whole session, but she wasn't too fussy so it went smoother than I anticipated.  Stella didn't cooperate of course, but we managed to sneak a few in so I was very happy!  When we got home Abby came over to spend the afternoon with us while Mark had some more time outside (he really lucked out this week!)  Stella was so excited to see Abby that she climbed over her bed rail (the one we'd been using to keep her in her toddler bed) for the first time ever!  I was so shocked when I heard that door open and saw her come running down the hall!  It was bad timing with a new baby, but I was so thankful she was strong and determined enough to do it!  The things most parents take for granted, but not when you have a baby with low muscle tone :)  Wednesday evening got pretty rough, both girls were super crabby and I took my last pain meds.  After a few crazy days and no naps for Stella, we decided to just stay home Thursday and get some rest and routine back for Stella.
Some of my favorite shots.

Highlights of Week 1
Mark was very helpful, it was so nice to have him home.  I was glad I had other help too so he could sneak some alone time in outside.  I did very well the first week, little to no pain (except when I got up in the mornings...slept on the couch all week).  I didn't have any postpartum depression, and with Mark helping I even slept decent.  I did get an awful rash from my binder, but other than that everything went great!  Stella had a rough week, between the not napping, no routines, and me not being able to care for her like I normally do.  Everyday was a little better and she's learning to stay in her bed for naps and nighttime.  Josie was a tad fussy, and she had her days and nights mixed up but nothing out of the ordinary.  She had her little period discharge, but I remembered that from Stella so we didn't worry this time :)  She ate about 1.5-2 ounces every few hours.  She didn't take a pacifier, but she didn't have one in the hospital so this didn't surprise me.  We were amazed how well she can lift and hold her head up already, she is very strong!  She loves to be held and snuggled, especially against my chest.  Other than a little chapped chin she was super healthy and beautiful!!  Great first week!!

What We've Been Up To: Week 2
Thursday marked the start of Josie's second week.  We spent the day resting and getting back into a "routine" (the best we could with a newborn!)  Mark took Stella to his parents after nap because his mom made us a bunch of delicious food!  Stella walked around their farm all afternoon, so she came back with a bad diaper rash.  This made for AWFUL diaper changes for the rest of the week.  Good thing she had fun at the farm!

Friday Kaiser had his last surgery shot.  We all went with to show off the new baby, and then we stopped in at Mark's work to show her around there.  That afternoon we did a few chores, and my dad and his girlfriend brought out pizza that evening.
Kaiser trying his best to cheer up Josie!

Saturday was our first big outing.  Our niece graduated from high school so we went to her party.  It was a beautiful day, and Stella had so much fun!  Josie did well too.  We dropped Stella off at my mom's after the party.  She was going to spend a few more days with her while we did a few things around the house and focused on Josie.  She had a rough week and we wanted to give her a little break with the rest of the time my mom took off work. 

Sunday morning we went back into town to take the girls to my Grandma's so my family could meet Josie.  We had coffee and donuts and Stella had a blast playing with her cousins while everyone held Josie.  Then Mark and I took Josie back home to finish up a few things before he went back to work the next day.
Meeting her great-grandmas:  Grandma Norton and Grandma Bomleny.  Her middle name is after Great-Grandma Norton!!

Monday Mark went back to work.  He sleeps in the bedroom on nights he has to work so he can get rest, and I've stayed on the couch with Josie.  I don't mind this, I can always nap if needs be, plus I get to sleep in until the girls wake up :)  I had Josie alone on Monday, which was much easier than both of them as I eased into doing everything alone after my C-section.

Tuesday morning we rode with Mark into town when he went to work.  I couldn't drive yet so he dropped us off at my mom's.  She took us to Josie's 2 week doctor check-up and stayed in the waiting room with Stella.  Her appointment went well, but she still wasn't up to her birth weight so we had to schedule a 1 week follow up just to have her weighed.  She had lumps in her chest that scared the crap out of me, but it was just breast tissue.  He said that is common in newborns, even boys, but Stella didn't have it.  After the appointment my mom brought us home and stayed until Mark got home from work.  We had coffee and just visited that day.

On Wednesday I had my 2 week check-up.  This was just to check my incision, I still have the traditional 6 week postpartum check-up too.  Mark took the morning off to take us.  Everything looked great and I was cleared to drive and use the stairs again, but still minimal lifting and no exercise yet.  The kids were super fussy, so we headed straight home after the appointment (after a Dunkin Donuts pit stop of course!).  Mark went back to work in the afternoon, so I got a small taste of being alone with both girls before I started full on the next day.  It actually went pretty well, they slept and I even got some chores done!  A nice way to wrap up Josie's second week :)
Lots of hair like her sister (yes, even the mini-mullet!)
Stella's obsessed with Paw Patrol.  It's been a lifesaver as we adjust to our growing family.  Here she's playing with the tower (from my mom) and in her Paw Patrol hat.  It's Mark's, but she likes to put it on and say "Come on pups!"  Not sure where that came from but it's adorable!

Highlights of Week 2
Another decent week!  Mark was very helpful again, but I know he was ready to go back to work.  Just a busy time and he felt guilty not being there, but enjoyed his time at home.  My recovery went very well.  I wasn't eating great, but not terrible either.  I lost 20 pounds in the first two weeks, after Stella it took me 4 months to get to this point!  So much better.  Gotta cut back on that coffee though...  Stella was doing better by the end of week 2.  She loves to rock Josie, share her puppy with her, and sing "rock a baby tree fall down" while she rocks her.  So sweet, melts my heart!  Josie was starting to pick up with the fussiness.  It was a few hours at a time by now, and she was starting to spit up and have a harder time latching on to the bottles.  Feedings took much longer this week!  Plus she wouldn't take the pacifier, but I could tell she wanted it, so that was frustrating.  After a few days of only pooping once a day she started going 4-5 times a day, so that helped a little.  Her umbilical cord fell out at 13 days old.  She loves baths, but we only did them every few days because her skin is so dry.  She was fussy in the evenings, but then she would wake every 3 hours in the night to eat, so a little better than every 1.5-2 hours like she did during the day.  I tried to rotate holding her, tummy time, and using the swing, bouncy seat and rocky bed.  Just trying to switch it up and keep her happy!  Kaiser was doing well this week too, although he sure missed sleeping on the couch!  His fur was starting to grow back and he did so well with the girls :)

2 Weeks Postpartum Reflection
Other than the typical adjustments and newborn frustrations (mainly lack of sleep!) the first phase of my postpartum journey went so much smoother this time around.  My pain was minimal, the weather was beautiful, Mark was home, and I had much better medical care.  I also didn't use cloth diapers or breastfeed.  Yes, I believe breastfeeding is "better" than bottle feeding in many ways.  But you know what is worse?  Not being able to breastfeed without being severely stressed and in pain and dreading every time you have to feed your baby.  A bottle given lovingly trumps a forced breastfeed in my book!  The most important thing is that you and your baby are healthy and happy!  I changed a lot during this pregnancy, motherhood will do that to you!  You just have to let go of the picture you had in your head and embrace what is.  Once you do that you will be SO much happier.  I am still a work in progress, it takes time to adjust a Type A mama, but I am getting there!  I am so thankful for my beautiful family, our health, and our happiness.  Life is good!

Up next:  Josie's 1 Month update...coming Saturday since it took me so long to get this post done!  Remembering to embrace what is :)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Josie's Birth Story

I am so happy I finally have a chance to sit down and write Josie's birth story!  I try to do these as soon as possible after my kids are born while it's still somewhat fresh in my mind, but that proved a little harder this time with a baby and a toddler!  Quiet time is rare around here these days :)  But Josie is napping (for now) and Stella is in bed so here we go...

Only a few days passed between my last post and Josie's birth.  On Saturday (the day after my last bump update post) Mark worked all day so Stella and I rode with Abby & Ryder to Peoria to get her bridesmaids dress, and then they treated us to Steak & Shake.  Saturday night I was having a lot of drainage (here I go again with the TMI), but Mark worked until 11:00pm and I figured it was normal and didn't want to go to the hospital, so I just did my at home spa routine and went to bed hoping it wasn't my water breaking again!  Well Sunday was Mother's Day, and when I woke up that morning the drainage was still pretty bad.  The c-section was scheduled for Wednesday with no doctor appointments in between, and I know you only have about 24 hours after your water breaks to have the baby to prevent infection, so I knew I had no choice but to go in.  So my mom, sister and Ryder graciously came over to sit with Stella and Kaiser while Mark and I went to the hospital.  They hooked me up to the monitor and tested for my water breaking or an infection, but both came back negative and we were sent home.  I was super disappointed, a Mother's Day baby would have been pretty neat, plus I was so miserable and READY to have her!  So we picked up Panera for everyone and headed home.  We spent the night watching a movie and resting, not an exciting Mother's Day but surly one to remember! 

Monday I finished up all my last-minute packing and chores, and Tuesday Mark started his paternity leave.  We started Tuesday by boarding Kaiser.  That day the cast came off, and after a couple of days they would remove the cone (after they made sure he wasn't biting at the site of the surgery).  I felt bad boarding him for the week, but given his condition it was the best choice, plus I knew he was in good hands.  I also dropped off cinnamon rolls, muffins, and fruit for the staff to say thank-you for all they did for us.  After that we headed to Dairy Queen.  I wanted to do something fun with Stella before her world got rocked, so we took her for ice cream, her favorite!  They we dropped her off at my mom's and Mark and I got some dinner and then headed home to finish up last minute chores and get some sleep.
Daddy and Stella time, last date to DQ as a family of 3!
Last bump picture, 39 weeks and 2 days prego!

Wednesday my c-section was scheduled for 11:00, but we had to be there by 9:00.  I couldn't have anything to eat or drink after 3:00am (even water and gum!) so I was super thirsty and very nervous!  After showering and getting ready we headed out at 8:00am.  When we arrived I was in a prep room for an hour.  Here I got my IV and took care of all the paperwork.  Dr Ma arrived and said he was going to try to push things through to get started early, which was fine with me!  It's one thing getting an epidural when you are in the height of labor, but to get one when you feel fine is a whole other story!  The anesthesiologist came in and explained it would be a spinal block (numbed first) and how it worked.  Safer and more effective than an epidural.  Sounded good to me!  So they wheeled me to the operation room while Mark put on scrubs.  He couldn't be with me for the spinal block and last minute prep, which really sucks.  That is the scariest part.  I was shaking like crazy from nerves.  They have a nurse hold your hands which is great.  It didn't hurt one bit, the anesthesiologist was great I really liked him.  His name was Bob, I am going to ask for him if we ever decide to have another baby.  He walked me through the whole surgery and was so competent.  I don't know if I had all the pains with Stella and just didn't feel them because I was so out of it after labor or what, but this c-section was very painful.  I almost threw up from the medication so many times, but thankfully never did.  However I had EXTREME chest and shoulder pain, they said it was gas from the surgery going up into my top half.  I had that for 3 days it felt like I was having a heart attack!  Not fun.  They asked if I wanted oxygen, but I hated that mask when I had Stella so I said no!  He ended up going in through the same incision (yay!  got that scar tissue outta there!) and at 10:50am Josie Mae Bomleny was here!  She was 9lbs 5oz and 20 inches long!  I remember Dr Ma saying "WOW she's a big one!" and then bowing to me and saying now he understood why I was in so much pain just walking at the end!  I was so afraid she would have to go under the oxygen hood like Stella, and she almost did, but OSF hospital handled it so much better.  They did oxygen blow-bys with the mask and she was able to breathe normally on her own after a bit.  I was so relieved!  Her Apgar score was an 8 too!  Hearing that first little cry made Mark and I tear up again, and I remember him holding my hand and telling me thank-you for another beautiful daughter.  I am sure that moment will stick in my mind for the rest of my life, as Stella's birth has to this day.  How beautiful is the birth of your children!
Traditional "still happy" last prego pic!


After I was put back together (gross huh) they took me to a recovery room where I had to stay with a one-on-one nurse for an hour.  She monitored my bleeding, and I actually had to stay a half hour longer because I bled too much at my incision.  I also got my stomach binder here, and she cut it for me since I am so short.  This made it more comfortable to wear.  They didn't have this recovery period after my first c-section, but it made me feel a lot better!  During this time Mark was in the nursery with Josie as they monitored her and did her oxygen stuff.

When I was cleared to go to a postpartum room they wheeled me down and brought in Mark and Josie.  I finally got to do the skin-to-skin contact with Josie (they delayed her bath until later that night so that I could do it before she was washed...but she was wiped down, don't worry!)  That is what I hate most about c-sections, you are so numb from the spinal block and all you want to do is hold your baby but you just have to sit there in pain waiting.  At least this time it was only 2 hours instead of 24 before I could hold her!  I actually had a roommate in this room, they were over-full that day and had to double up!  Popular day to have a baby!  My roommate couldn't speak English and kept throwing up and was in so much pain I felt so bad for her.  Throwing up after a c-section would be the WORST, it hurts just to sneeze for about 4 weeks after a c-section!  Mom and Abby brought Stella to visit around 5:00.  It was too bad the room was small, but it is what it is.  I have a video of it but Stella was so excited!  She kept screaming "oh a baby, look at the baby!"  Mark took her downstairs to run around and get a snack while mom and Abby held Josie and visited with me.  It worked out pretty well!  We stayed in that room for the evening.  We had to call the nurse before we fed Josie every time.  They had to check her blood sugar first to make sure they didn't miss gestational diabetes in me since she was so big!

Finally around 10pm we got moved to a private room!  I still had my catheter, so I was relieved we got our own room before they took it out.  Sharing a bathroom would have SUCKED!  My nurse that night was SUPER nice (there were none I didn't like, but she was the best.  I always had a nurse and a tech plus Josie always had a nurse assigned to her.  lots of personal attention, it was great!)  After we got settled in they had me "dangle".  This basically means to just sit up in bed and put your feet over the edge.  Sounds simple, but this is where you truly realize how much a c-section really affects your body.  It HURTS and is almost impossible.  It leaves you in tears and feeling so pathetic.  I remember apologizing, I just felt embarrassed.  I mean who can't sit up in bed?  But they tell you it's normal and it's ok, that you did a good job.  But then you lay back down and feel a little sorry for yourself.  And then you get over it.  Time and time again.  I just wish people who think a c-section is "the easy way out"  could see me at that point.  Not to demean natural birth by any means, I am sure it is just as difficult, but so are c-sections!  Anyways.  After that they decided I wouldn't try to walk until morning, so Josie came back in and they left. 

Right before my mom and Abby arrived, Josie had puked up blood.  They tested it but determined it was mine and she must have swallowed my blood on the way out.  Well, after Mark fed her that night she puked up blood again.  LOTS of it.  I was so scared, I frantically called the call button but no one came!  Finally our nurse stopped in.  She called the on-call pediatrician who said it was still fine, just my blood.  The nurse said I could talk to the pediatrician if I wanted though.  Well of course I did, I was a frantic new mommy!  So she explained to me that there wasn't enough blood to test earlier, but the color indicated it was old blood from me and not new blood from her.  They would keep a close watch, but it was probably just gas.  I felt a little better, but we had her stay in the nursery that night just to be safe.  I felt better with awake eyes on her all night!  Not that I slept anyway.  That first night was full of medicine, incision checks, those dang leg puffers, and emptying my catheter (this time I got to drink right away, and I even ate some jello and shaved ice!).

Thursday morning was a busy one!  First thing they took out my catheter and put me on a wheelchair-type thing to take me to the bathroom.  I practiced going to the bathroom (again with the post-c section humility!) and they took me back to bed.  Mark slept through the whole thing!  I did walk to the bathroom later on in the morning.  The first two times a nurse had to help me but after that I could go on my own (well with Mark's help, I didn't go on my own totally until the next day).  They told us Josie had a good night and passed all her newborn screenings, but her tummy was super bloated so they were going to do an x-ray.  That showed she was FULL of air.  We saw the x-ray, it made me so sad.  Air pockets in every nook and cranny of her belly!  They would just keep watching her and follow up with another x-ray later if needs be.  I felt decent, but the itching from the pain meds was unreal!  It was like being covered with chicken pox on every inch of your body!  They actually had to give me another medicine to help with that.  The chest and shoulder pain was still there, it hurt to breathe, but other than that I felt OK.  I even ate real food on Thursday!  The cafeteria had lots of decent choices, so I ate good healthy meals.  They didn't let Mark eat unless he paid, so I just ordered extra food and shared or he'd go to the cafeteria and grab something.  Thursday Mark's parents visited in the afternoon and my dad in the evening.  It helped pass the time!  The hospital also brought us a "birthday" cake for Josie so we shared with our visitors.  It was really good!  That night I actually walked with Mark down to the nursery (I wanted to see the set-up, it was a temporary one because the labor and deliver was under construction-AGAIN!  We couldn't believe it, the hospital we had Stella at was under construction when we were there too!  Geez!).  I moved super slow and it hurt, but it was 2 whole hallways and I was DAMN proud of myself!  Josie had a good day, and even opened her eyes a bit!  She slept in the nursery again.  I'm not one to feel guilty doing that when I have babies, I know it's important for me to heal and get my rest so I can take the best care of my babies when I get home.  I know they are in good hands, and there's plenty of time for cuddles during the day.  (remember I bottle-fed this time) 

Friday morning they took my IV out, and we took my dressing off and I actually showered (with Mark's help).  It felt amazing!  Josie's follow-up x-ray this morning showed only one air pocket left, which was good but they were concerned why this one wouldn't leave.  It could have meant a piece of intestine was twisted, so they wanted the surgery team to weigh in on if they should perform another GI test.  They didn't want to do anything invasive if they didn't have to.  I appreciated this approach, but was super worried.  Later on in the day the pediatrician said Josie was doing well, and they weren't going to do any more testing today, but they would repeat the x-ray the next morning to see if it went away.  She was eating well and pooping and burping lots, so we were very hopeful it would all clear up by the next day.

Mark was getting a little stir-crazy by the afternoon, but Jeff & Jenny came to visit Friday evening so that helped a ton.  After they left I was thinking about how much I loved Josie.  She loves to be held and kick her feet out, but liked being swaddled.  Everyone in the nursery fought over holding her because she was a little butterball!  And there's nothing better than that new baby smell!  They only did the initial bath here, for Stella they bathed her every night.  Josie wasn't given a pacifier, which was interesting to me.  Oh well, I'm not a big fan of them anyway!  We took her to the nursery for bed around 11:00 pm, and since I didn't need checked as often I actually slept from 12-6!  It was much needed.

Saturday morning went very well.  I was up early for meds and a shower.  Josie had her x-ray in the morning, so they were bringing her back when it was done.  I used this time to have some coffee and catch up on my journaling (I wrote notes down in the hospital to remember everything when I finally sat down to blog!).  The results came back from the x-ray...free and clear, she looked great!  Plus no jaundice, so we were cleared to go home!  Mark took some things to the car while I worked on the discharge stuff.  He came back with a Willow Tree from the gift shop.  It was a dad with two girls.  He told me even though he kept saying he wants a boy someday don't ever think he doesn't love his girls to death.  It was so sweet, I will cherish that gift forever.  Even though the discharge went smoothly at first, it took them forever to get a wheelchair when we were all packed up and ready to go.  Josie started crying and we got very frustrated.  You know how it is when you are just ready to go!  Finally we were able to leave.  It was really cold outside that day, I was glad I packed my winter car seat cover.  I rode in the back with Josie.  She was fine on the car ride home, we stopped at Walgreens to pick up my meds and then grabbed some McDonalds.  By this time she was crying and hungry, so it was a long 10 minutes home from Kewanee!  We were home by 2:00pm, but decided to leave Kaiser at the vet and Stella at my mom's until the next day so we could rest, unpack, and get settled in.  We watched Idiocracy, which was a bad idea because I laughed too hard at that movie and that's not fun to do after a c-section!  Josie did really good that day and night (we slept on the couch).
My perfect gift.
Headed home!

And that completes Josie Mae's birth story.  I jotted down some personal notes in my journal, most of which will remain personal, but I did want to end with a few things on here.  Overall this birth experience was much better than Stella's, which I owe to my doctor and the hospital staff.  I was moving sooner and felt more confident and competent this time around.  As I left the hospital I felt so happy and proud.  Not that I didn't with Stella, but the confidence the second time around just allows you to relax and enjoy your baby.  I held her so much more and just soaked up the greatness of that little newborn face.  Of course I had no idea what was in store for the weeks to come, but I felt very equipped to handle whatever came my way.  I was determined not to let this recovery get the best of me!  So stay tuned for my next post about our first few weeks at home, which I will (somehow!) get done this week because next Saturday Josie will already be 1 month old!  YIKES, slow down time!