Clara is over a week old.
A few days ago I burst into tears because I realized she was 6 days old, which led to the realization that she'd never be less than a week old ever again and our 'newborn' days were numbered... it was around this time I also realized my hormones were back in full-swing.
The last week has been a whirlwind for sure, but also rather calming.
In under 2 days we went from praying and hoping that our baby would be born on his/her time so that we didn't need to be induced - which involved us doing everything under the sun to convince Bumpy to come out - to staring at our new daughter for hours on end, commenting on how perfect she is.
Our last week looked something like this:
Clara Jane was born on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, we had to undergo an emergency c-section to get her out of my body. I'll talk write about this experience more when I can put all of my thoughts into words, but right now, it's still too emotional and raw.
I met Clara Jane for the first time a few minutes after she was born, but I don't remember it. A few hours after she was born, the nurses and Tim wheeled my bed into the 'Special Nursery' (NICU) to 'meet' Miss Clara Jane. I put her to my breast right away and she latched on. I was absolutely thrilled and amazed that she seemed to understand breastfeeding. What a little miracle. At that point, I desperately needed a happy moment, and I clung on to this one.
After a bit of time with our daughter, Tim and I invited our parents in to meet her. Of course, it was beautiful and it became very apparent that our little girl is going to feel an infinite amount of love in her life.
Then, it was time (for me) to recover. I was only able to drink a clear liquid diet, so I basically ordered everything I could from the hospital 'clear liquid' menu and tried to get some rest. Getting rest is easier said than done in a hospital, when someone new is coming in every hour or so to check meds, vital signs, etc etc etc.
The nurses in the NICU called me every time Clara needed to eat, so I was able to breastfeed every few hours. Clara spent most of her time sleeping, so we slept in our room and visited her when she woke up, but spent the rest of the time in our room. It makes me sad that we couldn't spend more time with our brand-new daughter, but I was so exhausted I could barely stand it. I won't pretend I wasn't a bit emotionally distant from Clara this first day. I was in pain, I was full of drugs, and I was so beyond tired that I couldn't even think straight.
I was able to move into a wheel chair (instead of sticking to the hospital bed) on Monday, which was really nice! I could more easily get to the NICU, with all of my IVs in tow.
It hurt so badly to move from my bed to anywhere else. I needed a lot of assistance to lie down and get comfortable, or to sit up, or to do anything, really.
Our parents came to visit and Tim's brother came to visit and the day passed by really quickly, considering we were spending time in a hospital. Our parents were able to hold Clara for the first time and it was magical. It was a little frustrating because every time we picked up Clara, her monitors would get moved and the machines would start beeping and the nurses would run in to turn them off... it just didn't feel like she was my baby and she seemed so fragile!
Back in my recovery room, I was able to move to a 'normal' liquid diet, so I filled up on Jello!
When I needed to pee, I had to tell a nurse so she could help me into the bathroom and measure my urine to ensure everything was working properly. I couldn't believe how hard it was to pee at first! It's like my muscles totally forgot how to function.
By Monday evening, my IVs were removed and I was able to walk (very, very slowly) to the NICU to see my baby. This made me especially happy because Tim had been making more trips to the NICU than I could handle, and I was really jealous that he was seeing our baby without me.
Tuesday was such a happy day, because at 2:30am, they wheeled Clara's little bed into our room, and she was able to stay there, IV free! It was like we had a 'real' baby, since she wasn't hooked up to machines that made those annoying beeping noises. Plus, I wasn't hooked up to my IVs anymore (well, I got hooked up every few hours for a few minutes, but I wasn't continuously receiving drugs) so I was able to hold Miss Clara much more easily. It finally felt like we had our baby to ourselves.
Nurses and doctors kept coming into check on us every hour or so, and they were so, so wonderful. I feel truly blessed to have been surrounded by such wonderful people during our entire stay at the hospital. However, it is hard to get rest in a hospital! It reminds me of Vegas, it's hard to tell if it's day or night because there's always so much activity happening.
I took a shower and felt like a real human again, even though it hurt like heck.
The lactation consultants dropped in every day and taught me quite a few things, which helped me out a lot. I even learned how to breastfeed lying on my back!
Our parents visited again and were able to relax in our room and hold Clara. Some of our siblings were also able to meet Clara Jane (they couldn't meet her before because only parents and grandparents were allowed in the NICU).
Originally we had been told that we wouldn't be able to be discharged until Thursday, but on Tuesday the doctor told me I could go home on Wednesday, which was a nice surprise!
One of my best friends was in town for work and was able to visit us on Tuesday night.
Check-out day! But first, we had to wait until both my doctor and Clara's doctor discharged us, which took quite a while (because of their availability).
My college roommate came to visit us and meet Clara.
We enjoyed more room service for lunch - I actually really enjoyed the hospital food!
At about 4pm, after receiving the go-ahead from all doctors, I was wheeled out of my room and the hospital and we got into our car and headed home with our baby girl!
My milk came in and my boobs got HUGE and hard. OUCH!
It was an easy transition into our house, and we spent our evening getting adjusted to our new little family and wondering what in the world to do with this little one when she wasn't eating. I guess just watch her sleep?
We were visited by a friend, and it was nice to spend time introducing Clara to another member of our world!
We are working on settling in at home.
We ran some errands to get some baby items we need, and that was probably definitely overly ambitious, because I was soon in a ton of pain and we had to head home.
I stepped on the scale and realized I was already down to 112 lbs, only 8 lbs above my starting weight! Yay big babies and breastfeeding! I just have a bit of a belly that I need to work on flattening out - but I'm in no rush, because I'm more concerned about feeling like myself again so I can best take care of my girl.
Everyone in the world comments on Clara's hair - both its length and its natural highlights. I'm proud to say she gets it from her mama. At least she was doing something in my womb for the (10 entire days of) extra time!
We've been watching a lot of Modern Family and staring at Clara. We could watch her all day and all night long.
Clara has been a champ at eating and sleeping, and we've gotten a lot of rest so far. We haven't even needed naps yet! (I feel like this is going to jinx us for sure.)
We visited Clara's pediatrician and he was thrilled that Clara was already at her birth weight again - further proof that we're breastfeeding really well. We make a good team!
We gave Clara her first bath - and just like her mama, bathing and hygiene just doesn't appear to be her thing.
I got my staples taken out, but my incision and basically all parts of me are still super sore. I'm still taking my pain meds and staying on the couch as much as possible - no more errands for me!
Family and friends have come at a steady stream to visit us and Clara. I've loved having visitors, but we definitely overdid it at least one of the days, when we had back-to-back-to-back visitors for over 12 hours of the day.
And here we are... enjoying every second with our newborn. Right now she's sleeping peacefully in the other room, and I'm still in shock that I'm a mom. This week we slow down a bit. We still have some visitors coming over, but we're definitely going to be spending more time with just the three of us. It's amazing how much time passes while we're staring at our daughter. Some of my favorite moments are when I'm breastfeeding, because Clara makes the funniest darn faces! If it was more appropriate to post nip pics on Instagram, I would totally share them with you.
Tim and I have been pleasantly surprised at how much we absolutely love being parents, and at how not-exhausted we are. Even if the next few weeks get exponentially harder, I will (forever) be thankful for these past few days at home with my little family!
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