Sunday, December 06, 2009

Charlotte's Arrival and first week

These are a few pictures from the first day - for those of you who don't see them on facebook - we uploaded a ton there as well.

Here is the story of Charlotte's birth and some reflections from me on the first week. Fair warning that I will be mentioning things like breastfeeding, so feel free to skip those sections if you would rather not know :)

For us, having a second baby has mostly been easier than the first, with a few exceptions. It was really nice to know exactly when we were going to go to the hospital and have a baby. It was way easier to plan and we sort of knew what to expect with recovery from a c-section. The biggest change during the surgery was that the anesthesiologist used a spinal block rather than an epidural. An epidural is put in and left there so that drugs can be continuously administered over a long period of time (like labor). A spinal block is just one shot. I'm sure it won't surprise you that I don't like the feeling of being out of control, so being strapped down to a table with no feeling from my chest down is not the most comfortable position for me. In addition, the spinal causes nausea, so they try to keep your blood pressure a little higher to fight off the nausea. I was fine through the birth and Charlotte came out screaming. She has quite the lungs! They got her all cleaned up and brought her over to me and I immediately thought she looked just like Thomas - except she has a nice head of hair. Then, she and Josh headed off to the nursery for weighing and bathing.

After they left, the rest of the surgery was hard for me. I did get sick from the anesthetic and it felt like someone was pushing on my chest. However, these feelings went away really quickly once they finished the surgery and I was in recovery. They got everything set up for me in my room pretty quickly compared to what I remember from last time. They also got her stats for me right away. She was born at 8:10 am, 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 19 inches long (a shorty for us). I was able to see here again at 9:10 am and she ate right away. I noticed immediately that she was a better eater than Thomas. He was a little bit more lazy when he was eating and he tended to eat for short periods of time and then fall asleep.

Charlotte spent most of her first day awake. She ate a lot and she had a TON of dirty diapers. Everyone was amazed at how much she ate and pooped. These are all good signs for a newborn. The first night was tough because every time we fell asleep, there were more nurses coming to check our vital signs and make sure things were okay. One thing we learned from last time was that it was better for Josh to be able to get some sleep at night while we could, so instead of waking him up when I needed to get her out of the bassinet, I just kept her in bed with me and called the nurse when I needed more water or help changing a diaper.

She slept more the second day and things were pretty mellow in the hospital. However, I was looking forward to getting home and getting some sleep...

The only thing of note while we were still in the hospital is that Charlotte was down to 7 pounds, 8 ounces - or about 9%. Doctors and nurses don't like to see the baby lose more than 10% of their birth weight, but she was still over the mark, so she was cleared to leave. Here, a note about breastfeeding. Typically, it takes between 48 and 72 hours for milk to come in after the baby is born. The baby still gets nutrients from colostrum, but the calorie count is not very high, so babies lose weight until a mom's milk comes in. With a c-section, it can sometimes take a little longer. We had weight issues with Thomas, so we were very aware of all of these things going in and we decided to try breastfeeding again, even though we had so many problems with Thomas. I started to feel my milk coming in on Wednesday, the day after we left the hospital, but when we went back for a weight check on Friday at the doctor's office, Charlotte was down to 7 pounds, 1 ounce. We decided to wait over the weekend before doing anything like supplementing with formula, since my milk had just come in and she seemed to be eating well.

At the same appointment, the doctor checked her for jaundice and her level was pretty high, so we ended up having to go back in on Saturday for another check. The good news on Saturday was that she had GAINED two ounces (perfect - babies should gain 2 ounces day once they start gaining). The bad news was that she definitely had jaundice.

The treatment for jaundice is a little light blanket that she has to wear all the time. It is a little strange - basically she is wearing it around her chest and it is attached to a tube with fiber optic lights. We also get a daily visit from a home health nurse who takes blood to test her levels. The big bonus is that she gets a daily weight check, so we know exactly how much she is gaining. Today she is up another two ounces to 7 pounds, 5 ounces. I don't know why, but the jaundice doesn't bother me as much as the weight gain issues. Now that we are on the right track with both, I'm just chalking it up to another interesting baby experience.

On the whole, I am much more relaxed this time around. We have been really blessed to have my parents staying with us this week. They are taking care of Thomas and making meals and doing laundry and going shopping for us. It has made a huge difference. I have been able to take at least one nap a day and we both get to shower. They are going home today so we will be on our own for the first night tonight. Now we really get to test the man to man coverage :)

Thomas has been enjoying all the extra attention and he has only been distressed a couple of times by my inability to pick him up. I won't be able to do that for at least another week.

On my recovery, things are going pretty well. I am amazed by how fast my body can heal and how much less pain I feel every day. I do get to take some good pain pills, but I should be done with the Percocet and just on Ibuprofen by the middle of the week.

More than anything, I am grateful that we have so much family around us. We get a ton of support and it makes a huge difference.

I will not be blogging daily, but I will try to update at least weekly. Now I am off to get a little snack!

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