Monday, October 3, 2011

Allie's birth story

Everything started with a doctor appointment. The appointment was for 2:45 Monday the 19th. We ran Aimee out to my Grandma in South Beach and were late for the appointment. The doctor very kindly lectured me. He did my vaginal exam and I was still at 3cm and 65% effaced. Her head was still high. He couldn't break my water because of the risk of cord prolapse. I was out of options. He agreed to induce Wednesday but wanted me to go have an NST on Tuesday. We decided to just go up and have it done since we were already there. It was going really well and I only had 5 minutes left when Allie's heart rate all of a sudden dropped severely. Alarms started going off and the nurse rushed in. I moved onto my left side and she started to do better. The nurse instantly said "you know he is going to keep you and induce now right?" She went out into the hall and called my doctor while I laid there on the monitors still. Joe and I could hear her and the other nurse talking about how my baby obviously needed to come out and this was such a bad sign. They went on and on. This did not help my confidence at all. My doctor came up to see me a bit later and of course said we were inducing. He assured me that we would start off the Pitocin very slowly. He was very reassuring and genuinely cared about my concerns and feelings. Joe needed to go home and get the hospital bag and a few other things and Dr. Shumate said we could wait to start until he got back.

41 weeks pregnant
While Joe was gone I changed into a hospital gown and the nurse started my IV. My nurse had very bad body odor. And she kind of had weird twitches. She was nice enough but wasn't helping my confidence. When she started my IV it hurt much worse than any IV I had ever had. And she did it in my right wrist. It bled everywhere. But when she went to collect blood it stopped bleeding. After a bit she decided it must have infiltrated and took it out. I was honestly glad since it had hurt so much and I really didn't want it in my right hand. So she put it in the left. It didn't hurt as bad but once again she couldn't get blood. She called in another nurse to look at it and they were both a bit clueless. This really did not help my anxiety. I laid there waiting to see if my arm would suddenly swell up or start hurting worse. A lab tech came up and drew blood. This was all starting to feel a little too real.

Our last night as a family of 3
It took Joe quite a while to get back with our stuff. He had to get lunch and put gas in the car too. I was so hungry at this point because I had eaten a very small lunch. But knowing I was going to be on Pitocin, I didn't want to eat much and risk getting sick. That and with the heart decel, my doctor wanted me on a liquid diet in case of a C-section. Once again, this did not help my confidence. I ordered a milkshake from the cafeteria so I would at least have something on my stomach. My nurse finally started the Pitocin around 4pm or so. I was prepared for it to be horrible. But nothing happened. They were very nice to me and started it at a one. I don't really remember when I started feeling contractions. They were very mild though. Every half hour the Pitocin was turned up one. I remember at a few points feeling like, why am I here? I should be at home trying to get things started, not sitting in a hospital bed. At some point my Mom, sister, and Aimee came to the hospital to visit. They needed to get the car seat and house keys and I had realized that I hadn't even told Aimee good bye when I had dropped her off earlier. So I got a bit of cuddle time with her and got to tell her good night. She had come with us into the L&D rooms for NST's but seeing me in the gown and hooked up to IV's made her very uncomfortable. I just wanted to take her home and cuddle her. My stomach started feeling upset so everyone went ahead and left for the night. I have no idea what time it was. Late evening I think. I was able to go to the bathroom and my stomach felt better.

The hospital bed was so uncomfortable, it constantly made my butt fall asleep. So I tried sitting in the rocking chair. This was just as uncomfortable so I sat on the birthing ball for a bit. I think the contractions were starting to be uncomfortable but not bad at all and didn't have much of a pattern. They never really felt crampy or like the contractions I had with Aimee. More like a tight squeezing that started at the top of my stomach and knotted in the bottom with a lot of pressure in my butt. At some point I remember sitting in the bed and feeling like I could throw up. I told the nurse and she gave me a bag just in case. While in the rocking chair I started feeling nauseous. I think a lot of it was the anxiety though. I was thinking about everything too much. I asked for anti-nausea meds and felt better; probably just because I knew they were in my system. I'm not sure of the timing on this though. The whole process is very jumbled in my head.

At some point my Mom showed up. We had decided not to have her at the labor or delivery but I had a feeling I wouldn't care towards the end and might let her in. We had told her to go to the beach house and sleep so we were a little annoyed that she had come to the hospital. She insisted she was going to stay in the waiting room so she could be close by when Allie was born. We told her it was going to be a long time before anything happened but whatever.

The Pitocin was at a four when the nurse came in and had me lay down on my side because Allie was having decels after each contraction. She said these types of decels were usually an indication that the placenta wasn't working very well. My blood pressure had also been a bit high the whole time. Like 130/85 to 95. At some point there was a shift change and I got a new nurse. This one was fairly young and very nice. I had her through most of the night. She spent a lot of time visiting with me and did a great job. I decided to try to get some sleep and Joe went to bed for the night. First he rubbed my feet and read to me for a while to try to help me relax. I was so anxious this whole time. As soon as I laid on my left side to sleep, the contractions started feeling more like braxton hicks. They took my breath away and made me feel like I was hyperventilating but still didn't hurt much. As I tried to sleep I noticed my heart felt like it was pounding. I was so full of anxiety and this only made it worse. So I didn't really sleep.

After a while of Allie still having decels, my doctor ordered the Pitocin to be shut off. I think it was off for about an hour and I just rested while I was hooked up to oxygen. They turned it back on at a one. Right away I was having more contractions. They were about as intense as they had been with the pit at a four. This was good progress. It was odd because I wanted labor to get going but really didn't at the same time. I mean wishing for labor was wishing it would hurt more. I kept thinking I should be home right now resting and getting ready. This is crazy. I also was thinking I should do something besides just lay there and try to get things moving but I really didn't want to. Plus it was late at night and I was tired.

The contractions didn't really pick up or have a pattern and the Pitocin got slowly turned up every half hour. While laying on my right side I could only feel them on the side of my uterus. It was really odd. After a few hours of odd, irregular contractions I started to shake uncontrollably. I told the nurse who said it could be a sign of transition. I knew I wasn't anywhere close to transition and assume it was from the Pitocin. I think the pit was set to about an eight when I started having more contractions. Joe had been asleep for a few hours so I decided I would sleep for a while and when I woke up I wanted to walk and bounce on the ball and try to get things moving. Almost as soon as I fell asleep I was woken up with a very painful and intense contraction. I was alone in the dark room, except for Joe sleeping across the room. I breathed through the contraction and thought here we go. I think I had 2 more really strong contractions and decided that I needed to wake up Joe so he would be ready to help me. I called his name a few times but he didn't wake up. I have no idea how far apart the contractions were, I think like three or four minutes and they were short contractions. After a couple more I pushed the call button and told the nurse how I was feeling. The Pitocin was at a nine. I was able to get Joe to wake up and I think I had him go brush his teeth. I was laying on my right side and squeezing the railing and breathing through the contractions. I think Joe asked if he could leave and go to the bathroom but I couldn't let him. Everything all of a sudden picked up a lot. I felt panicked. This was about 4am, so I had been on the Pitocin for about 12 hours.

I got out of bed and stood by it so I could lean forward for each contraction. This was very tolerable but still painful. After a while I asked if I could please turn off the pit and use the tub. We wanted to see if my body would take over without the pit. I felt like I had control this way and it helped my panic level. I continued to sway and lean on the bed while we waited for the tub to fill and they turned off the Pitocin. I continued to have strong contractions about 3 minutes apart. They felt like a tightening in my whole upper stomach and an intense tightness and pain in my lower belly with tons of pressure in my groin and butt and a pain in my thighs. I knew I needed to find a position to get in that would allow me to relax my body during contractions. I spent the whole labor trying to find that position but no matter what, nothing helped.

We finally got into the tub. It felt nice to be in there but didn't seem to do anything for my contractions. I knelt in the tub and leaned on the side with my head down for each contraction. About this time my Mom put a call in to the nurses station asking how things were going. I told them to just let her come in. She sat in the room while we spent about an hour and a half in the tub. I started having a really hard time breathing through my contractions. I believe this was when I started to cry during some of them. I also remember pounding my fist on the side of the tub while trying to breath. I would breath through about half of the contraction before it would become too much and I would just cry. I started feeling unbelievable tired to the point where I couldn't keep my eyes open. I have never wanted to sleep so badly in my life. Then the contractions changed. They started lasting 4 minutes and coming 2 minutes apart. They would ease up in the middle but never go away completely, and then another one would start. I think this is when I gave up. Giving up was my way out. I didn't feel like I could fight through the pain and anxiety so I just let go and did whatever I could to get out of having to finish. I tried just about every position in the tub, nothing helped. Finally we decided to have me lean back on Joe and just float in the water. My legs shook uncontrollably and violently the whole time. This just wore me out even more. I remember crying, I just want to sleep! Followed by, why won't the contractions stop? This was during the 4 minute long ones. For a few contractions I tried telling myself that it really wasn’t that bad. It actually worked for a few and I was able to breath. Then I came back to reality. The nurse came in periodically and listened to the baby with the Doppler. She was no longer having any trouble with heart decels now that I was done with the Pitocin. Just when the nurse left, I started to feel even more pressure in my butt as the contractions got even harder. We called her back in and she checked me. It was hard to get an accurate check while I was floating in the water, but she thought I was about 7cm and I think the head had come lower as well as being almost completely effaced. I felt like I wanted to stay in the tub but knew that I needed to get out in plenty of time to deal with pushing. Knowing this just added to my anxiety again.

At this point I started saying Fu Fu Fu during my contractions, I have no idea why, all I know was I wanted to add CK to the end of it. I cried my eyes out, struggled to breath, and said I can't do it over and over again during each contraction. These were the 4 minute long ones so I had plenty of time to get creative during each one. In between I just laid my head back and all but slept I really have no idea how long there was between contractions I also whimpered quietly half the time. I finally decided I better get out of the tub. I knew I needed to time it between contractions so I could get to a comfortable place, but they were so long and so oddly timed that just when I had decided to move, another one would start. I finally stood up and 2 big blankets were wrapped around my shoulders. They asked if I wanted a gown and I couldn't for the life of them answer me. This started the stage of having no idea what I wanted or how to get it and so little energy that I couldn't answer even if I did know. Poor Joe was still just in his wet shorts. He put on a t shirt but I think he stayed in the shorts for the rest of the labor, although he may have put on a pair of warm up pants over them.

I think I was moved onto the labor ball and put back on the monitors. I don't think I stayed there very long.  My Mom fed me ice chips every so often. Oddly, in the middle of the worst contractions I would realize how hungry I was. So it would go something like this. Breath for a while, start to cry, "I can't do it, I can't do it!" "I'm so tired, I just want to sleep!" "Fu Fu Fu", "oh my gosh I am so hungry!" Breath some more, then cry uncontrollably for the rest of the contraction. At some point I was sitting on the edge of the bed just sobbing my heart out. My Mom gave me the biggest hug and just held me there for a few minutes. She was kind of suffocating me but I could tell she needed the hug as much as I did so I just went with it. I knew sitting wasn't working especially with all the contractions in my butt. The nurse suggested standing and leaning on Joe. I kind of just hugged him in between contractions but I'm not really tall enough to lean on him with my hands on his shoulders so I ended up bent over hanging off his arm. I was starting to squeeze his hands and twist and almost pinch to deal with the pain. So I would squeeze him really hard then apologize for hurting him. I was also apologizing for being such a big baby and acting so ridiculous the whole time. Mom and Joe kept saying I was doing better than I had with my labor with Aimee, I knew they were just saying that to make me feel better though. I knew I was doing a horrible job. With every contraction the blankets around my shoulders drove me crazy. I gave up on them and finished the rest of labor in just my sports bra and the belly band that was holding the monitors on my belly.

I was getting even more worked up and the nurse suggested a shot of Demerol. I really didn't think it would work for me since I tend to not do well on pain meds. I had also hated how stadol made me feel with my first labor. And of course I really wanted to avoid any meds. I was really losing it though so I decided to give it a try. I was still standing when she gave me the shot and she told me I should probably get in bed before it took effect. Man was she right. I got laid down right as the wooziness took over. I thought I felt sleepy before but this was a whole new level of sleepy. It did relax me quite a bit between contractions and seemed to take the edge off just a bit. I was still a sobbing mess during contractions but rested more in between. My nurse checked me again and found that I was actually only a 6 but the head was down. This kind of broke my heart. They talked about how the doctor would be up soon and he could probably break my water, then everything would probably go fast.

I quickly realized that being on my back was not going to work. I think we tried every position with the bed recline to try to get comfortable. Everyone kept asking what I wanted to do but all I could do was whisper "I don't know" and cry some more. I had no idea what to do. The outside of my hips and thighs started to have this weird burning tingling sensation. It wasn't really that painful but just made the contractions even more unbearable. I realized pushing on my hips helped some. I was too tired to tell Mom and Joe what I needed but managed to get them to push on it every so often. I remember giving up entirely and begging Joe to please help me over and over around this point. I got kind of mad at him because it seemed like he was kind of just staring off into space and not really trying to coach me. I had to beg for his hand to hold rather than him offering it to me for a while. My Mom also tried putting her arm under my back and lifting to help with the pain, I don't know that it really helped. She kept grabbing my IV which really ticked Joe off, I was too tired to do much more than whimper when she did it.

My state of mind was so odd; it drifted between complete despair and panic to this overwhelming need to pop stupid jokes. At some point my nurse needed to check my blood sugar and asked for a finger to prick. I told her I thought about flipping her off but couldn't figure out which finger to use.

I don't really know what time it was or how often or long contractions were. All I know is that I could not get comfortable. We talked about positions to speed things up and give me relief. I'm pretty sure the general consensus was that I should squat. All I could do was lay there and cry though. I think everyone decided to just move me. My Mom decided she should get behind me on the bed and hold me up. I hated the idea but couldn't even communicate. Next thing I know the bed has been jacked up and my Mom jumps up behind me and is yanking on me. I cried and told her to stop. This was not going to work. Next the squat bar was brought into the room. The handles on the side of the bed were raised for me to pull myself up. I think everyone kind of lifted me up to the bar and I tried to squat. The contractions were coming too often and long for me to get my legs under me though. I ended up sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet kind of off to the side holding half my weight. I held onto the bar and sort of slumped over to the side. I remember being that way for a while just sobbing, trying to breath and finally swearing. I actually said fuck, something I never ever say. I then apologized profusely to everyone especially the nurses. My nurse said, it really is ok, I swear sometimes too. I told her it isn't ok, my Mommy is here and I will get in trouble. It was so odd how my sense of humor pushed its way through at the strangest times. It was like I had to joke or lose my mind.

I started saying "I just can't do this, please make it stop" shortly after getting in the bed. I also started telling Joe that I wanted the epidural. He of course told me I didn't really want it and I could do it. I finally told the nurse I just want the epidural, I practically begged but she knew I didn't really want it. She told me if you really want it you can have it and I finally shut up. I knew that was the one thing I couldn't compromise on. I just so badly wanted some way to regain control of my body and my fear.

I think at this point they were having trouble finding the baby on the monitor so I was put back on my back again. There were quite a few nurses working during my time at the hospital who I really didn't like they just weren't professional or personable. I loved my 2 main nurses though. From this point of labor on I think there were 3 nurses in the room. My nurse Jaime had to switch with Carmen. They were my 2 favorites and I am so glad I had one of them for the whole labor. Anyway, one of the nurses who I did not like was working on my monitor and when she couldn't get it to work would swear. This really frustrated me. Then the same nurse bent the top of my bed so far back that my head and feet were lower than my belly. It hurt so badly and she constantly moved me during contractions. I know they were struggling to find the heartbeat but geez! During one particularly painful contraction I was sitting up bracing my whole body from the pain. She suddenly dropped the head of my bed. I begged her to stop and she just kept going. Joe actually yelled at her to stop. She really did not like this but finally listened.

Around this time they did another cervical check. I was at 8cm and her head was really coming down. They finally got the monitor to work and I was able to get off my back again. I don't really remember how but I went back to leaning on the squat bar. The Demerol had worn off but everything is still really foggy in my mind. I was aware that I was entering transition as my body was starting to push during parts of the contractions. With my first labor it felt good to push a little at this point. So I went ahead and tried a few gentle pushes. It didn't help at all. The heart rate dropped off the monitor again so the mean nurse (the one who tried to bend me back in half) got down between my legs and tried to adjust the monitor. She was right under my head for a while moving it around and trying to find the baby. At this point my body was doing full on involuntary pushing. With each push my stomach was being squeezed so hard that I would almost throw up. I really wondered how the nurse sitting with her head directly under mine was still there. I knew I wouldn't throw up but it sounded like I was going to and if I did it would have gone straight on her
face. I tried to focus on my breathing and did a little bit better at this point. Then mean nurse started talking about how I was really only 6cm and it was still going to be a long time. I died a little inside hearing her say that. I don't know what she was thinking, or where she got that idea. All the time I was pushing they were telling me "breath, blow out the pain, don't push." I couldn't help it though.

In the middle of all this, with the nurse still trying to find my baby on the monitor my Mom jumped down there and tried to show her where to find it. I told her to leave the nurse alone because she knew what she was doing. Of course Mom didn't listen. Then all of a sudden someone at the nurses station was trying to call the nurse away. She said she had a phone call. It was very obvious that she was busy but the person kept insisting. There was a baby at the nurses station the entire day and night that I was in labor. We got the impression that it was being taken away from the Mother. This was confirmed when the person in the hall said very loudly, it's DHS about the baby; you have to talk to them now. I was thinking, wow, how professional, and seriously, we are worried about my baby's life yet a phone call is more important.

My doctor came in and we discussed breaking my water. He told me that he would probably be able to break it and she would come pretty quickly after that.  I was hesitant to let him but finally agreed. At some point I opened my eyes and told him, "You know I hate you right now don't you?" He laughed and said yes. I then went back to my own world of misery where I tuned out what was going on around me. I do remember thinking that my doctor was being a little too happy. Telling too many jokes and visiting too much. I just wanted quiet. The doctor left for a bit then came back and he broke my water. I was surprised at how small of a gush it was compared to my last labor. After this he asked if they could please use an internal monitor. I really didn't want to but knew he wouldn't be asking if he weren't concerned so I said go ahead. I'm pretty sure the monitor went in pretty easy. I was starting to lose control even more and not breathing at all through the contractions. The doctor put his hand on my knee and coached me through a few. This really helped and I was able to pull it together a bit. Then Joe followed suit for a few and coached me. It was at this point that I realize that was part of why I was having so much trouble. I was feeling alone. Trying to control myself and figure out what to do by myself. I really think I would have done better with some coaching and guidance. Joe had done such a good job with the first labor that I thought he would do just as well this time. I'm not really sure what went wrong. I ended up asking for another dose of Demerol to get me through.

We all knew the end was getting closer so everyone started setting things up. The doctor asked if I still wanted the mirror to watch the delivery, I didn't know if I could even get my eyes open for it. They brought it in but I never even saw it until the whole thing was over. We discussed what position to push in. I had really been wanting to squat but didn't feel like I could even get up at this point. I started to notice more urgency in the room. I was getting really close to pushing and was still drugged up on the Demerol. I was noticing that people were worried about my baby. I wasn't really sure why. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be pushing or trying not to push or what. I felt like no one was telling me anything. And I was not having the urge to push. I did hear that there was a lip of cervix left but also felt like people were telling me to push. There were just so many people in the room talking that I had no idea what to do. I had been trying to push with the contractions to see if it would feel better. Pushing felt amazing with my first labor. Pushing now hurt and not pushing hurt. I didn't know what to do. The doctor wasn't even completely ready for me to push yet. I remember feeling a burning sensation and asked, is that the ring of fire? Someone answered no, that she wasn't low enough for that yet. The burning continued and I felt like I was going to take a huge poop as well as feeling the baby coming down. During a few pushes I said, "I'm going to poop". And I'm pretty sure I did. This was while my doctor was scrubbing up. I was told to grab the back of my legs and pull up but just couldn't even get a grip. I think Joe and Mom grabbed my legs for me. I had been sort of pushing for a half hour when I suddenly realized that someone was saying "We have to get this baby out now!" I don't know who it was but I listened. I grabbed the bars in the bed and tucked my chin and pushed as hard as I could. I realized I wasn't doing it quite right so I adjusted and went again. This time I knew I had it right but it hurt like hell. I could feel my insides tearing and all I wanted to do was stop but I pushed as hard as I could anyway. I think I pushed 3 to 6 times like this and she was coming out. I could feel myself tearing but new I had to get her out so pushed through it anyway. This was hard because I had been wanting to do everything I could to avoid tearing again. I felt her whole body slide out and it hurt the whole way. All I could say was "holy crap!!!" Allison KayAnn Andrews was born at 8:57am after 4 or 5 hours of real labor and 16 hours since starting the Pitocin. 

 Then all of a sudden she was being handed to me. All I could say was "oh my goodness, she is so tiny!!!" This right as the doctor said "that's a big baby!" (His wife just had twins at 30 weeks about a month ago. He explained that they only weigh 3 pounds so he is probably just used to them and that is why she seems big.) I was in complete awe of her. 2 nurses were rubbing her dry and trying to hear her heartbeat. I knew we needed to get her crying so I patted and 
rubbed on her chest and back. Joe cut the cord and she finally started to cry. Instantly she was sucking her hands and rooting around for my breast. Her APGAR was surprisingly a 9. I just laid there staring at her having trouble believing that she was really mine, really here, and really a small baby. The Pitocin was turned back on and my contractions picked up a bit. Man did they hurt. Then the doctor told me to push a few times and deliver the placenta. The placenta felt huge coming out, and they told me after examining it that it was a pretty big placenta. The doctor told me I had a small V shaped tear, just a first degree one though. Thank God! He warned me that he was going to numb me now. Man did that hurt. I told Joe I know he wanted to hold the baby but I was in so much pain and needed to hold her till he was done. Funny thing, I remember the fog and stupor I was in during labor instantly lifted the second she came out. Joe and Mom both said it was so funny, the second she was out of me it was like bam, the old Mandy was back. Later I was told that they were literally about to do an emergency C-section because her heart rate had dropped so badly. The cord was around her neck and if I hadn’t been such a good pusher, we would have lost her. (After my IV experience I can see why it would be smart to have a hep lock in during labor, I can’t imagine trying to get me into an emergency C-section and having trouble with the IV) She was also sunnyside up with her head turned towards her back. All this explains why she never dropped and why labor hadn’t started on its own yet. She may actually need therapy on her neck to get it to turn correctly at some point. Her nose was crooked from being squished with her face against the placenta for the end of the pregnancy and one ear stuck out really funny. Also one cheek is bigger than the other from being squished. She really looked kind of funny for the first day or so until things started to go back to the right shape.

Dr. Shumate started stitching me up and told me to tell him if it hurt. It did! I told him and reminded him every time it hurt. He said I'm sorry and I know it hurts. I told him I was just making sure he knew. I think I felt most of the stitching as well as some pretty nasty contractions the whole time. Mom helped me open my bra and Allie latched on to my nipple right away. I was really surprised. I think I kept her there for a while. I was kind of annoyed because the nurses just left us there without even covering Allie. I finally asked for a blanket for her. Eventually I gave her to Joe to hold for the first time. Then I was left with my bra hanging open, it was covered in goop from Allie and because of my IV I couldn't close it on my own. I finally tried to take it off but it was stuck on the IV lines and I had to be disconnected before it could come off. I still was never covered or anything. Once they took Allie to weigh I used her dirty blanket to cover myself. I was really disappointed at how poorly the staff did at this point. The room had been full of nurses but suddenly we were left lying there naked and dirty. I think eventually I was given a clean gown and got out of the bed for them to clean it up. And we gave up on getting Allie dressed or her first bath and went ahead and put our own outfit on her.

8lbs 6oz, 18.5 inches long

Allie fussed for the first couple hours and tried to suck on her fingers. Our pediatrician was completely supportive of me trying to breastfeed and said we don’t even need to start formula for a few days. After half the day though, I went ahead and gave her a little bit of a bottle. It seemed like she wouldn’t suck anymore when I tried to get her to latch on. We also tried the supplemental feeding system but she had such a hard time latching on that I quickly gave up.

We ordered breakfast and my Mom went to get Aimee and Mattea. When Aimee walked in the room she came running up to the bedside and said “that’s my baby sister, she came out of your tummy!” Right away she wanted to hold her and wrap her in a blanket like a little doll. She kept telling us to put her on the floor for her. Later on she got to help me feed her a bottle and burp her. She is such a good big sister. She loves to help me with diaper changes too.

We had to stay in the hospital for 2 nights after she was born. I wanted to go home so badly. I was discharged at the end of the second day. But Allie had to stay because of my history of gestational diabetes and being on glyburide. They also were concerned because our blood had mixed. I am O+ and Allie is B+. Because of the mixing she was coombs positive. Which means the antibodies from our blood mixing can attack her red blood cells and cause severe jaundice. Luckily she was eating and pooping great and did not have the bad reaction so her jaundice never got bad. We were finally able to go home on the 3rd day. Before we left for home I got out my certificates for the free totes and diaper bags from the formula companies. The nurse told me they had them but were not able to give them out because the hospital had decided to support breastfeeding by not giving them out. This was so frustrating to me. I know it was small but it was like another slap in the face for not being able to breastfeed. I don’t see why we have to go so far to support some mothers, that we alienate others.
Our first time as a family of 4

Allie has been a very good/easy baby for the most part. She does have a few small problems though. She has an anterior anus which makes it really hard for her to poop. She was a non-stop pooping machine for the first few days, and then stopped pooping altogether. Because her anus is forward of her rectum, the doctor said it is really hard for her to push the poop out. She basically has to be completely backed up so the pressure pushes everything out. This has caused her some discomfort. She will grunt and grunt and push all night and day and not get anything out. Then she will have a huge blowout diaper the next day. She also seems to have some trouble breathing. She gasps and squeaks very loudly most of the time. The doctor said it is just her learning how to breathe but it is very hard to listen to. Since being home my milk came in (I was so full that my coat wouldn’t zip) but hardly anything was coming out. Every time I would try to get her to latch she would only suck for a few seconds then scream and scream when I tried to put her on. I feel bad giving up, but it really seems like a lost cause. She even has trouble getting the bottle in her mouth right. I have to try multiple times to get a good latch on it.

Being home has been very hard. I am up every 2 hours or so with her at night. And when she is sleeping, her loud breathing and gasping keep me awake. Joe has been doing so much with Aimee but she is still having trouble adjusting and has been acting out quite a bit. I was very depressed for the first week. Probably partially from hormones, but also because of all the regret I have for being induced. I know it was the right thing for her but I mourn not getting to experience natural labor. All the things I had prepared for didn’t happen. I had it all planned out, what I would do when labor started, had pictured the drive to the hospital, etc. Instead it was all so strange and artificial only to have labor really start so abruptly that I didn’t have a chance to get in the groove of breathing and coping. It went from zero to 10 on the pain scale within half an hour and only a handful of contractions. I really regret the way I dealt with the pain. It was so embarrassing to break down and cry like that, and totally lose control. I feel like such a wimp instead of the strong woman I felt like after my last labor. It may have gone fast, but I would take the 14 hour labor I had with Aimee over the 5 hour labor with Allie any day. I had also been having so much trouble wrapping my head around the fact that we were having another baby. I wanted labor to start so badly but really just wasn’t mentally ready. I also regret wishing the end of my pregnancy away. I had sworn I wouldn’t let myself do that this time. I didn’t take any pictures during the last week, didn’t enjoy feeling her move, things like that. Now it is all over and a part of me wants it back. Ugh, the grass is always greener on the other side… My other biggest regret was how I looked in all the pictures of her first few days. I know, so stupid, but it matters to me. I had only gained 28 pounds during the pregnancy and was not at all swollen. But because of the IV my face puffed up just as badly as when I had been pregnant with Aimee 30 pounds heavier. My hands and feet hurt they were so swollen. And of course I didn’t have time to pack the clothes I needed so I was stuck wearing that stupid hospital gown that gapes open showing everything and made my boobs look huge again. I had worked so hard the weeks before delivering to make sure I did my hair and makeup every day so I wouldn’t look too bad for pictures when the time came. But because of the bath and laying in bed my hair was a mess. Oh well! Next time, I swear I will get someone to double French braid it for me!

Allie in her going home outfit

I was so afraid that I wouldn’t bond with Allie since I had felt so removed during pregnancy. I was just in awe of her right away. But she seemed foreign to me somehow. She didn’t look like Aimee and I was having trouble seeing any familiar features in her. She was adorable but really a bit ugly! The first day or so I looked at pictures we had just taken and didn’t really feel like any of them were that good. I really missed Aimee and just wanted to be home in my own bed. After a few days though, and getting to know Allie, the pictures were all of a sudden adorable to me. She no longer looked foreign. She was mine and we had bonded. It was such a relief! Now I do see bits of Aimee in her, they are hard to put a finger on though. Allie has a lot less hair, and her eyes have turned from the steal grey newborn eyes to blue. I wonder if they will stay that way. I wonder if she will have huge eyes like Aimee and long eyelashes. I wonder if she will keep her brown hair. I look forward to finding out and watching her grow. Although I really hope it doesn’t go by as fast as it did with Aimee. So far it has been a bit of a whirlwind, especially with trying to rest and get everything done around the house as well as get my story written and pictures printed. I know I am going to need a better schedule from now on. Or I will lose my mind! I might just lose it no matter what.