After I gave birth to Cora I had no other responsibilities except to focus on her. I had a three month maternity leave, no other kids at home, a husband who loved cooking and would hurry home from work to spend time with us. She was my only job.
Now, with Beck, I own my own business and cannot really take any time off. And we’re selling our house so we’re constantly having to clean and get everyone out for multiple showings all week. Nick has already started working in Charlotte so he’s been down there for a few days each week. Seemingly in every aspect our lives this time around are so much different.
But it’s almost like Beck understands this, because he’s the BEST baby. He sleeps 3-4 hour stretches all day and at nighttime. When he’s awake he rarely cries. Doesn’t scream when he’s in a car seat (Cora did). Doesn’t scream when you change his diaper, (Cora did). And eats SO well, (Cora never did). I think it’s true that the universe doesn’t give you more than you can handle.
When I was pregnant both times I loved reading other Mom’s birth stories – I found them incredibly interesting and helpful as I was prepping for births. So I wanted to share Beck’s birth story and how our first two weeks at home have gone. Hopefully it will serve to help other mamas prepare for their own stories. You can read Cora’s birth story here.
Beck’s Birth Story
Beck’s original due date was August 26, but since Cora was a C-Section and I had decided not to try a V-back, we had his C-Section scheduled for August 21. But the beginning of August I was starting to feel terribly uncomfortable. I kept hoping that I could go (safely) early, so I was taking lots of walks, eating everything spicy, eating pineapple – all the old wives’ tales. As we got closer to the 21st, I just assumed that I would be walking into surgery that day not having gone into labor organically.
But on Friday, August 17, after a long walk and a smoothie for dinner I stared feeling really odd. Like I had to use the bathroom but I didn’t…. I downloaded a contraction tracking app when I noticed that my stomach was started to get really hard every so often. It didn’t hurt at all when it started around 10:00 that night, but within 30 minutes it was starting to feel uncomfortable so I called my mom to come over and Nick left to put gas in the car. I jumped in the shower to shave my legs and realized that these were definitely contractions and that they were started to get painful.
By the time my mom arrived at our house around midnight they were happening every 5 minutes and they were painful. You guys – I didn’t really go into full blown labor like this with Cora so I didn’t realize. I have never felt anything so painful as those contractions were. Nick tried to ask what they felt like…it’s like when you have the stomach flu and you know you’re about to use the bathroom and your belly hurts so bad x100 and you feel that same pain in your lower back at the same time. That’s as good as I can get with the explanation.
We sat in triage for about 2 hours while they prepped me for surgery. I found out that my doctor was on call that night (THANK THE LORD JESUS) and she was finishing up a delivery when we arrived so she would be able to deliver Beck. This made me feel so much more relaxed. But then the contractions started happening faster and more intensely. Nurses were coming in to take blood, put in the IV, have me sign paperwork, explain the surgery process to me. I remember basically none of this because I could barely see through the contractions. Let alone pay attention to what they were saying to me.
Nick came over and tried to hold my hand or rub my arm and I pulled away from him. My whole body hurt and it didn’t feel good to have anyone touch me. As they got more and more intense I think it started making him nervous because I looked over and noticed that he had started tearing up. I looked at him and he said he just felt so helpless – he was watching me literally writhe in pain and couldn’t do anything about it.
They finished getting my prepped and wheeled me into the operating room while Nick went with another nurse to wait until I had gotten my spinal tap. With Cora, I had a spinal and never felt anything. The nurse anesthetist who helped me with Cora was so sweet and was distracting me with a funny story that I never even realized it had happened until she told me I needed to lay down. This time the nurse talked me through each step of what she was doing – highlighting when it would go in and when I’d feel a pinch and when it would hurt…and so I felt all of it. It wasn’t terribly painful but it didn’t feel great either – it only takes 30 seconds though and then it’s done.
The spinal tap works fast, so they laid me down on the table and the minute I laid down I felt this woosh of water between my legs. I automatically assumed that I had peed and started to apologize to the nurses but one of them said, “No honey, your water just broke!” The nurses also let me know that in the water break they noticed meconium – which meant Beck had just used the bathroom right when my water broke. They told me that because of this a NICU doctor would have to be present for Beck’s birth to make sure that he did not get an infection from the meconium.
They cleaned me up, put in the catheter and those hilarious boots that prevent blood clots (they legit kind of felt like a foot massage though) and my doctor and Nick came in. It’s a strange but not awful feeling laying there. Not feeling pain but being able to feel that something is happening to your body. I could feel the air compression boots inflating and my body being moved around. I know this sounds creepy almost but it isn’t when you’re in it. And for some reason this time with the anesthesia I could not stop shivering. This was not a side effect that I had with Cora’s C-Section so I wasn’t prepared for it. I tried to control it but it just wasn’t possible. The nurse anesthetist said this is very common and would wear off shortly after the surgery.
The surgery went quickly. Beck was out and screaming bloody murder in about 20 minutes after I got into the operating room. I cried the moment I saw him. I loved him the moment I saw him. It’s an odd feeling to describe until you have felt it yourself – the way you feel the first time you see your baby. An instant attachment.
The NICU doctor cleared him and said there were no issues stemming from the meconium in the water break. He cried for a few minutes until they were able to wrap him up. My shivering continued as they finished stitching me up and I remember feeling like it stopped completely they moment that they put Beck on my chest and wheeled me into the recovery room.
I’ve been blessed with two babies who had no problems latching. My only breastfeeding problem with Cora and now with Beck is a slight inversion on my left side, which results in some significant pain on that side for the first few weeks. When this happened with Cora, my doctor told me about Dr. Jack Newman’s nipple balm. It’s a prescription cream that you have to get specially mixed at a compounding pharmacy but DAMN does this stuff work fast. I have told everyone and anyone that I meet who is pregnant about it because it is a miracle if you have problems breastfeeding.
Beck latched. On both sides and then promptly fell asleep. It was a wonderfully peaceful time in that recovery room. We were the only patients in the room. It’s dimly lit and our nurse was the sweetest and most soft-spoken. Beck was sleeping and I finally got to just be with Nick. Not working. Not running after a toddler. Just be with him and revel the new baby splendor. I loved that time just the three of us.
Thankfully I recovered fairly quickly in the hospital and they let us go home after two days, (instead of four like they typically do with C-Section patients). Ella and Charlie were still in town and they were able to come be with us in the hospital both of those days and have some good time with their new half brother before they had to fly home to Utah to start school. It’s always the hardest day of the summer when they have to go home, but it felt especially hard this year.
First Two Weeks at Home
Cora has been very sweet to Beck. Always wants to hold him or hold his hand. She talks to him and helps put his pacifier back in when he pops it out. We have noticed that she has gotten a little bit crazier over the past two weeks – we assume that it’s her way of trying to get our attention or just that she feels that our family dynamic is off and she’s trying to grapple with it. I’ve been conscious of the fact that I am ALWAYS with Beck (main food source) and because of this I try to set aside special time with her when it’s just the two of us. Whether it’s a long bath or a walk outside or reading lots of books before bed.
It’s been a little tough trying to recover post surgery this time around. The combination of selling the house, showing the house, having a toddler and a dog and an infant, not being allowed to go up and down the stairs for two weeks, not being allowed to drive for two weeks, and not being allowed to pick up anything heavier than Beck (um…..who actually sticks to this when they have other kids at home?), and dealing with mid-section pain has worn on me.
Now we’re officially two weeks out. I can drive again. I only have minor pain. I’ve stopped taking the Motrin they gave me about a week ago. I’ve been taking walks every day for the past week. I went up and down the stairs once I felt well enough to do so (about a week ago – sorry Doc). I’ve gone by myself to get my nails done once and to get my hair cut yesterday. Both times it felt really good to just be alone…even for an hour or two.
My incision has healed nicely. It’s very thin and you can barely see it. I still have a little belly pouch and the area behind my incision is still swollen. I weighed about 25 pounds heavier by the time I went in to have Beck than I did when I got pregnant. This morning I weighed myself and I have lost 13 pounds. I’m looking forward to being able to work out again once my doctor clears me to do so. I could use the endorphins.
I’ve noticed that my brain feels a little fuzzy. It’s been difficult for me to focus over the past two weeks. I keep having insane hot flashes…waking up absolutely drenched in sweat. I feel more emotional. I’m not normally a cryer or an overly emotional person, but these past two weeks I have felt ALL KINDS of feels. Hormones ya’ll….It’s good to have friends who have gone through this too that you can laugh with and bitch to about it.
Beck has just been a dream baby since we got home. Sleeps well. Eats well. His umbilical cord fell off the other day. He smiles in his sleep. He’s got super long skinny fingers and toes. He likes to hold my finger or my shirt while he eats and makes super sweet cooing noises when he wakes up.
I’m conscious and emotional over the fact that this is likely our last baby. The last time I’ll give birth. The last time I’ll have a baby this age. I passed an elderly couple on a walk with Beck the other night and they stopped to see him and the lady patted my hand and told me that she knows I’m not sleeping and she knows that I’m tired but to enjoy it because it goes by so fast. And as I walked home I cried. Hard. All I could think was that before I know it Nick and I will be that age. And all the kids will be grown with kids of their own. and In that moment life felt so finite and short. So I’ve been trying to focus on every little thing. The noises Beck makes. The way Cora pronounces the word ‘popcorn.” The way that Nick holds my hand when we go on walks. These are the insignificant little things that now have become the most significant. These are the things that I hope I will remember for the rest of my life.
This post ended up being longer than I intended. I rambled. I told you my brain is fuzzy. If you held on and made it to the end you deserve some kind of award. But if you have any questions about pregnancy or having a C-Section or recovery or anything, ask away. Comment on this post or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
XOXO – Em