A New Life

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The last five days have been both a whirlwind and an eternity. I can't believe Nora is already nearing the one-week mark, but I also can't believe that it was ONLY five days ago that I pushed her out into the world. It seems like she's been in our lives forever, and I already can't imagine not having her with us.

So how do we sum up the last five days? Well, there's a lot to say, so excuse me while I babble on and show you about 500 pictures of our baby girl. Since I'm so behind, this is going to be the LONGEST POST EVER. I apologize in advance if I bore the crap out of you. But LOOK! Pretty pictures! (Hopefully that makes up for it?)

Mama and Nora, shortly after delivery

Following Nora's birth, I was put on an IV drip of Pitocin to stimulate contractions in my uterus so that it would begin to return to its normal size. Because the hospital was so busy, we were able to hang out in our delivery room for quite a while before being transferred to the room where I would spend the remainder of my recovery days. But when I was moved, I had to do something they almost never have to do at the hospital--I had to share a room! I was wheeled into someone else's room and had to share it with her for about three hours, at which time she was discharged and I was left with a private room (thank goodness!).

I had a really awesome stay in the hospital. Honestly, it was all due to my nurses--I loved every single one of them. Well, with the exception of my discharge nurse. She sucked. Thankfully, by that time, we were on our way out, so it didn't much matter.

On Saturday, because Nora was born so early in the morning, I actually got several hours with her all on my own before we had anyone else come up to the hospital. That was really nice. Of course, my mom was there when she was born, and my in-laws stopped up shortly after, but everyone headed back home to go back to sleep and let me get some rest. I never did sleep (although exhausted, I think I was running on excitement and adrenaline), but it was still nice to have some quiet time.

My dad had left Virginia around 2:30 a.m., and he arrived at the hospital around 10:30. He was very happy to get his hands on his first granddaughter! :)

Throughout the afternoon, we had several visitors, including proud aunties Marie and Kara, and big cousin, Hunter.

Unfortunately, Uncle Trevor was away at drill for the National Guard, and Uncle Tyler had to work all day. But in the evening, Tyler and my dad came back up so he could meet Nora.

After that, everyone headed home, including Michael so he could get some rest (and tend to Tessa at home). I sent the baby to the nursery so I could get some sleep as well. I was surprised when I woke up to go to the restroom and saw that I had been sleeping for five hours without them bringing Nora in. Sure enough, a few minutes later the nurse wheeled her into the room saying she was hungry.

The nurse got me settled into feeding the baby, and as I sat there, I suddenly began to shake uncontrollably. It started with a chill that ran up my spine and quickly turned into teeth chattering. I pressed my call button and the nurse came in, whisked the baby back to the nursery, then came back to try to relieve my chills. She loaded me up with about six regular blankets, plus two heated blankets, heat packs, and turned the thermostat up. Still, I was shaking violently, which was tremendously uncomfortable. The nurse also repeatedly took my temperature, and soon enough, I was spiking a 102-degree fever. :( My chills finally subsided, and I was seen by a doctor who started me on IV antibiotics to treat an infection she suspected was beginning in my uterus. So that was some unexpected excitement in the middle of the night on Saturday/Sunday.

Throughout the rest of my hospital stay, I never did experience any other symptoms of infection, but I had to be on 24 hours of the IV antibiotics. Not a big deal, but it sucked to have the IV line back in my hand, since I had been so glad when they took it out on Saturday afternoon (after the Pitocin and fluids were done).

On Sunday, we had several more visitors including family and friends. Aunt Cristina drove home from college to meet her new niece...

...and a large group from Michael's side of the family came as well.

At 1:00, the Bills game started, and we hosted my family (both brothers, Kara, Marie, Hunter, and my dad) in the room for a good portion of the game.

My dad hit the road to return to Virginia at around 3:00 p.m. It was too short of a stay, but he'll be back in a few weeks for Tyler and Marie's wedding, so we'll get to see him again soon.

Sunday evening was quiet. Michael and I got to enjoy some family time with Nora, which was nice. I also trimmed the little bugger's nails for the first time, since she had been clawing me with her daggers.

On Monday morning, I was told that I was going to be discharged since my fever/infection had not reared its ugly head again.

We had a relaxing morning in our room, and we got Nora dressed in clothes for the first time ever. I loved her little going home outfit! A few weeks ago, we went shopping and bought a little boy's outfit and a little girl's outfit for going home.

The TIGHTS. Oh my gosh, they put me over the edge. Too cute.

We were held up a bit by a few different things, none of which were helped by my shitty nurse, but we finally left the hospital around 2:30 p.m.

Ready to go!

Baby Nora slept the whole way home, and seemed to like the car. I sat in the back seat with her, of course. :)

Once home, things kind of changed for the worst, to be honest. First, Tessa was so freaked out by Nora that it was completely overwhelming for Michael and I. She wanted to be all over the baby, was whining incessantly, and generally being a pain in the ass. We knew to expect this, but still--things had been so much easier in the hospital!

My emotions hit me full force. I had been so excited to come home, and once we were here, all I wanted to do was go back. It sounds funny, but I was sad that the hospital part was over. I would think about my wonderful nurses and cry because I knew I would never see them again. All I can say is that hormones are evil bitches.

A few pics of Nora in her crib at home...

To add to my stress, Nora suddenly decided to stop eating. I had a little trouble getting her to latch on Monday morning (around 10 a.m.) while we were still in the hospital. She had been doing really well prior to that, so I didn't think much of it, and a nurse was able to help me get her fed. Before we left the hospital, I called the lactation consultant to have her come help me, as she had told me beforehand that she could show me how to get Nora on the breast in a less painful way (I was SUPER sore on the right side). Well, even with the LC's help, we couldn't get her to wake enough to feed. The LC said that she just wasn't hungry and to try again when we got home.

And well, I tried. And tried again. And again. And again.

Every time I put Nora into the feeding position and tried to get her to latch, she would scream bloody murder. And when I'd take her away, she'd settle right down and go back to sleep. I didn't worry too much at first, but by 8 p.m., it had been 10 HOURS since my little one had eaten and I knew something wasn't right. I was extremely frustrated that my daughter suddenly "did not want me" and I called the pediatrician's after hours line.

The pedi on call suggested trying to cup feed Nora some formula to "take the edge off" her hunger. She said that Nora was likely OVER-hungry at this point, and because my milk hadn't come in yet, she had grown frustrated and didn't want to put the effort into nursing to get so little food. So we cup fed her formula, and I was able to get her to latch for a while. We thought everything was looking up.

But as the night (and middle of the night) wore on, she became increasingly agitated with breastfeeding and all we could do was give her the cup. My milk did end up coming in the middle of the night--the pedi had also suggested trying to pump, and I was suddenly able to get a really good amount pumped. Still, Nora wouldn't take the breast--only the breast milk from the cup.

The pediatrician's office called first thing on Tuesday morning to see how the overnight had gone, and when I said it had been pretty terrible, they told me they wanted us to come in later that morning.

At the doctor's office, Nora was weighed. At birth, she was 6 lbs., 10 oz. At discharge from the hospital, she was 6 lbs., 1 oz. On Tuesday, she was 5 lbs., 15 oz.

Our appointment was with the nurse practitioner, and she was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. She watched as I tried to feed Nora and saw how Nora was reacting. She went and got a couple bottles of formula, had me feed a little bit to Nora, and then asked me to try breastfeeding again. She showed me a different way to get her latched so she would likely get more milk, and therefore be more satisfied. Sure enough, the little one latched right on.

The nurse practitioner told us to keep cup feeding her to take the edge off at the beginning of the feeding, then see how she'd do with the new way to latch. She said they wanted us to come back the next day (Wednesday) to see how things were going and see the pediatrician.

Well, guess what? We got home and never had to go back to cup feeding. Nora suddenly decided to become a breastfeeding champion again, and we've been doing well ever since.

When we went back to the pediatrician yesterday, Nora's weight was up to 6 lbs., 4 oz. Little one gained FIVE OUNCES in just 24 hours!! The pediatrician actually laughed because it was such an awesome gain. The pedi was able to give us some extra reassurance that everything was normal and we were doing fine.

Also, Tessa has been making huge strides. She is SO MUCH BETTER now than she was when we first got home. I was honestly freaking out inside on that first day, thinking there was no way she was ever going to adjust, but I was wrong. She is doing beautifully, and although she still has her moments (mostly when Nora is crying), she is gentle and totally fine around the baby. In fact, check out this photo of the four of us snuggling in bed yesterday morning...

It's such a relief.

The sleep deprivation has been a little bit of a challenge, but it's actually way better than I expected it to be. I guess I can handle living with less sleep than I thought I could. We'll see how it goes over the next few weeks, though, as I know it has only been a few days at this point.

We've also been able to get out of the house, which is nice. We've run a few errands each day, and this morning, we actually went out to breakfast.

All in all, we're doing really well at home now. We love this little girl so much that it hurts. It's incredible how you can develop a bond like that in such a short period of time. I just want to hold, snuggle, hug and kiss her all of the time. I love my life.

OK, I'll finally shut up now, and leave you with a few more photos of our little one. We couldn't be more proud. :)

P.S. For those who have been asking... nursery reveal will be coming (hopefully) very soon. Also, I'll be posting about the winner of the Heather Drive Baby Pool! Stay tuned. :)


Anonymous,  September 16, 2010 at 2:51 PM  

The thing that surprised me most about breastfeeding was how damn hard it was to get the hang of. I kept saying, "for something that's supposed to be 'natural,' it sure does take a lot of practice!" You will have difficult days where you feel like all you do is have a baby at your boob (actually, you probably WILL have Nora at the breast 24-7 some days), but stick with it! I really do believe that once you hit the 6 week mark, it gets much easier.

You're doing great, momma!

~Kristen M.

Anonymous,  September 16, 2010 at 2:59 PM  

So cute! :) I've heard that it takes some work for breastfeeding so I'm glad you got it to work! :) Glad Tessa's being nice now too :)

Katie September 16, 2010 at 3:09 PM  

There's no such thing as too many pictures!! And as a new mommy coming up in two months, I found this really informative--thanks! I absolutely LOVE her going-home outfit. Is it a newborn or premie size? We actually bought the little pink and brown velour outfit Nora has on as one of our two choices for our going-home outfit. I see how big it is on a newborn, though! hehe I love the first mommy-daughter picture. BEAUTIFUL! Glad the b/f is working out and Tessa is adjusting! :)

Eric's Mommy September 16, 2010 at 3:09 PM  

She is just so sweet. I love the picture of your Dad holding her and her little mouth is wide open, too cute.

I'm glad Tessa is adjusting too.

You look great BTW, after I had Eric I looked like I was beaten with a stick! LOL

Shauna September 16, 2010 at 3:15 PM  

I can't help but to comment on every single post. I am SO glad that you two figured out the BFing. Great job!

Jill September 16, 2010 at 3:22 PM  

Nora is darling and I too loved her going home outfit. That's scary about that fever/infection and then the nursing thing but I'm glad it all worked itself out!

She's just so darn cute!


Michelle September 16, 2010 at 3:57 PM  

I'm going to have to go back and read this post at home so I can see the pictures (my stupid work blocked flickr) but I loved reading your story. I'm so happy that you are so happy!

basebell6 September 16, 2010 at 4:22 PM  

Loooove all the pictures! Especially of the one of all 4 of you cuddling. Animals interact with babies in such cute ways so I'm glad Tessa took to her quickly. Sounds like you got the mothering thing figured out after a bit of patience! Good to hear!!

jack+alli September 16, 2010 at 5:43 PM  

oh! i just love reading your blog! i'm having my little one any day now, and just get more and more excited with each post of yours that i read!
you look fabulous and your little nora is absolutely precious!

Ashley D,  September 16, 2010 at 5:52 PM  

I've been reading your blog since I found your little tutorial for the table numbers you used at your wedding...which I stole and made for mine last year :). Anywho, your daughter is absolutely beautiful! Congratulations to the both of you!

Stephanie September 16, 2010 at 6:50 PM  

I've been reading your blog for several years and wanted to say congratulations on your beautiful daughter! We actually got married on the same day and I'm expecting our daughter, Grace, in January so I was so excited to read your birth experience. I'm glad things are going well for you and I hope things continue to go smoothly!

Andrea September 16, 2010 at 8:52 PM  

Love this post and all the pictures!

Congrats on baby Nora, she is beautiful!

Heather September 16, 2010 at 8:53 PM  

Congrats again!!! I can't wait to hear more about your new adventures as parents! Glad the transition with Tessa has been going well too!!

Mrs. Lopez September 16, 2010 at 9:37 PM  

I love the family pic with the puppy!!!!!!! Nora is beautiful!

Heather September 16, 2010 at 9:51 PM  

Thank you to everyone for the nice comments. It's been an exciting few days, for sure!

Katie--Nora's going home outfit is newborn size. Pretty much everything is big on her at this point!

The going home outfit is from Carter's. :)

Anonymous,  September 16, 2010 at 11:41 PM  

Beautiful photos!! Your family looks so happy!

B September 17, 2010 at 9:44 AM  

I was stopping by your page and was like HOLY COW?! I missed the birth?! CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU AND YOUR BEAUTIFUL FAMILY! Nora is an absolute doll and I so enjoyed reading your birth story (although, I was cringing at the thought) You're a trooper!

Jacqueline September 17, 2010 at 10:53 AM  

Welcome home!
She's beautiful. Love every moment.
Thanks for sharing your story! :)

Moya September 17, 2010 at 11:04 AM  

Beyond adorable! Congratulations Heather & Michael! You guys should use that pic of the four of you in your header:-)

Jen September 17, 2010 at 12:15 PM  

What a great post :) I'm so glad to hear things are going well for you now. Sounds like everyone is happy(ier) lol and Nora is doing great. Can't wait to see the nursery!

Sara September 17, 2010 at 8:19 PM  

Your baby girl is absolutely precious! You look fabulous in those pictures for having just given birth! But I suppose with as fast as things moved, you didn't have time to get beaten up! ;-)

My sister-in-law just had her baby on the 8th (a baby boy) and she's had similar struggles with breastfeeding, but I think they're getting the hang of it now as well.

Glad to hear big sister Tessa is adjusting to big changes. It's always difficult for pets in the beginning. Fortunately she's had exposure to children before!

Congratulations again on your new arrival. Your family is beautiful! ^_^

Janine September 18, 2010 at 5:52 AM  

That pic of the whole family, dog included, is gorgeous! Congrats congrats from one September mama (well, hopefully!) to another!

Amanda September 19, 2010 at 8:56 PM  

Yeah, I'm a little behind...congratulations!!!

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