In my last pregnancy post, this is where I was. Huge, miserable, and waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. I thought for sure my induction date would come to be and I'd be evicting a baby for the second time around and never get to experience spontaneous labor.
Saturday morning, February 27th, I woke up around 4:00 AM with some back pain. That wasn't anything out of the ordinary as my back had been hurting for some time carrying the load of a growing baby. I tossed and turned a bit and drifted back to sleep for a while.
Around 5:00 I noticed the back pain was a little bit worse and was mostly concentrated in my lower back, and that the pains were coming and going in waves. I had back labor with Evans, so the feeling was definitely a familiar one. I decided to start timing the pain and woke up Hubs just in case.
"I think I'm in early labor..." .... "Huh? Awesome!". He got up and got my mom up, too, just in case.
The next few hours I was timing my back labor. I still wasn't really *sure that it was true labor, and I didn't want to head to the hospital prematurely only to be hooked up to monitors and then ultimately sent home. No one likes that! After all, just a few days earlier I was at the doctor with the dreaded NO PROGRESS lable stamped across my chart. Hubs, however, was getting nervous that we should be leaving. Turns out he was right!
Evans woke up super early that morning, too. She must have sensed something was up. She came in and wanted to snuggle Mommy... picture is blurry and it's probably a good thing considering how rough I was looking and feeling.
Getting through the contractions at home was such a better experience than the one I had with Evans. With Evans, I was already hooked up to a thousand monitors it felt like and couldn't move around to labor. At home, I had my exercise ball and a heating pad Hubs had rigged to my back. It made the pain so much more bearable this way.
So we went on, laboring at home for a few hours and timing contractions. Finally, the pain was getting too much to where I couldn't talk and was wanting to hold my breath through every contraction. I told Mark around 9:30 we needed to go ahead and get things together and get to the hospital.
One last pic as a family of 3! I'm in some serious pain at this point, but excited, too.
At the hospital, we really weren't sure where to park. At Candler, you are meant to check in at Emergency and they admit you to the women's center floor. So, we ended up going ahead and parking in the parking deck and walking over. In labor. That was some serious fun.
We got to the hospital and checked in, etc. around 10:30. I was taken to triage so they could check things out and see what was going on with the baby. I was having contractions at this point about every 3-4 minutes and they were all in my back. Ouch.
To my surprise, I was already 6 cm dilated and ready to go. They admitted me to a room immediately. Oddly, I was hungry at this point, pain and all. Jello and popsicles to the rescue- of course Hubs picked out THIS color for me... ORANGE. Yuck. He never stops picking on me. I ate it anyways.
We filled out what felt like a million forms and took blood for lab work so I could get my epidural. Lab work was going to take an hour or so, and I was really worried by the time it got back to us I wouldn't have a chance to get pain relief. So, I basically begged and told the hospital staff I was NOT one of those women that could do it without an epidural. So, they made me sign some other forms and the anesthesiologist came right in. Ahhh.
Unfortunately, by that point I was already 8-9 cm and just about ready to push. The epidural didn't have time to completely take, but I was happy to have any little bit of relief.
My doctor was not on call, so I had the other doctor in the practice, Dr. Edwards. He was hilarious. He came in to check things out and told me I had two options. One- he would break my water and I'd start pushing and have the baby within the hour. Or two- I could labor down for a while and he'd read a book until my water broke on its own. Ha. I said heck no, let's get this baby out!
By the time he broke my water, I was ready to go. Then 15 minutes of pushing and girlfriend was here! Come to find out, the cord was wrapped around her neck- twice, and one of her shoulders had gotten stuck. How I safely pushed her out I'll never know, but I'm thankful she's here. It was a long pregnancy that began with a serious hemorrhage and bed rest, and ended with a healthy 8 lbs, 4 oz, 22 inches. Born at 12:17. Mae Caroline. Praise God.
We were barely at the hospital checked in two hours before. Hubs was right, we probably should have left a bit sooner!
Mae Caroline reminded me so much of Evans as a newborn when I first saw her face.
Papa, D, and Gigi all came to visit in the hospital. Our pediatrician came Sunday morning and said baby girl was looking great and that we should request to go home early so long as it was ok with my own doctor. Second time parents, healthy baby, healthy mom meant low risk and we were out of there. We only had to stay one night, hallelujah!
When we arrived home, the family was waiting on us in the driveway to see Mae Caroline. Evans said "what's that, Mommy?" I told her it was her baby sister. She said "Baby! Play toys baby??" So we said let's go inside and show her around.
All the way up to the front door, Evans was shouting "Let's go, baby!!" She was so excited.
Evans hasn't shown any jealousy thus far, which is a relief. I wasn't sure how it would go considering Evans has been the center of it all the last 2 years.
Comparison pictures to big sister.
Mae Caroline left, Evans right. You can certainly see that they are sisters.
Evans left, Mae Caroline right.
This is the funniest comparison of all, though. I make no bones about it that Evans was a terrible, terrible newborn. Awake, crying, inconsolable most hours of the day. A complete train wreck. Of course now she's the sweetest child and you'd never know any of that happened. That's her on the left, scowling.
Mae Caroline, on the other hand, has been completely different so far. I hope I don't jinx anything. Her temperament is so, so different from big sis. She is a very content, laid back newborn at this point. At only about a week old, I know anything can happen and change. But right now, she's a dream boat. That's her on the right, giving me smiles.
So far, she basically eats and sleeps. She has a fussy period at night from about 7-11 where she just wants to be held or nursed or walked around the house. During those hours, we've all taken turns to help soothe her a bit. Luckily Evans goes to bed around 7, so we really can devote those fussy hours to helping Mae Caroline.
The last few nights, I've fed her around 10:30-11 and then it's lights out. Knock on wood, she's only waking up 1-2 times at night to eat.... AMAZED. I didn't even know that was possible after my experience with Evans. Evans didn't do that until I basically forced her into it at 16 weeks old.
Last night, Mae Caroline ate at 11, and I put her down, swaddled, white noise. Night night. She started stirring a bit around 4:30 AM so I fed her again. Then she slept until 8:00 this morning. Unreal. Please, please keep doing this pattern little one!!! I am in shock. Maybe I was just due a good baby?? Or maybe tonight I'd be cursing myself for having jinxed it...
Speaking of eating and feeding, breastfeeding is going so much better this time around. With Evans, it was a huge learning curve for the both of us. It hurt like hell for weeks and I was totally stressed out in those early days about my supply, the time commitment, etc. This time around it's all just sort of coming back to me, and Mae Caroline is doing great. No pain, and she's pretty quick for a newborn. Except for that fussy period at night when she just wants to nurse, nurse, nurse constantly. But I know that's just a phase and this will be a distant memory before I realize it.
As for me, postpartum healing this time around seems to be going much better than the first time. I am sore and tired of course, but hello, I did give birth just 6 days ago. I'm listening to my body and taking it really easy.
When Evans was born, we were in Atlanta in the dead of winter. One of the coldest winters in a while (the Snowpocolypse). We were basically stranded in our house with a newborn that didn't sleep and cried a lot.
With Mae Caroline, we are in Savannah, surrounded by family, and the weather has been in the 60's and 70's and sunny. She's been a good sleeper (please keep it up!!) and seems to be very content.
What a difference.
I've had a few baby blues here and there as I handle my crazy postpartum emotions. I didn't expect to miss Evans as much as I do. I feel like I don't get to devote the same amount of time to her, and feel guilty about that. She doesn't seem to really mind, but it kills me. Evans seems SO much older to me now that we have a newborn. That makes me sad. It seems like last week she was this little 2 year old. Now she seems like a little girl. Time, please slow down.
I know it's cliche, and I rolled my eyes at this all the time before. But, really, my heart has doubled in size. I was sitting on the couch a couple nights ago, snuggling Evans watching one of her shows, and Hubs was sitting on the other side holding Mae Caroline. I just started bawling, like the ugly messy cry.
My mom asked if I was alright, and I cried right through my response ...
"I'm just SO happy".
And that's the truth.