Finally Home With Daphne Daniella!

What an adventure! This week has passed by so quickly. It was only Sunday when I first started feeling crampy and it all began.

Daphne was born via c-section on Tuesday morning at 12:54am.

I spent all morning and most of the afternoon on Tuesday in bed with numb legs and a tired body. I wasn’t able to get much sleep at all because of all the nurses coming in and out to check my vitals and pain. Getting up for the first time after my c-section wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be. I had two nurses helping me roll my legs out of bed and they helped me hobble over to the bathroom. I was bleeding pretty heavily and I Was concerned with getting it on the floor everywhere. The nurses didn’t really seemed concerned but wanted me just to make progress to the toilet.

It felt like I had just completed the worst and deepest ab workout ever. I couldn’t bend a whole lot and coughing/laughing hurt so much. It put pressure on the stitches and stretched the muscles and skin that had been cut.

I am an absolute oddball. This came out when they first gave me the pads and underwear to wear. The underwear were a soft meshy fabric that were stretchy beyond all belief. Just when you thought they couldn’t stretch more, they did. The pads cannot be considered economical size. They are internationally recognized as GIANT and absolutely wonderful. I made sure to grab the extra pads before we left the hospital—they are lifesavers. So yes–I like hospital gear.

I was given a respirator tube thing to breathe into to stretch my lower abdominal muscles. I was also given a Medela pump if I wanted to pump. I was given instructions on it but I didn’t seriously think I would use it. Rookie mistake.

For the rest of that day, I was consumed with desire to stay active, use my muscles, and move around so that I could walk down to the nursery to see my baby.

Sam and I rested a bit more. I felt good enough to walk down the hall to the nursery and see my little one. Seeing her for the first time was amazing. I couldn’t believe it. Did Sam and I really create this little life?!  Seeing her with all the tubes and IVs was a little intimidating especially in the low light of the nursery. It felt like she was in imminent danger just by being in the nursery. I admit that this first day that we saw her I didn’t feel a connection to her. I felt distant and confused. The doctor came in the nursery to talk to us and told us that she had Pneumothorax. This is where there’s a gap and air around the lungs. She needed oxygen for the first day after birth. Doctor was positive about her making a great recovery quickly. She needed to be suctioned and observed very often due to all the meconium from labor and birth.

The staff in the nursery were absolutely wonderful. They were gentle and kind and were willing to answer every question we had with patience. Margaret was the day nurse who we liked the most and helped us. They even tried to put her to my breast to feed. She didn’t have a whole lot of interest, but she latched on a few times and it was a great moment. I was so thankful and asked a lot of questions to the ladies on staff. I didn’t have any fear about whipping out my boobs to nurse or have the nurses handle them. I wanted help and heck—they’ve seen enough boobs of their own. There’s not a lot of modesty in birth and motherhood, I suppose.

Sam and I then spent the rest of the afternoon just relaxing in the hospital room. I should also mention that we had no clue of what to name her. We had really been stuck on the name Artemis Jane and were quite positive that we’d name her that. When I first saw her, I didn’t see Artemis. In fact, she was completely opposite of Artemis. All I could think of was Audrey or Daphne–a sweeter name. She seemed to have a sweet disposition already and I couldn’t bring myself to name her something as strong and forceful sounding as Artemis. We spent the afternoon mulling over names. We agreed that she looked like an Audrey or Daphne. We nearly gave ourselves a headache talking it over.

Late that evening, I was feeling a lot better and wanted to go down to visit her again. The shifts had changed in the nursery and the night crew came on. I was taken aback–due to my own naivety and stereotyping– when we were greeted by a middle age male nurse. His long hair in a pony and overgrown mustache was a bit much to take in at first, but we found as the evening went on that he was such an asset to the nursery crew. He was gentle yet handled the babies with a sure and confident hand. He talked gently to the babies and was a humorous character. We liked him. His name was David.

When we first got to the nursery that night and we were walking back to her, he led us back and said “Alright, let’s go ahead and have you try to breastfeed her, make it a good introduction session for you both.” Sam and I were surprised! Really? Awesome! He set up the privacy tents and told us to call if we needed anything.

We gingerly wrapped the cords away from her swaddled body and I was sat down in a rocker with her. Sam put a beanbag U shaped pillow on my lap and placed her in my arms. I put her to my breast and remembered all the tips the nurses gave me about breastfeeding: If you hear sucking or clicking, it’s an improper latch and you need to re-latch. If she falls asleep or idle at the breast, try gently rubbing up and down her jaw or cheek to wake her up. Another way is to gently move the boob to shake in her mouth so she is reminded of it and starts to suck again.

It wasn’t too painful for her to nurse. I felt a little bit of a pinching feeling and could feel her drawing something out, though I knew it wasn’t much of anything (due to the lack of fluid/liquid coming from me when I tried to pump earlier). She nursed for a little while and then lost interest. After calling for David’s help, he suggested a little bit of sugar water in a syringe to dip on the nipple. He gave it to us and Sam helped me with it. She reacted to that a little bit. I noticed that as I was nursing her and a little after, I could feel a bit of leaking in the nether regions. You know when you first get your period and you feel the drop? Yea. That. I also noticed a bit of cramping in my belly. This was all natural and just my uterus sizing down and contracting. Days later, I still contract a bit but don’t leak as much.

We spent about two and a half hours in the nursery that first night just admiring her, taking pictures, and trying to nurse her. I got really chilled as we were ready to leave the nursery. I got so chilled, in fact, that I was shivering profusely heading down the hallway and Sam had to stabilize me as we walked. The nurses noticed I was out of sorts and grabbed me a few heated blankets.

I was helped into bed and snuggled into about 6 layers of blankets. I finally got warm. The nurse who helped and was so kind was Tracey. I fell asleep.

Through that night, nurses came in and out a lot to check vitals and one nurse came in and found that I had a fever. She made me take off 5 out of the 6 blankets and I remember fighting with her about it because I was still cold. I put a blanket on after she left the room. I’m such a rebel…Someone lock me up.

Later, nurses came in to check on me and found my fever had subsided. They asked if I wanted anything and I asked for ice and a drink. I got cranberry juice…nomnomnom.

I didn’t sleep much that night as I was told the nurse would be in early to draw blood. I woke up prior to her arrival just so I could mentally prepare myself.

Sam and I then were able to get up after a while, shower, and get around. Sam left to check on the pups and get a change of clothes. I went to the nursery around 11 to spend time with our little girl. I tried to nurse again and received help from the nurses on staff when I was a little confused.

Sam came and we spent more time with her. After heading back to our room, I tried to pump again and got a little bit of fluid–I was so proud of myself and my body. It was a small accomplishment! We continued discussing baby names. We settled on the first name Daphne. We then ran through an array of middle names including Jane, Dagmar, Jinx, Morrigan, Gray, and a few more we can’t currently recall. Sam said “What about mixing our mom’s names together?” We both thought about it and after a moment, Sam said “Well, the only thing we’d get is Regret…” (His mom’s name is Renda and my mom’s name is Margaret). I laughed way too hard and started crying from the pain. I tell ya, having a humorous husband has it’s ups and downs. After receiving her birth certificate information and a note saying we really needed to fill it out, we finally settled on Daphne Daniella. Sam had been going through D middle names and when he said “What about Daniella?” I really fell for it.

I was visited by both the head midwife of the Charleston Birth Place and my doctor who did the c-section. They both checked my incision and talked for a time with me about how things were going. I could only gush thanks and praise to both of them.

We were instructed to watch a video on shaken baby syndrome. We got about 2 minutes into the video–full of sad first hand experiences and interviews, and even pictures of memorials of babies who died from it. I was feeling uncomfortable. Then they showed an animation of someone shaking a baby and describing the brains like jello separating when shaking and I lost it. I turned away and started crying. It was traumatic—honestly the worst thing about labor, delivery, and the hospital was that video. I cried so hard it hurt. Sam had to come hold me to calm me down.

One of our friends from Sam’s work dropped off a meal for us. It was wonderful. The hospital food wasn’t bad at all! I had kept up a diet of baked sweet potato, cottage cheese, peaches, and pineapple.

That afternoon, Margaret was working in the nursery. She was so excited to be bathing baby and to tell us that we would be able to have her off her IV cord soon! When we returned that evening after the shift change, we were greeted by David at the door. He said “Now before you get upset, it wasn’t me. I didn’t do it.” I kinda chuckled. We walked back to our baby and I saw that someone had crocheted her a bright blue hat to match my hair. I laughed and held my belly. She looked just like me with blue hair!

I tried to nurse her again but she didn’t really seem interested even with a little help from sugar water. David suggested that we come back around midnight (3 hours later) for her next feeding. We did. I pumped prior to heading over there and brought the container of fluid with me so they could feed her that instead of formula or whatever else they were feeding her. David was proud of me for pumping and getting a good amount of liquid! We returned at midnight and she didn’t eat a whole lot, but a little. I asked if we could come back again that night to feed her and the nurses were a little surprised but responded positively. Maybe they don’t get a lot of moms who come in for feedings? They said to come back at 3 and David said he’d use the milk I gave him if I overslept or didn’t make it back and reassured me that it’s okay if I didn’t make it back. I went back to the room and pumped more milk for her and then returned at 3am to feed her. She hadn’t eaten much and still had some milk, so I didn’t bother coming back at the 6am feeding before shift change.

Sleeping was rough that night. Nurses came in and checked on me and took my blood again. That morning, I was visited by Leigh, one of the midwives from the Birth Center. She said she’d be able to get me discharged that day and talked in length about how to take care of me and baby once we got home. Dr. Martin stopped in to visit again and was happy with my progress. I have to admit that I was very impressed with how much I was visited by my doctors and midwives. It made me feel so cared for and loved. I got word that we’d be discharged that day and could stay there another night if Daphne needed another night in the nursery.

I pumped and got a lot of liquid–I think mainly colostrum still, but a good amount. As I was relaxing on the bed checkin’ facebook, someone gently knocked and I looked up to see a cart being pushed into my room—my baby! The nurse smiled and said that she was released and could be discharged today! I was so happy. Sam returned from letting the pups out and was so happy to see that she was in our room! We then cleaned up before Sam’s shop came in to drop off Thanksgiving lunch for us. I fed Daffs and she ate pretty well before all the guys came in. Sam’s commander, 1st shirt, and 2 of his coworkers all stopped in to drop off food and chit chat. We were so thankful for them thinking of us during Thanksgiving and spending time with us.

After they left (they only stayed maybe 20 minutes), we got word that we were officially discharged and could leave. Oh boy–we packed as quickly as we could.

Sam stuffed all our goodies in the car, gingerly placing the flowers my mom and sister sent us (THANK YOU!) in the back seat. Sam put Daffs in the carseat and we were ready to roll. I sat in the wheelchair and the carseat was put on my lap, and off we went down the hall!

It was a wonderful feeling to know we were headed home. I wasn’t really scared but more excited and relieved.

The car ride was a little nerve wrecking–I kept looking back to make sure she wasn’t flailing around in the backseat or being suffocated by the blankets.

We got home. I took the long walk up the grass and up the stairs. I opened the door and was overwhelmed by what I saw: a SPARKLING CLEAN HOUSE! Sam had spent extra time here at home picking up stuff, vacuuming  cleaning, and making sure everything was in order. It had to have been the biggest relief yet. I was overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness.

Our first night at home with her was an emotional ride. We spent the afternoon settling in. I was pretty bubbly and chipper. Then it came time to feed her. She didn’t feed very well and I got discouraged and started crying. I questioned whether or not she’d survive the night because I couldn’t get her to feed for more than 5 minutes. I cried because I wanted to make sure she was pooping and peeing enough. I did what I could feeding her and then pumped. I actually got liquid during that pump–1.5 ounces of liquid gold. I was beyond excited for myself and that reassured me that I do indeed make milk for my baby and she is indeed getting nutrition.

Sam started researching Black Friday deals and found some good ones at K-mart starting at 8pm Thanksgiving night. We headed to K-mart around 9 and left at midnight with 3 items. The lines were long and slow. I got overheated and had to walk around a bit. It didn’t help that my feet had been swelling gradually all day and they were in pain.

All I could think of when we were at K-mart is that baby would wake up screaming and I’d have to walk out to the car with her to feed her alone. It made me nervous. I have to give Daff’s props though–she didn’t wake or stir at all the 3 hours we were out and about. We got back home and I fed her and laid her down again to sleep.

I was in and out of sleep and we stayed out in the living room until about 4am. It was too cold in our bedroom. We have to use space heaters to heat the house which is totally fine, but we didn’t want to put her in the cold room.

Sam was changing her diaper and I was on the couch relaxing. He yelled something to me and I stirred to go see what he needed. As I approached the bedroom, I see him hovering over her frantically moving and humorously talking to her. I look down to see a poop explosion all over her. I had to laugh. It was too funny to see him joking about the poop and little love just laying there looking all innocent. She repeated this whole poop explosion step about 20 minutes later. It was just too darn funny. I hurt my incision laughing so hard.

I fed Daffs really well at 4 (about half an hour!) and we all headed to bed. Sam and I both were a bit trepid this first night all of us sleeping in the house. We both fear her smothering or overheating, so he was careful to swaddle her tight and we both woke up throughout the morning to look in her bassinet. We woke at 7 to check her and see if she was hungry. She wasn’t. We went back to sleep. We woke up around 8 and Sam changed her diaper–full of poo!  After a bit of coercion, she fed for a good 20 minutes and fell asleep around 9 while I pumped milk. I can honestly say my milk has arrived. I pumped 2 ounces in 5 minutes and I feel like I got implants. Sam’s happy as am I–I’ve never had much in the upper regions. She has been asleep since and is such a precious little one. Such a good baby. She hasn’t cried.

We are just so happy to be home. She sleeps and stirs gently when she wakes. She doesn’t cry and every now and again she smiles out of reflex. I find so much joy in looking down at her and talking to her. I am so proud to be a mom–her mom. I am so happy.

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Skin to Skin time!

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A little confused.

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Enjoying our thanksgiving meal at home!

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Sleeping!

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Happy!

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Getting to hold and feed her!

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Me a day after surgery. Swelling has gone down even more since.

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A picture right before hard labor hit and we had to transport from the birth center.

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