Wallace's Birth Story | part three

Part one
Part two

Post-partum
So after they weighed Wallace, they brought him back to me and he nursed for about 45 minutes, like a champ. Nate was texting our parents first, and my mom was about 15 minutes away from boarding her plane in Denver. Perfect timing! We texted a few more friends and then I wanted Nate to hold Wallace before the kids came. He got to snuggle his newest boy and Ace's face was classic---totally focused on Nate and very calm, a true daddy's boy! I ordered some food around 4:30 although I didn't feel that hungry and had no desire to get out of bed before our visitors arrived. I told the nurse to just make sure I had a gown to wear but I mostly wanted to rest. For me, natural childbirth did not mean I hopped out of bed immediately and felt like a million bucks. In fact, I was more wiped out and sore this time compared to Porter's birth for sure. And I mean, look at how TIRED I look now compared to last time!
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At 5:00 the three big kids (!) arrived with Tony and Lois. On the drive over Truman was telling his grandparents that 'Wallace is only an hour old, I am so happy he's here!' And then watching the kids meet their baby brother? One of the sweetest moments in life, seriously. I got a video and several pictures to savor this first meeting.

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Truman was just over the moon to meet Wallace, his excitement is the most genuine, adorable emotion I could describe. Cecelia was quite honest when she said, 'You look kind of ugly, mommy. I thought Wallace would be cuter. And are you still pregnant,' as she poked my two-hour post-partum belly? And then Porter! He kept forgetting the baby was out and would ask, 'Where is that baby? Baby Wallace! Hi, baby!' and he did want to hold him right away, too. He asked me why I was wearing 'that' (my hospital gown) but otherwise was pretty unfazed by the entire hospital room.

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At some point, Tony left to get my mom from the airport. Nate took Cecelia and Porter to get Jimmy Johns, while Lois stayed with Truman, me and Wallace. At 7pm my nurse came in to say I needed to get up and go to the bathroom, and it was every bit the murder scene as it has been in the past. Except maybe a little worse, similar to the first time around with Truman for the amount of bleeding. In fact, Kelly the nurse was pretty worried about my bleeding and thought I might need a shot to get it to stop. The OB came back in to check me in bed, pushed super hard on my stomach, and did some sort of horrible internal exam to be sure my stitch didn't come loose. She apologized and luckily I didn't need the shot, or to have her manually go in there to get retained placenta or something.

Also: some major issues in the back side region, related to pushing my hardest for two hours. Sad trombone. The opposite of fun. This has gotten better in the last week but it's been a challenge during my recovery, for sure. It was really hard in the first four days to stand up for longer than a few minutes at a time, sitting is just as bad, and laying down is best but obviously not feasible for very long stretches.

Nate and the kids came back with Jimmy Johns, then Tony arrived with my mom around 7:15. It was so great to have the grandparents (minus my dad, he is coming in a few weeks) at the hospital to meet mister Ace! The big kids were literally bouncing off the walls when GoGo showed up. She barely got to hold Wallace because they were so pumped to have her visit.

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Then someone noticed my eyes. I didn't know what they were talking about but looked into my phone camera and saw that I had some serious broken blood vessels going on. The nurse noticed during her next check and said she felt bad but wasn't surprised, given how hard I was pushing and for so long. She said broken blood vessels in the eyes sometimes happen and I could try using a cold washcloth tonight, but there wasn't much else I could do. I asked if they would get any worse and she said, 'Probably not.' But boy, did they get worse!! Official name: conjunctival hemorrhage. Officially 'severe' according to my eye doctor. Will resolve with time. Hoping it clears soon, waiting on a family photoshoot until then!

Saturday evening:
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Sunday morning:
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Monday morning:
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I'm typing this on day eight and they are still really bad, actually. I went to our eye doctor friend the day we were discharged from the hospital, because every doc and nurse that saw me throughout our stay was pretty worried about my eyes. The pediatrician kept saying, 'Man, those are DECENT....this happens, but that is the worst I've seen.' I earned that badge of honor title from several nurses and doctors, actually. They don't hurt really, but my vision was a little blurry at first and they just burned. I did notice right after birth I was having a hard time focusing but figured it was just because I had thrown off my glasses mid-labor and was high on adrenaline. Turns out I literally pushed my face off audit's fun to scare children when I remove my sunglasses. The kids called me 'mean monster mommy,' but now they are pretty much used to my vampire look. I forget that they look so wretched until I take off my sunglasses in public and people will just make eye contact with me for several seconds longer than necessary. I'm sure it's perplexing if you don't know the story!

Other notables from Wallace's birthday: the kids and Tony and Lois went home around 8pm, but my mom and Nate stayed to hang out and watch Wallace's first bath. The hospital now delays the bath until after 6 hours, so the tech came around 9:45 and really got our boy squeaky clean. He LOVED the faucet over his head, didn't love being naked as much, and then the tech asked if I brought any 'real' clothes for him to wear. This is when they take the baby's picture for the website and picture on our door, and so it's especially hilarious to see Wallace in a dapper bowtie and cardigan when most of the other babies just have on a white onesie and a hat. He's a very classy guy, that Ace.

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My mom and Nate left the hospital around 10:30--I would much rather have Nate at home with the big kids, getting decent rest and helping at home instead of him staying with me at the hospital. I had Wallace go to the nursery around 11, they brought him in at 1:20 to nurse, I sent him back around 2:30, and then he returned around 5am. The nurses said he was great for them! Except that he peed and pooped all over his dapper outfit, silly guy.

I guess I don't need to recap everything from the next two days at the hospital. But my breakfast the next morning, the shower that followed, and then having Nate come around 9am with coffee and treats from home were the BEST parts. Well, that and waking up not pregnant with a new baby bundle to snuggle. The kids and grandparents visited for a bit in the morning, then Nate, Truman, Cecelia and I got some quality time together during lunchtime. Nate and CC brought food after their top secret trip out together---food, smoothies, sun chips, and a new Apple watch for me as my push present. The big kids gave it to me and said, 'Good job getting Ace out, mommy.' Nate said I deserved it;) Related: after we were at home for a few days, Nate sent Cecelia downstairs to give me a message. She said, 'You're a superhero, mommy. You are so strong. Daddy said it was really hard to get Ace out but you did it.' Talk about a heart warming moment right there.

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When Nate and the bigs left for home, I napped with Wallace for about an hour which was glorious. The pediatrician and OB on call came by (freaked about my eyes), and then around 6pm our whole crew came back for pizza. Dizzy and Kerry also came to visit later that night, and then my night nurse was one that I had for both Truman and Cecelia's hospital stays. I love our small-town hospital so much. Wallace went to the nursery again, coming in to feed about every 3 hours (so twice). I felt my milk coming in this night and saw Wallace spitting up the yellow colostrum more often, too.

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On Monday, day 3, it was discharge day! Nate came around 7:45 with coffee again and we had hospital breakfast food together. The lactation consultant came in, which made me happy---I wanted her to check Ace's latch, since Porter ended up having such issues nursing around 8 weeks. She said he was doing great and gave me a few tips for the future if we notice anything changing. She's big into massaging and compressing the breast during feedings to help it empty, which is great for me to avoid clogged ducts and mastitis. My new day nurse Joani was another one I had with past births, she was excellent. Ace got his state blood screen done, then his circumcision by my actual OB, who then came in to chat with us for a good while. She was worried about my eyes and wanted details about how it all went down, saying she was proud of me for doing it and called me a great mom. Cue the tears. We had to get a picture together even though this one is OBVIOUSLY not my best comparison shot. What the heck was my problem after Porter---why do I look so rested and glowing? Ugh.

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Wallace's bilirubin was originally great, then 'intermediate high' on a scan, then better, then the nurse wanted to scan again because of the bruising on his head, and found it right on the border again. So they ended up doing a vile of blood from his heel to check the numbers, and we waited around for that a lot of the morning. It turned out to be 10.3 which is 'fine' but warrants a recheck the following day along with a weight check at the pediatrician office. Ace was down to 8lbs 6oz from his birth weight which was only losing 4.5%, and apparently very good---so I really wasn't too worried about him, especially since he was nursing so well. He did nap this morning from 9-1pm in the hospital while we were waiting to be discharged, but what a rough morning it was for him with all of the tests and procedures!

Going home outfit!
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We were finally discharged home around 1:35 and wheeling out of the hospital for the very last time was incredibly bittersweet. I just love the days spent in a bubble, no concept of time or weather or anything in the outside world except for the addition of this newest baby to our family. I always love the drive home from the hospital with Nate, when we have a teeny tiny baby in the backseat ready to start his life with us. It's just crazy, and it never gets old.

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Hospital time = the best!
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All four kids: verdict is in, and they basically all look alike;)
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But coming home is equally amazing! The kids were so happy to have us home, and eager to show Ace our house. Let the fights over who gets to hold the baby first commence.
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So glad mom was here, the visit was perfect timing. Can't wait for her and dad to return next week!
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Postpartum recovery (icky stuff that must be mentioned)

So this time around I gained 34 pounds during pregnancy, exactly the same as with Cecelia (less than Truman, more than Porter). I weighed myself the other day and was down fifteen pounds after the hospital stay. I also felt like my feet were pretty swollen until two days ago, which happened at the end of the pregnancy. I didn't have to stop wearing my wedding rings but my feet did swell. So who knows, I still have a ways to go with the weight but I'm going to take it easy so I can keep my milk supply up. I've been fairly active since having Ace but only because it's summer and we have three kids that are constantly on the move. With Nate going back to work tomorrow (nooooo!) I will have to figure out a routine of how much physical activity I can tolerate. I plan to attempt a nap most days of the week if at all possible, although Porter appears to be dropping his. (nooooooo, too soon!).

My milk came in the morning we were discharged home from the hospital, so two days postpartum. Then the engorgement was pretty awful on day three and four, but somehow I avoided pumping for relief and let Ace take the lead with frequent nursing. I forgot how awful it feels to be so FULL and uncomfortable and leaking everywhere. It seems like things are settling down a little bit now, thankfully. He takes both sides about half of the time and one side half of the time, which tends to make me pretty full but it should regulate soon. Oh, also! It stands to mention that the uterine contractions when nursing a fourth baby are even worse than the third time around. So it really does get more intense with each child. I noticed these contractions right away and they continued through day four, some of which were so strong they sort of took my breath away. I mean, that's great that my uterus was shrinking back down to a normal size but still---I assumed the intensity would tap out after a certain number of times. I guess not!

Like I said above, the worst part about physical recovery this time has been the 'backside issues.' This is SO not glamorous to talk about you guys. But it's been the real deal. Not being able to walk very long, stand very long, or sit very long has been TOUGH. I think I've turned the corner now that I'm taking stool softeners every day and pounding the water more than ever, but it's still not quite right down there. My bleeding from the appropriate location is much, much better now though! I definitely had to use the full bathroom get up for much longer this time compared to the last---the spray, the peri bottle, the cream, the tucks pads.....love how it took about 10 minutes to pee and get put back together. It reminds me of my first rodeo with Truman, I don't remember having to do all of this the second and third times.

My super ugly varicose veins in my legs and groin seem to be diminishing but aren't yet gone. No stretch marks again this time, which can only be attributed to good genetics since my mom never got them either. My linea negra is now more noticeable than when I was pregnant and my belly button is still sort of out, sort of in. For the first few days after having Ace, I could barely get my stomach muscles to twitch when sitting up but now they seem to be waking up a little. Yay.

I forgot the emotional mood swings that come postpartum, going from the highest of highs and wanting to cry out of sheer happiness....to the lows of feeling anxious and like something is wrong with my baby. It seems like as the sun goes down each evening, I feel nervous about SOMETHING...whether that's having enough milk for Ace, feeling like a failure of a mom, or being so exhausted that I assume things are just going to get worse and worse. Luckily it hasn't been anything too bad and by the morning I feel ready to tackle the day and overall very content.

So the belly?

Two days postpartum: going down a lot, but the kids still said I looked pregnant.
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Three days postpartum:
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A nice comparison!
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Six days postpartum
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Again, still a ways to go, but isn't it mind blowing that our bodies change SO MUCH during pregnancy and postpartum? Wallace was inside of my belly a little over a week ago. I don't think I'll ever get over it.

Now I should do a first week recap but dang, blogging takes time, huh? ;) Oh, and Porter turned three the day after we came home from the hospital. Should really blog about that wild card of a boy soon!

20 comments:

  1. I had #2 in late November and also had a wave of the blues wash over pretty intensely every evening when darkness set in - they lasted about 20 min every night for a week to ten days or so. I wonder what causes that time of day to cause the shift in mood or hormones? Our bodies and nature can be crazy!

    Congrats on your new bundle! It's so fun to watch your family grow.

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    1. Hormones are what I blame all of the time!! And thank you;)

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  2. I love all the details! I was sitting here nodding my head to so many things. The engorgement was sooo bad with Drew and I was dreading it with Paige, but it wasn't nearly as bad. I also decided not to pump like a lunatic this time which has helped me not have clogs like I got allll the time with D. Since P won't start daycare until 8 months (in just over 5 weeks...sob) I figured we would be ok with my supply. And yes on the amount of time it takes to go to the bathroom ha. I lost all my weight by about 9 weeks PP and then gained 15 pounds from Zoloft (damn PPA) and think I look so gross. But such is life and I'm off the meds, so happy for small victories! Love watching little Ace grow. Keep posting when you can!! Hugs from ATX!!

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  3. I love reading your whole birth story! Also I love the name Ace! :) Your 3day pp belly looks like me today and I'm 14 weeks pp! :)

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  4. I really loved reading Ace's birth story (I have enjoyed every one of your birth stories) I have followed you since you were pregnant with Truman. I was pregnant with my daughter at the same time. They are a month apart. You have a beautiful family! Much love!

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  5. So much to say!

    1)Gotta love the honesty of kids, lol. Miriam tells me all the time, "Mom, you are getting fat. I know it's because of the baby, but he's making your tummy very fat."

    2)Cannot believe you let your kids hang at the hospital from 5 to 8. You are more mom than me! I clearly remember the kids visiting me after Titus was born and being ready for them to leave within 5 minutes. Pretty sure I only tolerated them for less than an hour.

    3)Your poor eyes. Unbelievable!

    4)As much as I'm excited for another newborn and all the warm and fuzzies that go along with that period in my memories, I am really, really, really NOT looking forward to breastfeeding contractions and tucks pads. Uggghhhhh.

    5)My birth and recovery with Titus were incredibly easy, by far my best experience. I've kinda been banking on that for baby #4 and this is scaring the sh!t out of me. There are no guarantees. I DON'T LIKE THAT.

    6)Good luck this week now that Nate is returning to work! I hope the big kids take it easy on you. I wish we lived closer so I could come by and swoop them up and leave you to sit on your (sore) butt for a few hours. Rest as much as you can (I know, I know...). <3

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    1. I know, I don't want this story to freak people out. My third birth was my easiest and 'favorite', too! Which is why this one was so shocking;) I'm sure your fourth will be smooth, seems like Wallace's birth was just one of a kind;)

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  6. You look amazing right now, I just have to say it. Haha! As for the fun backside issues - I feel ya. Major issues after pushing long and hard with my first and the issue has never fully gone back to normal. Oh, those hormones too... it sounds like you have such a great support system where you are, though, and great nurses and doctors. I don't feel like I got the breastfeeding advice/help that I needed or the emotional advice either. Congratulations again! Such a handsome little man you've added to the family!

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    1. Aw, thank you. I do have a great support system and need to remember that!

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  7. I had 'backend' trouble with my second but not my first. They gave me some cream that helped too. The unfortunate thing is sometimes they flare up. Joys of motherhood I guess. I love all of it! You said in a comment you didn't want to scare people off but this makes me want another one, haha. It's worth it in the end and the miracle of life is an amazing experience. You have it all documented but the pain and stuff is short lived. I saw the picture of you with your mom and all of the kids, I cannot believe you have 4!

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    1. It's a total miracle and worth it!!! Agree that the pain and intensity are short lived, and then you are left with a BABY....pretty amazing pay off!

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  8. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who loves the bubble of the hospital experience. All three of my boys were unexpected c-sections so we ended up staying for about 5 days each time. I loved the time of getting to know each baby and fully soak in that 1 on 1 time with them. It gave me time to mentally relax and really take in the miracle that happened. I also loved watching my older boy/s come and meet their new brother and the excitement that the room had when filled with family.

    Baby blues definitely hit harder after my 2nd son was born in 2012. Happy to sad to laughing all within a few minutes. You've got to love post pregnancy hormones!

    Congratulations on baby Ace! He's adorable and I love seeing the pictures of the kids all together! You're one awesome mama!

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    1. Thank you!! Yes, postpartum hormones are not a joke. I'm so glad we are not alone in this!

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  9. What a sweet story. I'm mainly an annoying lurker but wanted to be sure to thank you for being so open on the blog. It can't be easy, but it is so freaking comforting to read about other people's ups and downs. There is so much joy in these posts, but also the gory reality of birth -- a good balance :) My eyes weren't as bad as yours but I did pop blood vessels and it freaked me out. The things no one tells you...Hope you are getting better!

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    1. Thanks, Krista. I do try hard to keep it real but also embrace the really good parts----even though it's a challenge to be honest without feeling like I'm bragging or complaining too much. It's nice to hear that you appreciate the balance. ;)

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  10. Such a joy to read this birth story (all birth stories - I'm with you!). Congrats on achieving your natural birth goal and I hear you on the intensity and aftermath (my first was totally like that, not the red eyes but everything else - I literally pulled eye muscles pushing and couldn't see). Hang in there. As a longtime reader and barely ever comment-er, I had to say how much I adore your writing and perspective. Welcome to the world, Wallace!

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    1. Thank you for commenting, I love to hear from longtime readers!! ;)

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