Rather than giving a blow-by-blow of our hospital stay and the first few crazy days at home, I opted for a high-low list.
Here are the things I’d like to remember, for better or for worse:
From the hospital
+ I had over an hour in the delivery room to be skin-to-skin with still-cheesy Caitlyn and it was blissful. She nursed like a champ and despite having already made manifest an impressive set of lungs, she was completely calm as I held her.
– I had uncontrollable shivers and shakes for several hours after her birth. My nurse cranked up the temperature in my recovery room and got extra blankets, but it kept me from getting any sleep while they had Caitlyn in the nursery.
– Scott was so exhausted from back-to-back sleepless nights that he crashed on the couch in my room right after I was wheeled up there, and then when Caitlyn was brought back, he moved to a call room at the hospital to try and catch some more sleep.
+ It was so fun to be at the hospital where he works, and get visits from his co-residents and extra smiles and chatter from the nurses. Because Scott is in the middle of his OB rotation, he has actually delivered babies himself and that extra experience was very reassuring to me. When he said something was “normal” or that I was doing “a fabulous job” I was more inclined to believe him. 🙂
+ After one shaky (literally) trip to the bathroom with which I needed some help, I was totally capable of walking and taking care of myself and had my IV removed almost immediately. The pain was so much milder than with Mackenzie’s recovery, with the exception of the after-labor contractions while Caitlyn nursed.
– The after-labor contractions really, really hurt. I felt like I had to breathe through them and gut each one out, but without any of the glamor or support of the contractions in the delivery room. Along with them come the hormonal headaches I had nursing Mackenzie as well. They make the first few days of breastfeeding a bittersweet experience. From what I understand, the cramping is worse with each subsequent child. Ack.
+ My dad brought Mackenzie to the hospital earlier than I was expecting, because he knew I was missing her. She was polite to Caitlyn but mainly focused on me. She wanted to be up in bed with me and tell me all about her morning with Grandpa. I had to laugh because her hair was crazy and her dress on backwards, and all she could talk about was how Grandpa made her a special breakfast with “so many” peaches (some of which were still on her face). She definitely had her priorities straight.
+ This picture shows how tender and loving she has been to her baby sister. She’s always wanting to tuckle her in and include her in prayers and give her kisses and pats.
– What that picture does NOT show is her behavior has otherwise been pretty awful. She’s been doted on by Grandpa Mac and now Grandma Bean, and Scott and I have made special efforts to have time focused just on her… but she’s still having a really rough time adjusting. Despite the fact that Caitlyn is a super easy baby and rarely demands attention, the upheaval is still very real to Mackenzie. Nap times and night times now involve multiple fits, waking up wailing, kicking doors, pulling all the clothes out of her dresser, and pooping multiple times in her diaper (something she gave up doing months ago). We are just hoping it’s a short-term adjustment period and glad she’s still very sweet to her sister.
Living with a newborn
+ Did I mention Caitlyn is an easy baby? She cries maybe half an hour a day, sleeps until I wake her up to feed her (even at night) (even after 4+ hours without eating).
+ We discipline Mackenzie mainly through time-outs, but getting her to take a good time-out up until recently required direct supervision and correction (and the time-out would get longer… and longer.. as she acted up). Not so anymore. She now knows that if she disobeys me while I’m feeding Caitlyn, she has to take a good* time-out on her own or she will need to wait in her room without toys until I’m done feeding Caitlyn and ready to reconcile with her. That’s enough motivation for her to comply with the time-out without a fuss. An unexpected win, but desperate times called for desperate measures. Having her deliberately disobey me when my hands are occupied is a dangerous situation and I needed to nip that in the bud.
*A good time-out means sitting quietly where I tell her to, with her hands in her lap until her time is up.
– We had a little scare as Caitlyn turned more and more yellow after we brought her home from the hospital. On night 4, I called the pediatrician concerned about it when her eyes were noticeably yellow and only the soles of her feet were still a nice pink. She was so sleepy all the time she only nursed for 4 minutes at a feeding and fell right to sleep, and she’d only pooped once since leaving the hospital. Fortunately that night she turned things around, nursed like a champ and pooped 7 times before her appointment the following afternoon and the doctor declared her jaundice had peaked and would start to resolve. He was right and now three days later she is definitely pinker and more alert! She still fills her belly in just 10 minutes most feedings, but I’ve decided that’s a good thing since she’s clearly gaining weight well.
+ I get to see Scott be a new father all over again. It’s a beautiful thing to see a daddy so enamored with his daughter.
Lots of help
+ Between my dad and my mother-in-law, we’ve been living the good life since Caitlyn’s birth. The house is clean, the fridge is stocked with leftovers, and we’ve relished the extra family time.