Saturday, July 30, 2016

One Week Old/One Week Postpartum

I can't believe it's been a whole week since we welcomed our sweet Eloise Jane into the world!

Sleepy smiles at one week old

I am full on into the sleep deprived bliss of the newborn period... it is a strange and magical place to be, where days are sloooow going and it's hard to get anything 'done' but hold and tend to baby. I am SO thankful BC was able to take a 2 week Paternity leave (basically he is taking paid vacation days)- as we are now mastering the 1 to 1 defense. He and Iyla are spending some wonderful quality time together, and I truly think it is helping her transition go incredibly smoothly. In fact, there doesn't appear to be ANY transition for her- she is as happy and carefree and loving as always, constantly wanting to kiss and hold and "pet" her baby sister. It makes my heart swell.

This post is going to serve as a 'catch all' of Eloise's first week so I can keep updating from here. Because you know I already have hundreds of photos that need to be posted. ; )

Like this adorable one! 
Iyla and her Mimi at Iyla's school when Mimi and Grampy were here caring for her. 

The best quote of Mimi & Grampy's visit happened one night when Mimi was putting Iyla to bed. Iyla- not wanting Mimi to go- said:

"Mimi's don't go to sleep"
My mom replied "Oh yes, Mimi's DO go to sleep."
To which Iyla retorted: "No they don't. Mimi's are nocturnal." 

Way to whip out the fancy science vocabulary, kid!

Our 2nd day in the hospital brought with it our first visitors- my parents and Iyla. We were SO excited for Iyla to meet her baby sister! We wanted her to come in first for a little family time, and I had a present ready "from Baby Eloise" for her- a stuffed Mama kitty that has 3 magnetic nursing kittens.


When Iyla first entered the room she didn't want to hug or greet me- she just wanted to see Baby Sister in the bassinet. We took Eloise out and asked Iyla if she wanted to hold her, getting a "No! I don't like her."

Alrighty then.

The Mama kitty was taken out and given (big hit! She declared "I've been dreaming of having this kitty) and Iyla took to playing with her new toy on the floor while my parents came in for their first meeting.

As Iyla observed her Mimi holding Eloise she came over and said that she wanted a turn too. BC and I remarked later how silly it was for us to forget our slow-to-warm little girl.... who always needs to do things in her own time, in her own way.

After a little time and observation she was now ready to officially greet her little sister.

And it was magic.

As Iyla held Eloise, she kissed her head and cooed: "I'm your big sister. I'll take care of you."

*Cue heart melting*

Aaaand.... a moment later Iyla announced "I'm all done!"

She is 3.5, after all.

Here are a few photos of this precious first meeting:

Warming up with her little kitty family

 Observing Mimi first

 This is what we got when my dad asked Iyla to smile for a photo

A family of four! Holy s***


Eloise rocked all of the hospital newborn screening tests, passing her hearing test, heart exams, and bilirubin draw (thank GOD!) with flying colors. So on Sunday, July 24th we got the green light to head on home! 

 Little squish's first time in the car seat


Iyla was super excited to have us all home again, and thankfully Mimi and Grampy stayed another night to help facilitate our transition home as a family. I can't say enough about how helpful it is to have extra pairs of loving hands helping out!

Grampy and his baby Eloise

As far as me? At one week postpartum, my body is slowly but surely healing and adjusting. My milk came in the afternoon we got home from the hospital (so about 36 hours after birth)- and Eloise has thankfully been an excellent nurser from day 1! Painful engorgement set in sometime Monday night (3 days postpartum) as my body worked to make sense of the milk arrival. I opted in lieu of pumping right away to let my body and Eloise work it out and get acquainted with one another. Happily the engorgement let up Thursday, around day 5-6 pp.

My lovely hemorrhoids temporarily got better at 4 days pp, but came back with a vengeance day 5 when my constipation FINALLY let up. I now have a cushy donut-esque sitting pillow on order to hopefully expedite this part of the recovery.

I could tell Thursday into today there was a lot of hormonal purging going on, as I got some serious night sweats, a pick up in bleeding (which has been very light since about 3 days pp), a headache, &....*ahem*- the opposite of constipation. I know it's my body's way of readjusting to no longer being pregnant, and its definitely an interesting phenomenon to experience!

Other postpartum notes:

*My feet were OH so swollen post birth (and still are somewhat)- which is a common side effect of all the fluids they use during the epidural.

*My hair! I've had a week straight of great hair days, with it looking and feeling more thick and full. Not sure what is up with that, but I like it.

*I'm feeling cold again. The thermostats are turned back up and cardigans have been pulled out.

*This 1:1 defense is NO JOKE. I am so grateful BC has two weeks off to help- and that help looks like him fully taking over Iyla care. Which leaves me primarily in charge of/mostly alone in Eloise care. Which also means I'm not eating or drinking as much as I should (or sleeping, but that is to be expected)- because it is just sooo hard to do these things one handed with a newborn! Yesterday I didn't eat breakfast until 11:30am. Thankfully today I was on a more normal morning schedule, thanks to BC having set up a 2nd monitor upstairs for Eloise watching.

*At one week postpartum, I have lost 15 1/2 of the 37 pounds gained in pregnancy. My belly is shrinking a little more every day and it feels OH SO GOOD to be able to move freely again!

 Selfie with Eloise in her nursery

One week postpartum belly

As far as Lady Eloise goes, she is overall a really sweet, loving, alert spirit- but will definitely let you know if she doesn't like something (like car rides, diaper changes, & being put down when still awake)! She is sleeping the days away in 2-4 hour nap stretches, and nights... well, nights she pretty consistently is up EVERY 2 hours. We've had a couple glorious nights with 3 hour stretches, but it also isn't uncommon for her to wake EVERY hour either. I'm one sleepy Mama, but again- am luxuriating in this gentle, sweet newborn phase. I'm already feeling emotional about it all as I know how quickly it passes and that this is our last go at it.

Eloise had her first doctor appointment this week at 4 days old (BC and Iyla came too!), and was none too pleased to have to endure the car ride there:

 Grumpy girl after a LOT of crying in the backseat. It's heartbreaking to hear her back there and not be able to help!

She weighed in at 7lbs 1 oz- which is AWESOME since she is almost back up to birth weight (she went down to 6#15oz at the hospital). All that night nursing is doing its job! She measured 20 3/4 inches long, head 14 inches, putting her at 95% for height, 30% for weight, and 90% for head size. Another long and lean girl like her big sister Iyla!

The doctor mentioned she looked slightly jaundiced (NO! I had immediate flashbacks to our hospital stay with Iyla due to this)... but said if she was eating well (yes) and pooping regularly (super YES- this girl goes almost every hour!) we should be just fine. I thanked our lucky stars for that!

The one shot I got AT the doctor's office itself... sweet girl was none too happy about all the poking and prodding, so I had to wait for a peaceful moment to officially document her visit.

Eloise also had her first chiropractic adjustment at 5 days old. She was peaceful on the car ride there but screamed the entire way home. While Dr. Ron was holding and adjusting her she let loose a big poo- it was pretty hilarious and Dr. Ron was more than happy to then hand her back to Mama.

Ready for our first solo outing to the chiropractor

Here are a few more photos of sweet Lady Eloise's first week of life:

Baby sleep poses are just too much. I can't stop taking photos!

 This is one of her favorite sleep positions. I've been having her sleep in bed next to me and she always curls her little body and/or head to face me.


I've also taken to calling Eloise "chicken legs"- and you can see why! She appears to have the same long legs as Iyla, courtesy of their Papa (lucky girls!):


As far as Big Sister goes? She has been having a blast with her Papa staycation. He takes her to school, swim and dance lessons, out on adventures (the park, the museum), out for breakfast and dinner... it's been a really sweet time for those two.

Here are some shots from Iyla's past week:

They go out to breakfast at the local Quickie Pickie several mornings a week

Iyla also had her first ever trip to the dentist this week! Papa reported that she did awesome, bringing her beloved "Dinies" (dinosaurs) with her for support:


Iyla ALWAYS wants to see what Baby Sister is up to- she is sooo sweet with her

All my girls

Boat safety at swim class!

In closing, a comparison shot of newborn Iyla (on the left) and newborn Eloise. They are definitely sisters! A bit different noses, but other than that... a lot of similarities. I'm curious to see if the resemblance remains as Eloise grows and changes.


Feeling oh so blessed and oh so grateful for my two beautiful, healthy little girls!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Story of Eloise Jane

Our sweet baby Eloise Jane is here!

She arrived on Friday, July 22nd at 11:04pm after 11 hours of labor. She weighed in at 7lbs 4oz, and measured 19 3/4 inches (though I think the hospital measured incorrectly- because yesterday at our 4 day old doctor appointment she measured 20 3/4!).

Here is her birth story.

Weather forecast the day Eloise joined the world 

We had an induction set for 7am Friday July 22nd. My parents- Iyla's Mimi and Grampy- arrived the day prior to get settled in toward caring for Iyla. I hardly slept at all the night before the induction- so much going through my mind! Perhaps my body was already prepping me toward the sleepless newborn period ahead.

 Last belly shots taken the morning of our induction at 39 weeks, 3 days

When we arrived at the hospital, we were told there weren't any rooms available and that it would be up to a 2 hour delay. Apparently there were a lot of babies being born that day! So BC and I settled into the waiting room, where I treated myself to a 2nd breakfast (egg, cheese, & bacon croissant)- knowing that once the induction got started I wouldn't be allowed to eat any more solid food.

Finally around 9am we were officially admitted and given a room. The nurse put my IV in and started the Penicillin toward treating the Group B Strep. That medicine definitely HURT on the way into my arm; with each subsequent round I'd get throughout the day I'd again have the pain, necessitating ice packs on top of the IV. I was told I'd need at least 30 minutes of Penicillin in my system before the Pitocin could begin.

Hospital board in our room- #12 

Right before they started the Pitocin my midwife did a vaginal check, and it was confirmed that I was 4cm dilated, 50% effaced, and baby was at a -2 station. They then started the Pitocin at 11:55am- a very low lose of 1.5 to gently get my contractions started and my body warmed up toward labor.

At 12:30 I got an epidural, which was uncomfortable and somewhat painful to get. I could feel the needle going into my spine and working its way up and down. I have NO memory of this pain with Iyla's epidural, likely due to the fact that I was already in painful active labor. Similar to Iyla's this was a "perfect" epidural in that I could still completely move the bottom half of my body; I could feel my legs and feet, and could feel the pressure of each contraction.

At 1:15 my water was broken and the Pitocin was upped to 3. At this time my cervix had progressed to a 70% effacement and I was still at 4cm dilation. Shortly thereafter at 2pm they opted to reduce the Pitocin dose, as my contractions- which were coming very regularly- were lasting too long in each wave.

At 2:30 they started a 2nd round of Penicillin. I was sipping water and apple juice and overall just resting the best I could as the contractions beeped by on the monitor.

By 3:45 I started feeling a big uptick in overall pressure, to the point where it started getting painful. When I was rechecked at 4pm I was now 5 cm dilated, 90% effaced, and baby had moved down slightly to a -1 station.

As my swearing intensified with each contraction, the nurse ordered a refresh on my epidural from the anesthesiologist. It took a little while to settle in, but I knew the moment it did because the pain subsided and along with that came nausea and vomiting. This vomiting would continue on and off for the rest of my labor.

At 5:40pm I was checked and was at 8cm, 90% effaced, 0 station with a "big bloody show!" (as exclaimed by the nurse attending). The nurse and my doctor decided to have me sit upright for awhile and labor that way, which actually felt really great to my body (I'd been flat on my back all day, going from side to side, and had a pretty mean crick in my neck). A 3rd round of Penicillin was begun.

Why yes, I did take a "I'm about to meet my baby girl" selfie! 

I was still feeling the contractions much more than I had with Iyla's labor, and was really trying to relax and breathe through them (though I was also swearing quite a bit!). I pushed my epidural "freshen" button a few times and was then able to get into a really Zen meditative state- eyes closed, just breathing in and out rhythmically and trying to visualize baby moving down.

At 8:50 we began an initial round of pushing, lasting around 20-25 minutes. When that didn't result in obvious progress my doctor asked me if I preferred pushing or laboring (I had no idea!) then said her gut was to stop the pushing and let me labor for awhile longer to see if I could help further visualize and move baby down. They kept my feet up in stirrups, and my doctor "bound" my belly- tying a sheet snug above where baby was to help encourage her descent from the outside pressure.

At this point I asked BC to play some music. Nick Drake was put on, and as the music played I swayed and shimmied my hips to the rhythm. We would DANCE this baby out! We spoke to the baby, trying to entice her by letting her know that the music sounded so much better here on the outside.

Around 10:40 my doctor returned and we decided to try pushing again. Within 4-5 pushes that little head crowned, and as I sat with the most intense pressure ever my doctor and the nurse got everything prepped for delivery. When I got the green light to push again it took 3-4 more rounds before baby was officially born- arriving at 11:04pm. She came out with the cord wrapped 2 times tightly around her neck, which my doctor immediately loosened toward delayed cord clamping. I had a 2nd degree tear that was stitched up, and as with Iyla's birth, had some pretty awful and painful hemorrhoids emerge.

Baby girl had some great lungs on her from the get-go, though calmed quickly when laid on my chest for initial skin to skin. I was flat on my back so couldn't really prop her up- but the sweetest thing ever was that she kept craning her neck to try to get a good look at me... trying to see just who this lady was who'd been carrying her all these months! She also latched onto my breast her very first try with a strong latch and has continued to be a champion nurser ever since.

You can see her trying to look up at me here. So sweet! 

After about an hour of skin to skin baby was taken to be weighed & measured, then BC went with her to the nursery for her first bath. She received an 8/9 on her Apgar Score and continued to be extremely alert throughout those initial hours.

The intense waves of nausea and vomiting persisted even after baby was out, so at 2:40am I finally caved and asked the nurse to get me anti nausea medication. We'd been avoiding it up until then because it is known to constipate (and having an epidural is already constipating!)- but man oh man do I wish I would have taken it from the get-go. It worked fast and I was finally able to hold down sips of water and juice again.

Baby girl returned from the nursery with BC around 2:45am, and we were told we'd be staying the rest of the night in the delivery room, as due to all the births that day there weren't yet any postpartum rooms available.

It wasn't until the next morning that we finally settled once and for all on her name...sweet baby Eloise Jane! We took to calling her Lady Eloise pretty early on, and it's a nickname that has stuck and definitely fits her. The name Eloise has several meanings, which include "healthy," "warrior," and "sun." She is definitely our little warrior girl after all it took to bring her here! Her middle name Jane is a nod to my beloved maternal grandmother Nani, whose name was Betty Jane.

Here are a few precious photos of Eloise's first hours of life. We are absolutely smitten, and so incredibly grateful that she had a safe, healthy arrival into this world.

Welcome to the family, sweet girl! 
You are so incredibly loved.