Caroline Melody was born August 17 at 8:28 pm. The due date was August 9, so we were SO ready. Labor really started at about 7:00 PM on the 16th so it was a very long birth day. She was 7 lbs, 12.5 oz and 20.5 inches. She is the most beautiful precious little baby and I fell in love immediately. She is such a gift!
At some point I'll try to process the birth and put up a birth story. But here is a quick summary: It was absolutely amazing to finally meet her, but the birth did not go exactly as I envisioned it. Because the labor was progressing too slowly I was put on Pitocin and after a few hours of contractions I got an epidural. The anesthesiologist was very, very good and did not make me get the Fentanyl (a narcotic, which I really, really, really did not want to take)!!! The OB's and nurses said an epidural would be useless without the opiate, but I was so tired and scared when I finally gave in and got it. The anesthesiologist was wonderful though and said he would certainly administer an epidural with only the steroid and was very supportive about not having the narcotic. I had done hypnobirthing, which worked very well until the Pitocin and I just could not manage the contractions anymore. They were one right after the other, with almost no time in between and they literally had me jumping out of my skin in terror. A small part of me feels like such a failure for getting the epidural. But, another part of me wishes I had done it earlier because then I could actually be present. As soon as they administered the epidural they checked my cervix again and I was at 9.75 cm!! Pushing her out was the most amazing experience. DP was right there with me and he was SO AMAZING! I pushed for about an hour and a half and it seemed like it took forever for them to put her on my chest. I just remember crying and begging for her and DP crying about how beautiful she was while they did the first examination!
It was an amazing experience as it was. Even though almost everything from my "birth preferences" was totally ignored and I caved in and got the epidural and was basically forced to take the Pitocin, it was just so amazing for this beautiful little angel to join our family. My Dear Partner has been the most amazing and wonderful partner to me and father to Caroline. We are a family now and I am so grateful. That being said, except for her hearing screen I will never, ever set foot in that hospital again. EVER. If we ever have another baby I will not plan a hospital birth. I thought DP and I were ready to advocate for the birth we wanted but I felt completely railroaded from the moment I was there. I felt like I was treated like an ignorant and hysterical woman from the beginning. I am so angry with the hospital, the system, etc.
As soon as Caroline was born she was raspy and had difficulty breathing. We were given a couple of hours with her and my family was able to come in and meet her then they took her away. DP stayed with Caroline and I was sleeping within minutes. DP really stepped up and I feel so connected to him and so excited that he's such a wonderful father. The nurse sucked up a huge piece of phlegm which I am assuming is why she sounded so raspy those first few hours. They did a blood test which showed her white blood cells to be high and started antibiotics. She was supposed to be on a 48 hour hold. The next night the blood test showed her CRP to be a little high. They immediately started a seven day course of antibiotics IN CASE there was an infection. We were stuck in the hospital this whole time. No internet, and only enough cell phone reception to send a text. There was a room phone which we could use to make local calls, BUT STILL!!!! Other than the difficulty breathing that first night Caroline had no symptoms. They drew blood from her constantly. On Day 4 her IV stopped working and they tried on three different occasions for more than an hour to stick in another IV. Her veins were shot though. They finally ended up giving her four shots of antibiotics each day. I will never, ever forget how horrifying it was to hear her scream and scream while they tried to get blood/ find a vein. I felt so powerless and isolated. And I nearly went crazy in that hospital room during that week. It feels better to process it now, but I have never felt so useless and inadequate.
Today we are home. Caroline is finally home. (And we are moving this weekend.) We were supposed to be in the hospital for two days, instead we were there for seven. They let us take her for a walk outside three times during this week, and that was like trying to move mountains.
We'll never know if she had any kind of infection. I wanted to take her and leave so many times. Dear Partner's entire week of leave was spent in that horrible, horrible hospital room.
But today she is home. She is safe. She seems healthy. I am so grateful. She is such a wonderful, sweet little baby. I could not ask for a more wonderful baby. I already feel like I have failed her since she had to go through all that. And, probably for no reason.
Dear Partner and I are closer than we have ever been. And I am having faith that Caroline will be okay despite all of this trauma in the first week of her life. I just know that I love her more than anything. DP and I have grown and changed in immeasurable ways.
I am so grateful to be home. I am so grateful to be able to read what is happening with all of you other Mamas again - I feel so much more okay.
Here are a few pics of our precious little angel. We can not stop staring at her!