Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ellie's Birth Day

Elizabeth Susanne was born on Monday, July 16 at 12:47PM.  This is our sweet Ellie girl.
So that Monday began just like any other day with our usual morning routine.  But there was a lot of excitement and anticipation for the hours to pass quickly until we could hold our baby and, of course, find out if baby was a he or a she.  We dropped Mason and Hannah Kate off at Aunt Ashley's house, and Seth and I headed to the hospital.  We checked in, and I was prepared for surgery.  We got to listen to Baby's heartbeat for a good while.  Baby was very active, and the heartbeat was anywhere from 158-181 during those final minutes.  We got to see Mason and Hannah Kate one last time before going to the operating room.

I'd forgotten how many doctors and nurses are present for a c-section.  I had three (yes, three!) nurses assigned to me, there was a nurse for the baby, the anesthesiologist, an anesthesiology student, my doctor and another doctor and nurse assisting my doctor.  I was ready a few minutes early so they went ahead and started the surgery just before 12:30.  Honestly, it seemed like it was taking forever!  I don't know if it really was taking longer than the other two c-sections I had or if it was just the anticipation of finally seeing our baby.  During those minutes, I was thinking about the day Mason was born and the first time I saw him and held him.  And then I remembered the day Hannah Kate was born, the first time I saw her and held her.  I wanted to remember every single detail, every single feeling about this baby's birth, too.

So finally my doctor leaned over to where I could see her to be sure I was okay.  And, of course, I was.  She then asked if I'd had any infection from my last c-section.  That's never a good question.  I told her I did not.  She then explained that there was a lot of scar tissue she was having to work through, some of which was very close to my bladder. She said she was having to move very slowly and carefully so it was taking longer than usual.  But we finally got there.

One of my nurses was taking pictures for us (Seth learned the hard way the first time around not to "look" during the surgery).  When I later saw this picture, the very first thing that came to mind was that baby came out praising Jesus!  Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord!  I'm outta there!
Dr. W had already asked if I wanted her to announce the baby's gender as soon as she knew or if I wanted Seth to look first and then tell me.  Of course I told her to tell me as soon as she knew!  I'd already told everyone I thought I was having a boy so we were all anxious to find out.  Obviously I couldn't see anything so Dr. W was telling me what was happening once she finally got to the baby.  Her first comment was, "Oh, this is a little one."  In other words, not a 10 pounder!  So the baby is out, but I still can't see anything, and Dr. W forgot momentarily to tell us what the baby was so the nurses and I at the same time were nearly yelling, "What is it?!?"  A girl.  A girl?  A girl!  I guess this time the mother's intuition was wrong!  And then she brought her around for me to see.
When Seth and I first saw her, we both said she looks like Hannah Kate.  And then the tears came.  I couldn't help it.  Dr. W gave Ellie to the nurse, and she brought her even closer so I could see her.  I reached out to her, and Ellie grabbed my finger for a moment.
So the next question became that of Ellie's weight.  Prior to Dr. W arriving in the operation room, two of my nurses were laughing and commenting how the baby was positioned on the left side of my belly, thus make it lop-sided.  I then said something about having a 10 pounder (based on that sonogram at 35 weeks that indicated baby already weighed 6 lbs 9 oz).  They both said there was no way that baby weighed 10 pounds or even close.  They were shocked when I told them about the sonogram.  Ellie was, indeed, smaller than we thought.  As a matter of fact, she was the smallest of all three of my children!  She weighed 7 lbs 9 oz.  She was 21 inches long.  Mason weighed 8 lbs 1 oz, Hannah Kate weighed 8 lbs 5 oz and they were also both 21 inches long.
Ellie's nurse then cleaned her up, took her footprints and swaddled her.
Because of the extent of the scar tissue, it took Dr. W awhile to "put me back together again."  I was so intent at keeping my eyes on Ellie and everything going on around me.  But then I got really hot and light headed and really thought I was going to pass out.  I wasn't sure what was happening, and I was fighting to stay awake so I wouldn't miss anything.  One of my nurses quickly noticed that I was obviously not feeling good so I was given additional antibiotics and cold compresses.  I suddenly felt overwhelmingly tired, but I also felt better.  And then I got to "hold" Ellie for the first time.

After the surgery was finished, I got to really hold Ellie.  And then it was time to introduce her to Mason, Hannah Kate, PawPaw, MawMaw, Aunt Ashley and Abbie.  We were wheeled to a conference room area where they were already waiting.  I was still overwhelmed with so much emotion and feelings I can't really describe.  I didn't even know what to say.  I couldn't see Seth at that point, but I knew he had to be there somewhere.  So the first thing I said when we saw everyone was not, "It's a girl!" but "Where's Seth?"  I needed him to tell them because I couldn't get the words out.  We hadn't really talked about this part.  I had a great idea, or so I thought, earlier in the morning.  I told Seth to take a blue shirt and his pink polo shirt with us and to change into the shirt according to the baby's gender before going to tell everyone.  He didn't think it was a great idea.

I'm not sure how long we were there before I finally said something, but I know especially Abbie was so anxious and asking.  She then commented that she guessed it was a boy.  So I think I remember saying, "No, it's a girl."  Everyone was surprised.  And then the kids came around to the side of my bed so they could see her better.  Mason just stared at her.  I told him it was okay to touch her, and he didn't stop caressing her cheek the whole time we were there.  And then we were taken to recovery.
Once in recovery, Ellie and I each had a nurse.  Ellie was given her first bath.
After recovery we went to our room.  Everyone was already there waiting on us.  Several days earlier, we'd gone shopping for big brother and big sister gifts for Mason and Hannah Kate.  So we let Ellie give her big brother and big sister their gifts.

And then it was time for them to hold the baby.  Abbie was only a little bit excited.  Can't you tell?  I know she would love the baby either way, but I also know she really wanted a girl cousin.
And then Mason and Hannah Kate gave Ellie the gifts they'd picked out and wrapped for her.
Hannah Kate was excited to hold Ellie for the first time.
I just love Hannah Kate's big smile in this picture.  She was so proud.
And Mason couldn't wait to hold her either.
I can honestly say Mason was absolutely SMITTEN.  He sat in that chair and held Ellie for the better part of 20 minutes.  She was a little fussy by this point, but she quickly calmed down after she landed in Mason's arms.
And here she is, our beautiful Ellie girl.
Those next couple of days in the hospital were just priceless.  Even though I was in a fair amount of pain and very uncomfortable, I enjoyed every minute of it (not the pain, the time).  All of our nurses were so wonderful to us.  One of my most favorite things was the time I got to spend with Seth.  Even if we weren't saying anything, I just enjoyed having him there, enjoyed his presence.  Many times his work schedule does not allow us to spend the time together that I would like.  So this uninterrupted time was priceless.  And we both spent a lot of time holding our baby.
We had visits from Mason and Hannah Kate each day, friends, family.  We received flowers and gifts.
And the hospital food really wasn't that bad.  It was actually, for the most part, pretty good.  But not near as good as these yummy cupcakes my bestie had delivered to us!
And, of course, I couldn't keep my eyes (or my arms) off of our Ellie girl.  The first night, my nurse walked in around 4:00AM and said, "You're still holding that baby?!"  Why, yes I am!  

I still think she looks like Hannah Kate from the nose up.  And I see Mason in her, too.  But her mouth is different from theirs.  She loves to suck her bottom lip under her top lip, and she has a little button chin.  She has the longest fingers.  They might play the piano one day!  And she has long toes, too, which she gets from her Daddy.  She has a very little bit of hair.

It took awhile, but Ellie finally started nursing well.  She also slept and rested so well during the nights we were in the hospital.  She really was so easy.  Too easy, it seemed.

Most c-section patients stay three nights in the hospital, but I'd already asked my doctor if we could go home after two nights.  And we did.  We were dismissed late Wednesday afternoon to go home.

Elizabeth Susanne.  Elizabeth is a name that I came to love about four years ago.  I can't really explain why or how it began.  I think it's very southern and even vintage and romantic.  And I love the story in the Bible when Mary, the mother of Jesus, went to visit her cousin Elizabeth after she found out she was expecting.  And then we found out that Seth's great grandmother, who had a special relationship with his mom, was named Elizabeth.  My mom's name is Susan so that's where Susanne came from.  We've known for the past couple of years that if we had another girl, her name would be Elizabeth Susanne.  One more thing.  Remember how Hannah Kate wanted to name a girl baby Lily?  Well, Susanne means lily!

And our boy name?  Elijah Lee.  Like I mentioned in an earlier post, we decided on the boy name only two weeks ago.  I have a cousin name Elijah so that's why we'd never considered that name before.  I've always loved that name.  During the past month, that name seemed to come up a lot.  We've been reading through the Bible with Mason and Hannah Kate this year, and we recently read about Elijah.  It was soon after that when I mentioned it to Seth to see what he thought.  He really liked it, but I still wasn't sure.  The Sunday after that, we sang Days of Elijah at church.  So that's when I knew.  That was it.  We would call him Eli.  And my dad's middle name is Lee so that's where that came from.  I then monogrammed a onesie and hat for Eli, which I will now save as another memory from this pregnancy.
As for me . . . well . . . I'd prepared myself for an easy recovery and a difficult baby.  But it has, in fact, been the exact opposite.  I can't explain it.  All I can say is that Ellie is a dream baby.  She sleeps a lot, hardly ever fusses.  She nurses around 10:30PM and then I put her down in the cradle.  She sleeps until usually 3:00AM or so before waking up for another feeding.  Once we're done with that, she goes right back down until 6:30AM or so.  I don't have to coax her back to sleep.  She just falls asleep on her own.  I've definitely gotten more sleep at night during the past week than I did the two months prior to her birth!  Mason was a rather good baby, but it took a lot to get him back to sleep after night feedings during the first six weeks or so of his life.  And Hannah Kate?  Well, we had many months of sleepless nights with her.  I don't think she slept through the night until she was 18 months old.  And she was just, overall, a fussy baby.  I keep waiting on Ellie to "wake up," the dream to end.  But eight days later, she's still the easiest, quietest baby ever!

Today I took Ellie to the pediatrician for her first check-up.  She weighed 6 lbs 14 oz when we left the hospital last Wednesday.  Today she weighed 7 lbs 5.5 oz.  She's almost back up to her birth weight, and that's huge for me.  Hannah Kate lost nearly a pound after she was born, and it took nearly a month for her to gain it back.  We spent the first three weeks of her life going to the doctor every three days or so for weight checks.  I'm so thankful we are having a better nursing experience this time around because I wasn't even sure I could nurse again after all of that.

I'm also so thankful that (for now, at least) Ellie is such an easy baby and is sleeping so well at night.  My recovery this time around has been slow, difficult and painful.  Part of that is due to all of the scar tissue.  And I am older this time around.  I went today to have my staples removed and saw one of Dr. W's partners since I'm still having a lot of soreness.  He very gently told me that I was supposed to be on bed rest for two weeks and that he could tell from the swelling in my stomach that I've been on my feet too much.  He told me I needed to go home and not sit down but lay down and stay off my feet.  There's really nothing a mother of three can say to that.  I just smiled and nodded my head in agreement.  If I'm being honest, I definitely stretched the limits yesterday (but I had a very good reason to do so . . . a photographer came and took pictures of the children . . . said photo session took four hours).  So I'm trying to follow doctor's orders now.

I can't say enough about my biggies.  Mason and Hannah Kate just dote over Ellie all day long.  I think I might have to create a chart to keep up with whose turn it is to hand me a diaper, pick out her clothes, hold her.  And even though it has been hard at times, they have been so patient with me.  Seth went back to work yesterday so it's been the four of us, and I can't do for them yet like they are used to.  I can't walk up the stairs to their rooms or the playroom yet.  Ellie usually nurses every two hours during the day, and those nursing sessions last 20-30 minutes.  They have been so sweet to play together, to get along so well together.  They really are like best friends.  They compromise well when deciding what to do.  And as much as I ache to get down on the floor with them or take them swimming, I'm definitely not there yet.  So I have to be content to enjoy the laughter and fun I hear spilling over from upstairs.  I can't wait until I can join them again.  I've tried my best to make them feel special and remind them how much I love them and how proud I am of them.  My feelings about that has also, I think, made this recovery more difficult.  I guess I forgot that having a c-section really is major surgery.  And I need to be patient and give everything a little more time to heal.

Time.  I am savoring every minute of it.  Ellie is already eight days old.  Hannah Kate now seems so big.  She'll start kindergarten next year.  And Mason?  I was shocked yesterday when I realized that the top of his head reaches my chest now.  He'll start 2nd grade in just two and a half weeks.  It just doesn't seem possible.  I think, instead of wishing that time would slow down, I need to make the most of the time we have, the most of each minute of every day.  That's my plan.  And that's all the plan I need as the now mother of three!

1 comment:

The Applings said...

Loved reading all the details..this entry was filled with so much emotion & love! Thanks for sharing...I look forward to many more posts about the Bayham "3!"