I'm back, and I've got a new baby with me.
Yes, this past week has been an eventful one since my last post. My labor started on Monday afternoon, August 14, and though it took a long, long time, by 1:00 a.m. it was clear it was the real thing and it was time to get to the hospital and begin the C-section process. Baby Genevieve Rose joined our family on Tuesday August 15th at 3:27 a.m., 1-1/2 weeks before our previously scheduled C-section date and 3 weeks before our official due date. She weighed 7 lbs. 1 oz. and is healthy and well. We are home from the hospital now (as of Friday at noon), and are recuperating and hibernating, for the most part. I'm far too tired and sore to think straight, but here are a few observations to leave you with for now:
A C-section, while somewhat terrifying and unpleasant, isn't as scary as one might think, and as painful as the recovery is (more narcotics, please!), it is NOTHING compared to my recovery from Julia's vaginal birth, when I felt like my body was in multiple separate pieces for many, many weeks. I mean: I can actually walk. I can sit down. I don't have to fit 4 baths a day into my nursing schedule. My body feels intact. I don't feel like I'm going to faint every five minutes.
An interesting note: Genevieve was born with a deep purple bruise across her forehead, where she apparently was wedged in tight against my pelvic bone, most likely in the same occiputposterior position that caused Julia's delivery to be so difficult and protracted. And, after 8 hours of contractions with this baby, I wasn't even dilated yet--another reminder of my 4-day labor with our first. All this is to say, the doctors here think I would have had a repeat of my first labor/delivery experience, had we not already decided a C-section was the way to go. Whew.
I love love love Darvocet. Darvocet plus a Diet Coke caffeine fix is even better. Heaven, even.
Guess what? At nice, small-town hospitals, they don't KICK YOU OUT of the maternity ward one night after giving birth. They let you stay the entire legally mandated time, and they ASK YOU what time of day you'd like to leave. Even though you give birth at 3:30 in the morning and your hospital stay is 3 days from time of birth, they don't take that literally and tell you that you have to leave on day 2 because they don't want to have to discharge you in the middle of the night on day 3. In fact, they let you stay as long into day 3 as you want, even giving you MEALS and HELP GETTING TO YOUR CAR when you actually go. They give your older baby a plastic hospital bracelet that says "Big Sister Julia" on it. They let you pick out a handmade knitted baby hat for the new baby to go home in.
While I am too experienced to count my chickens prematurely, I will say this: nursing is much, much easier the second time around. Your milk comes in sooner, and there's more of it from the get-go. You know what you're doing. You don't know for sure how it will continue to go, but you aren't too worried about it. If complications arise, you'll recognize them immediately and mobilize help.
Though it is far too early to be smug and nonchalant about the baby's demeanor---we all know the early days are generally not typical---so far, Genevieve's first 2 nights of life have been completely different from Julia's. Julia screamed all night long from her first night on this planet. Genevieve nurses, then goes back to sleep, then nurses again 2 hours later, then goes back to sleep. Repeat. Repeat. Pray to God this continues.
More in days to come!