~ Welcome Baby James!
Our apartment was all a buzz as my parents flew in from Alabama on the 19th in anticipation of our scheduled c-section on the 20th. I found that last minute energy to make a nice meal for them as they arrived - first time I'd cooked a REAL meal in weeks. haha My hormones made me cry at the sight of seeing them at my dining table. That afternoon, we took the last preggo pictures with the whole family. We had a great time visiting.
Early the next morning, my Dad dropped me, Bobby and Mom at the hospital. In no time, I was hooked up to all the wires and tubes and was still surprisingly CALM. I really didn't get nervous at all through the whole process. It was so helpful having been through it before and, of course, having planned for a c-section this time rather than the previous emergency made it much better.
The surgery room was SO COLD but they were nice to give me extra warm blankies. The anesthesiologist had to poke me twice with the spinal block. It wasn't painful, but it was a little scary just knowing WHAT he was doing. This hospital's policy is that the birth partners aren't allowed in the surgery room until after the block is in so I didn't really like not having Bobby there for that part. Once that was over, both Mom and Bobby were allowed to come in and sit beside my head.
The surgery part was painless. They did have a little trouble getting him out and one doctor was pushing down on my upper abdomen REALLY hard trying to push baby out of the incision. THAT I felt for SURE! In fact I was bruised for a while after that. They even had to use suction on James' head to get him out. I'd never heard of having to do that with a c-section.
I was so nervous - as we all are - to hear how he looked. Obviously, being an older mom, I was worried about Down's or other issues. As soon as they pulled him out, everyone in the room was remarking on how huge he was and especially how HUGE his head was. Obviously, that worried me a little. When I finally got to see him, he looked perfectly adorable and all his tests showed everything was great. He weighed in at 8 lb 14 oz!
Pretty soon we were in the recovery room and I was able to hold him and do some skin-to-skin time. The twins were allowed to come into the recovery room one at a time to meet their little brother. They were so excited to see him. Jonathan was really worried about me and had been asking my parents questions about what state I would be in when he saw me. I think he expected me to be a lot more fragile after surgery.
Later that evening, I got out of bed for the first time. The nurses seemed a little surprised that I wanted to do it so soon instead of waiting until the next morning, but I was determined to promote a speedy recovery. I had an abdominal binder on which really helped with the pain of standing up. The next day, I was free from the catheter and able to walk around a bit.
As I had feared after my first birth, I had trouble breastfeeding. James is like my daughter not wanting to latch on and being a lazy sucker. I also have a really slow flow which makes the situation worse. I kept trying and trying and finally had to use a nipple shield. That is something that wasn't offered to me with the twins and I believe it is saving our nursing relationship this time around. He would latch on pretty good with the shield, but is still a VERY lazy eater. Feeding was a struggle throughout our whole time in the hospital. Finally a lactation consultant suggested that I start pumping while in the hospital and supplement with that using a bottle. That was helpful in getting my supply going and he needed the nutrients.
On day 2, he developed jaundice so we had to do the bili blanket. It is a blanket with lights to help the body process the bilirubin. It broke my heart to see him in it with the blinders over his eyes. But fortunately, we could still hold him while he was in it which is much better than other options.
Naturally, we didn't get any good sleep in the hospital between taking care of baby and all the nurses coming and going. I don't know how anyone can sleep while in the hospital. I was so anxious to get home that I rushed it and looking back, shouldn't have. I went home on the third day even though I could have stayed one more. Going home turned into a disaster. I needed a pump because I was still having to pump since James wouldn't feed very well. It was Saturday, so renting from the hospital was not an option. I tried sending my parents to buy a pump but they didn't find what we needed at the first store. So we ended up going home and then my husband had to go into downtown Los Angeles to find one at another Target. Funny... none of us even thought of looking at Babies R Us ... DUH!! That is just one example of how my rush to get home caused more problems that were necessary that day.
But we made it home. My twins had cleaned the whole house and made a sweet welcome home poster. James continued to struggle with breastfeeding to the point of mild dehydration and had to have formula supplements for several days. Thanks to some awesome lactation consultants and a lot of persistence, we have made it through that crisis and even though it is still difficult, we are making progress and he's getting the breast milk which is the important part.
I am SO in love with this little guy it is crazy! I am so thankful for him and can't believe that I waited 12 years to do this again!!! I'm pretty sure, I'll have to try doing this at least once more. This has been such a beautiful journey and it's only just begun.