As promised, here is a little bit about Olivia’s birth/my pregnancy.
Should preface this by saying my pregnancy sucked lol. I developed an umbilical hernia around 12 weeks and it basically gave me discomfort the whole time. I was also working and on my feet all day, then directly from work going to class in Clifton, and then coming home to chase Ava around. I was exhausted. My ankles would swell over the tops of my gym shoes. It was hard. But I was making good money and so close to my goal of graduation, that it kept me motivated. I also knew that this is what I wanted; Olivia was supposed to be part of our crazy little family. Firm believer that God doesn’t give you something you can’t handle, so I tried to keep that in mind on my hardest days.
Since Olivia is number two for us, I had a good idea about what to expect as far as contractions go, but this babe faked me out multiple times. I would think today’s the day, time out all my contractions, call my doc and he would literally say “go back to bed Jordan, you’ll know when it’s really time.” And I would grumpily hang up and sulk, but knew he was right. After getting mainly moved into my mom’s and getting the baby’s stuff set up and organized I was ready. I woke up on the 19th having contractions, thinking to myself ugh here we go again and I decided to ignore them, but as the morning progressed they were actually painful. I called my doctor (mind you it’s father’s day, and game 7 of the NBA finals….) and he decided I should at least go get checked out because at 38 weeks, and a planned c section, he didn’t feel it was necessary to wait it out.
So off to Bethesda North we went, I didn’t even take my hospital bag because I really wasn’t sure it was going to happen and I was trying not to get my hopes up. Idk about all you other mama’s, but I could NOT tolerate cervical checks. For some reason every time, they ended in tears. The doctor stopped doing them at my checkups because it was such a traumatic experience. Anyways, that’s the first thing they have to do (obvi) to check progress. Thankfully the nurse in triage was amazing and I survived. The first time she checked I was a dimple dilated. Contractions were still coming very strong. Doc told her to check me in an hour and if there was any sort of cervical change, it would be baby day. When it was time to check again I was SO nervous, because I was SO ready. She checked and I was 1 cm…. BABY DAY!!!! I cried tears of joy. But then started to freak out because they scheduled my surgery for 5:45 PM, which gave me an hour to prepare myself. I told them I needed to wait for my mom to get there (she was dropping Ava off with Kevin’s parents) because obviously when you’re scared you want your mom. Well she made it right before it was time to go back to the OR.
When I first went in they had to do my spinal, and Kevin was not allowed in while they were doing it (I don’t really understand why, bc that part is the most terrifying). It hurt like hell and my right leg kept tingling and I kept threatening the anesthesiologist (labor rage???) that if I was paralyzed I was going to freak out (funny now, but I was serious then lol). My doctor got there and told me he had just gotten to his family Father’s Day cookout, whoops lol. He turned on his iPod and asked what music I wanted to hear, didn’t care, was worried about the child he was about to cut out of me. He turned on Mumford & Sons which was cool but again, not what I was worried about. My c section went as expected. Felt like I was gonna vom, lots of tugging and pulling, Kevin closing his eyes because he didn’t want to see lol, and finally at 6:02 PM Olivia arrived! 8 lbs 14 oz and 20 inches long. A big girl! When she came out she had a little extra fluid in her lungs, normal for c section babies, and I kept freaking out asking them to tell me what was going on. They had her laying on her belly trying to pat out some of the fluid. Kevin finally came over and showed me a picture of her, but they wouldn’t let him hold her yet. After she sounded a little better, he finally got to do skin to skin with her, something SO imperative to us. I cried my eyes out as they sit next to me. She was so perfect and you really fall more in love with your husband when you see them with your children, it’s crazy.
I was finally all stitched up about an hour later, and got to hold my baby girl for the first time as they were pushing me back to recovery.
I remember being SO itchy from the spinal, apparently. My face itched so bad, I kept apologizing to everyone because I probably looked like a crack head or something. All my friends and family who showed up while I was in recovery took turns coming in and holding her. I was so focused on breastfeeding we had her start while I was in recovery. She was already latching on her own, something Ava and I never accomplished. My next day was spent entirely focused on breastfeeding and nursing her. every hour and a half. By the end of my second day, my girl was latching like a PRO. I never even needed an appointment with the lactation nurse. I couldn’t believe it. But what they don’t tell you, is how incredibly PAINFUL it is. My nipples were so chapped and sore. Every time she latched on it seriously hurt. We chugged along through the next day. The morning of the 22nd, the nurse came in and said, “She’s down 10% of her weight… has no one seriously talked to you about supplementing yet?” She told me she was going to go get formula and stuff so I could pump. When she left the room I BAWLED my eyes out. I couldn’t believe that all my hard work, all the pain I was in, was basically for nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against supplementing, or formula feeding in general, FED is best, but I had a goal, and I was dead set on her being exclusively breastfed, so I was so angry. I decided to wait until the pediatrician came in to do anything, bc that nurse really made me mad, and I wanted to see what his thoughts were. When he came in, he never ONCE mentioned supplementing with formula, or even being concerned with her weight. Like what?!! I couldn’t believe that nurse got me all worked up. Later, my pediatrician told me that bigger babies have a longer way to fall, so it’s normal. Instead, we supplemented pumped colostrum with a syringe after feedings, so she was getting as much as she could. She was up to her birth weight in 2 weeks, which is what they are shooting for with breastfed babies. I was going home with an exclusively breastfed baby and I was over the moon about it.
It wasn’t all happy faces. Most of my days were spent with this little chick on my boob. There were definitely times I wanted to give up. I felt like I was a prisoner, I couldn’t do anything without a baby attached to me. I would cry the first 30 seconds of her latch on my right side in excruciating pain. One night I remember telling Kevin I couldn’t do it anymore, but seriously the next day, it stopped hurting. It took a good 3 weeks, but I did it. I’ve never been so happy about a decision in my life. There really is no way to prepare a mom for how hard it really is. I remember feeling like the pain I felt from breastfeeding was worse than the pain I felt from my c-section incision. Now I have a 2 month old little chunky breastfed baby (Kevin calls her a honey baked ham, lol) who is sleeping through the night, and is so much happier than Ava was as a baby. Again, I’m not knocking formula, but I really do notice a difference in overall mood in Olivia and I truly believe breastfeeding has helped with that. My best advice is to not give up. If breastfeeding is something you want to do, you definitely have to set your mind to it. I’m so happy I stuck with it!