It’s been one month since Oliver joined our family. I’m pretty much surprised that I’m writing a blog post because, well, when your sleeping pattern gets shaken up, you’re obviously tired. But it’s been a while since I launched the blog, and have not blogged anything since, so I thought today would be the perfect day to share my birth story, all the things leading up to Oliver’s arrival, and how it’s been so far being a mom of two.
Penny was born via c-section. They estimated her to be 10+ pounds and a possible shoulder dystocia (baby getting stuck at the shoulders after the head is born) if I tried to push her out. A high risk doc scheduled the c-section without giving me my other options. As a first time mom, I was scared and I didn’t know I was able to try to labor and birth her vaginally. October 7th 2015 rolled around and I belly birthed a beautiful 8lb, 8oz baby Penelope Ava. Um, whaaat? You guys said 10+ lbs! Lots of emotions followed her birth. I felt robbed of my ideal birthing experience and definitely mourned it.
I joined a few mom groups and learned about VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian). I told myself when I get pregnant with baby #2, I’m pushing this baby out! June of 2017, we found out we were pregnant with Oliver. Fast forward to month 9 of pregnancy, I get a growth scan and was told by the same high risk doctor that scheduled my first c-section (my body filled with rage when I saw him walk in the room) that Ollie was currently estimated at 10+ lbs (I was 38 weeks at the time). The same rush of feelings came back; I was scared, confused, sad. I asked about the option to VBAC, and he advised against it and scheduled my c-section. I left the doctors office overwhelmed with sadness. This was going to be our last baby, and so I was never going to see what my body was made to do. I had an OB appointment scheduled the following week, so I expressed my feelings towards wanting a VBAC. The OB said I could have the option of being induced that weekend. WHAT! YES! BUT, that there could be possible shoulder dystocia which could lead to an emergency c-section and other complications including death. She told me to sleep on it and get in touch with her the next day. I went home and felt all the feels, did all this research, looking for death rates and success stories on shoulder dystocia and came to the conclusion that YES I WILL TRY FOR THIS VBAC! I was so excited! After emailing her to let her know my decision, she responded that she asked another high risk doctor for a 2nd opinion and she then advised against a VBAC. My heart was crushed. I was on a roller coaster of emotions all within a day. With pregnancy hormones raging, being SO uncomfortable at almost 39 weeks, and just over being pregnant, I agreed to the repeat c-section and asked to have my it moved up as soon as possible. I started to feel so selfish for pushing so hard for a VBAC with all those risks involved and knew and understood that I needed to do what would be safe for both Oliver and I. I asked for what is being called a “gentile c-section”, which basically means I want the curtain in front of me lowered so I see him being pulled out, I want to do skin to skin immediately, and breastfeed while being closed up. They agreed to skin to skin and breastfeeding immediately as long as everything was okay with Oliver when he came out.
April 10, 2018 at 10:04am he was born! Tears of joy! I get to hold my baby any second now! They pulled him out, showed him to me, took him away to make sure everything was okay and then learned this his oxygen levels were dropping. I was silently freaking out. They wrapped him up, brought him over to me so I could meet him, then they took him away to the NICU and Paul followed. I was all by myself, scared, tired, crying, starting to feel the anesthesia wear off. Someone came in and yelled out “10lbs, 1oz, 21 inches! And he’s doing well!” My first thought was, “OMG, thank God he’s okay!” Followed by, “Holy shit, he’s 10 lbs!”
Surgery after having Penny was such a breeze to me. I definitely felt the pain, but I felt strong and recovered quickly. Paul even said he wasn’t sure how to help me because I was just doing things for myself. Paul was off for a couple weeks after Oliver was born. Thank goodness for the short, but helpful time that he was home because recovery this time around has been harder. I’m up and doing things, going out, but I’m feeling it more. I have to remind myself to sloooow it down all the time.
I’d say being a mom of a toddler and a newborn has been challenging so far. Feeling all the pains from a c-section, dealing with postpartum hormones, while caring for a newborn, having to entertain a toddler, having to feed them both, and all on little sleep has me emotionally and physically drained most days. I’m pushing through though and feeling more like myself day by day. Remembering to get out when I am able or have the energy to has been amazing both Penny and I (Oliver doesn’t really care, he’s always sleeping on our walks, haha). I have family close by, so I’m super thankful I have them to fall on if I need someone to help me. The hardest part has been Penny’s regression since Oliver arrived. I mean, I expected a little jealousy from her, but I did not expect such a dramatic behavioral change. She is extremely sweet and helpful with Oliver, but is totally rebelling against Paul and I most times. We’ve been trying to keep things as normal and routine as possible for Penny and explaining to her that some things have to change/are different now. It’s been super difficult, but we are slowly learning what works to help her feel included, seen, and loved and hopefully are on the tail end of that!
I know it’s only been a month and some things will eventually get easier, and other things will get harder and test my patience. I’m excited for the challenge and to watch these two kiddos grow together!
Here are a few things I’ve learned since Ollie has been home:
- Toddler regression can suck it.
- Hot coffee turned iced coffee isn’t so bad.
- There is no amount of shushing penny that will make her be quiet when Oliver is sleeping.
- I had no idea my heart could love another human as much as I do Penny.
- To do lists were important to me before, but they’re even more important to me now because mom brain is a real thing and mine just got worse.
- Eating cold breakfasts make me appreciate the hot ones.
- Getting ready an hour to an hour and a half earlier than I normally would helps me to leave on time. It leaves room for Penny moving slower than a turtle and for that last minute feed for Oliver.
- I’m happy to take out the garbage if it means I get 2 minutes to myself with no baby attached to me and no toddler asking for snacks.
- It makes me feel good and I totally wanna cry when strangers see me out with both kids and tell me I’m doing a good job.
- Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love these two kids, but snuggling up to Paul (or even just quietly sitting near him) when both are asleep after juggling them for the entire day is one of the best parts of my day.
- So. Much. Laundry.
Happy one month to my little family of four. I’m so lucky to do life with these people.