5 things I learned in Elise Joy’s 1st 5 days

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I am sitting here in my living room.

Six days ago I prayed and prayed that I would get to be right here in this place soon, instead of a labor and delivery room.

I have my cute dog to the left, my handsome already a contender for dad of the year to my right catching up on his reading list. Oh, and sweet baby Elise is finally here. In her light box, starting another round of tanning sessions to cure her jaundice.

One week ago, I was sitting on this couch, knowing we had one more day of just us. The next day would be spent as an adventure, then I would go to the hospital for my induction that , and hopefully have my sweet baby in my arms by the next afternoon.

What came in the next 36 hours, was a whole lot of unexpected. Upon checking into the hospital on June 5th at 9PM,  my induction process started. I tried to sleep through the contractions, iv’s, nurse checks, and the almost obscene amount of monitors hooked up to me. The first induction method they tried was supposed to stay in place until 9 AM, and then my progress would be checked. I counted down the hours with anticipation as I woke up at 6 AM in the hospital. I planned what we were going to eat for dinner, because I would be delivered for sure and could finally eat! Ice chips and popsicles get real old!

Then the nurse said, “You’ve made it to two centimeters,”

“TWO?” Okay, 8 more to go. I thought to myself, I can do this. I was started on an epidural, pictocin, and my water was broken. Hour after hour showed no change. I got up to 6 centimeters by 6 PM and stayed that way until about Midnight. Yes, 27 hours later for those counting.  I was given more things to help me sleep and gain energy. At 2 AM I became a 7. That’s where it all kind of stopped. We tried everything to progress the labor, and nothing would change.

Around 5:30 on Thursday, June 7th, it was decided I would have a C-section by my doctor.  By 6:30 I was in the OR, my husband was scrubbed up and we were ready to go. 6:44 AM, they started my C-section, and by 6:50 AM, I heard the first cry and it was all worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t enjoy the labor, but I enjoyed this new little girl in our lives.

She was placed on me in recovery and we started to bond. I was wheeled into my recovery room. I finally got to eat! When you are in labor for a day and half and can only watch TV, you see so much food that you just want to eat. I ate graham crackers, applesauce, and my husband and mother-in-law went and got Braum’s for me, complete with a Dreamsicle shake.

We got to eat our hospital celebratory dinner of steak, and my mom and Anthony continued to take turns sitting with me and helping with Elise.

At 7 PM I got all my tubes out! Praise Jesus! I was able to finally walk around, after literally 40 hours in a hospital bed. I am too much of a busybody for that nonsense. I could walk, slowly but surely.

The next day, we found out two things. First thing, my iron levels had gotten critically low. Second thing, Elise would need phototherapy under the lights. For the next 22 hours, we worked on me eating and resting, and Elise getting her light therapy and food. We prayed and prayed that Saturday would be our last day and that we would be able to go home.

Saturday afternoon, we were released, and able to enjoy our time at home with our dog that I missed TERRIBLY while in the hospital.

I know, you are like that was a birth recap. Well the 5 things are coming.

Thing 1: I need my village. Around 5:15 AM on Thursday, I cried out to God. My mom was asleep on the couch and Anthony was at home resting and checking on Annie. I got to the point, where I knew only Jesus was going to get me through the pain and frustration. I then sent my closest friends and prayer warriors a message asking for prayer and encouragement. Literally 5 minutes later, I found out the C-section was coming.

As we got home Saturday, Elise started struggling with feeding and it continued on into Sunday. Call us crazy, but Anthony and I loaded up Elise and went up the road to our small group, because we needed our people.

Today, we received news that I am not going to be able to nurse and that Elise is going back into light therapy until we take her back to the doctor Wednesday. I needed my people again.

I am so appreciative of the calls, texts, prayers, meals, Sonic drinks, and visits! Keep them coming! My husband and I are both extroverted and enjoy our “people.”

Thing 2: I know understand how fiercely loved I am by my parents. It’s crazy. They tell you all the time that until you are a parent yourself, you won’t understand how much your own parents love you. Both of my parents have always made me feel loved, in their own ways. Bringing Elise into the world has made me see my own mother in an even more different way. She has always gone above and beyond to take care of my brother and I, and this past week has been no different. She was at the hospital on and off for 4 days, giving Anthony breaks, bringing food, sleeping with Annie so she wouldn’t be lonely. She waited for the Motherhood store to open on Friday to make sure I had the post c-section band I would need to help with recovery. She rocked Elise’s crib forever to calm her down in the light box. She changed diapers and made sure that we were okay. Our dryer broke the day before I went into labor. She ordered a new one for us and had the old hauled away as one less thing for us to worry about. I always knew she does these things for love, but until I had Elise, I didn’t understand.

Watching Elise in the light box, I knew I would do whatever it took to get her healthy. I stayed up with her to comfort her. I ate every hour to try to produce milk. I chugged water like nobody’s business, and I prayed for her every minute. Last night, as we suffered through her not eating and fussing, I prayed again. I decided that her eating was more important than me being supermom, and broke open the formula to feed her. I would do anything for her, and I want her to be as fiercely loved as I am by my mom.

Thing 3: Mother’s intuition is real.  As I stated before, Elise had problems eating once we got home from the hospital. She fussed every hour, but wouldn’t eat. By Sunday night, I was full of frustration and anxiety. The thought of trying to feed her again, made me upset. 9PM, 10PM, 11PM, we tried and tried and nothing worked. Knowing we would be at the doctor in the AM, I decided I would just seek her advice. Then, I prayed. I knew I had to feed her, regardless of what it was. I went into the kitchen and got the formula we’d been given as samples down. I mixed the bottle and used the warmer. I took it to her and she ate. Then, she slept peacefully until I fed her again. There is a lot of stigma about formula feeding, and I have to tell you, I was scared to try it. Once I did, all the anxiety, frustration, and dread went away. I felt at peace knowing I did what my baby needed. At our appointment this morning, it was confirmed. As a result of my anemia worsening in the hospital, my milk wasn’t coming in. My baby’s jaundice was worse, and she would need formula to make it better. I did the right thing..

Thing 4: My husband is a rock star. I always knew I married the best guy in the world. I Jack Pearson has nothing  on him. I knew he’d be a good dad. From minute one,  he was. He can burp, swaddle, change a diaper, rock a baby, and make sure I am feeling loved too. He can pray us through everything, bring me back to reality when I need it, and support me when I need it the most. He makes sure our baby has all that she needs. He makes sure she is safe, protected and loved. I fell in love with him all over again watching him with our baby. I could say a million more things. I love and appreciate him so much. There aren’t enough words in the world.

 

Thing 5: Only Jesus.  As I was praying early that Thursday, waiting to see what would happen, I would read verses about God being our strength and refuge. I said them over and over in my head. Several times in the days leading to Elise’s birth and those after, Jesus was the only thing that could get me through. Every new season and challenge, God reveals more to me about Himself, and I am thankful. It’s only by Jesus I am saved. Only by Jesus I have a life that is abundant. Only through Jesus I met my husband. Only by Jesus that I have my blessing of a daughter. Every day I am learning to trust and depend more on Jesus, and I know it’s only through Him any of this is possible.

 

Well, if you made it through all this, congrats! I process by writing, and wanted to process this past week of my life and bringing our beautiful baby into the world. My hope and prayer is that others will be encouraged and that my life will point others to Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

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