I was due at the hospital at 9am on the 4th to get admitted. They quickly got me into a hospital gown and hooked up IV's upon my arrival back to the labor and delivery room. Shortly after I was ready to go to the OR, I was told my c-section would be delayed by a couple hours as they had an emergency c-section case that needed to be handled first. While it meant getting to take a nap, it also meant I had to wait that much longer to eat, drink, and meet my new baby girl.
Around 1pm, I made my way down to the OR in order to get prepped for surgery. For some reason, it took them much longer this time around to place my epidural, so I had to sit hunched over on the edge of the operating table for quite some time while they worked to place the catheter in order to administer the drugs. Once they got it placed, things began to move much more quickly and they finally let my husband into the room to accompany me.
With Abby, I remember being somewhat out of it during the entire procedure. I felt off and half like something might go wrong with me. I had a completely different experience this time around with Alexis. I was very alert and spent the entire time talking and joking around with my husband and the anesthesiologist. After some cutting, tugging, pushing, and pulling, our little Alexis was born at 2:10pm. She came out crying immediately and measured in at 7lbs 5oz and 20.5 inches long (we found at her newborn follow up appointment five days later that she actually measures 19.5 inches long -- not sure where they got the 20.5 inches reported at birth).
After being stitched back up, I was wheeled back to my labor and delivery room for two hours of recovery (and baby snuggle time) before we were moved over to the mother & baby wing for the remainder of our time at the hospital.
Shortly before we moved down to mother & baby, my mother-in-law arrived with Abby, and I could not help but start to cry over seeing Abby meet her baby sister for the first time. It was the sweetest thing. The labor & delivery nurses were very nice to Abby and let her help lead the way as Alexis and I were wheeled from L&D to mother & baby, letting her push buttons to open doors. She loved the attention she was getting as big sister.
Going into having baby number two, I was prepped with a game plan as far as feeding is concerned. With Abby, breastfeeding was a real struggle. She was unable to latch very well, and even with the use of a breast shield, she never fed very well while nursing and I ultimately had to exclusively pump in order to provide her with breastmilk, along with supplement with formula for one feeding a day after finding out she was still at birth weight at her two month well-visit. The entire time I was giving her breastmilk, I barely managed to pump enough for each day's feedings.
For Alexis, I went into things ready to begin pumping while at the hospital. We also went to the hospital armed with the formula we would be using to supplement, if needed, that way she would be introduced to our preferred brand from the start.
I remember with Abby, the lactation specialist was not very encouraging with regards to alternative ways to provide her with breastmilk. She didn't understand why the nurses had given me a breast shield to use (I have flat nipples, so a latch without one nearly impossible). She also discouraged me from pumping before returning back to work, in order to let Abby nurse to bring in my milk supply.
The lactation specialist who came to see me in the room this time was much more understanding about my need to use a breast shield and my desire to start pumping immediately. While I brought my pump from home, she set me up with a hospital pump to use for my time there and recommended I pump every time Alexis would feed, which was my plan already. The only real negative comment she made was talking down about our choice of bottle and that she didn't like the nipples on them. We chose Tommee Tippee bottles for Abby before she was even born after reading the reviews and we LOVED them. Using them with Alexis was a no-brainer.
My plan to begin pumping immediately has resulted in tremendous success as far as getting my milk in and boosting my supply. Shortly after arriving home from the hospital, I already began having to freeze milk as I was producing double the amount Alexis was consuming. Aside from a few formula feedings we had to give Alexis while in the hospital to help boost her blood sugar levels while waiting for my milk to come in, she has been receiving nothing but breastmilk for each feeding. I also currently have such a large amount of frozen milk that we had to invest in purchasing a deep freezer for additional storage space.
Once the epidural wore off, I started to try moving as soon as I could, as I learned the first time around that recovery is much faster and easier the sooner you begin walking. I'm not sure if it was because I was better rested going into surgery or because I had better pain meds given that I had an epidural/spinal combo with Alexis, but I found that I was in less pain after surgery and could get out of bed and move about more easily this time. On my first night in the hospital, I walked around the room a fair amount to help get my strength up. On my second night in the hospital, I went out into the hall and did a good six or seven laps around the mother & baby wing.
By the time Friday morning came, there was no question whether or not I was ready to be discharged from the hospital as I was moving and recovering so well. Everything seemed to be going SO much better with my recovery this time around, with one exception. After all of the drugs from my epidural/spinal completely worked their way out of my system, I slowly began to develop a small headache, in addition to pain/discomfort in my shoulders, neck, and base of my head. I mentioned this to the nurses, however they didn't seem too concerned by it. After I arrived home from the hospital on Friday, the pain I was feeling in the front and back of my head quickly grew and I developed a migraine that would not go away. It was so bad that it prevented me from really doing anything at home, to the point where I felt like I couldn't even help take care of Alexis.
When we went to the hospital on Monday for Alexis's newborn follow up with the pediatrician, I was sure to mention the migraine to them to see if they recommended I be looked at. The pain from the headache was worse than anything I had experienced with regards to recovery from the actual surgery and was so intense that I was crying. The only time I was free of pain was when lying down completely flat. The doctor recommended I return to labor & delivery to be seen by triage to see if there was anything they could do to help me.
After speaking with a doctor there, they sent in an anesthesiologist to consult with me. Based on my symptoms, he quickly determined the cause of my migraine was due to leaking spinal fluid, where the spot in my back where the epidural had been placed never fully closed and I was slowly losing fluid from my head while upright, causing my brain to sit down against the back my skull. He told me they could do an outpatient procedure called a blood patch, where they would take 20mL of my own blood from me and inject it into my spine in the exact location where the epidural had been placed, in order to clot the hole and stop the leak of fluid.
It took them a while to get the needle inserted into my spine, as they had to be sure to find the exact same location that was used for the epidural, however once they did they were able to get my blood drawn from my hands/arm and insert it into my spine. I felt immediate relief once the procedure was done, and simply had to lie flat on my back for two hours afterward to ensure the blood would clot and I had no ill side effects from the procedure. The blood patch worked like a charm and I felt like a million bucks by comparison upon my exit from the hospital.
Our time home hasn't been without it's challenges, such as getting Alexis's nights and days corrected so she would stop waking up every hour of the night. But overall things are going pretty well. Abby is completely in love with Alexis and wants to be able to see and touch her as much as possible. The only time Abby really struggles with jealousy is when she sees me holding Alexis but I cannot pick her up. Even though she knows that the doctors had to cut me open to get Alexis out, she doesn't understand the weight-limit I am restricted to with regards to lifting. I do try my best to get in as much Abby time as I still can as well in order to help with the jealousy and make this transition time easier on her.