On January 14th at 12:36 pm our wonderful little family grew as Madeline Belle was brought into this world. As I have been documenting my pregnancy over the last few months on Touch of Curl, I also wanted to share the story of her birth and the days and weeks after with all of you.
To fully explain my birth plan I need to rewind a bit and start with a little on Josephine's birth 18 months ago. I went into labor naturally with Jos (VERY overdue) the night before my scheduled induction. After 23 hours of labor, I began to spike a fever and was wheeled in immediately for an emergency c-section for the safely of both Josie and myself.
Overall my experience with the c-section was great. I felt that my healing and recovery time was faster than many others I knew even with a vaginal birth. And of course, the most important part was that Josie was delivered safely. However, I knew from the beginning of this pregnancy that it was important to me that I try for a VBAC.
A VBAC is a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, and has a long list of both pros and cons associated with it. While there is a (terrifying) chance that the previous cesarean scar can rupture, I felt confident that my body had healed well enough and that I was ready. My children are 18 months apart, which is closer than the suggested 24 months which is recommended you wait before trying.
As the final weeks of my pregnancy went on and on, I tried everything I could to naturally push myself into labor. I drank the tea, I bounced on my ball, took long walks, ate spicy food, devoured more fresh pineapple that I ever wanted and still no baby.
As my Jan 9th due date came and went, I began to prepare instead for the probable chance of another c-section. My doctors strongly recommended that I did not go much further past my due date, as the risks go up the larger the baby gets (and Josie was 8lbs 11oz!) so months prior I had scheduled a c-section for Jan 14th. While I was disappointed that I would not be able to experience the natural birth that I had hoped for, my main concern will always be for the safely of my babies.
So in we went, the morning of the 14th, my tiny cramped stomach filled with butterflies! That morning was a hard one, saying goodbye to Josie and knowing it was my last few moments alone with my first little girl. Our whole world was about to change with this new little addition! I am grateful that I was able to schedule my appointment so that we left the house at 8am, just after feeding Josie breakfast and squeezing her tight. I even made her take a selfie with me right before we left...I may have been holding back some tears :)
The intake process was quick and simple and we were immediately led to the recovery room I would be staying in for the next 4 days. I couldn't believe it had already been a year 1/2 since we had been in the same unit while I was recovering with Josie.
Although I had been though a very successful c-section before, I couldn't help but feel nervous and anxious as I was wheeled into the OR. Matthew was not allowed into the room with me until I had been fully prepped for surgery and had my spinal block in and working. It truly felt like an eternity waiting for them to allow him in so that we could hold hands again.
The surgery was quick. I felt pressure, some pulling and then all of a sudden a large tug followed by a release of pressure as I heard a loud little scream fill the room! It's amazing how slow the prep process felt, as well as the surgery itself, but once I heard that scream, everything moved so fast.
My doctor announced 'it's a girl!' and they brought her over to me as we both cried. It is such an incredibly overwhelming and emotional experience, the first time you see your child. It is hard to put into words, the magnitude of love I felt in that moment.
She was wisked away into a different room where Matthew followed. It felt like only a moment she was with me before she was gone. I sat on the operating table as they stiched me up, listening to her little screams and staring into the small window to the door of the room they were in on the other side of the wall. As horrible as it is to have your baby so quickly taken from you, the doctors working on my surgery were so wonderful at distracting me by asking questions all about Josie. It felt like no time before Madeline was in my arms again, all swaddled and warm as we were being pushed back to our room.
Madeline was born 9lb 3oz and 21 3/4 inches. Her APGAR score was a 9/9 and she was thankfully healthy enough that we spent the entirety of our stay with her in our room!
Once back in our room Madeline and I spent our first few hours together, and her first few hours in this world. From the start she has been a great eater, which is such a relief after the struggles I had with Josie at the beginning. I breastfed Josie for 1 year, and absolutely plan to do the same with Madeline. It's creates such a beautiful bond as well as the wonderful health benefits and I am very thankful to have a great milk supply that enables me to do so!
Overall my experience was wonderful and I have nothing but great things to say about the Methodist Mother and Baby Center after my second birth. Going into a planned c-section with a full night of sleep behind me made such an incredible difference to my first few hours with Maddie. I went into my first c-section after 23 hours of labor, no food in my body and beyond exhausted. Trying to feed Josie (while working on LEARNING how to breastfeed for the first time) was so so difficult. My first day with Maddie I could really enjoy the snuggles, cuddles and first time meeting my baby in a completely different way.
As with Josie's birth, my c-section recovery has gone very well. I know everyone heals differently and at a different pace, and I feel very lucky that my recovery for each has lasted about a week before I felt my body returning to its normal self. This time around was completely different than the last however, with a busy toddler running around craving my attention. The first few days home from the hospital were a challenge, both emotionally and physically. It was so hard not being able to pick Josie up, or give her a bath before bed like we normally do, espeically when I knew she couldn't really understand why. I was so blessed in the first few weeks to have so much help from my parents, mother in law and especially Matthew, who again and again amazes me with what a wonderful parent and partner he is - it truly takes a village at the beginning.
Overall the transition from 1 to 2 has been a whirlwind. I meant to get this post out earlier this week, but I was not prepared for how busy and draining my days would feel. I am overwhelmed by the love and happiness I feel with our little family, and I know the next few months will fly by too fast. It's amazing how, looking back at my first few weeks and months with Josie, I had nothing but time for her. I filled my days with cuddles and spent all my time and energy focused on just her and her needs. Sharing the spotlight with two little girls is such a different experience.
I feel so much for Josie, who is sad sometimes that I can no longer give her all of my attention, and that she doesn't always get what she wants as quickly anymore. Everything is new for her, and her little toddler emotions feel so big. But I also feel for Maddie, who most days can barely get through a feeding without Josie hitting her on the head with a book she wants me to read, or when I need to let her fuss for awhile longer than I want because I need to put Josie down for a nap. The balancing act of two is a challenge, and one that somedays I feel like I'm losing at. But I know it takes time to adjust, we're all learning how to do this together, and I cannot wait until the day when the two of them become the best of friends.
Being a mom of two is hard work. Being a mom of one is hard. It's all hard! I am so thankful to have the opportunity to stay home with my girlies, and I want to give props to all the other mama's out there doing it! Motherhood can be a tough job, and I am so thankful to the other moms in my life who keep me sane and reassure me that we're all struggling in the same ways. I am in love with the adventure of motherhood, even with all the bumps that come with it :)
Thank you so much to all of my readers for the love and support I have felt on the blog, my instagram and twitter. I love this blog as an outlet to share and express myself, and I look forward to continuing to share more about our growing family as well as my other interests with all of you!