Ezra left around 6 AM to go back home to be there when S woke up, and brought her over around 7:30. S was so excited to see the baby (even more excited to see me, though), and loved pointing out all her body parts, kissing her, asking to hold her, etc. Throughout our hospital stay she would go home with Ezra for bedtime and nap but otherwise was mostly there with us and would play in the room, with Hannah, etc. She would get jealous when I nursed Ellie, but we reminded her that it was Ellie’s turn and she would have her turn later, and that she had just/would soon eat some food Ellie couldn’t eat. Mostly she was just excited, protective, and proud, though – she got upset when the nurses would come check the baby’s vitals, and when friends came to visit she would say “baby Ellie!” and point to the baby. We had snacks and some toys/books for her, as well as a stuffed camel that was “from” Ellie and a Melissa and Doug reusable sticker book that kept her occupied for a while.
After a few days at home, she is definitely feeling the change. I kept thinking “what special thing can I do with her right now?” but finally realized she doesn’t want special she wants the normal she had last week… so we are trying to do our normal stuff as much as possible… even when it means snuggling my deflated belly (she was definitely snuggling it for skin to skin and not baby the whole pregnancy…). It’s been hard for me to not have as much time with her but her doing so well has made it much easier on me and I know it will be even easier when I can pick her up and get out of the house with her again (though by then Ezra will be back at work and my mom gone so that will be its own new hard!).
Recovery has been SO much easier this time around. I really have to work at resting, since I feel good but know I have an open wound. The hardest part has been not being able to pick S up or really hold her. Nursing has been a breeze – Ellie is great at it and it helps that I was/am still nursing S some, especially when my milk came in. Afterpains were definitely worse (I didn’t really even have any after S), but otherwise it has felt more like resting than recovering. I didn’t really enjoy the hospital stay, mostly because it was so hard on S and so I wanted to be home. It certainly did help me rest more completely for the first 36 hours postpartum, though, which was good because we had to go back the following two days for Ellie’s bilirubin to be checked and those were rather long and exhausting trips out for the first week postpartum. It was still a few days before I really got any quality time with Ellie, though.
As for emotional recovery – the first week (which is where we are at as I write) was good. I struggled a lot in the weeks leading up to the birth, feeling like God wasn’t listening to my prayers in the way things were working out, especially as it seemed Hannah and/or Ezra wouldn’t be there for the birth, etc. But now that we are on the other side it’s so clear how He really was listening and answered those prayers how we asked and then some! The first night in the hospital lots of memories of PPD were filling my mind as I tried to sleep, but I was equipped with prayer and verses and songs. It has often felt “right there” but so far I have felt pretty stable – the postbirth high was not quite as high, which was a little sad, but if it means the low isn’t as low, then that’s okay. Adding another child is just as exciting but less “monumental” than becoming a mother for the first time, and I think that’s made it an easier adjustment this time, especially emotionally.
I have been so overwhelmed by His grace to us and everything working out how we asked and then some. It’s especially overwhelming because the next day my friend was being induced for preeclampsia and after a long, hard time of labor she had a C-section – and with an induction on the calendar for us I often wondered “why wasn’t that us?” in the first few days – and still wonder it sometimes. But then I was reading in Daniel, and seeing again and again how God rescued people or brought them down so that they could (or because they didn’t) give Him glory. That’s why He gives us times of ease – not to wonder why it is there and why life is so different for us than for those suffering in Syria, but to glorify Him for how He has worked in our lives and use His blessings to love others. If I had to sum up Ellie’s birth story in two words, it would be “answered prayers!”
Specific prayers answered:
Hannah and Ezra here
water intact till end
delayed cord clamp
immediate crying, easy nursing
negative blood type
a Doctor whose name I was familiar with and nurses I knew (one a believer!).
S’s excitement and protectiveness
S sleeping so well post-birth, especially with Ellie’s nights being a mess