Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lydia's Arrival

So, I left you all hanging the night before my c-section and am now just getting a chance to fill you in on Lydia's arrival. It's been a little busy with three kids!

The night before my scheduled c-section, I wrote this.

I also finally packed my bags and we went to dinner for the last time as a family of four. 

I packed 7 different hat options for Lydia

Liam retired this shirt:

Just a disclaimer: This might be the longest post ever and even though I felt like we hardly took any pictures, this post might have about 100 pictures of our new girl, because I love the camera and taking pictures of our family and take way too many. Sorry...but not really. 

I love a birth story. Whether I watch one on tv or someone tells me about their experience, I love to hear all about it, because, just for another moment I get to feel that feeling I have felt the first time I have laid eyes on all of our babies, total and complete happiness and love. Every time I read our babies birth stories, hear one of my friend's or watch someones on tv, it brings me back to that first moment and the way it feels....


You can read Lily's Birth Story here and Liam's here.

And here is how our family changed forever on November 1st....

The night before Lydia arrived, I went to bed and tried to rub my belly more than usual, feeling her inside kicks and moves for the last time, and since this is our last baby, I was trying to take it all in. 

In the middle of the night Liam woke up and ended up in our bed (this happens every night). I tried to get some extra snuggles from him; this would be the last time he was the baby. 

My alarm went off at 3:30 a.m. to get up and get ready. I took a shower and shed some tears, happy and sad tears. I remember rubbing my belly a lot in the shower.

I couldn't believe after trying to get pregnant, finally getting pregnant, riding out the last 9 (actually 10) months, this was it. Today was the day we would meet Lydia, the little girl I had been trying to imagine since we found this baby was a girl. I also had bittersweet feelings about this being my last pregnancy. As far as pregnancies go, it was probably my most uncomfortable pregnancy, so you would think I would be excited for it to end, but there was something a little sad about it being the last time I would carry a baby inside of me. I said a prayer in the shower for another perfect baby and for a good delivery. 

Chris and I were trying to be super quiet, so we wouldn't wake Liam up, but we needed to turn on the light and make sure we had everything in our luggage. Liam woke up about 4:45 a.m. when my mom arrived (way too early for him) and we took him downstairs to watch some cartoons with my mom. 

I took one final belly picture in Lydia's room that morning. This was it, it was never going to be this big again. 

I went into Lily's room before we left to say goodbye to her because she was still sleeping. I gave my mom all the notes on how to put the kids to bed for the weekend (I have routines with them that I didn't want to get too disrupted with Lydia's arrival, because Lily was going to be right back to school Monday morning), said goodbye to Liam and told him we would see him at the hospital in a little while. We left the house on time at 5:00 a.m. and neither of us really talked the entire ride to the hospital. 

I was really scared. 

I thought I wouldn't be as scared this time because I had a good c-section under my belt (Liam's), but could not stop thinking about how Lily's c-section went. So, being quiet was the only way I could keep from crying. I thought if I tried to muster some words to Chris, I would definitely cry, so I just kept swallowing the lump that was growing in my throat. You might remember that on the way to Liam's c-section I told Chris that if something terrible happened and I died, he should print out the entire blog for Lily and Liam  so they would know their mom. That sounds pretty dark, but after having the c-section and birth experience I had with Lily, death was something I was constantly thinking about (mostly because they told me multiple times I almost died). Anyways, I couldn't even say that to him this time, because I just didn't want to have a meltdown right before Lydia was born. 

We arrived at the hospital and it was still very dark out and no one was there, it was a ghost town. We checked into Labor & Delivery and I told the nurse it was my third baby and oops, I totally forgot to pre-register for her birth. She told me it was no big deal. 

They started my iv and we just waited. I told them about my recent swelling that started about 2 days before and how I had gained 9 pounds (and my nose and lips had grew into someone I didn't recognize anymore) and had some higher pressures. They decided to run some labs to make sure that my platelets were not dropping. Everything came back good. 

I fell asleep for a little while and finally Lily & Liam arrived. They were so excited about meeting Lydia. They gave me kisses and got big sister, big brother stickers from the nurse. 

I can't believe how swollen I was!
Finally they came to take me back to the Operating Room, I gave Chris a kiss and told him I would see him in a little bit...I prayed I would and tried not to cry. 

I hate the Operating Room, it didn't matter that I had a completely awesome experience in it last time, I could only focus on praying that nothing like what happened with Lily would happen again.

Michael Jackson "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" was playing when I got in the OR and all the nurses were in a good mood. I told them I was glad they were playing music, it made the mood feel light and happy.

I met my nurse and she was a nurse that I had while I was in Labor & Delivery with Lily, she told me I looked familiar, I told her I was certain she took care of me in 2008. I also had the same baby nurse that we had with Liam, who I also knew from my extended stay with Lily, so that was nice to see familiar faces.

My spinal did not go in as well as I would have liked, and it started freaking me out and since the OR is freezing (apparently to keep bacteria from growing), I was shaking by the second time the anesthesiologist tried to place it. Finally he got it in the right spot and once it was placed I felt a million times better. My blood pressure was really high when they were trying to place the spinal and then it dropped super low once the spinal was placed, so as soon as they laid me down, I told them I needed to throw-up (apparently when your blood pressure drops so suddenly that can happen). 

So, I was vomiting a lot. 

Nothing like being strapped down on a table about to start a delivery of your baby and turning your head to the side and throwing up, trying to get it in the pan. I was so sick that I never even heard them ask me if I can "feel this"? (they usually pinch your stomach up and down and ask what you can feel before they start the incision.) Finally I stopped throwing up and asked if they did the test, they told me they already had started the incision. So, apparently I couldn't feel a thing. 

Poor Chris came in and I was still vomiting. 

I want to apologize for the lack of pictures for Lydia's birth. I was feeling really terrible during this c-section and wasn't telling Chris to take pictures. In general, he is not the photographer in our relationship, I am, so unless I am telling him to take pictures, he usually isn't. 

I did however tell him he could look over the curtain. He really wanted to during Liam's birth and I told him absolutely not, but figured since this was our last baby and if he wanted to see her taken out, he could do it. 

And he took some pictures of her being delivered. 

I remember feeling lots of pressure and tugging and I just kept watching the clock, thinking "oh my gosh, any minute she is going to be here, I just need to make it through these last couple of minutes".

Finally, I heard someone say "fluid is clear!" and then at 8:05 a.m. Dr. Jaglan said "Here she is!" "It's a girl!"

I heard other nurses and Doctors say ...

"She's a big baby" (I wondered how big?) 

"She has hair!" 

"Happy Birthday Lydia!" 

I heard her cry hard. 

And that's when the tears started falling down my face. 

Chris gave me a kiss and said "do you hear her crying?"

From the moment they delivered her, she screamed loud hard cries. They brought her over very quickly so I could see her and then took her to get cleaned up. 

They told one of the nurses to play the Happy Birthday song on the computer and she did. My mom, Lily and Liam heard the baby chimes ring while they were in the elevator.

Chris left my side to be with her. And I started vomiting again.

They did her height and weight.

Lydia Jane Karczewski
November 1, 2013
8:05 a.m.
8 pounds 3 ounces
20.5 inches

She was a perfect.

She had agar's of 9 and 10 (our nurse in Postpartum later told us they hardly see 10's and she was a Rockstar). I think she got a 10 clearly based on her lung capacity. She never stopped screaming the entire time we were in the Operating Room.

Chris brought her over by me and she screamed the entire 45 minutes it took for them to get me back together in the Operating Room  I kept asking if a baby ever screamed that much after a delivery before? They said yes (probably to be nice).

Then they wheeled us into the Recovery Room.

They checked her all over and she was perfect.

And I finally got to hold her.

As soon as I held her she was content. She started nursing right away. She just wanted to be in her mom's arms. Unfortunately in the Recovery Room I started vomiting more. I was nursing her on one side and holding a bucket on the other to vomit.

So, not glamorous...

Chris went to the waiting room where Lily & Liam were waiting with my mom and sister. They were so excited.

He announced "It's a Boy!" My mom believed him for a second.

Finally they were ready to wheel us up to Postpartum and I started vomiting more when they started to move us.

Once we got up to Room 3003 Lily, Liam, my mom, sister and Miles came to meet Lydia.

Lily & Liam were in love with her from the moment they saw her and haven't stopped loving on her since. I seriously couldn't have imagined how much they would love her. And how good they would be with her.

I have to confess that I was still vomiting when Chris showed Lily & Liam their new baby sister, so I am so glad that my mom and sister took pictures, because I missed it, I was feeling so sick.

Lily & Liam got their Big Sister and Big Brother gifts from Lydia (and thank you to my sister who took pictures, because I was still very sick).

After visiting for a little while my mom took the kids to the museum and Chris went with Lydia to do her bath and I tried to get cleaned up.

They brought her fresh little body back all bundled up.

And then when everyone was gone and it was just the three of us. Chris gave me this.

I love it!
And he even wrapped it in baby wrapping paper. He gave me a kiss and told me how happy he was. I love him and I love how he loves our babies. And I am so happy he "talked me into" having one more.

And then I took a million pictures of Lydia.

I will never stop being amazed by the fact that a little person can grow inside of a woman. And one minute the baby is inside and the next minute the baby is here and crying and sucking and wants to be held and loved. It's the miracle of life and it amazes me.


There were things I knew that I wanted and needed to do after my c-section. I knew I wanted to walk as soon as possible because that would only help with my recovery and I knew I wanted to pump as soon as possible because I had supply issues with Lily and latch issues with Liam, and if anything like that was going to happen with Lydia, I at least wanted to get my supply established.

I was able to get up and go to the bathroom pretty much as soon as I could feel my legs. But they didn't want me to pump until I could hold some food down, they thought I would get too weak. Unfortunately that didn't happen for a long time.

My mom brought Lily & Liam back at dinner time to see Lydia again before they went home for the night. Although I was in love with Lydia, I was really missing them.

They were fortunate enough to witness a diaper change, which was very entertaining for them.

Liam did not know what to make of the meconium.

That first night was sort of a blur.

I had felt a lot of pain with Liam's c-section (a lot less than Lily's, but still pretty uncomfortable), so I decided to take the maximum dose of pain killers. That might have been a mistake because it didn't leave me very clear-headed through our stay (but I didn't really have any pain either). Because I wasn't feeling very good that didn't help. And if Lydia wasn't trying to nurse she was screaming, which was also very exhausting.

Finally by the end of the night I was exhausted my breasts were totally sore from trying to nurse (but Lydia was only getting colostrum) and I didn't feel good. I asked the nurse if we could use a pacifier to try and soothe Lydia, but she didn't really want to give me one because of breastfeeding. The thing is, I don't really believe in nipple confusion, Lily was on a pacifier immediately in the NICU to help her learn to suck, swallow and breath and she eventually breastfed. I felt like it might soothe Lydia to just be able to suck (and possible help her to not scream).

My sister came back to visit that night and reassured me that Lydia was probably just starving and suffering from something that all the girls in our family suffer from:

She was Hangry: a state of anger caused by lack of food; hunger causing a negative change in emotional state. 

Billie thought if we could give her a Big Mac everything would be fine, unfortunately, we couldn't. So, she just screamed and tried to latch and get something and then pulled off and screamed more and tried to latch again, and the cycle went on and on.

But, in the meantime, she got to meet her cousin Maxton. They were both thrilled.

Lydia, just like her big sister and big brother, has really long fingers and long feet and toes (they all get this from their daddy).

I finally told my nurse that night that I needed a pacifier or some formula or something to help Lydia. I explained to her that I breastfed Lily until 10 months and Liam until 20 months and fully intended on breastfeeding Lydia, but we were going to need some sort of intervention to get her (and me) through the night. And I asked for the pump again, because if I could have pumped earlier, I could have given her some colostrum a couple hours ago instead of the formula.

She brought a pacifier and we used a syringe to drop some formula in her mouth to help her latch. Finally things were looking up. Lydia nursed for a little while and then was finally pooped.

And then an angel appeared.

My third shift nurse. I seriously could have kissed her.

She came in and immediately picked up on Lydia's demeanor and told me she was taking her to the nursery because she was a little "feisty" (that was the nice way of putting it) and that I was exhausted and needed to sleep for 3 hours. Did I say I could have kissed her? I'm pretty sure I jumped up and helped her wheel Lydia out of the room.

And then things got even better.

The next morning my sister's friend Diana was my nurse! (Billie was training Diana when I had Liam, so I had met her back in 2010 and we have a Internet friendship on Facebook and she says she's my #1 fan of the blog, so obviously I love her).

Diana made me feel better about everything going on with feisty Lydia. She told me that when babies first nurse it is like sucking a super thick milkshake from a straw and they don't get much, obviously for Lydia this was a major problem. She also made me feel better about using the formula and a pacifier, because I was starting to feel guilty about that. And I also felt horrible that I sent my baby to the nursery, but she reassured me that I needed sleep and a break from trying to nurse.

Lily & Liam came back to visit their baby sister and were still totally in love with her.

she completely scratched her face up from being so upset about nursing

The lactation consultant came to see us on Saturday and thought Lydia was doing a great job nursing. I tried to talk to her about the trouble we had the night before and she sort of gave me a hard time about the pacifier. That made me feel terrible, I was having major "mom guilt".

Liam calls her "cheeks" for obvious reasons.

The second night (Saturday), went similar to the first night, a lot of screaming, a lot of trying to nurse and then pulling off when she wasn't getting anything immediately. I was exhausted and emotional. Lily & Liam came to visit and Lydia was screaming and trying to nurse and I just kept thinking "how am I going to nurse her if she won't latch and then also take care of my two other kids?".

I started crying.

I felt terrible that I gave her a pacifier the night before because now she wasn't latching at all, and the Lactation Consultant was probably right and maybe there is something to this nipple confusion? I felt so guilty and terrible that maybe I messed up all of our breastfeeding chances.

Chris decided to take Lily & Liam out of the room for a walk in the hospital and left me and my mom and the nurse (who was trying to help get Lydia latched).

My friend Jenny came to visit at that exact moment. I felt terrible that I was crying when I had just had a perfect little baby. Jenny has three kids and knows how hard things can be. She was able to cheer me up with some crazy stories about having three kids. My nurse told me to take a break from the pacifier and from trying to get Lydia to latch and we would try again later. I called Billie at home and told her that I was crying like a weirdo because of the latching and thinking I wasn't going to be able to nurse with two other kids. Billie reminded me that Lydia was 2 days old and still learning and that I shouldn't put "the cart before the horse" thinking of what might happen, but it was hard not to think of the future and Lily & Liam. Chris came back with the kids and I took Liam for a little walk so I could spend some time with him (I was really missing him). When I came back I felt much better, I felt like I cleared my head.

After everyone left, my nurse that night helped me get Lydia to latch and she finally nursed and calmed down. I was glad we were ending the night on a good note.

Our final day at the hospital was Sunday. My OB really wanted me to stay through Monday because of all my pre-eclampsia history and it would have been nice to have another night to get a nap and have Lydia taken to the nursery, but Lily needed to get back to school Monday and we needed to get home. Diana was my nurse again (yay!) that morning and I told her that I was crying the night before and she told me "it wouldn't be a normal post-partum stay if I hadn't cried", most moms do. I felt bad because I never cried when Liam was born, I was too busy staring at him and loving him. But things with Lydia were going a little tougher than I remembered.

I really wished I would have taken a picture of Diana with Lydia. I hope she knows she was the best nurse ever and how much she helped me through those two days!

Favors for the nurses

This was Chris' favorite gift he received at the hospital from Steve

Still very swollen

Okay, I just think Liam's tongue is hysterical

Finally it was time to get our girl home.

Lydia was discharged at 7 pounds 4 ounces and we left the hospital Sunday afternoon.

We arrived home to this:

How cute did my mom decorate our porch?

Welcome Home Lydia!

Wish Liam was in this picture, but he fell asleep

Lily brought this home Monday from school, her class made her a poster, I thought that was really nice and Lily felt really special.

First Doctor appointment: November 5, 2013

She was already putting weight back on, so we didn't have to go back until 2 weeks.

She was up to 7 pounds 11 ounces.

We decided she looks most like Lily. Definitely has the same nose as Lily. Her cheeks when she was first born were most like Liam's, but now that her cheeks are thinning out and she is looking more and more like Lily's baby pictures.

Spending her days with Big Brother while Lily is at school.

First sponge bath

These two with her...gosh, I hardly know how to put it in words. I knew Lily would rise to the occasion because she just has such a tender heart for babies and animals. Liam has totally surprised me. I thought he would go through some growing pains because he is such a Mama's boy. He has been great with her. He is so gentle and always says "Her pretty mama". I thought Liam just loved snuggling with me, but I have learned that he is just a snuggler by nature and has turned his snuggles to his new baby sister. He really, really loves her. The three of them together make me so proud to be their mom.

I am so happy there are three of them, and...

...that they will always have each other.

Yes, we already have Chirstmas pj's out

My recovery has gone okay this time. I definitely feel like each time I have a c-section the incision heals better and hurts less (and this one is my smallest incision yet, for the biggest baby). I stopped taking the pain killers once we got home, because they were making me groggy and sleepy (I didn't need to be anymore sleepy). I got really swollen after delivery and my blood pressure once I got home was elevated and I was having bad headaches. Finally my swelling started going down, but my right leg was still huge. I went to my hematologist just to make sure I didn't have a blood clot in that leg (even though I am still doing Arixtra shots until 6 weeks post-partum). She thought everything looked okay and just told me to watch for redness and heat.  The postpartum contractions after the third were more painful as well, especially when I was nursing.

I am finally feeling a lot better and can't believe how skinny my ankles are - who knew!

The first week was sort of a blur. Once we got home, there was no nurse to take Lydia to the nursery and since Chris was really doing all the duties for Lily & Liam and I was nursing non-stop, I wasn't really getting any sleep. I think the first two days home, I got about 2 hours. The thing about having a newborn that is not your first baby, you can't really "sleep when the baby sleeps" because your other kids need you. Lily being in Kindergarten and the rush in the morning to get her ready and then at night to get dinner ready, homework done and things packed up for the next day, also added another element of "busy" to things.

Nursing was also difficult at first. I know after having two other kids that nursing is not easy. At least, for me it hasn't been with my other kids. Lily had all sorts of problems because of her prematurity and Liam had latch issues until he "grew into my nipples" (lactation consultant's term, not mine) and since they used the vacuum on his ear his jaw wasn't working quite right in the beginning.

So, I know it's hard.

But apparently knowing it's hard doesn't make it any easier. (and lets face it, it's been 3 years since I had a newborn, so I forgot a couple of things, like the sleep deprivation).

I have always thought of nursing as getting over humps...there is the first 2 days that are the hardest (in my opinion), then getting through the first 6 weeks when baby isn't really on any kind of schedule, and then there is the going back to work hump when you throw any kind of schedule you had, off. I know if I can make it through the "humps" it will be smooth sailing. I also know at a certain point nursing just becomes super easy. Not having to pack a bottle and mix formula and always having your boobs with you is pretty convenient. And the biggest factor for me is that it is good for Lydia and also completely rewarding to me. So, I wasn't going to give up. Tonight someone on my birth month group posted this and gosh, I wish I would have read this when we were in the hospital, it was a good reminder about why I wanted to stick with it and that it is hard at first, but gets easier.

Lydia was having latch issues and then was feeding about a half hour on each side (super slow) with only an hour in between feedings, not leaving time for anything else. I was exhausted and my nipples were really sore. And I didn't want to let Chris do a bottle for a while because I was trying to establish my supply. So, it was hard and I was tired.

She also hasn't really been the go with the flow third baby everyone told me the third baby would be. We've been going with Lydia's flow and I am just grateful that Lily and Liam are being so good about it. They don't complain when she cries and they have been really good about her coming first.

I promise I am keeping her as happy as possible :)

She's already three weeks old, which I can't believe and she is sometimes giving me a 3-4 hour stretch at night, so things are getting better. Nursing after the second week got much better, she is becoming more efficient and isn't taking as long, so I am finally getting some breaks in between.

Chris has been back to work and things have been going really well. I was worried because he works during the dinner time and bedtime routine (which is already hard and busy with two parents), but I have been handling it really well (not getting much of anything else done, but that's okay...our house may or may not look like a bomb exploded - I'm just sayin'). I've been getting dinner on the table, homework done, two kids to bed (even still reading them multiple stories), lunch packed, all while I am holding or feeding Lydia. And then I am up with her until 12:00 a.m. and multiple times in the night and then we are right back at it in the morning getting kids ready, Lily to school and Lydia fed (in the morning Chris helps though). And I haven't cried since we left the hospital, so I guess if I was going to have a mini meltdown the hospital was the place to do it, while I had lots of help.


I still can't believe she is here. She is the one I tried to imagine and who constantly moved inside of me, the one they said would be so big. She is perfect in every way and completes our family. We all love her so much.

It's funny, you try and try to imagine your life with the baby while she is inside you, and once she arrives, you can't imagine your life any other way.

We are doing this as often as we can...

I'll be back soon with her 1 month post.

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