I arrived at Dell’s at 1030AM. When I got up to the 4th floor, I called from the phone on the wall in order for them to buzz me in. They asked me for a passcode, but I didn’t have one. They told me I had to get the passcode in order to be able to enter. I was about to call Ryan when Ellie’s nurse came to get me. She said I sounded frustrated — but I think I was just exhausted and anxious. Walking to Ellie’s nursery was surreal. It was as though I was a person dying of thirst who was walking toward water — I have this biological drive to get to her as quickly as possible.
I walked into her nursery and they put Ellie in my arms. We snuggled. They told Ryan and I they’d get the Lactation Consultant (LC) for us — she was there fairly quickly. We worked on breastfeeding right away for at least an hour. Maybe an hour and a half. The LC showed me three holds that might work for Ellie and I. Ellie’s nurse also had to teach us a number of parenting skills. After that, they told us they could transfer us into a family room, but it took 2 or 3 hours, so we ordered some lunch and ate it in the cafeteria. Ryan’s Daddy and sister we at the hospital, but they went out to lunch, as well. By the time we were done, Ryan’s Daddy was back and already with Ellie. We went to get Ryan’s sister so she could see Ellie.
Once Diana left, Daddy came back in and we waited for the family room to become available. They transferred us into the new room and Ellie was no longer attached to a bunch of machines — which was nice. She still had her IV, though, which looked uncomfortable. She also got to sleep in a crib! Ryan’s Daddy stayed with us for most of the evening and brought us some food. Peter and Callie visited, as well, and brought us some cottage cheese and french dressing for my salad. We spent the night with Ellie. It was a rough first night because Ryan was so tired and I was very physically weak, but we survived, as did Ellie. At 3AM, they re-taught us our parenting skills. Dell requirement. They weighed Ellie and she was 7.75lbs.
I kept pumping and breastfeeding. They were concerned about Ellie’s weight loss, but it was totally within the normal range for a newborn. I think Dell is so used to dealing with babies who are much worse off than Ellie — they made bigger deals out of a few of the normal newborn things. They also didn’t have newborn diapers, which I found odd. When I woke up, I couldn’t move any of my limbs. The doctor told me that I would feel like I had been in a bad car accident. She was right. That morning, Ellie had the best BM she’d ever had! She wasn’t peeing as much as they’d like, but that is common when transitioning a baby from formula to breast milk. I wasn’t pumping much colostrum yet and I kept getting extremely nervous. That day, we bathed Ellie for the first time. She still was a tad messy! And boy did she not like that! Ryan’s Daddy came back and we just spent the day talking, resting and feeding Ellie. She got the last of her antibiotic treatments that day and we were told there was a chance she would go home on Sunday.
Sunday morning, the nurse checked on her. They were still concerned about how much she was eating and how little she was peeing. The LC came in to check on us and gave me a goodie bag of breastfeeding supplies. They checked her hearing and she passed with flying colors. The nurse came back again and let us know that we were cleared to go home. We automatically started to get all of our things packed up and put in the vehicles. They gave us a bunch of paperwork, including some items that we needed to give to her pediatrician. We got her dressed up in her reindeer costume and took a boatload of photos. Ryan had to put air in Baby Car’s tires, so Ellie and I traveled in Daddy’s truck. We learned that Ellie loved traveling in cars. Once home, Daddy and I had a hell of a time figuring out how to remove Ellie’s car seat from the truck. He joked, “How many Aggies does it take to remove a car seat from a truck?” Obviously we never tested this — but it took more than the two of us! I figured out how to remove the car seat from the base and we brought Ellie isn’t the house. Claudia decorated the outside of the house with some baby-related balloons, which was nice.
Daddy stayed to help Ryan clean the house, since it was still a disaster from Thanksgiving. I tried to console our cats, which left me an emotional wreck. Baby Tigger missed me so much that he found a pair of my shorts from the laundry and dragged them under the couch to make a bed with them. This was the first time he had to sleep without me right there — holding him. I cried and cried for a while. I never really got to handle the emotional rollercoaster that was labor and delivery through Ellie’s discharge. But, things got easier. I pumped that night and finally produced something. Not milk yet, but it was better than the NOTHING I was producing. We learned quickly that Ellie was not a back sleeper…and so began our lives with a little person in the house. Oh, and a rambunctious kitten, as well.
On Monday, Ellie saw the doctor. She was 7.47lbs. She lost a little weight. They checked her for jaundice, as well. Test came back within acceptable range. Otherwise, the doctor said she was very healthy. I got a call from the hospital and found out I made an error when I filled out her birth certificate form. See, Ryan and I would joke around a lot about Ellie being my baby and him not having any proof that she was his baby. Well, when I was filling out the form, he and I were chatting on the phone. I joked around about checking “YES” to wanting a paternity test done. And…I accidentally did check yes, lol. They called to confirm that I wanted the test — to which I died laughing. We spent the rest of the day trying to get into a feeding and sleeping rhythm. I also was able to pump a little more — not milk yet, but colostrum.
On Tuesday, we went to the vet with Tigger. He doubled his body weight in the three weeks we had him and he got a clean bill of health. He was able to start his shots — and was so good through the process. Ellie was great, too. She handled another busy day of traveling around like a pro! We took a walk to the grocery store and got some food essentials, a big boy litterbox for Tigger, since he was finally strong enough to climb into one, as well as some toys for Tigger. I was so exhausted by the end of this day. My body was so sore still. Ryan took a long nap with Ellie and Tigger while I got to decompress a tad. I was asked a really awesome question by Ellie’s godmother:
So, what is the coolest thing about being a new mom? What is the part that surprised you or you did not expect?
Coolest: You have this perfect amalgamation of you and your partner who not only makes you feel like a rock star, but also needs you more than anything right now to survive. It’s an amazing feeling. Knowing my breast milk is what she nee…ds to live…it’s kind of crazy.
Surprised: How natural it is to have this brand new creation. How natural parenting is, really. And that we’re able to pretty much keep things like they were before…we just have another partner in crime.
Didn’t Expect: To fall in love with my baby. People say that and you think it’s cliche. But…it’s totally true. You look at your baby and you can’t even imagine what it was like before they were there…nor do you want to because life without them just wasn’t as awesome.
Ellie had a rough night on Tuesday. She was very gassy and we had to learn how to deal with that and calm her down. Thank jeebus for Little Tummy’s from Auntie Jen. Ryan took her for a car ride and that calmed her down a bit.
On Wednesday, we were brought some soup by a friend. That started a wonderful treat by our friends and fellow mama’s — bringing us a meal most days so we can have a bit of a break from the daily chores. I finally started pumping milk — and was overjoyed. Being at home really helped my pumping and feeding. I was much more relaxed. We gave Ellie her first at-home bath. She cried quite a bit until we gave her a binky. She slept around 5 hours this night — a great night of sleep for a newborn!
On Thursday, Ellie had her first photo shoot. It lasted around 4 hours and she only woke up once for a feeding. We were told Ellie was the top 2 best baby this photographer ever worked with! We got some of the most amazing photos from this shoot. Ryan’s mom came into town, as well. She was a godsend! Once back home from the shoot, we introduced Ryan’s mom to the newest addition. And then, we got ready for another doctor’s appointment. Ellie weighed in at 7.57 — weight gain! They checked her for jaundice again. She got hungry during the appointment, so we took a 30 minute break to feed her. Everything, otherwise, looked good. We made an appointment for her two week check-up and then headed home. We came home to another dropped off meal from a local mama and got ready for a really rough night with Ellie. She was overtired from her long day — and we broke from her routine — so she was hard to get to sleep. But, we managed.
All in all, Ellie’s first week was a lot of things. A learning experience, a rollercoaster of emotions and the best week of our lives!