Life since baby has been truly amazing. Once we got out of the hospital and the NICU things really started to look up for us as a family. The unexpected cesarean and NICU stay were emotionally devastating but we are so grateful to have our little bean here safe with us today. Looking at these beautiful photos by Justine Milton make me smile so big. It’s so surreal to know that was her inside of me, truly a miracle. I asked you guys on snapchat (please come play if you aren’t following us there already–Harlow overload!) some questions you wanted me to answer and here are the most asked:
What ended up happening to cause the emergency cesarean? The reason I ended up needing the cesarean section is because my placenta was in fact detaching from the uterine wall otherwise known as placental abruption.
How did my recovery go? Recovering from the cesarean wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. I remember watching c-sections being performed and said there is not a way in HELL I am ever going through that! Obviously, when it comes to the life of your child you will do absolutely anything to make sure they are okay and after experiencing it first hand I must admit it wasn’t so terrible. I was VERY swollen afterwards (like I have stretch marks on my feet because I swelled up so much) so that part was super uncomfortable and my core was obviously very tender so getting in and out of bed was difficult but I did okay. I feel like I have zero pain tolerance and I somehow did very well. I’m uncertain as to whether or not that is because my emotional pain was a lot worse or because I was in the hospital for 5 days meaning my pain was being managed effectively by the medical team. Either way, I am SO grateful for modern medicine and the fact that this saved my babes (and my) life.
Am I breastfeeding Harlow? Oh breastfeeding. Yes I am breastfeeding Harlow but we are also supplementing with expressed breast milk. This has been a challenge for us all. In the NICU they were giving Harlow a bottle of formula so she was very frustrated trying to feed off of me when I only had colostrum for the first 3 days. With c-sections your milk usually doesn’t come in until day 4 or 5 (non c-section usually day 3) but I was so determined to make breastfeeding work. Tim and I would wake up every 3 hours and manually express the colostrum catching it in a little syringe in order to get her nutrients from me and stimulate my milk to come in. I was so grateful on day 3 when it did! Those hard moments paid off. She was having a difficult time latching sometimes and we found that she did in fact have a posterior tongue tie. They ending up snipping it (TRAUMATIZING for mom) and she has been feeding so much better since then. Tim isn’t ready to give up his feeding times with her so I am still pumping and we are still supplementing with expressed breast milk as well.
How did I manage family and friends all wanting to meet Harlow? This was very hard the first couple of days. The only people who knew we were having Harlow were our parents because we literally had zero time to tell anyone else. Everyone was obviously so excited when they found out but unfortunately I was devastated, exhausted (I couldn’t sleep for 2 days because I was heartbroken she wasn’t with me) and just needed time with Tim and baby. After some explaining everyone was very understanding and came to see her as soon as we were ready. It was also difficult having her in the NICU because only 2 people were allowed in the room at the time so we couldn’t have had proper visits anyways. Our parents were there as soon as I got out of recovery but everything was a blur to me. She still hasn’t met some of our closest friends but hopefully soon.
Did we have support post delivery: We had so much support and we are so grateful. I wasn’t able to eat any of the food in the hospital so my mom made sure to stock us healthy vegan meals while we were in the hospital and when we got out. Tim’s mom also came and stayed with us for a week (THANK GOODNESS). She made me some amazing vegan meals and literally served me while I was recovering and tending to little Harlow. She did all of our laundry (multiple times a day, sterilized our bottles, cooked, and cleaned–it was a dream). We were sad to see her go but felt super ready to get in a routine just the three of us.
Why was Harlow in the NICU? Harlow ended up swallowing a significant amount of blood in utero and after they suctioned her multiple times she still wasn’t breathing properly. The blood also ended up in her little lungs. There were a couple other things going on (low sodium and such) but they were able to manage it all via IV fluids, a feeding tube, breathing support and some love from her parents.
How has it been having Harlow here? An absolute dream come true. Day one at home I was like WTF there is no way I can do this but quickly after things started to work themselves out. We got into a new routine and have been LOVING having her here with us. She has started waking herself up and cueing when she is hungry so that is a lot better than having to set an alarm and waking her up every 3 hours. Tim has been the best support ever too. He wake up at every single feed and changes her and supplements once I am done feeding her. I’m so grateful for the team we are.
Best thing about Motherhood so far? The best thing about motherhood so far just has to be the love I feel for her. It’s absolutely indescribable. I love the way it all feels and just can’t imagine how we ever lived without her.
Why is Tim off work until April? Tim does majority of his work from May till September so we are very blessed to have him off work the rest of the year. He does things here and there but he isn’t in full work mode. It’s a confusing lifestyle haha.
What has been the hardest thing about being a mom so far? I think for me the hardest part has been some of the fears I have had surrounding Harlow. I am being super aware of how I feel (because of my increased risk for post traumatic stress disorder) but some thoughts I have are sometimes difficult. I find there are times where I fear something is going to happen to Harlow and it’s obviously irrational. From day one after implantation we were told that she was probably not going to make it, then she had a very scary arrival where we were told she could have not made it, so I think its the combination of the events leading up to her that make me worry. I don’t feel this all the time but I’m always so cautious not to drop her, or walk into a door holding her or making sure my coffee is ice cold before I drink it anywhere near her. I know it’s normal for mom’s to worry but this has been the hardest part for me personally. I know as time goes on I will get more confident and these feelings will just be an afterthought but for now, that is my challenge. Naturally I am a worrier and Tim has said multiple times how impressed he is that I am so calm and relaxed when it comes to her but I do get these worrying moments sometimes that I hate. I’m just grateful they don’t happen all the time and that everyone thinks I’m so chill. I must say I’m a lot more calm and confident that I ever imagined and just feel proud of how I have adjusted to motherhood after all the stresses leading up to her arrival.