Little Prince: A Birth Story* (Part 4)

Well, it’s been a busy few days around here. As much as I would have liked to have hammered out this last post a week or so ago, my hands have been a little… full. Will has been going through a series of growth spurts and has either been eating or sleeping on me pretty much non-stop. I had forgotten just how busy newborning is…

Thank goodness he is awfully cute and lovely to snuggle.

Our little Prince finally arrived at 5:38am on July 26th. I have to rely on the Hubster’s version of events for the first few minutes of his life as I was utterly exhausted and a little out of it.

When he was first born, he didn’t cry immediately and the Hubster later told me that he was concerned about how sickly he looked when he was first born. Because of the meconium in my waters, his airway had to be suctioned and cleared before he finally let out that loud, glorious cry we had been waiting for. Once he started breathing my midwives told me that his skin began to turn a beautiful pink and I waited to see him for the first time.

While one midwife was working on Will, Karla was busy tending to me. Shortly after giving birth I think I went into a mild form of shock. I was still very warm, but my arms and legs began to shake rather uncontrollably and I wasn’t able to stop. Considering the trauma my body had just gone through, I suppose it’s fairly normal. Luckily I didn’t have much tearing this time (second degree, but only 4 stitches), as it took everything in me to try and remain still while Karla cleaned me up a little.

After they worked on him for a few minutes, they finally handed our new little boy to me. As I held his tiny body on my chest he continued to cry and fuss, and his breathing seemed labored. He continued to cry and grunt as he tried to fill his lungs with air but wasn’t able to on his own. My secondary midwife took him back over to the warming table with the respiratory therapist to try and help ease his breathing. They were concerned that he may still have something in his lungs, and he spent the next thirty minutes or so off and off a CPAP mask to help him get some air.

His breathing continued to be labored even with the CPAP mask, and both my midwives and the respiratory therapist recommended that Will be transferred to the special care nursery until his breathing regulated. I was in no shape to move at that point, so the Hubster stayed with the baby so I could rest. Before he was wheeled they told us our handsome boy weighed a healthy 8lbs 4oz–a tiny wee one compared to his big brother. haha!

While the Hubster was with Will in the nursery, my mom and dad slipped out to see Ruby and Hank, who were now awake and were no doubt showing my neighbour how things run around my house. The organized chaos of my delivery room quieted until it was just Karla and I, and I finally had a few moments to process the events of the morning. She encouraged me to rest for a few minutes, and I gratefully took this suggestion to heart. She wasn’t sure how long Will would need to be in the nursery, so I wasn’t in any terrible hurry to transfer to my post-delivery room.

When the Hubster returned less than 45 minutes later and announced that Will had improved marvelously and was being discharged from the nursery, I was thrilled. I “quickly” had a shower (quickly = slow shuffle at a turtle’s pace haha) and was wheeled to my new room where Will was going to meet us. I got settled in the bed just as our new little boy was wheeled in and handed to me… and I finally got to have a good look at our little sweetheart. I always forget just how tiny and perfect newborn babies are… as I stared into his face I tried to remember what his older brother and sister had looked like as newborns, but for the life of me I couldn’t decide who he looked more like. It wasn’t until later when I put a photo of Will next to a newborn photo of Hank that I remembered that we don’t create boy children… we recreate clones of the Hubster. haha

We were able to rest together–just the three of us–for a few hours in our little room as we waited to see what the day would bring. Will continued to breathe peacefully and easily, and after a check in with the pediatrician at 10:15am, we were given the green light to head home whenever we felt ready. We decided to take it easy, but were very excited to be able to be home in time for dinner–barely 12 hours after giving birth.

Despite being just over three hours and not as complicated as Hank’s delivery, this labor felt a lot harder for me… and I wish I had been prepared for what came after.

You see, people don’t often talk about what happens after labor is said and done. I always thought that once I had the baby that all was done, despite some tenderness and healing.

I wasn’t prepared for the intensity of the “afterpains” (contractions) that followed Will’s birth. Deep in the recesses of my mind I knew that my uterus needed to contract to return it its normal size. I remember feeling some discomfort with my first two children, but I can’t recall any severe pain. I was not prepared for how painful this process was after baby #3.

With each baby, your muscles in and around your uterus weaken a little further. As it begins to contract and shrink post labor, the muscles don’t hold as well because your muscle tone has weakened with each baby… so the muscles have a harder time staying contracted and instead relax a little, needing to be contracted yet again.

As we were unwinding in our room a few hours after Will had been born, the first round of these afterpains hit me like a ton of bricks. They were so powerful that I had to breathe my way through them and it sent my body back into shock. It took me nearly 20 minutes to stop shaking and trembling again. They were easily as powerful as some of the contractions I had experienced during childbirth… and they came and went intermittently for nearly 5 days after giving birth.

I wish I had known that they intensified with each birth–I would have (and should have) started taking the pain medication they give you immediately after my labor finished to help dull the first waves. Instead, I felt pretty okay after labor so I waited to take them…. and felt the first set of afterpains at full strength.

Not fun.

Thankfully all that is behind me now that I’m three weeks out. The afterpains subsided completely when Will was a week or so old, and aside from some extra pregnancy weight that is still hanging around, I feel pretty much myself. Life with two kids + a newborn has definitely been an adjustment, but it’s been a pretty positive one. There are good days and hard days, and I’m just trying to take each one as it comes. The Hubster has several weeks off work and has been my rock and my strength through this whole transition. Hank and Ruby have been amazing with Will, and I know that each day things will eventually get a little easier… and for right now, I’m totally okay with eating Nutella toast for dinner.

Newborn baby snuggles are way more important. :)

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