So to catch you up...I went to the hospital. I got cut open. They pulled a baby out. We had visitors.
We had LOTS of visitors. In retrospect, probably too many. I didn't really get a chance to just BE with her that first day, because she was constantly being handed off to someone else. I nursed her, but that was about the extent of our interaction. Between not getting her immediately because of the c-section and the large number of visitors, I missed out on a lot of valuable bonding time. It wasn't until the first night, when everyone left, that I had any sort of extended time holding her - and that was when it finally hit me that we had a baby. Next time, I'll be more selfish with the baby that first day.
Sometime during the first night, they let me know that at some point they were going to remove the catheter and have me stand up. In a moment of insanity, I opted to just go ahead and do it then. In the long run, getting up sooner definitely helps with recovery, but at the moment, I was about to regret it. They prepped by laying out a puppy pee pad and grabbing lots and lots and lots of towels. I was prepared for this: the first time you stand up after giving birth (no matter how the kid gets out) leaves a mess resembling a murder scene. A brutal bloody murder scene, not a clean simple poisoning. So I tried to stand up...and couldn't. The pain just was too much. I tried again and again, and couldn't do it. Chris reminded me about the abdominal binder that I'd brought, so I asked if I could put it on to see if it would help. I'd learned from the TAC surgery that a binder helped immensely. The nurse wasn't a fan of using it without a doctor's approval, but after trying again and not getting anywhere I said screw it and put it on anyway. And presto...I could stand. Not without pain, but at least I wasn't getting lightheaded from the pain. And then...then...well, I'm going to be brutally honest with you here, ladies. I hope it's all ladies reading this. Then the nurse cleaned up my vagina. I was mortified on her behalf. Can you imagine if that was your job? Cleaning up bloody vaginas. Ugh. Ewww. Ugh again. Luckily...luckily...I wasn't bleeding a lot. But standing (and walking to the bathroom to pee) did hurt a fairly significant amount.
Random baby pic from the first few days to break up this wall of text and get bloody womanparts out of your head:
After that, things get kind of murky. Unlike day one, I don't have a 24/7 photographic record of the next few days, so I remember things here and there but not necessarily the order in which it happened. Sometime after getting up the first time, I got up with the baby and walked her bassinet down the hall, and tried to do that every few hours. I know after I peed twice they took out the IV lock (I hadn't been on IV pain meds at all because of the nausea). I took a shower for the first time on the second day, and that was also pretty painful. Luckily, I had my mom come in with me (no, we didn't co-shower - it was a big room!). She helped me get dressed and (embarrassingly) helped me put on those lovely mesh panties they outfit you in. But come on, I'd just been split open. I couldn't bend over! The second time I stood up, the second time I peed, the second time I walked the halls, the second time I showered...they were all massively easier than the first time doing so. I really recovered astonishingly quickly. I attribute that to having been through it once before with the TAC, so I knew what to expect and had ideas on what to do to help heal faster.
Chris went home the second night to sleep in our own bed. I knew that he'd never sleep at the hospital, and I knew that it'd help ME out when we got home if he was well-rested. My good friend Wendy came and spent the night with me that night, as I had done for her when her son was born. She brought me SUSHI. Other than the giant incision, it was like a super fun slumber party! Also, no booze. And lots of talk about birth and bloody things. But other than that. Slumber party! We also brought our nurse in on our slumber party - she hung out in our room chatting and gossiping for several hours. Oops! Hope she didn't have more important things to attend to, like other new moms and/or newborns! She did tell us, though, about the time that someone pressed the emergency button because they wanted new towels. And did that several times, because they thought it WAS an emergency. My sister stayed the third night; my mom the fourth. Yes, we stayed four nights and five days. They will discharge you after three nights, but I took full advantage of the staff being there and stayed the whole time.
That third day (or maybe it was the third?) I also got dressed. The hospital gown was a pain to snap and unsnap every time I wanted to nurse. Eventually I just kind of threw it over my shoulder, so it had a tendency to fall down at inopportune times, like when a male relative would walk into the room. Male relative, meet my breasts! Breasts, meet male relative! Awkward! I had nursing clothes in my hospital bag, so I put those on and it was much easier.
Baby-staring continued and was occasionally filmed.
Visitors continued and were occasionally photographed.
A war waged between her two younger aunts, Kimberly and Ana.
On day two (I think) they came with the birth certificate information, which meant that we really had to get on the ball with finalizing her name. After going back and forth several times, we went with Carys. Mainly because, honestly, it's what everyone thought her name was going to be and they were used to it. I loved it, though. It's just so hard to commit! It's for life! What if she hates it?!? What if people call her "Carrots"??!? (Whoops.) We also saw the lactation consultants several times, but the best help with that came from our nurse the third night. She was very knowledgeable and really got in there (if you know what I mean) (I mean she grabbed my boob and shoved it in Carys's mouth). In fact, she was one of the reasons I wanted to stay the last day, to take advantage of her again.
We saw so many doctors - her pediatrician, the attendings, interns...at one point a doctor came in and it was like something out of a sitcom. I'm not sure how well I'll be able to paint this picture, but imagine this: he was short and wearing a mock turtleneck tucked into belted pants. He was followed by a literal swarm of female residents. He swept into the room, brusquely questioned my physical state, and swept out of the room. The entire time the attendings were staring at him and nodding and taking notes, and the swept out after him. I'm sure that doesn't do the situation justice, but it was funny to me. However, I was also on Percocet, so maybe that's why.
The third night we took advantages of one of the fun hospital perks - a steak dinner. No, really. I swear! The hospital "gifts" you a nice congratulatory dinner one night, where you can choose from a fancy menu. I say "gifts" instead of gifts because it probably cost insurance a couple thousand bucks. But we got steak and...hmm. Definitely steak. A couple sides. Dessert. But I remember the steak. And it was surprisingly good - and I'm a huge steak snob. I'm all about the filets. No fat or bones in mine, please. The last night, my entire family came up for a pizza dinner. We usually do Sunday dinners at my parents' house, but since I couldn't be there and I'm the center of my family (not really) they all came to me. We ate in the family lounge, and it was nice to get out of the hospital room for a couple hours.
The last morning we were there, they weighed her again. She'd gone down to just 8 pounds 9 ounces, which is well within the allowable amount of weight loss.
Before we were able to leave, we had paperwork to sign, which I think affirmed that we knew what we were doing with her. I lied and signed it anyway. The nurse pointed out what we could steal and take home and what they'd charge a gazillion dollars for (pacifier: yes; hospital bed: no). We put her in a "real" outfit for the first time and took another family picture. I looked like shit; luckily Carys was chill and didn't care. However, note to self: next time, I don't know, TRY.
She was, however, skeptical about the whole carseat thing.
I was expecting to get wheeled out in a wheelchair a la every movie I've ever seen, but they let us just walk out. Let us just walk right out with a tiny newborn baby with no instruction manual or anything! Actually, that's a total lie. They gave us two instruction manuals (no joke).
One quick stop at Walgreens later to fill prescriptions, and then...and then we were home. And we haven't looked back since.