Sunday, May 7, 2023

Esther Rose is One Week Old (and mini birth story)

Esther Rose was born at 38 weeks and 1 day weighing 7 pounds 6oz after four hours of labor. I am at peace with her birth! I had so much guilt with my first two births, first because I used an epidural with Reuben I struggled a long time with not feeling like I was 'good enough' because I couldn't 'handle the pain'. Then I had a natural birth with Becky but I felt so stressed and awkward about how much I freaked out and screamed and cried during transition and pushing. I still feel embarrassed and uncomfortable about how I 'wasn't able to stay in control'. 

I didn't fully realize how much trauma and guilt I actually carried from my first two births until I got pregnant again.

So, I had a lot of fears about birth going into Esther's... but God was there. I had another very quick labor (four hours) and I chose to get an epidural after my contractions were too close together and making me start to freak out again (I was at 8 cm so I was so close!!). I am allowing zero guilt into this birth story. Yes it is true I wanted to try for a natural birth but it is also okay to get an epidural. She is here and that is what matters. But boy was it fast!! My doula was amazing (though maybe shocked I got an epidural after I talked for months about how I didn't want one??) and I couldn't have done it without her SERIOUSLY. My mom was there and my husband and it was just everything I could have wanted. Literally the birth of my dreams where I finally learned to let go of what I expected and just roll with what was happening and make choices as it came. Ten out of ten stars! ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

a few hours after birth

Besides the horrible afterbirth contractions and having to wait awhile to walk due to the epidural, birth and recovery have been very smooth. We were able to take her home after 24 hours, and the only issue I could see is that she was having a lot of trouble latching and breastfeeding, but I didn't worry much about it because I have nursed two babies and they always figured it out. Two days later I could tell something was terribly wrong. She seemed like she was latching, but she wasn't pooping at all and barely making any pee. We saw a lactation consultant on the fourth day to find out she wasn't transferring milk (hardly at all) and was severely dehydrated and underweight. 

I cried. I felt like such a failure! It was so hard to hear she was basically slowly dying and I didn't know. I had a gut instinct that something was wrong but I couldn't tell what it was. At the lactation office I pumped and fed her about 3 oz and she sucked it up like a sponge and gained .4 oz of weight by the next day! She is doing well, but her poor sleep deprived mama feels a load of guilt over it. I knew I could make milk and it never occurred to me that breastfeeding really is a two way relationship. I was lucky that my first two (even if they had tongue/lip ties) took to it like champs. And I am glad Esther is okay but that was scary.

feeding Esther with a syringe

Pumping is no joke. It takes way longer to pump and feed her in the night! I miss the times with my others where I would literally just stick them to my chest and go back to sleep. Now it takes about an hour to warm her milk, feed her (we are using an SNS system on my finger now instead of syringes) and then pump to make sure I keep up my milk supply. I never knew! It is so worth it to see her happy and gaining. She has another weight check tomorrow and a bilirubin check. 

I love her so much! After having a 10 pound baby boy and an 8 pound baby girl two years later, a little 7 pounder (she's under 7 pounds now so not back at birth weight yet) feels so tiny. She's so little! I didn't buy many newborn clothes since I assumed I would have another big baby. Becky wore newborn clothes for two weeks and Reuben went straight into 0-3 months! She will be in newborn clothes for quite awhile I think.

So thats the story of Esther Rose for now. She's here, we are all tired, we love her, she's perfect, and I am so glad. God has been ever present throughout her birth and life so far and I see the glory, the mercy and the love of the Father every day as I parent her. 

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