Today is May 24, 2021, which was my actual due date! So on this day, I wanted to share Addison’s birth story.
Addison Laurel Pullen was born at 1:29pm, on May 5, 2021. In contrast to Emerson’s drama-filled arrival, Addison’s was so smooth, quick and easy! (If you’d like to read Emerson’s long-winded, three-part birth story, click here, here and here.) Also, the beginning of Addison’s birth story is in a post when we first announced I was pregnant, and then I blogged throughout my entire pregnancy, so this post is really just from the day of her birth and the couple of days after that…
So, since I had a previous C-section with Emerson (and had a uterine fibroid removed at that time) and the fact that I had gestational diabetes, my doctor scheduled my C-section for 37 weeks pregnant, to avoid some of the higher risks towards the end of pregnancy. So for a couple of months ahead of time, we knew the exact date and approximate time that Addison would arrive.
The morning of my scheduled surgery, I took Emerson to school, returned home to shower, and then Jeff and I packed up and drove to the hospital! I wasn’t allowed to eat past midnight the night before, which really stunk because I was starving, as I didn’t even report until 10am, and surgery was scheduled for 12:30pm. I really wished I would have been the first of the day at 7:30, but oh well…
We checked in right at 10am, and were immediately taken back to a Labor & Delivery room to go through all of the pre-op stuff with the nurses, and monitor the baby for 30 minutes.
I had to get an IV placed for surgery and everything, and out of the entire birth process with Addison, this was by far the worst part. If you didn’t read Emerson’s birth story, I had some serious issues with IV’s then too (three different ones over 8 days, and multiple attempts each time), and was definitely nervous about it this time too. We warned my nurse that apparently my veins are tricky, so she went ahead and got this crazy vein-finder-light-thingy to help her.
She found a vein she thought was good, and tried to place the IV, but it rolled and the vein blew. She called in a second nurse to try, and she tried twice but blew both veins too. The charge nurse was then called, and it took her three tries before she finally got it placed (in my forearm, instead of my hand), which was the sixth attempt. And y’all, that hurt. Each and every one of them hurt. I was almost in tears at one point, but I was trying to be still and strong and I held it together, but dang I hate getting IV’s!
When the time finally came for surgery to begin, I actually got up and walked myself to the Operating Room (instead of being wheeled there on the bed), stopping to press the little lullaby button on the way (I was sad because they hadn’t let Jeff walk with me, so he didn’t see me do it or get to be there with me or take a photo or video of the moment 😞), and then Jeff got himself dressed in all the garb, and then sat there waiting for them to come back and get him.
I don’t know why they waited so long to bring Jeff back to the OR to be with me, but he wasn’t even there with me when they placed my spinal block. I was holding on to my nurse, who was super sweet and nice, but ya know, she wasn’t my husband, so it was weird they hadn’t brought him back to be with me yet. I was really nervous getting that done, and really wished Jeff was there with me. They even started cutting me open before he finally walked in. I remember feeling super cold and nervous and anxious, and the nurse near my head was again super nice and sweet, but once I heard Jeff’s voice in the room, it felt so much better knowing he was finally there with me. He came around and kissed my forehead and held my hand, and I was so glad he was there at last.
Lying there on the operating table, time was warped, and it felt like it took forever for them to do whatever they were doing to bring Addison into the world. I’m sure it was only 10-15 minutes once they started until they time they pulled Addison out, but it felt like forever! I heard them announce “OUT AT 1329!” (Yes, they used military time.) And I felt that overwhelming rush of love and nerves and joy and anxiety. I was waiting for again what felt like forever again to hear her cry, but was most likely only a minute or so, until I finally heard her use her little lungs, and I felt like I could breathe again knowing she was breathing herself!
They called Jeff over to cut her umbillical cord, and then got her all cleaned up before bringing her over for me to see.
This next picture makes her somehow look much bigger than she actually was, at only 6 pounds 4 ounces, and 19 inches long.
Because of where the IV was placed in my right arm (and since there were meds actually flowing through it right then), I couldn’t bend that arm to actually hold her on my chest, but I was able to hoist one (very cold and seemingly very heavy) arm up to touch her at least a little bit, while Jeff held her steady on my chest. (That gauze on my left hand is from one of the five blown veins from trying to place the IV earlier.)
They took her away from me to clean her up more, and then they let her and Jeff head to the recovery room while the doctors finishing putting me back together. If you’ve never had a c-section before, it’s impossible to know that feeling, but it’s seriously the strangest thing ever. It’s not painful, but you can feel things being moved around and tugged on and basically just moving all your insides all over the place. Even at the end of surgery when you’re being stitched back up, it still feels like the weirdest feeling on the planet. With my first c-section, I developed a bacterial infection called cellulitis across my stomach, so they took one extra precaution against that this time (placing some sort of sterile tape or something for just one day), and I think it worked, because the infection didn’t happen again this time.
So Jeff got about 30 minutes of Daddy/Daughter alone time in the recovery room, before they finally wheeled me in there with them. He has loved this time with both of his girls, and spends his alone time loving on them and staring at them and praying over them, and even crying over them.
Once I made it to the recovery room, it was finally time for me to hold her for real for the first time, and we did a little skin-to-skin time. I got to just lay there with her on my chest for at least 30 minutes, with both of us just calmly and quietly laying in our darkened room. I instantly felt that bond with her, and was so in love with her right away.
Since I had gestational diabetes, it was very important that Addison’s blood sugar was monitored immediately. I don’t totally understand this part of it, but from what I remember, since my blood sugar was high, hers was at risk of being low. So although we instantly attempted breast feeding, when that was unsuccessful, they brought a bottle of formula to get some milk in her right away. They waited a little while, and then did a little glucose test on her to check her blood sugar level. Luckily, the level from her first test was good, and then they checked it a few more times for the first 12 hours of her life, and all were great. I only got tested once the next morning before breakfast, but my numbers were fine, and so it was deemed my gestational diabetes had indeed gone away as expected.
This little girl was practically a silent little angel baby for the first few days of her life, and we barely even heard her cry or coo or anything like that. We had a relatively uneventful few days in the hospital, and were taken excellent care of by all of our nurses. The only “event” we had was when I got a little close to passing out after my first post-op shower. I think I had been standing up too long, and didn’t have enough food on my stomach, and got too hot from the shower, and the combination was just too much.
So while the PA was helping me get dressed after my shower, I started to feel weak and told her my hearing sounded weird (like I was under water), so her and the nurse literally rushed me to the bed as fast as possible and laid it down flat and put cold wash cloths on my neck and forehead and fanned me with a clipboard until I felt better. The feeling passed within just about five minutes and then I was fine, but that was a weird feeling! (They later told me that thing that happened with my ears was a sure sign that I was about to fall flat on my face and legitimately pass out, which is why they rushed me to the bed so quickly.)
We tried breastfeeding, but we couldn’t quite get it. The nurses helped me hand express (the tiniest little droplets of colostrum), and we attempted to get Addison to latch (mostly unsuccessful), and a lactation consultant came by to help out for a while too. They brought in the hospital-grade pump and I pumped every three hours, trying to tell my body that it was time to get to work, but it just wasn’t happening… She took to the bottle really well though, and was eating good with no issues, and was steadily wanting more and more with almost every feeding.
Addie was born on Wednesday, May 5, and by Friday, May 7, they were already getting ready to discharge us, just two days later, which was actually Jeff’s birthday! We got everything finished and packed up around lunch time, and I very slowly walked myself out of the hospital, only two short days post-partum! With Emerson, I was in the hospital for eight days, so I was shocked that I was discharged so quickly (and in such good health), after only two days with Addison.
She was soooo tiny (she had dropped down to 5lbs 15oz before we left) in this seemingly-gigantic infant car seat carrier, and we had forgotten the newborn insert. So we used four rolled-up hospital blankets to pad her in there’s and make it a little more snug and secure for her.
We got home around 1pm on Friday afternoon, before this tiny baby was even 48 hours old yet, which still just boggles my mind, because it feels like it all just happened so stinking fast!
And since I don’t plan to do a whole separate post about breastfeeding this time around, I’m going to try to sum it up here before ending this post…
First let me say, I wanted to try to breastfeed Addison, but didn’t know how it would go, especially considering all the issues I had the first time around with Emerson. So once we got home home, I continued pumping every three hours, or every time Jeff fed her a bottle, but things weren’t progressing. Even once I started producing a little bit of milk a few days later, it was never more than about half an ounce from each side. I kept trying to pump until around day 10, but my milk still hadn’t really come in. And the little bit of breastmilk that I had pumped so far, that we then mixed in with the formula bottles, seemed to cause Addie to have an upset tummy. (We never successfully latched and breastfed.)
So last weekend, I finally just quit. It didn’t feel like it was “worth it” to spend so much time hooked up to the pump and washing all the pump parts multiple times a day, for barely nothing, only for it to seem like it didn’t sit well in Baby’s tummy. We’d already gotten comfortable feeding Emerson formula for most of her first year of life, and we felt very much OK feeding Addison formula as well. I am definitely in the FED IS BEST camp, and knew that Addison would be more than okay on formula.
In all honesty, it was still a tough decision (even though I kind of made it sound like it wasn’t in that last paragraph), and I was still sad and emotional and upset that my body still couldn’t do the one thing that my newborn needed. Jeff was super sweet and supportive and backed me in whatever choice I would ultimately make. But all things considered, it was best for our family (and my own time and mental health), to not keep trying so hard for something that wasn’t really working. And although I was a little upset about this a week or so ago, I’m completely fine now, and feel like I made the right decision.
With Emerson, even though we used formula almost the entire time, I was worried I would be judged in this super judgmental culture, especially when breastfeeding is the “IN” thing to do these days. I basically hid the fact that we used formula, and never even posted photos of her being bottle fed or with bottles in the background, because I was that worried about it. All of the guilt and mom-shame took over and I was too worried about what people would think, versus what was best for our family. This time around though, I don’t care, and I just want to put it all out there, and share this issue more, because I now know this is way more common for so many more mothers, and it needs to be discussed more, so that we don’t feel so alone in this battle!
(That wasn’t as short of an explanation on our choices re: breastfed vs. formula fed, but I clearly have a lot of thoughts on the matter.)
Anyways, back to the story…
Emerson had stayed the few days at my parents’ house while we were in the hospital, and they kept her for one more night so we could focus all our attention on Addie for one more night, before Emmie came home. We had a good first afternoon and evening, and we started settling into our home and routine really well…. I didn’t blog for a few more days after this, but shared a few things on Facebook from during that time. And actually, I might come back and blog about Emmie meeting her baby sister, so I can save that sweet memory here on my own website for the future.
So as I said before, Addison’s birth story, and the days afterwards, was just so much more pleasant all around than Emerson’s, and I’m forever thankful for that. We’ve transitioned well to having two little girls at home, and things are still going (mostly) well, with just the few issues that all newborn parents and families go through. We do feel like Addison will be our last child, and I or course think she’s the most perfect addition to our little family. She has honestly been such a good little baby girl for these last 2.5 weeks, and I love her more than I could have imagined! I’m also so grateful that she came into our world early, and we’ve already gotten to fall in love with her!