My baby is sleeping. I don't have much time to write this. I've already "saved" and restarted several times since yesterday. But by now the majority of you know that we've brought home our son, Winfield. We were "Team Green" and didn't find out the sex until he was born and passed up through his mama's legs and his mama said, "Oh. He's a boy." But then I proceeded to have a "Raising Arizona" experience of "Iiiiiiii... loooooooovvvveee him soooo-hooo-hooo muuu-uhhh-uhhh-ch..." moment, until the doctor decided it was time to break out the needle and thread and, well, we were reunited about 45 minutes later after he had some skin-to-skin time with daddy.
Winfield Lawrey was born at 1:09 a.m. on 15 January 2013 at Providence Southfield's Alternative Birth Care Unit. (Here is his birth announcement on BabyCenter.) He was 20" long and weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces. He was born naturally after 48+ hours of labor, 8 hours of hard labor, and 24 minutes of pushing. I'm healing quite well and he is doing well overall.
We had an amazing birth doula, Laurel of Guided Passage Birth Companion in Ferndale, who helped Nate and I to focus and bring our little guy into the world. She held my hand when Nate was busy doing other things to help me, she helped me remember how to breathe (yes, I kind of forgot when things "got real"), started and stopped the jets on the labor tub, and held my back and legs when I would have contractions and when I got ready to push. When one technique stopped working, she tried another. That, plus all of the amazing information she gave during prenatal visits, was worth its weight in gold!
Our OB, Dr. Dionne Dickerson, of Physicans For Women in Southfield, was a huge part of our birth experience as well. "Dr. D" as I referred to her in labor didn't pigeonhole me due solely to weight. She was supportive and allowed me to birth naturally, despite of my pre-pregnancy BMI, because I had no other "risk factors" or health concerns. She allowed me to be in any position and do whatever my body needed to do during labor and delivery (except she stopped me from pushing before she had her gown on, which I guess we'll let slide), allowing me to deliver my baby without breaking my water artificially, allowing me to deliver naturally despite his presenting "Right Occiput Posterior," (not breech, but the least preferable presentation for a head-down baby) and helping me to move a "lip" that was holding the baby in at the cervix and preventing his delivery.
Nate is childhood friends with a fellow named Matt, whose wife Jill is the "After Baby Lady," or a postpartum doula. Instead of assisting in birth, her goal is to educate and assist mamas after they come home, whether it be light chores, baby rearing, or breastfeeding. I reached out to her in the bleary-eyed throws of initial breasfeeding pain and exhaustion (twice!) asking for advice and she came out to the house to educate us and take the babe for long enough for me to catch a catnap. At that point in time, I had about eight hours of sleep in 3-4 days, so 1.5 hours of sleep was amazing. Then when my resolve fell away the next night, she was so supportive via e-mail I was just blown away. She continued to check on the baby and on us and we both really appreciated her kindness and expertise.
Lastly, today we consulted with Brandy from In Home Lactation Specialists, as Wellby (his nickname) lost 14% of his birthweight, due to no fault of our or his own. She came out to the house to weigh him, check his mouth and latch, check my breasts for trauma (there was none, really, which was good!), and check to see how I was feeding him, position, etc. When she left, both Nate and I felt like it was a great use of our money, as we were doing the right things and just needed a leg up to give Winfield a chance to thrive. I'll be following up with her to ensure he stays on the right path.
You see, Winfield had a big jaundice (bilirubin) spike after birth, which made him a sleepy eater. He has had several foot pricks since then to check his levels, and he will have another on Thursday of this week. I can tell his yellowing is going away though and his "output" (wet and dirty diapers) is excellent, which helps to rid the body of the bilirubin. He's already a sleepy eater, so this compounded the milk intake. His metabolism might also be a little overactive, amongst other things, so crying and normal "being a baby" stuff means he's burning the calories he's taking in. Luckily he's started gaining slowly in the last four days, but now we'll be pumping and supplementing with mama milk and formula until he has regained his birth weight and has gotten off to a good start.
Lastly, friends and family have been integral to Wellby's well being. My mother Verna has been staying with us for nearly two weeks to help with the "graveyard shift" and give me and Nate sleep breaks and I have loved the extra time with her, as she normally lives in Florida. My dad Terry helped us to fix a few things around the house when he came home and helped us break into our garage, which hasn't opened in weeks due to a broken opener. My mother-in-law Mary Ann stops by with her love and words of wisdom. Friends and family have sent flowers, brought meals, and said prayers. To say we've been bowled over by this tender care is to say too little. We are flabbergasted at everyone's kindness.
So no, we're not getting a ton of sleep and I feel like Milky the Marvelous Milking Cow, but as he gets bigger and keeps his beautiful eyes open (he has his daddy's eyes and ears and my nose), he develops his little personality and I fall more and more in love. As my friend Angela said in a beautiful card, "Your heart lives on the outside now." (Yes, I'm hormonal and it still makes me cry, even when I type it.) I feel tired, sore, stinky (showers are fewer and farther between), weepy and worn out... and indubitably blessed from one end to the other.