Delivery & The First Two Weeks...

My pregnancy with Leighton was pretty textbook. She was hitting measurements and goals at every OBGYN appointment & her heart rate was always around the same, between 125-134.
With this pregnancy though, I felt like she was always a little bit ahead. When Justin & I went to our 8 week appointment her original due date was February 4th, but when measuring her on the ultrasound she was showing an earlier due date: January 30th. At our 12 week appointment, the ultrasound technician decided to move her official due date to the 30th.

January 30th rolls around, and I was kind of surprised that she hadn't made her appearance yet. I was already 3 cm dilated and  70% effaced for the last week, but unfortunately there were no changes. By this point, I had been pretty miserable for the last few weeks with back aches and super swollen joints. I was also getting to the point that walking was becoming pretty painful. I had asked my midwife during my 39 week check up about getting induced, if Leighton hadn't already made her debut, and she was totally OK with going ahead and scheduling an induction the day after her due date. Well, January 30th passes by and I was a little bummed that she didn't come on her own, but I didn't know how much longer I could go on--to be honest, it's probably a good thing I did get induced because she was a surprising 9 pounds at birth!

It's January 31st and we're getting up super early to drop Ryleigh off at my parents house and then head to the hospital because I was scheduled to be there at 7 am. Since we are in flu season, the hospital was not allowing children under the age of 13 into any of the rooms, which meant Ryleigh could not visit after her sister was born. So we decided that, for the delivery and the day after, it would be just Justin and I and then have the rest of the family come to our house afterwards to meet.

So we get to the hospital, got to our room, and the start of it all happened so fast. After all the paperwork, questions from the nurses, and changing into a gown, I was getting hooked up to monitors and an IV to start the pitocin. At 8:30 am is when the pitocin drip started. At first it was a pretty slow progression, every 30 minutes or so they'd slowly crank up the pitocin levels. For a while I could barely feel my contractions. Apparently, since my water didn't break, my memory on what a contraction felt like was completely different this time around. With Ryleigh's delivery, my water broke and I could feel the tightening contractions come and go every few minutes; but with Leighton, the contractions felt like she was just rolling inside me and not painful. 

Hours had gone by and my pitocin levels kept getting higher and higher and I wanted to see how far I could go without an epidural. With Ryleigh, I think I was an hour into labor with her when I decided to get an epidural, and unfortunately I think that's what slowed her labor down drastically (by like 19 hours). So this time around, I wanted to push myself and wait because I don't think I could go through another 20+ hour labor again, haha!

As time went on, I became more dilated and was completely effaced, but Leighton was still high up and they weren't able to break my water. My midwife suggested I get on a birthing ball to help guide her down. I was on the birthing ball for maybe a good hour and then all of a sudden I felt a sudden drop in my pelvis during a contraction and I let out a pretty good yelp; yes, Leighton finally dropped and I could really start to feel the contractions now. They became even more intense, but I was still determined to make it as far as possible without the epidural just yet. Though, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking that I should get it soon before it was time to push. I probably went 15 minutes after the drop when I requested an epidural. After the request, it took about 20-30 minutes for the anesthesiologist to come into the room to insert the epidural. 

Getting the epidural was pretty rough this go around. As he was inserting it my water broke AND I was going through a contraction. The anesthesiologist wasn't the nicest about what was going on, but I could honestly care less during that time, obviously. I think that was probably the worst part of the delivery experience to be honest, and after he was done everything was fine. He did however pretty much numb me so much that I couldn't move my legs or feel any kind of pressure from a contraction. Since I was given so much, we had to wait for it to die down some so I could feel the need to push.

It was probably another 45 minutes to an hour till I could feel something again, and that's when I felt the urge to push. I pushed for a good hour with Leighton. We were struggling towards the end, because of my episiotomy scar from my first delivery, and my midwife was determined not to perform an episiotomy again and to make sure natural tearing wouldn't be terrible. I did end up tearing naturally, but it was barely a first degree tear (which is good).
After an hour of pushing, Leighton Rose Inkpen was born at 8:30 pm (a total of 12 hours in labor) and weighed at a surprising 9 lbs. and was 21.5 inches long! Everyone in the delivery room was shocked by it too!

Soon after delivery, I experienced a ton of shivering/shaking. I had no idea that this was a thing, but apparently it's called Postpartum Chills. It happens soon after childbirth (mine happened an hour after I had Leighton) and my nurses and midwife assured me that it's due to the sudden shift in hormone changes after the baby is born. My chills last for an hour! I didn't experience this sort of shivering attack with Ryleigh, so this was all new to me...thankfully, I remember stumbling upon and reading an article that talked about the uncontrollable chills after childbirth, so at least I was aware of it before hand. Since my chills lasted an hour, I could barely feed or hold Leighton. I was asking for more blankets because I was super cold. I had to distract my body by drinking fluids or eating some food to help slow the shivering down some so that my body could be stable again. For me, after I was done eating, I could tell it was starting to fade away, and I was able to hold and feed Leighton again!

Since Leighton weighed so big for her gestational age, they had to constantly monitor her blood sugar levels. I was planning on exclusively breastfeeding her, but this had put a little bit of a damper on the plan. I was supplementing both breastfeeding and formula feeding to make sure her levels were all good. It was a constant round the clock thing, and were constantly pricking her little foot to monitor her blood sugar. After all the tests, they came back in good standing and we were able to head home . From there I was able to really start feeding her only my milk. I'm fortunate that she hasn't had trouble switching from breast to bottle, she can very definitely do both with ease! I now do both breastfeeding and pumping, and with this way, it also gives Justin a chance to bond with her during feeding times.

It's never easy the first couple of weeks. 
We have been pretty sleep deprived, but we're honestly so blessed to bring home a happy and healthy baby girl that the lack of sleep makes it totally worth it!
These 2 weeks we've been doing so much bonding with Leighton. I'm thankful that Justin has a job that supports paternity leave, so he's been able to help and bond with her as well during this time.

Ryleigh has been a great big sister to her too! At first she was having concerns, and I don't blame her. On our first day home, Ryleigh was downstairs with all of us and the family, but then she disappeared up to her room. I went up there to check on her, because I knew something was wrong. We talked and she told me her thoughts, concerns, and feelings.  Justin also went up to talk to her and we both let her know that we completely understand her feelings and that we will always make sure to have one on one time with her.

The majority of the two weeks have been staying in, feeding/pumping, changing diapers, and bonding. We've been trying to figure out a nightly sleeping routine for Leighton too. I know some might think it's too early to start that sort of thing, but we did the same with Ryleigh and she started fully sleeping through the night at 2 months old. I'd say we are firm believers in having a sleep routine, and Ryleigh can be proof of that! She rarely had sleep regressions until about 2 years old, but even then and now she gives us no fuss about bedtime. 
So far with Leighton's nightly routine, we change her diaper, rub lavender lotion on her tummy and chest, put her in a fresh onesie or sleeping gown, and then I rock her while feeding. She usually falls asleep right after so then I'll swaddle her up and place her in the bassinet with the sound machine on in the background.
Each night has gotten a little easier. At the very beginning, Justin and I were taking turns waking up with her and changing her throughout the night. And last night was the first night that she slept a full 5 hours! She went to bed around 10 pm, woke up around 3:30 am to be fed and then went back to sleep around 4:30 am. Over time we will be able to make her bedtime earlier, but right now she's getting all the rest she needs during the day and night. We'll just have to take things slowly.

During the days, I'll feed Leighton every 2-3 hours and then she'll usually fall back asleep for a little snooze. The past week though she has been struggling with gas and has been keeping her uncomfortable and awake for longer periods. We will pat her back, massage her tummy, and do little bicycle movements with her legs to get the air out. She's been a little better the last couple of days, but we're going to try these little contraptions to see if it will help relieve the gassy build up.

Also, during the first 2 weeks, Leighton had her first little check up with her pediatrician. The Dr. didn't do much except to just weigh her in and check her physical appearance as of right now. She will have her official 2nd week check up next week though.

I've gotten many messages about what products I've been using with Leighton during her first 2 weeks, and below I have listed what we have used so far: