On June 6th, 2016 I gave birth to our little baby girl, Athena Raine. When they placed her in my arms I was overcome with relief and emotion after 2.5 hours of pushing. Jordan said he had never witnessed such a raw display of genuine emotion and happiness. Athena was born at 1:40am, 6lbs, 10oz and she had hair! I was convinced she would have little to none so when they announced half way through pushing that she had dark hair I got an extra boost of adrenaline to keep going. They put her on my chest and I was half crying, half laughing in sheer relief and joy. Her nose was completely smushed and I just remember stroking her head and kissing her.
While pushing I had been absolutely freezing. My teeth were chattering uncontrollably and I was shaking pretty bad. It was hard to grab the next breath for another push. They finally gave me a breathing mask, socks and covered my chest in warm blankets. Afterwards I was starving and super hot. I felt like I was going to pass out and could barely move my legs from the epidural.
The next few days of recovering in the hospital were exhausting. I was sore and weak, trying to sleep, trying to breastfeed, but I was happy. She was here and here early, 39 + 3, which I didn't expect, but was very hopeful for.
We brought her home on the 8th, unsure how the smushies would react. Jordan had gone home the few nights in the hospital to take care of the dogs and had transformed our bedroom into a baby oasis. He set up the pack and play (complete with changing table) next to the bed, moved in the diaper pail, changing stuff and other supplies. We had gotten new bedding and pillows a few days prior to me going into labor so it was nice the bedroom was all clean and fresh when we got home.
The dogs were surprisingly good with her. Candy just wanted to lick her from the start and is constantly wanting to be near her. Cookie was surprisingly afraid of her and has slowly begun to approach her here and there.
These past 2 weeks (almost three now) have been truly wonderful. She's been a good baby, the sleep deprivation is far better than I expected and I am constantly in awe of the little human we created and I'm lucky to call my daughter. It's been amazing having Jordan home these past weeks helping with the cooking and cleaning and taking care of us as I recovered.
Athena got her first sponge bath in the hospital. She hated it until they started washing her hair and then she relaxed and throughly enjoyed her scalp massage.
Jordan put a little sign in the crib earlier in the weekend after I'd gone to bed since I'd showed signs of going into labor and he wanted to surprise us when we got home. I found it the morning of because I didn't go into labor until Sunday morning.
One of my favorite things. Laying with Athena snuggled up on my chest. I keep telling her not to get bigger because I love her so small and love this time with her.
Some of her classic looks after her bottle. Content and full up like a drunken old man.
The grandparents and my sister are so excited about their first grandchild/niece. It's been so nice having them close by.
Athena got to meet Great Grandma Olive at 10 days old along with some other family/cousins and everyone was super excited to meet her.
Breastfeeding was harder than I expected. I did not expect it to happen instantly or without effort but I didn't think it wouldn't happen at all. She had a vampirish suck from the beginning and I met with lactation daily in the hospital to learn tips and tricks for feeding, positioning, latching etc. It got better, but I wasn't convinced she was getting anything from me. Finally on the morning we were to go home a second lactation consultant said I should supplement until my milk fully comes in and so we did.
Once home, I continued to try to breastfeed, to supplement with formula and to pump. Nothing was coming out. They say the baby is better at getting it out, but after several visits to the clinic in the days following for jaundice followups we slowly began increasing how much formula we were feeding her. I started on fenugreek as recommended to increase supply by the pediatrician. I was convinced there was milk there because I'd become engorged but still nothing really came out except a few drops. I spoke with lactation again on the phone the following week and began taking another supplement to help with let down.
I was beginning to feel more and more discouraged and scheduled a lactation visit in the hospital. By the end of my appointment we'd determined that it wasn't going to happen for me. I had never been one who was adamant about breastfeeding. I just assumed I would, but I didn't have my heart set on it. I suppose that's why it surprised me when I started crying at the appointment after finally getting some confirmation that I wasn't going to express enough for sustenance. Part of it was a relief to know so I could move forward, but part of it made me incredibly sad, especially given the societal push to breastfeed. I continued crying off and on throughout the day. I felt as though I was grieving, something I didn't expect to grieve. Jordan was incredibly supportive and I feel in a good place mostly now. I took this photo to remember my journey and to come to peace with that which was not to be. I know she is well fed and loved and that's what truly matters:)