Living at the Hospital

I never thought I would say this, but I think I miss the hospital :) 
We went in before Carter was born, thinking we would be back home in just 2 days.  Due to the  unplanned  C-section, we quickly learned that our stay was going to be extended for at least 4 days.  At first I thought that was a big bummer, but let me tell you, by the end I was thoroughly enjoying it.  Well, not ALL of it, like the constant interruptions with nurses and doctors and the circus of people who insist on knocking on your door for paperwork of some sort, but the rest of it was pretty great.  No laundry, no cooking, no clean-up, meals on demand, encouragement to rest and stay in bed...there are "perks" to being there!  It did get a little long and isolating, but I truly appreciated the chance to rest and spend some one on one time with Carter.
He was just as interested in napping those first few days away, as I was.
We both wore our comfy jammies and liked to snuggle in our warm blankets.
In case anyone wondered who our peanut belonged to, this little card went with him to remind them :) 
We had some sweet visitors who came to see our little guy and brought us wonderful things like cupcakes, baby stuff, new outfits, gifts for Ava and these beautiful flowers.  It was nice to look at our windowsill and see reminders of the people God has put in our life as blessings.  Especially since that windowsill was my only connection to the outside world for 4 days :) 
Carter was a good host, usually sleeping and looking very precious for everyone who stopped by.
The very, very best part about our 4 days together, were moments like this one.  Holding my son, cuddled close to my heart and soaking in the memory of his first days in this world.  I have a similar picture from my stay with Ava, where she is sleeping on my chest like Carter, and it is my favorite picture.  I can see the joy in my heart, radiating off my face and I remember that day just like I remember this one.  No one can prepare you for the love God gives you for your children.  
It's totally overwhelming.
Because we had so many days together, without the interruptions of normal day life, we got to really see the day to day changes in Carter.  On the 2nd day, Tuesday, he really started to open his eyes and be a little more alert.  We noticed that he would often stop and stare at us while we were talking, throwing his head back to focus in on us.
Travis left us for a little while on Tuesday night, to coach his team in the first round of the state tournament play.  Carter and I hung out together, waiting for him to get back and hoping that they won.  They did!!  And Carter was happy to see Daddy again when he came back.  I think he's trying to play peek-a-boo here??  
And here he's asking for the score and all the details about the game.
Can't wait for the day when we're cheering you on little guy in your soccer games!
Wednesday was a long day for everybody.  Travis worked for awhile, so Carter and I spent the day together.  It was a sweet morning for the two of us.  I think I held him for about 5 straight hours!  We ate, we cuddled, we napped and we chatted, all while he was in my arms.  I missed Ava a lot this day, but having her at my parents this week has been a real blessing and a gift for Carter and Travis and I.  
One of the hardest parts of being in the hospital, was dealing with the mental hurdle of having a C-section, and the ramifications that followed.  I know that I'm not alone in the struggle there, because lots of you have left me sweet comments about your experiences, which have made me feel better and encouraged me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful that Carter was delivered safely and is healthy.  Modern medicine is amazing in that way and the fact that he was quickly delivered after being stuck for so long, is wonderful.  But the nature of an unplanned delivery and the physical recovery that goes along with it, has been hard.  It's been difficult not to replay the "ideal" conditions of Ava's delivery and compare that to the "less than ideal" conditions of Carter's, and not feel disappointed.  I hate that I didn't get to hold my Son for those first minutes and hours.  I hate that I missed Ava's first sight of her brother.  I hate that I have a huge scar.  I hate that it was painful.  I hate that I didn't know it was coming.  I hate all the restrictions I have while I'm recovering.  And on some level I feel like I failed because I couldn't deliver him without a C-section.  But because I know so many of those things are lies sent to discourage me, I've had to weigh all them with what's true. 
I love that Carter is here.  I love that he has no signs of any problems or glitches from his delivery.  I love that he is so darn cute and snuggly.  I love that Ava has a sibling.  I love that we have 2 kids.  I love that I am healthy and will be fine.  I love that Travis has been incredibly patient through the many tears I've cried.  I love that God has never once left me or forgotten me.   I love that no matter how much control I seem to have lost,  He has never ceased to be in control, not ever, not at all.  I love that I can't understand why things go the way they do, but He does.  
Being in the hospital for 4 days and being able to walk out, with a precious baby after an unplanned surgery, is more than some people get to leave with.  In my most hormonal, emotional, overwhelmed state, I am trying to keep my mind focused on truth and not the lies that want to creep in when I'm tired and in pain and feeling claustrophobic.  
God has been good to us.  
Carter is a perfect addition to our family.
I am recovering well, although slowly.  
Travis is a wonderful husband and a great Daddy.
Ava is our first gift from God and the apple of our eyes.

We spent more time than I was planning to in the hospital, but in that time there, we counted our blessings and took some much needed time to slow down, be still and know that He is God.  
That's not all bad.  

And totally worth an unplanned C-section.  

And for the record, I grew to love eating in the hospital!  I really miss my daily meal delivery and the fact that I ordered the exact same thing every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
(Cream of wheat with brown sugar; Hot turkey sandwich with gravy and mashed potatoes; And roast beef with gravy and mashed potatoes.  Weird.  I know.)

Some people hate the hospital.  And sometimes for good reason. 
But I kind of grew to like it, and I really learned to appreciate it.  
It's back to reality now, but I don't think I'll ever forget these first days with Carter and our adventure in hospital living.  Given all the reasons we could be in the hospital, I am truly, truly thankful that my reason was to deliver a beautiful, baby boy and by the grace of God, I was "gifted" a few extra days to enjoy him :) 


Lindsey said...

This post was meant for me! You said everything perfectly. Adam hated the four days in the hospital, partly because we were two hours from home and he couldn't just run home to do some things. I LOVED all four days in the hospital, the family time with all three of us there, the wonderful help, being able to send Connor to the nursery to rest, etc.

However, I also feel your pain about the C-Section. It is such a bummer and definitely a hard pill to swallow. I was unplanned after 28 hours of little progression. I did get to stay awake during it, however, I have resentment that I didn't to hold him first, I don't remember every little detail in the first few minutes of his life because I was so drugged up. It was something difficult for me to deal with even going to my six-week check-up at the doctor. However, now, 4 1/2 months later, I am at peace with it.

It does get better, recovery is slow, and rest is much needed. Take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. More so mentally than anything! Postpartum hormones and a not so ideal delivery can really mess with your head. Trust me!

Such a sweet boy and precious family!

Heather said...

Hi Steph! So glad you are recovering well...I will be praying! Carter is ADORABLE!!! I am so glad you have had some special time with him and to rest and recover these first few days. I am so sorry about the "unplanned-ness" of your delivery. I get that big-time. You are I are so similar in that area!! Planners and list-makers!! But you are so right...God is good in it all and you have a beautiful healthy baby boy and are so very blessed. Enjoy every moment with your TWO kiddos!!!

Christina said...

He is absolutely adorable! Thanks for sharing the pics and your heart. I'll be praying for your recovery and for Truth to wash over you during this time of healing both physically and emotionally. The pics of him are so sweet and so glad you were able to have some extra down time with him!

Darla said...

Okay, first I must say Carter is ADORABLE! That full head of hair is fabulous and the envy of every balding man in America:) Secondly, I hope you know we had every intention of visiting you guys in the hospital, but I didn't fully realize the adjustments we are having to make with our own schedule now. Third, I actually cried a few nights ago because I missed the hospital. Ha! I felt like it was almost like camp...all these wonderful "counselors" cheering us on...and yes, I loved the food, too:) Stephanie, I can only slightly imagine what you must have felt when they mentioned "c-section" to you...I know how that word affected me when there was mention of it. It sounds like you're handling things phenomenally well. I'm looking forward to seeing you again...with our babies this time:)

Kendra said...

So glad to read you guys are all doing well! Good for you for rebuking Satan and not letting him tell you lies.

I really feel like one GREAT thing that came out of my unplanned, emergency, scary c-section and missing the first few hours with my babies (and the memories of them meeting my family) was that I feel like God used that "failure" feeling (can totally relate to that) to motivate me HARD to breastfeed. It did not come easy for us in the beginning (like I said last time, I was told the surgery and anesthesia really delayed us) but I was so determined to breastfeed because I felt like I "failed" delivering them.

I am GRATEFUL for that motivation because now I LOVE nursing my 6 1/2 month olds!! It still has it's ups and downs on occasion, but it has been a BIG bonding experience for us, and I am so grateful for it!! It's something only I can do for them, and in some ways it helps make up for me feeling like I missed their early hours...if that makes sense.

Also- one thing that was really therapeutic for me was to write out everything I remembered about their birth. Everything. Every feeling, including the hard ones. I didn't get a chance to until they were about 2 months old, but it really helped me process it all. I also asked my husband to do the same, so he could "fill in the blanks" to the areas that were a blur to me.

Blessings to you on your recovery. C-sections are MAJOR surgery. I know some women who were like "its no big deal! I was shoveling bark dust 3 weeks later!" I was NOT one of those women =)

Elisa Clark said...

You have two absolutely adorable children! I appreciate your honest post - it's hard when things don't go the way they're 'supposed to.' The hospital stay is always my favorite part - as weird as it sounds. I'm praying that you heal quickly and get to enjoy all those newborn moments!