Following that amazing hour after Lincoln’s delivery, Jonathan and Kristen were given a room across the hall from my postpartum room. Before parting paths, we agreed not to leave each other out on visiting family members.
Shari asked if I was able to stand, and using her as a support we got me to the bathroom and then to the wheelchair for the move over to postpartum around 3:00 pm.
I felt strong. Slow, but strong for the most part. I was on a mental and spiritual high, and physically still had some adrenaline pumping. Exhaustion hadn’t really kicked into gear yet, but hunger had. Following that pudding earlier, I had eaten some of my spaghetti and meatballs, mostly the bomb turkey meatballs, but wasn’t too interested in any other food until now though, I felt starved. One of our ICA workers made sure to get me a smoothie, which is becoming quite my personal trend after pushing out a baby. (After Noah, I begged his dad to sneak me in a smoothie. It was all I wanted and could think about but due to complications, was limited to an ice chips only diet. With my nazi nurse keeping a close eye on me, a sneaky plan of attack to keep it in front of him and not me would have worked if I had not spilled it all over my bed! I demanded he take the blame and he begrudgingly did. Thankfully this smoothie experience was without spills and happily enjoyed!)
After getting me into my postpartum room, which fit me and my momma perfectly, we began to set up shop. She reorganized to make one of the pull out beds for herself fit snugly next to my bed and we finally got the chance to take in what had transpired. We snacked on some pastries and discussed how incredible the experience had been. My mom continued to mention that this wasn’t just a God thing, it was a miracle that had taken place.
Kristen, her sister, adorable nephew and sweet little Lucy swung by for a visit awhile later. It was awesome and only the beginning to meeting the beautiful family members that not only had prayed for this baby to come, but now would be surrounding him as his family for the rest of his life.
Intermittently, my nurse would come in to check my vitals, bring motrin or give the dreaded fundal massage, which aids in controlling bleeding and shrinking the uterus. I don’t remember this with Noah, but I guess for proper healing to take place, it must be done every couple hours and is simply uncomfortable. Going to the bathroom was a two man job, though my bleeding seemed to really slow down quickly, the process took my mom’s help for the most part and my muscles were still regaining their strength.
Kristen shot me a text that Jonathan’s sister was there with her husband and son, and would love to meet me if I was up for it. Heck yes! I just needed to get the clear from my nurse and was there. Once cleared to go, we headed over to meet them and enjoyed yet another great time of visiting.
Calling it an early night, we watched a little tv while eating our patti melts then hit the hay. My mom seemed to sleep soundly and I got a good amount of sleep between the every two hour check ups from my nurse. Around 4 am, a nurse came in to draw my blood and not being a big fan of getting my blood drawn, or needles in general, I took advantage of being half asleep and turned my head to the other side drowsily. It was absolutely the best way to get blood drawn for any needle-phobic out there.
I woke up about 6 am and because my mom was still sleeping, started scrolling through my instagram feed. Kristen had posted an adorable photo of a perfectly bundled Lincoln sleeping soundly, and the photo along with the sweet words under it brought tears to my eyes. It was the first wave of emotions that hit me like a ton of bricks.
I can’t explain the exact feeling or pinpoint why I was crying, but as silently as possible, I sobbed my heart out.
Kristen, almost reading my brain, texted to make sure it was okay she had posted the photo. I let her know the overwhelming feelings I was experiencing along with the joy and amazement of God’s hand throughout this experience.
I have always felt, and will continue to tell them that my heart trusts and knows they are guided by God and whatever they do, I am ok with. Our social workers have always told us how sensitive we were to one another and with God as our lead, there has been nothing but beautiful responses to each other’s words and actions. Pretty profound relationship to be honest.
My mom and I started out our morning with coffee and a bible reading that lead to more tears of reflection on God’s grace and glory. There was something about those sweet hours with my mom as she read Psalms 33 to me. I was still holding up pretty tough emotionally besides my early morning meltdown, but she cracked at the words she read.
I decided it was time to get ready and take a step towards feeling normal again. I put on my makeup, freshened up and changed back into my summer dress I had come in. Coping wise, I felt back to Caitlin. Next, was to visit Lincoln. I craved to see him, to look at him, touch him, which I feel is only natural after delivering a baby, and couldn’t imagine a situation that wasn’t as open as ours, allowing me the freedom to do so.
I had woken up feeling pretty yucky and sore bodywise though. I couldn’t really stand up straight and my back was feeling where that epidural had gone in. I was also experiencing a lot of pain in my stomach area, mostly cramping, so I waited until I got my pain meds and we headed over to have our Jonathan, Kristen and Lincoln fix while we enjoyed breakfast.
Jonathan’s parents and youngest sister came to visit, followed by a later visit from Kristen’s mom, who brought Lucy and a family friend. My grandma and Aunt also came at that time and the day was spent surrounded in family and fellowship. It really couldn’t have been more perfect. Feeling left out, Kristen’s dad sent me a video introducing himself and the two youngest grandbabies next to Lincoln. Getting to experience the family this child will be raised in and around is mind blowing. Words cannot express how blessed this child will be. The love shown to me and my family by each and every individual we met was so amazing that I can’t even imagine what he is going to get to experience!
My mom and I headed back to our room in hopes to get me checked out before it was too late, but there was no way they were letting me go that day and ended up keeping both Lincoln and I an extra day.
I convinced my mom that she should go home, shower and rest. Then, since Lincoln and I were both having to stay that extra night, she could bring Noah back for a visit when she picks me up in the morning. She finally agreed, and after eating dinner with Jonathan, Kristen and I headed out.
There really was no quiet minute I had spent by myself so I took advantage of this opportunity to excitedly write out the birth story while it was fresh in my brain. I had my Holy Spirit Pandora station playing, the tv on and bounced from writing to watching to scrolling through Instagram. I wasn’t visited by a nurse, unless I called or it was time to be given medications which allowed for a peaceful, uninterrupted time of great writing.
Periodically I would check the time on my cockeyed clock hanging on the wall across from my bed and spent my time soaking in the thoughts that came with recalling all the moments that built the story. It wasn’t until around 11:30 I stopped writing, set my phone aside and turned off the lights to go to sleep.
BAM! It was like my emotions had waited until that exact moment to flood themselves into my heart and mind.
They came with such force and broke me to the core. Weeping, I turned back on my radio and wrote through the tears.
One truly does not understand the word bittersweet until experienced. That second night alone in the hospital really tore my heart out. The waves of emotion that presented themselves were defiantly nine months worth and then some. Not that regret or resentment played a role, but a sweet and painful breaking of my heart made tears that endlessly poured for hours. I would weave between catching breath and reminding myself that God had allowed my heart to feel and heal for the night and that joy would come in the morning.
To heal there must be pain.
I had finally come full circle in this process and was truly experiencing the crux. I didn’t hold back, well, probably because I couldn’t.
I allowed myself the vulnerable freedom to feel completely.
I do have to admit I wanted it to be over, I wanted my family, I wanted my Noah and to be surrounded in love. Every cascading, majestic mountaintop must have a valley to accentuate it’s glory. I had made it up, enjoyed the beautiful peak and had now reached the lowest part of the valley to finish this chapter.
I was being shaped for sure. It takes my breath away just thinking about it.
As one of the most heaviest moments of my life, I have new respect for God, and what His heart must have felt when He gave the world his only son and watched him hang on that cross. When you place your baby, you don’t think or prepare that a certain type of grieving takes place and that your heart, no matter how strong and solid you are in your decision, must break to move forward towards a better life.
God changed me that night. He softened my heart and strengthened my mind. He comforted and saturated me in His presence. He made it obvious He was holding me through this and that I had reached the end of myself.
I had titled the piece of writing, RAW.jpeg since it was the rawest picture of myself God has ever brought me to.
In the midst of the flood of tears, Gaile had sent a text with a link to the photo album of Lincoln’s birth she had just finished editing and posted. Sobbing, I got through about half the photos and had to praise God that He had orchestrated such a powerful experience. From ICA to Jonathan and Kristen to my new job, school, the nurses, the labor and delivery. There wasn’t one moment I would change. God was real. He was showing me He was. Through the second wave of tears, I continued to pray, praise and thank Him.
It did feel forever before I finally fell asleep but when I did, I slept good and though I woke up with puffy eyes, there was joy in heart and I felt renewed. God was good. As painful as it was, it was needed and it needed to happen when I was alone. It needed to be raw and real. It was part of my recovery.
Jonathan ran to grab breakfast while Kristen and I enjoyed our few last moments of “dorm life” as Kristen called it.
Today was the day we got to all go home, so we parted ways to pack up. Seeing Noah walk through my door was the best part of that day. As we walked to see Lincoln, I could feel Noah’s excitement building. Kristen had asked earlier if there was anything important she should say to Noah when he came. I shared how he really didn’t want to loose his role as a big brother and from the moment she set Lincoln on him, both her and Jonathan showered him with so much love and support affirming his role as a big brother. I nervously kept checking to make sure he felt comfortable holding him and he had no interest of stopping. He loved him and was so stoked to be there and have him in his arms. It was pretty amazing to watch.
We kissed Lincoln goodbye, gave our rounds of hugs and said, “see you later.”
On our way out of the hospital, we ran into Nancy, the nurse that admitted me into triage. Funny how she began and ended my hospital visit there. We stopped to chat and she let me know she kept coming to check on me throughout my progress and made it a point to give me a big hug and write my blog down.
We stopped by Panera for lunch and I FINALLY got my cherry pie, well it was really a danish, but close enough! On our way home, I felt every bump and was still pretty tender and sore when sitting and still moved slowly when walking. Right when we got home, my mom helped me get into the shower and I have to say, it was one of the best showers of my life. My recommendation for after delivery is a Costco size replenishment of Dermoplast and Witch Hazel pads. Besides that life changing shower, a nice, comfy pair of unattractive underwear, those two life savers will set anyone up for a happy recovery.
I had boughten a Bellefit postpartum girdle to help with my body deswelling and hopefully regain my figure faster. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit those first few days but with my mom’s help, me laying on my bed and lots of laughs, we got me into it by day four. My milk didn’t come in until the third day but we had started my binding the day before.
I looked and felt like I was bursting at the seams from every direction and had so many dang layers constricting my body I could barely breath. When my milk did come it, it came with a vengeance. My chest was rock solid. I probably could’ve fed a village! For about a week straight I was layering cabbage leaves, sports bra and binding on one another to stop the milk production. The cabbage leaves I think were the miracle workers. I was going through almost a whole cabbage in a day and half and had gotten it down to a science. Breaking the cabbage leaves off so they stay in a cup like form was the hardest part but once you rinse the leaves, wet paper towels to put in between each leaf and refrigerate them, they provided the best relief. The binding did help keep the pressure more bearable. I did have to continue taking my Motrin since it was hard to sleep and at times just painful. Leaking was pretty minimal since the only time any part of my body saw the light of day was to shower and then it was back to the daily bind.
Noah kept me pretty busy throughout the past two weeks and I don’t how I could have done it without him by my side. Since I was unable to drive for this time, my mom made it a point to always offer and kept my stockpile of daily needs replenished and available.
Kristen has been sending me Lincoln and family updates every couple of days and Noah and I sent Lincoln a one week happy birthday video. Keeping the communication has been a huge blessing and has helped Noah and I bond as we both ooh and aw over the pictures.
I did lay low the first week and now, hitting the official two week postpartum mark as of today, I am feeling really good both physically and mentally. Hormonally there has been a few up and downs, but keeping the right mindset and apologizing for when it becomes irritation helps keep me in check.
This last Thursday, I met our ICA workers at Marie Calendars for breakfast to officially sign off my rights. The state documents that had to be read to me were strictly legal. The terminology would say my baby, not the baby and straight up made you feel like you didn’t care about the baby, not that you wanted the best for the baby you were placing. At first, it was like a stab each time a statement was read. The emotions that came after that meeting were heavy and it took a couple days to reset my mind but, through the constant support and love from God, my family, friends and Jonathan and Kristen I have been given a new song in my heart.
I know, without a doubt, Lincoln is exactly where he should be. God knew, before the beginning of time, his parents were Jonathan and Kristen Whitmore. He knew I was to be the vessel, and that this precious little boy was the key to a life changing story.
I’m an open book so please don’t hesitate any hankering to question or comment :))
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