Introducing Caroline Grace Carlson

Caroline is here! She is an absolutely beautiful baby, if I do say so myself. Here's the shocker, though... she has dark hair! Even to have hair is a shocker, but to have inky dark hair makes it doubly so. We think it suits her. We think she's perfect.

Comparison to Kate as a newborn: the exact same weight, same steely blue eye color, and same chubby cheeks. With that, the similarities seem to stop. Being a planned C-Section, Caroline was delivered easily and without much trauma to her. Poor Kate had to go through a long labor before she was finally taken by C-Section, so she was more blotchy and bruised. Poor Kate.

Caroline was so alert in the O.R., and she kept her focused gaze on me the minute she was placed in my arms. Nick noticed immediately that she has tremendous head strength (the nurse said so too), and when I put her on my shoulder to burp her, she can lift her head up. Way to go, Caroline!

Here's how our day went down...
4:00 am Woke up and got ready to leave.
5:30 Arrived at hospital where they immediately began prepping me for surgery.
7:15 My doctor arrived; she said I was actually having contractions 5 minutes apart. I didn't even realize!
7:30 Wheeled down to O.R. where I received my spinal block/epidural combo (least fun part), and they started surgery. It took longer for the doctors to get her out than Kate because of the scar tissue from Kate's C-Section. I wasn't full-out crying, but a steady stream of tears kept coming. It was from the emotion of it all, yes, but it was also from the anxious feeling of being completely helpless and unable to move my body. Nick held my hand, and dried my tears as they came.
7:59 After some serious maneuvering, they pulled Caroline out! They commented on her size, and how difficult it was to get her out even via C-Section. They immediately noticed her pink super-chubby cheeks and her cute little ears. They held her up over the curtain for one brief second for me to glimpse her precious face for the first time, and they took her to a corner of the room to get her stats and check her. Nick went along (with the camera, of course). Meanwhile, the doctors sewed me up. While they discussed their kids' summer plans, I was trying desperately to hear any bits of news from the far corner of the room as to what my baby looked like. I heard snippets like "more hair than Kate," but I wasn't getting the details I craved!! It felt like it took forever for them to finish with Caroline and finally bring her to me to see her properly and kiss her sweet face all over.
8:45 All done! They wheeled me to the recovery room where I stayed for 2 hours. Nick called our families, and I was able to breastfeed Caroline for the first time. A sweet nurse gave her her first bath. Then my mom and dad were allowed to come back (one at a time) to see their Caroline "number nine" (9th grandbaby)!
10:45 The nurses prepped me for moving to my postpartum room. When we got there, it took several more minutes for the L&D nurses to relay my info to the postpartum nurses.
11:20 Our visitors were admitted to the room, and I got to see my first girl, our Kate. She immediately found the gift on the floor (tissue paper is always fun), and opened it. It was a stuffed lion from her new little sister! Kate began her "roars" and didn't stop! She didn't realize that Caroline was a living being... until Baby finally made a little squawk. Kate was suddenly very interested, and she decided that Caroline was worth taking a further look at. She noticed that she had a nose... and noses are for picking these days, so pick she did try! After that, Kate quickly became more interested in the millions of things in the room she could explore. Overall, it was a successful first introduction. Kate wasn't Caroline's only visitor, though. Also admiring Caroline's cute nose were Gram and Grandaddy (my parents), Grandmother Mead (my grandmother), Nana (Nick's mom), as well as Jennifer Strain with her daughter Hayley (friends of ours from Lens Baby). Jennifer also brought her talent and her camera and snapped some AMAZING photographs of our little big bundle of joy. I will share a few of those in another post in a minute.

Since our guests left, Nick and I have been bonding with our "monkey," our sweet Caroline. Nick is an amazing daddy. Unable to really do much to help myself, Nick has sprung into "Daddy Super Hero" mode! Even now, he's watching a swaddling video he found on YouTube to remind himself of the proper way to bundle our girl. I love this man so much!

Feedings are going pretty well, but she's been a real sleepy-head for most of the day! This evening, my dear friend Melissa came to visit, too. She enjoyed her Caroline time!

What a completely different experience this has been so far! I am tired, yes, but I'm not completely out-of-it and exhausted like I was after a long labor and C/S with Kate. I feel more confident, and I'm really enjoying our sweetheart. I know my feelings could change at the drop of a hat, but I'm sure enjoying these moments.

Welcome to the world, Caroline Grace.

These are some of the pics that Nick and I took...