Notes from the hospital

(Looking for 7 Quick Takes Friday? Head over to Hallie’s place for this round!)

I’m exhausted and still here at the hospital, but wanted to say hello with a few pictures and notes about what we’ve been up to for the past couple of days!

Introducing Pamela Scholastica! She was born around 5:30 on Wednesday after about nine and a half hours of labor. She’s our shortest and heaviest baby so far, coming it at 7 lbs. 11 oz. and 18 inches long.

THE NAME

All through the pregnancy we had a different first name picked out, yet neither my husband nor I felt peace about it. We kept praying for clarity on what her name was supposed to be. Then, three days before her birth, we got it: We were supposed to name her for my mom, Pamela! We felt complete peace as soon as we considered that option. At first we thought about changing the middle name to, umm, something that might be a more natural fit with Pamela. But then we realized that Scholastica is just too awesome of a name to ditch, so we kept it. (If you’re not familiar with St. Scholastica, here’s her story.)

THE BIRTH

Me and epidurals. Why does this never seem to work out? I decided to get one fairly early on, but then towards the end it didn’t give me much pain relief AT ALL. The anesthesiologist was busy, so I pretty much got the, umm, full experience there towards the end — only I didn’t have the benefit of being able to move around to get comfortable. Overall, though, it was a good labor and I was grateful that nothing serious went wrong.

THE CONTRABAND

At one point early in the afternoon I heard some commotion out in the hall. I heard snippets of conversation like, “What was in the box? … Seriously?” Then, “Who was it? … Fulwiler?” A minute later a new nurse walked in the room and asked if I was Jennifer Fulwiler. When I said yes, she paused and said, “We have a situation…I have some bad news…” At this point I had been in labor for about five hours and immediately worried that it had something to do with my progress or the baby’s health. Instead, she said: “Someone tried to send you alcohol.”

“What? How could that be?!” I gasped, some kind of evolved instinct kicking in that prompts you to pretend like you’re not the type of person who receives gifts of alcohol during labor. While I put on my best “confused and surprised” face, I recalled a recent conversation with Hallie in which she asked what kind of flowers I would most enjoy receiving after the baby was born, and I replied with a dry joke that she send booze instead.

The nurse went on to inform me that the box was inspected, its contents discovered (a nice red wine), and it was confiscated by the pharmacy, not to be released to me until I’m discharged. The unspoken message there seemed to be that they imagined me yanking it out of the nurse’s hand, tearing out the cork with my teeth and upending it in between contractions. I’m guessing they’re going to be keeping a close eye on this shady Fulwiler woman for the rest of my stay here at the hospital.

THE HOSPITAL

This hospital is incredibly nice. My husband and I keep commenting about how lucky we are to have such luxurious medical care. The rooms are spacious and beautiful, with mahogany-colored hardwood floors and a surprisingly stylish guest couches and chairs. The beds have super-cozy Tempurpedic mattresses. Even the food is good! This morning for breakfast I had a tomato, mushroom and cheese omelette with bacon and hash browns with a yogurt fruit parfait. It was as good as anything you’d get in a restaurant.

And then there’s the free Wi-Fi:

I can no longer deny that I'm a Creative Minority Report reader now that there's photographic evidence.

The first night we were here my mom stayed with me, and instead of watching the TV in the room we streamed some favorite shows on Netflix. By putting it on full screen on my laptop, it was just like having our own personal television. Even as recently as 2004, when my first child was born, that would have seemed very futuristic and high tech to be able to carry around your own personal unlimited library of movies and shows.

THE ANSWERED PRAYER

By Thursday morning, I was in bad shape. Constant interruptions from hospital staff on top of long nursing sessions meant that I got almost no sleep the night before. That combined with some pretty intense aches and pains to put me in a miserable state. I was in such a rotten mood that I even cynically thought, I guess all the prayers didn’t work this time. No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than I heard a knock at the door, and looked up to see Fr. Dean Wilhelm, our parish’s pastor.

I had included him on the birth announcement email, but had never thought to ask him to stop by — our parish is huge and he’s a very busy guy. Yet he took the initiative to find out which hospital we were at so that he could come by. We chatted for a while, he blessed the baby, then we prayed and he gave me Communion. I’d never received the Eucharist outside of church before, so that was really special for me — especially when I realized that it was the Feast of Corpus Christi!

As soon as he left I was able to get a short nap, and when I awoke I felt like a new person. My bad mood was completely gone, all the depression and negativity that I’d felt earlier replaced with joy and hope. It was one of my most intense experiences of the power of the Eucharist ever. So thank you again for all your prayers, to which I give full credit for making it happen!

THE OUTFIT

Having my new “postpartum chic” outfit that Hallie picked out for me at such great cost to her own sanity is everything I dreamed it could be. Check it out:

This is the only shot I have right now -- a better one showing the whole ensemble coming soon!

It’s just as comfortable as the pajamas that I’d normally wear during the day, but it lifted my spirits a surprising amount to feel like I was wearing a flattering, cute outfit when I greeted our many visitors.

THE KIDS

Speaking of visitors, the kids were too cute when they came to meet their sister. My six-year-old son had gone to work with my husband that morning, and since it involved going to court he had his little suit on. It was too precious to see him greet the new baby all dressed up like that. All the kids were just delighted to finally meet the baby. I felt unbelievably blessed as I watched our new family of seven all interacting with one another.

But I think the best part of the kids’ visit was when my three-year-old daughter walked into the room and, with wide eyes, looked right past her baby sister and said, “You have a rocket bed!” (that first word pronounced “wocket”). She proceeded to hop up on the bed and was thrilled and awed as I used the remote control to make it go up and down, then each one of the kids wanted a turn. It was the broke big family version of taking the kids to Disneyland.

Okay, the baby just dozed off so it’s time for me to sleep. I’ll probably be doing more resting than blog posting over the next few days, so I hope you all have a nice weekend. Thank you again for the kind wishes and prayers!

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Comments

  1. Kerry Wolf says

    Oh Jen she’s just beautiful–what a perfect little face! I have never seen a non-c-section baby have such a perfect, non-scrunched face! What a beautiful blessing for you and your family.

    Loved your labor story and wishing you all that God wants for you this beautiful (but HOT–gosh it’s hot here in Austin!) summer day!

  2. says

    She’s beautiful; you look great. She’s got a great name to live up to, but I wonder if Yaya was on the list of options?

    Congratulations!

  3. says

    Oh hon, thanks for the update! I have to admit, I’ve been checking your blog & twitter account most obsessively.

    (Also, I hope you’ll forgive me for calling you “hon”. I’m using my best bedside manner to make up for those nurses who don’t.)

    Still praying!

  4. says

    Jen,
    another BIG HELLO from……… BRASIL!!!

    What sweet from you showing us, your readers, this great and unique present of God to You and Your Husband!

    You look So Beautiful in the Photos and Your Pamela Scholastica is just a princess (I have no doubt she is The Most Gorgeous Girl at the hospital!).

    As I pray for, everything turned to be JUST FINE!

    I leave in this comment my wish full of faith and joy that Pamela Scholastica will teach as many as possible the things of Heaven to you and your family!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    Stay in The Love and in The Peace of God!
    You, Your Husband, Pamela Scholastica and Your other Kids!!

    ~~~

  5. says

    Congratulations on the beautiful addition to your family! I love the name more than I can say. I don’t think I would have the courage to use Scholastica but wish I were that brave because I think it’s wonderful.

    And the outfit is rocking. You look like the favorite aunt in that photo, not the woman who just gave birth. You’ve inspired me to do some shopping between now and the arrival of number 7 in December.

  6. Meredith says

    Overjoyed for you, Jen, and your whole family. Pamela is a beautiful name for a beautiful baby!

  7. says

    I love this whole post. I was given the Eucharist in the hospital after a very traumatic birth that resulted in my baby being taken to the NICU in Fort Worth (we live north of there). The peace that brought me cannot be overstated. Thanks for the reminder to pray for more vocations so our priests can give this gift to more people.

    Pamela is beautiful! (that’s my sister’s name and I never abbreviate it) Selfishly, I would love to see a picture of your other kids showing her the love that only a bunch of busy young kids can share. πŸ™‚

    I hope things continue to go well.

  8. Stitchwort says

    Congratulations! She is beautiful!

    And you look very good too, in your Hallie-inspired ensemble.

  9. says

    Congratulations on the beautiful new baby! You look smashing, the baby is fetching, and the name choice is perfect. (Though if she ever goes to work as a housemaid, beware of conniving nobility.)

  10. Pat Johnson says

    No one who just had a baby could possibly look so great! Mommy and baby are both beautiful. Thank you for the update. Blessings to you and the whole family.

  11. says

    Oh! How beautiful! You, the baby, thestory. Thank you.You reminded me of all those precious times. I am a poor epidural person as well.:P But God richly bless you, as He has been doing. I pray you have many blessed days ahead with your new family constellation!

  12. says

    Congratulations, Jen! What a beautiful daughter! And I like the name! It has a ring to it to have those -a endings (atleast I hope so, since I have that, too!). πŸ˜€

    Seriously, if I’d intercepted some wine, I think I’d wait until labor, hand it to you, and say if I saw the slightest sign of drunkeness I’d be stalking you, but have a toast. :D…but maybe I’m all loose and lushy from living in Russia (where I’ve had champagne forced on be *before* evening work). A toast to the Fulwiler family!

  13. Lizzie says

    So many congratulations Jennifer! She’s beautiful and you have that lovely new baby glow.
    I was moved to tears when I read about receiving the Eucharist while in labour – how beautiful for Pamela too! What a blessing…
    I have been praying for you from over here in London…
    God bless you all as you adjust to your new chapter in life.

  14. says

    She is beautiful. And you look great, and the outfit is just as fab in real life as it was on Hallie’s storyboard! Looking forward to more pics of Pamela and her stylishly outfitted momma!

    Who would have thought a gift basket had such rich humor potential?

  15. Melissa G says

    Congratulations! Thanks for posting pictures- you are both beautiful! Enjoy your “babymoon”, and be assured of my continued prayers.

  16. says

    Congratulations, Jennifer! What a beautiful baby girl and gorgeous Mom. When you’re up for it I’m happy to come by for newborn/new family photos πŸ™‚

  17. Leigh says

    Congratulations Jennifer, I don’t think I have ever commented before, but I just joined the Catholic Church last Easter Vigil after a life long desire. I really enjoy reading your blog and especially about your children, I think my favorite was the post about taking the children to mass and all their shenanigans. Pamela is beautiful and I am so happy for you. Look forward to reading more and would love to meet you one day. Take care of yourself!

  18. says

    Oh, congratulations! Such joy! Beautiful baby, and lovely name. Scholastica is a fabulous middle name. So glad that all went well, and that you were able to receive communion in the hospital. Last year for my brain surgery my priest came to the hospital every day for six days. A blessing indeed when priests are able to do such.

  19. Susan says

    Dear Jen,
    She is so beautiful! She may have the most perfect skin of any newborn I’ve ever seen. God bless you and yours.
    Susan

  20. says

    Oh Jen, she’s so beautiful! What a blessing.

    I love the rocket bed, disney world comment. Hilarious. You’re lucky the bed is comfy for you. The bed at the hospital where I delivered was not at all. By the time we were discharged, I could not wait to get home just to sit somewhere comfortable!

    Hope you enjoy the booze. πŸ™‚

  21. says

    Congratulations! She is a beauty.

    (And how much do I love that even though this isn’t a Quick Takes post, you still managed to put it in 7 sections?)

  22. Rosita says

    Congratulations. She is beautiful.

    I love the outfit, looking forward to seeing the complete look.

  23. says

    Congratulations on the baby! She is beautiful with that dark head of hair! Hope you get some rest this weekend!

  24. Susan says

    CONGRATULATIONS!! Pamela looks beautiful and you look great in your new outfit. Enjoy your babymoon!

  25. Susan says

    Congratulations on Pamela Scholastica! She’s beautiful. I have felt for a long time that Pamela is a very mystical name. I don’t believe it’s a saint name and may even have originated in a novel. But the meaning is “all sweetness” and it makes me think of the holy hour acclamation: “You have given them bread from heaven having within it all sweetness.” So Pamela is a name honoring Christ and the Blessed Sacrament in a way. Were you thinking along those lines?

  26. Kit says

    Congrats! This is all such a great story too, I love the contraband gift, ha ha! I always get cruddy epidurals too, what’s with that? I’m having my 4th in January and not sure what I’ll do about that this time.

  27. says

    She is gorgeous!

    Your story telling of the booze busted me up!!!! That must have been the funniest thing ever.

    congrats to you and your family!

  28. Peg says

    Ok, have to stop laughing to post a hearty congratulations on the birth of that beautiful baby but I won’t be able to stop long. The wine story Cracks.Me.Up! πŸ™‚ Have a restful weekend and hope things just bop along splendidly for the rest of your stay.

  29. Lina says

    Congratulations! Glad to hear that all went well. I hope that you get rested up nicely over the next several days.

  30. says

    She’s such a sweetie! For someone as tall as you, you make smallish babies – what a blessing! I’m thinking this little one inside of me (my fifth too) is going to come out much bigger than that…but we’ll see. You look awesome, and I hope you put away the computer and really get some rest. Congrats!!

  31. says

    Many years to Pamela!

    I love the name combo- and I love that the broke family’s version of Disneyland is a postpartum hospital bed! πŸ™‚

    as my mom would say, drink your water

  32. says

    Congratulations, Jennifer! She is beautiful and you look radiant. So sorry about the wine…that is just too funny.

    Father DEAN!!! We love Fr. Dean; he baptized our #3. I had a similar hospital experience where I was just in bed crying and then a Eucharistic Minister walked in to bring me Holy Communion. I was SO grateful! Our hospital has EMCs that come daily; it’s really nice.

  33. Jared says

    Congrats on the new little person! Awesome name and the last sentence about the broke big family left me roaring!

  34. says

    Congratulations, Jennifer!! You both look beautiful. Enjoy getting to know her and recovering. Prayers will continue for you.

  35. says

    Congratulations! I’m playing hookey for a few minutes in the office and you brightened my day with the beautiful pictures and inspiring words. God bless you and your growing family. (btw the outfit looks terrific. Very chic!)

  36. Mark S. says

    Congratulations, Jennifer! Your beautiful girl is a smile from heaven. Blessings for you, your husband and all of your kids.

  37. says

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! I can’t believe you were on the laptop at the hospital – I think all I wanted to do was sleep when I wasn’t feeding the baby. Though I also never stayed longer than 24 hours after having the baby. Our first daughter was born on a Sunday, so my hubby went to evening Mass at church and brought back the Eucharist for me; so wonderful to have it, as you say, in such a situation. Blessings to you and your Pamela Scholastica! πŸ™‚

  38. says

    She’s beautiful! I like her name, too!

    I can’t believe they confiscated your wine. That’s so bizarre.

    With my last birth (early 2010) the hospital room had a DVD player, and we watched Harry Potter 6 and the new Star Trek movie. It was great!

    The outfit is a good idea. Usually I hang around in pajamas, but this time around (late 2011), I should think about bringing a cute outfit to wear.

  39. says

    Oh, also — my last baby was born on a Friday in Lent, and our priest (despite his busy schedule) also came to bring us the Eucharist. It was indeed a lovely experience.

  40. Clara says

    Jen,

    Congratulations! I am so happy the delivery went smoothly and Pamela is just beautiful!

    I hope they really do return the wine when you are discharged. πŸ™‚

  41. says

    My heart is full of joy for you!! She is gorgeous, like her mama! And, I am jealous that you are getting a vacation (yes, being in the hospital is a vacation for me).

  42. says

    She’s gorgeous. Your alcohol story is just hilarious, and I can’t stop laughing about it. I’m so glad everything went well. My hospital is nowhere near as nice, and I wish I could deliver at the nice hospital, but I have a great Catholic NFP doctor that I just can’t replace, so I suffer with the hospital choice. Sigh!

    You look great, congratulations!

  43. Sue from Buffalo says

    Congratulations, Jen!!! How beautiful she is!! And you are, too. Not fair, I might add. lol You look great especially for just having a baby!

    Technology can be pretty grand. I wish we had wifi and a laptop when our kids were born. The hospital tv was always either boring or depressing. Heck! I would have been giddy with just a portable dvd player and some Star Trek!

    Love the story about the red wine! LOL!!!

    I’m sorry that the epidural didn’t work out. Did you listen to your rap during labor like you said you would?

  44. Kristy says

    Congratulations! She is beautiful! And thanks for entertaining us with your stories even during your hospital stay! You rock!

  45. Faun says

    She is beautiful! Congratulations! You look maahhvelous, daahhhling…thank you for taking time to share…good times!

  46. says

    Congratulations, Jen! Pamela Scholastica is beautiful, as are her name and her mother! The “contraband” story is hysterical. I’m hoping you get it back soon!
    The outfit looks really cute. Hallie did a most excellent job coordinating it!
    So happy that our prayers were answered. They’re still coming! God bless!

  47. says

    Congratulations!! So happy things went well. She’s beautiful. Wonderful that you received communion right when you needed it so much.

  48. says

    I’ve been checking your blog a couple of times a day to find out if there was any news of that little one. So excited for you and your precious family! Make sure and REST!

  49. says

    Just beautiful – both Mama and daughter! You look fabulous in your Hallie created outfit. So comfy looking.

    That hospital room with a bed that’s comfortable – that’s worth the price of admission! Too bad they have nurses coming in and out every two hours waking you up. It’d almost be a like a vacation. I remember when we went for my son’s surgery (cleft lip revision), they were in and out all night long doing this and that so the poor little guy just couldn’t even really recover. Sheesh!

    I’ll enjoy a glass of wine for you tonight since the mean nurse confiscated yours. Happy, happy day!

  50. says

    Congratulations Jen to you all:) Enjoy your precious time with your babe, goes so fast. It was only 3 months ago I was sitting in a hospital bed with my little ones playing with the bed remote, best thing about visiting mum besides the baby:)

  51. says

    Congratulations – what a pretty little girl with a pretty name! Love the photo where she’s a little huddled lump. Gotta love good birth stories.

  52. Sarah A says

    Father Dean?!!! The Father Dean! I love that he was in this post – oh and congratulations on your newborn!

    πŸ™‚

  53. Elizabeth K. says

    Congratulations to you all–and aren’t you amazing for posting so quickly! You both look beautiful!

  54. Ashley says

    You look great – love the outfit Hallie picked out! I had no idea they confiscated booze in the hospital. Little Pamela is gorgeous – congratulations! I love your blog and Hallie’s blog and you two seem like such fun!

  55. Kate J says

    God bless you and your beautiful new baby, “containing in itself all sweetness” – I love the connection with the Blessed Sacrament, and how Jesus arrived just as you were thinking of all those prayers!

  56. Maria says

    Congratulations! She looks beautiful and peaceful. And you look beautiful as well…specially with the outfit! Love the contraband story, your son in a suit and of course, the name! I love St. Scholastica and especially her relationship with her twin brother. You have to get her the book Holy Twins by Tommie de Paola. God bless you and your family!

  57. says

    You make childbearing look like a walk in the park! It’s amazing to realize you’ve done this 5 times. Do you feel like a pro yet?

  58. Julie says

    Great to hear the update! Pamela is gorgeous! Love your outfit. We thought of naming our twins Benedict and Scholastica–would have called them Benny and Tica for short.

  59. says

    I can’t believe the nurse marched in to confront you with the alcohol “problem” during labour. The picture of you sitting up, holding baby, and reading on your laptop is great. πŸ™‚ Pamela is so cute!!

  60. Christine says

    Welcome Pamela! Congrats Fulwilers! So thrilled for you! Best pics following delivery ever! πŸ™‚

  61. Diane says

    Congratulations and God bless all of you. She is beautiful!! When I had my 3rd child back in 1981, on my last day in the hospital, the hospital treated my husband and I to a steak dinner with wine, in a private dining room to celebrate. Those were the days. God bless & keep you. You look terrific!

  62. Nina says

    You are so beautiful.

    I love everything about this post. Thank you for being so generous as to share all of that with us.

    Yup, my last birth, what was with the epidural? I felt everything. I personally wonder if they’ve changed it, if they’re dialing back the potency or amount or something. My first time I had it (after 5 natural births!) I went NUMB. It. was. awesome. ?

    Love to you.

  63. says

    Jennifer, I’ve been reading the Conversion Diary for some time now, and feel so blessed that you share your life with us. At the image of your family of seven in the hospital room, gathered around a beautiful new baby made me so grateful that you said Yes to the Lord… in accepting Him, and offering Him an openness to life. God is gracious and patient with us… and look what He can do when we allow it!
    God bless you all. May He multiply the rest you are able to get, and send all the help you need your way.

    Tess

  64. Wsquared says

    Yay!!!!! Oh, God bless all of you! Welcome, Pamela Scholastica (I was grinning, you see, because that’s my late Grandma’s name!). And God bless you, Father, for stopping by to give Jen the Eucharist! Oh, that was so beautiful to read. πŸ˜€

  65. Christine says

    CONGRATS. SO SO CUTE! I love seeing that sweet little bundle on your tummy.

    You are so blessed.

  66. Rosemary says

    Beautiful Mom, beautiful baby. Best wishes and prayers for a happy return home. (P.S. – Don’t forget to pick up the wine on your way out!)

  67. says

    Congratulations! What a great birth story. Loved the pics too. Pamela is just precious and you looked fantastic in your outfit! Praying you get some rest and get home soon!

  68. says

    A million congratulations!!! Pamela is an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful baby. And the name Pamela really, really suits her. May the Lord richly bless you and your family as you settle in to life with your precious new arrival.

  69. says

    Finally delurked to say… Congratulations! Pamela Scholastica is so beautiful and is blessed to have the patronage of such a cool saint and an inspiring mother like you. So glad everything turned out ok – you’ve been in my prayers!

  70. AgnesRegina says

    CONGRATS JEN!!! And I LOVE the name! Pamela Scholastica has such a nice sound to it!

  71. says

    We just had #5 last week as well! Congratulations! It seems, to me, the transition gets easier with each new little addition. Only time will tell, however.

    May God be with you in the coming weeks!

  72. Margot says

    Father Dean left Aggieland before I moved here but your post pretty much explains why all my friends rave about him! Congrats!

  73. Peg says

    Brings back beautiful memories of our kids’ births! Congratulations to you and your man and blessings to all!

  74. yela says

    Congratulations! what a cute baby you have there! I will be having soon too…hmmmm,,and I just can’t wait…the excitement having another is overwhelming…

    I’m glad you loved your hospital..you know some nurses aren’t so caring as they supposed to be sometimes..(sometimes…they are)..

    Well, I wish to see more photos soon…

  75. says

    Congratulations, Jennifer. You look wonderful, Pamela looks so sweet, and I I am much cheered by the story of the contraband wine sent to the hospital!!!

    Continuing to pray for you-the first few weeks are so full of emotional extremes.

    Sending virtual love to you.

    And later,I hope to share with you how you were instrumental, on the day you delivered, in helping us grow our family (it’s not the way you think!).

    MB

  76. says

    WOW, congratulations! My computer crashed, and I’ve been slowly getting my rss feed back to what it was… anyway, I missed the news until now! So happy for you! She’s precious!

  77. Jorge says

    Absolutely beautiful. The photo I liked the most was the last one (you holding your baby and her insanely tiny hand next to yours. And her tiny eyes).
    Congratulations!

    (being a woman is really special. You can hold a new person inside you. You are one blessed gender)

  78. says

    CONGRATS!! she is so beautiful!!

    Your wine story reminded me of my post-partum-wine story. One of my dearest friends had the hellish experience of a stillbirth last June. When I went to see her the next day, I was determined that we both needed a glass of wine. I had a half open bottle that I wrapped in a plastic bag. I was asking the nurse where her room was when Mitzi appeared behind me. When I hugged her – somehow the cork wasn’t on tight – it started leaking – and smelling – and she didn’t know why I looked so frantic, like I was about to be busted for sneaking a flask into a high school football game – we walked back quickly to her room and I left a little wine trail all the way down the hall.

    And it was a blessing. Because the Lord knew we desperately needed a giggle that day.

  79. Michel Moll says

    Oh.. such a cute baby and really sweet!!! I wish I could also have my own in the near future!