Saturday, May 19, 2012

The rest of the hospital stay.

So, where did we leave off? The first trip to the bathroom was terrible. But the day after the section, I woke up and ate breakfast and things turned around. The next trips weren't bad. I got my catheter out, got unhooked from the IV. My husband showered me!! Then, I put on real clothes instead of a hospital gown and I really started feeling like a person again.

Baby was a bit fussy day and night 2. He didn't want to sleep unless he was being held. This actually provided me some of my favorite moments of the hospital stay. Even though it's totally dangerous, I would be breastfeeding him in my bed and then just snuggle up to him and we'd sleep together. The moments when I woke up (as much as I could, since I never fell totally asleep with his tiny body next to me) and saw him there, smelled him, are some of the best moments of my life. It was like all of my dreams had come true, which I guess they had.

I started having serious cavewoman instincts. Every morning they would take him to the nursery for his pediatrician visit and I ached when he was gone. I almost couldn't let them roll him out of the room, but I did, and even though I was exhausted I would just lie there waiting until he could come back.

I had a bit of a breakdown during night 2 because baby was fussy. He'd get very fussy after eating and in my mind, my breast milk was making him mad. Silly, but it felt true at the time.

Night three was pretty bad. The night nurse said his bilirubin was high, and warned us that he may get discharged a day later than planned. She suggested feeding as often as possible because he hadn't pooped enough, and getting him to eliminate would help get rid of the jaundice.

So we had a marathon night of forcing baby to eat and not sleeping. We were in rough shape in the morning. They took the baby to the nursery and kept asking me "has your milk come in yet?" I thought it was starting to, but honestly didn't know. My breasts felt hard and sore but I had just spent all night forcefully breastfeeding, so I didn't know how to reply. Because both nurses and the pediatrician asked me this, I felt like it was my fault that he was having jaundice problems. I took a shower and I cried my heart out. It was the worst feeling.

Turns out baby did have jaundice, pretty badly too. So while I was discharged on Friday, he was not, and we were allowed to stay at the hospital, in our room, as a "boarder", free of charge. (he was the patient, not me, but I could sleep in the room, etc.)

This was so, so hard for me. I was not allowed to hold him except to feed him, and I was told it was very important for him to stay in the isolette under the lights every possible minute. Since he's such a leisurely eater, this meant I really couldn't breastfeed him or he wouldn't be under the lights enough to make a difference. So I did a combination of quick breastfeeding (just 10 minutes or so), pumping and feeding from a bottle (pumping on the day your milk comes in is terrible, I don't recommend it), and feeding some formula. I wasn't happy about supplementing formula and introducing a bottle already. But, say what you will about formula, it kept him full a lot longer than my breastmilk, which allowed him to stay under the lights more and get better more quickly.

I cried so hard the entire morning he was under the lights - this was all yesterday. My breasts hurt and I was so tired, and it was so hard to see him in the scary machine. It just made him look way more sick than he was. And the little eye mask was very heartbreaking to me.

Also, the hormones were completely overwhelming. I woke up from one nap and it was like I was an infant myself. I just wandered around crying. The machine made everything in the room look blue, and I thought my purple cell phone was my husband's blue cell phone. I cried choking sobs because I thought I had the wrong cell phone. Seriously, if you have not had your baby yet, this is my warning to you: postpartum hormones are NO JOKE.

I haven't really expressed it well in these blog posts, but I want to add that I had excellent care the entire time I was in the hospital. I loved all of my nurses. Everyone was so nice and compassionate. Yesterday, when we couldn't take him home as planned, was very tough for me, but I kept reminding myself that a little jaundice is nothing compared to what we feared we were up against when we found out he was coming early. Rationally, I knew it was all okay, but the hormones and lack of sleep made it hard (this is still something I'm dealing with, even though we came home today).

I hope to write a little bit tomorrow about coming home and my first impressions of parenthood : )


MaryMargaret said...

I've been a bit out of the loop lately, but congratulations!!! He is absolutely gorgeous, and just perfect. I hate that he didn't get officially discharged with you, but am glad that he was able to stay out of NICU. Thank you for being so honest about your first few days postpartum. It helps to know what I'm up against so that I can prepare as much as possible!

TurtleMama said...

Your birth experience sounds very similiar to my sister's experience a year ago. She had a C-section because her baby was breech. Her baby was fussy and the milk was slow to come in and her baby was jaundiced so had to stay an extra night in hospital and supplement a little formula. It was very stressful and I saw her crying alot! Everything normalized when she got home and her milk came in fine - it takes 3-5 days, so most people's milk is not in by the time they leave the hospital. It was rough to witness her so vulnerable and stressed, but I do feel like I have a more realistic view of post-partum - She was upset because nobody told her it would be so hard. Glad all that is behind you now!

Alex said...

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry you had to go through this! I also had to give my baby formula while in the hospital and I felt awful! But you're doing what you need to do for your baby, and that is all that matters! Thanks for sharing this, the postpartum hormones are VERY real!!! Thinking of you - these days are the hardest, but it does get better!!!

Gigi said...

Dang, what an ordeal -- I'm so sorry! And yet, I'm so happy that he's receiving the best care, thank God. My friend's 3-months early baby boy was a Blue Light Special for at least 2.5 weeks. Now that's all a distant memory when we watch him play like crazy. Wishing you postpartum joy!

Stacy said...

My little man had bad jaundice also. We had to stay 4 extra days for it and then take a billi light home. He lost a ton of weight and I had to take him for weekly weigh- ins at the peds office. But it went away, I continued to breastfeed, and it all worked out!

Needless to say, I can relate with the hormonal crying. I remember crying basically all the time. Hang in there!

Heather said...

Sounds really awful. But I can hear you really did all you could, must have been awful with these people looking at you - you did nothing wrong, you did all you could. My friend also had a jaundice baby and could take the lights home with her to help.