Monday, April 28, 2014

The First Few Days of Motherhood - Part 2

Staying in the hospital was like a dream.  And I don’t mean like a fantasy…I mean like a dream that I experienced but that didn’t really happen.  There’s so many things about the early days of motherhood that seemed unreal to me.  I found myself not asking questions when I should and listening hollowly as medical professionals spoke to me.  I don’t know if it was just the sheer shock of having an actual baby or if it was the result of the chaos that ensued around us.  When I say “chaos” I don’t mean that things got really crazy and out of hand but in my world and my mind things were definitely not going the way I thought they would so it felt very chaotic to me.

I was anxious for the nurse to come and get Baby Girl and take her to the nursery so that she could be checked out by her pediatrician.  I ate breakfast and kept attempting to nurse my little bundle.  The nurses had been in throughout the night giving me pain meds and taking both of our vitals.  Those visits on top of trying to feed the baby did not provide me with much sleep.  Thank goodness for adrenaline.

They took the baby and we waited.  While we were waiting they FINALLY brought me a pump and showed me how to use it.  They said that they could take whatever little amounts I got out with a syringe and feed it to the baby.  I was happy since it was now 24 hours after I had given birth and we still could not get a good latch on my left side.  The Lactation Consultant (I’m calling her Betty) came in and we chatted for a few minutes and then she said she’d come back once the baby was in the room again so we could practice latching and holding techniques.

We were informed that Baby Girl was still having temperature issues so they kept her even longer.  I pumped and waited…and waited…and waited.  Finally the pediatrician came in and started talking to us.  It was the same guy I went to see when we thought there was a problem with BG’s head.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to trust him.  He started out the conversation like this:

Doctor – “We are thinking that she has a hemangioma on her neck.  We’ll want to take a closer look at it maybe with an ultra sound in the coming weeks.  It doesn’t seem to be causing any breathing or swallowing issues right now.  The one on her head, though, might be a cyst of some sort…”

Me – “What?  What’s on her head?  We didn’t see anything on her head.”

Doctor – “We’ll want to take a better look at it to make sure it’s not attached to any brain tissue.  The tech on site might not want to perform a scan on a newborn so you may need to get a specialist.  We’ll also want to check her out to make sure there aren’t any others internally that we can’t see with our naked eyes.  When there’s more than one we get a little concerned that we might have a bigger problem on our hands.”

I don’t remember much more about that conversation because I was again overcome with such worry that I could barely see straight.  I kept thinking things like:  We did DE because I have bad eggs and now my poor baby STILL has some sort of health issue.  How is this happening?  We were so happy when her skull got the all clear from the other doctor.  What are we going to do?  Is she going to have to have skull surgery and/or surgery on her tiny little neck?  Will these things grow and prohibit her from a “normal” life?  I didn’t say any of this out loud at that time.  I was silenced with worry.  The doctor left and BJ and I just sat in silence.

They finally brought BG back to us once she was at a proper temperature.  I pulled her hat off that she had been wearing for over 24 hours (except for the time I took a picture of all her hair) and rubbed my fingers lightly over the top of her head.  Sure enough, there was a big lump on her head.  Her hair was so thick that we couldn’t see it.  We could only feel it.  I was so upset.  Her head was so tiny and this huge lump felt like the end of the world.  Now we had to wait for the u/s to tell us more.
Betty came in and helped me latch BG right away on each side.  I was thrilled.  I was determined to get this child to eat and to succeed at SOMETHING that my body was meant to do.  We nursed and visited and cuddled and it was great.  All the while in the back of my mind I was wondering if something was seriously wrong with my little girl.  I kept asking myself if I was being punished in some way for the method in which we brought her into this world.  I dismissed those thoughts as much as I could because I just wanted her to be ok.  Nothing else mattered to me.

I have already written about my physical trials after the birth so I won’t rehash everything here.  I will say that having the catheter was the BEST part of the birth.  Before the surgery I had to pee what felt like every 10 minutes.  With the catheter in I didn’t have to pee at all.  I just laid around and enjoyed being lazy.

I had a voracious appetite in the hospital and they would bring me 3 meals a day along with a couple of snacks.  I ate like a crazy woman.  I also did not have any more nausea or heartburn.  It was awesome.  I started taking notes when we checked in but as soon as all the bad news started coming our way I quit writing things down.  I had hoped to have a full record of everything that went on but that is not to be.   Coming here and spilling everything that I can remember is going to have to be good enough.

Next post will be more about my emotions and feelings during our time in the hospital and the weeks following discharge.  It is only recently after reading another blog that I realize that I not only went through one hell of a bout of PPD but also PPA (post-partum anxiety).  It wasn’t pretty…and it lingers.  One of my readers suggested that maybe I also have a bit of PTSD and I would not be surprised about that, either.  These feelings and emotions were much more than I ever expected or could have anticipated.


Anonymous said...

I brought up the PTSD, I hope it didn't offend you in any way! I do have kids from my first marriage who are grown now but my 2nd husband and I were not able to get pregnant (other than 2 chemical pregs). I started reading some IF blogs, yours being one of my favorites, and I honestly have so much respect for what you ladies go through to become mama's! I couldn't do it, I'm too wimpy. I think because you became used to it that possibly, you haven't realized what a huge thing you've gone through. And if I recall, you did lose the first preg. Now that you have BG it could be that all these emotions from everything have come to the surface. It's great that you're writing it all down though and not pushing it into the background.

Anyway, sorry for the very wordy comment but BIG HUGS to you!!!

someday-soon said...

How scary! I'm sorry you had such a hard time in the hospital and lingering issues as well =( You worked so hard for BG it seems really unfair you had to go through all that too.