Monday, May 12, 2014

The First Few Days of Motherhood - Part 3

Ok, so I think I want to at least get through our hospital stay before I start reliving my ppd/ppa/ptsd issues.  Bear with me, if you will.

The Lactation Consultant was off on the Friday that we were in the hospital, of course.  She also does not work weekends, of course.  I had really hoped to see her again and get more help and advice because it was pretty obvious by that time that we were going to have BF’ing issues.

BG’s nursery visits were getting shorter and shorter, which was good because that meant that she was able to regulate her temperature.  I was beginning to worry about her bowel movements, though.  We had the handy-dandy sheet to keep track of her wet and dirty diapers and she was a peeing machine but she hadn’t had a “recordable” BM in about 7 hours.  I asked the nurses about it and they didn’t seem concerned and just told me to keep an eye on her.  Um, ok.

Spending that time with her was magical.  I felt like I was getting the hang of things as far as her care was concerned.  (HA!!)  Two nurses actually complimented me on my swaddling abilities which I let go to my head.  There was an instance when BG was crying and I was trying to get her to sleep but I wasn’t having much luck.  I was about to pee my pants so I set her in the bassinet and before I even finished my business she was sound asleep.  I thought that maybe I had one of those babies that just wanted to be put down.  (HA!!)  She would do this funny heavy breathing thing before she started crying and that became my cue to go to her.  One of the nurses was in the room when she did this and laughed and called her a drama queen.  Another nurse told me how quiet and content she was when she was in the nursery.  She commented on how BG would just lay there and look around and “watch” everything that was going on.  I thought that maybe I had one of those babies that would just be content and observant.  (HA!!)

On our last night in the hospital BJ and I got into a tiff regarding how to soothe the baby.  He had planned on going home anyway because he had to work but he left in a bit of a huff and I have never felt so abandoned in my life.  We were talking to a nurse about pacifiers vs letting the baby suck on our finger to help her fall asleep.  We were trying to avoid any nipple confusion and I was becoming petrified that if she sucked on anything other than me she would not want ME.  Those were irrational thoughts but that’s where I was and that was the first sign of anxiety but of course I was way too emotional to recognize it.  BJ and I made up via text messages but I still felt like I was going to have a breakdown at any moment.  The nurse even apologized to me for HIS behavior.  She could obviously see the pain I was in at the time.

The day we went home I was able to pump about 1 drop from my right breast.  The nurse looked at it and was obviously disappointed at what she saw.  I had been pumping after almost every feeding for about 10 minutes each time.  I had been putting the baby to my breast every 2 to 3 hours.  I had done everything I could to keep her awake at the breast.  I was not having much luck.  She just wanted to sleep on me…but she was sucking and I knew that was important.  The nurse we had that day examined my incision and noticed that my pubic area was swollen and bruised.  I had noticed but figured it was just retaining fluid like the rest of my body was from the Pitocin.  She was concerned and asked me how my belly wrap was fitting.  Apparently, I had been wearing it wrong for 2 days.  The edge of it was digging into my pubic area and was causing me harm.  How I didn’t notice this is beyond me.  I was really swollen and quite bruised.  She said that it was supposed to be worn like a mini-skirt, not like a belt.  I wonder why no one told me that.  She also said that the one I had was too small.  Lovely.  So she got me a new one and oh how grateful I was to her.  She examined my breasts and said that she felt my mammary glands and that my milk should be in shortly.  Yay!  It was discharge time!

I was packing the room up and waiting for BJ to arrive with the car seat when the pediatrician came in with instructions for me.  This is another doctor at the practice where I would be taking BG.  She came in without a smile and was very business-like and stone faced.  She said:

“You are going to need to finger feed her X amount of formula after every feeding until Monday.  You need to make an appointment with our office to have the baby seen on Monday (today was Saturday).  She’s slightly jaundiced and she’s lost just under 10% of her weight, ok?”

 I was totally thrown for another loop.  Now we have a weight issue, too?  AND jaundice?  What will be next?  Not to mention that I was just about to cry when the doctor left the room.  She was so cold and so blunt and just so matter of fact with the news she just delivered.  She left a bad taste in my mouth.  I made a decision that day that I would see ANY other doctor in the practice but not her.

BJ showed up and I told him what the problem was and he just shook his head.  Can’t anything go right?  Why can’t we be a “normal” couple that has a baby and just goes home?  Why do we have to have all these issues?  Ugh 

I had the nurse show me how to use the syringe to finger feed my baby.  I was so upset but I was just going through the motions and trying really hard to concentrate on what she was saying.  We were finally discharged in the afternoon.  Baby Girl was so tiny in her car seat.  Dressing her in her going home outfit was challenging.  J  She had only worn t-shirts and socks up until that point.  Her overalls said “together at last” and that could not have been more appropriate considering what we went through to get her.

We loaded everything into the car and I took a ride in the wheelchair…still feeling detached from the whole experience.  We were taking a baby home…to our house…to keep.  I still find it hard to fathom at times.  We stopped at the pharmacy for my pain meds.  It was cold and damp and windy so I stayed in the car.  When we pulled up to our house it had been decorated by my friend/neighbor.  There were balloons and cut outs and a banner welcoming our baby by name.  It was so wonderful to see.  The friend came over just as we were bringing everything inside.  BJ had cleaned the house from top to bottom and it was great to walk in to a sparkling clean house.  I had cleaned it before we left but since we have 2 cats and the boys had been home while I was away I guess it got a bit messy in my absence.  I let my friend hold the baby while I prepared to feed her.

Once my friend left and we were alone with the baby I could not stop staring at her.  I actually laid her down long enough to take her picture in her bassinet but for the most part she was either in my or BJ’s arms.  We were home with our baby.  I almost started crying when I realized that I had not taken a picture of me holding the baby on her first night in the house.  We quickly took a few pictures and BJ headed off to bed.  I was stuck on the couch.  When he left to go to bed I cried.  I was alone, again.  I didn’t know how much sleeping on separate floors would affect me until several days later.

That first night was rough.  I was exhausted but I kept setting my alarm for every 2 hours so I could nurse the baby and then give her the formula.  It was extremely difficult finger feeding a newborn by myself but I managed to do it twice over night.  I woke up with every little noise she made and I must have checked her breathing at least 10 times.  I almost felt guilty for sleeping when I was actually able to sleep.  It’s crazy to think about now because I honestly don’t know how I was able to accomplish anything with the lack of sleep I had been getting since she arrived.

Wow, this post has gotten really long.  I’ll stop babbling now.  Once I get going it’s hard to stop because all of these details come flying back to me and I’m reliving them each time I post.  Some of the feelings are great to experience again but others, not so much.  I’m trying to condense things but apparently I’m not so good at condensing.  J


Fran said...

i am here and reading my friend, I am sorry you felt so worried for things that they should have told you are very very normal (weight loss and slight jaundice) I have been there too with the anxieties and PTSD and a touch of PPD, with my first baby. Hormones really don't help in those days. Hugs, Fran

someday-soon said...

No need to condense things, this is your space =) Birth is very much like motherhood...we all grow up thinking it's roses all the time and it's always so much harder than that. Love reading about you being home with BG =)

Sci Chick said...

Wow, our babies were born sort of close together. I totally can relate to the madness of the first few days...hope it has gotten better. Either system works, but I think feeding on demand can be much kinder to the parent, especially if the baby starts sleeping long stretches...and I hope she has!

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Geochick said...

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