Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Birth: Aftermath

I had done it!  I had given birth to our beautiful daughter! None of the things I worried about happened. I didn't die, the baby didn't die, nothing scary happened where I needed surgery and most importantly, I didn't poop while pushing! Thirteen hours of labor and I still had my priorities straight. This may have been the main reason I declared to the entire room that what just happened wasn't that bad and I could do that again, much to everyone's mirth. I was riding the high of succeeding in something truly amazing and figured, why the heck not have a litter if the experience was going to be this pleasurable. I mean, it's still labor, there's a reason why they call it that, but I couldn't complain about how textbook everything went for me. I know we can't guarantee a second (or third??) would go as smoothly, but I certainly would not mind a while from now, of course.

After Baby Cupcake emerged, got cleaned off and was handed to me while my doctor stitched me up (I swear he pinched me twice with the stitches, he claims I jerked when a cotton ball touched me), I spent the next half an hour gazing at her, smiling for pictures being snapped by the nurses and attempted to nurse my baby for the first time. But everything started to creep up on me and I finally had to hand her over because I was TIRED and worried I may drop her. Then they sent our daughter off to the nursery to get more thoroughly checked out. Charming was under strict orders to not leave her side because I was paranoid about not bringing the right baby home from the hospital. I obviously watch way too much Lifetime.

Once my doctor finished making me whole again (only a low end two degree episiotomy and no tearing so I lucked out in that department) and baby was wheeled down to the nursery, new daddy in tow, the nurses set to putting me to rights. My vitals were checked every hour, my epidural taken out and my uterus massaged every half hour. This is NOT FUN. As the drugs wore off I started to feel how stretched and sore I was and my insides felt hollow and pulled. So having someone come in every thirty minutes and push down on this sensitive area was not a walk in the park. And it was going to happen all night. Joy.

Soon I was cleared to be admitted to my room. Here's where my blissful Disney-esque delivery story comes to a close and my own personal nightmare begins. Everyone associated with my delivery and the nurses who tended to me for the next twenty four hours were amazing. Everyone else? Not so much. It started with the room. Remember how I said there was an abundance of women giving birth and everyone was super busy and under prepared? Well, while this had not effected my birthing process (the slightly delayed epidural being the sole exception) the over crowded nature of the Labor and Delivery ward would cloud my state of bliss at what I accomplished over the next day and a half.

Because there were so many woman who had already given birth in the hours I had been experiencing my own labor, there was a shortage of recovery rooms available. So I was put in an extra room not exactly set up for patients correctly. When they wheeled me down the hall the nurse cheerfully stated it was right next to the door to get to the nursery so I would be right next door while my baby was in there. Sounds like a prime location, right? Not so much. Keep this fact in mind for a bit later. They tried to bring me in the room and someone else was in there with another patient, claiming THEY were supposed to get the room. I lay in the hall while it was sorted out and we must have won because I was brought in. I wish now they had put me somewhere else. Little things began to stand out. There was no clock in the room. No pillows so they had to get some. The shower leaked all over the bathroom floor which caused an interesting sludge of stuff I didn't want to step in after I showered off my delivery. The side rail wouldn't go down on one side of the bed. There was no table to eat off of (didn't realize this until my first meal came and there was no place to put the tray) and the temperature was just above freezing. As the hours went by I realized while the delivery rooms were soundproofed the recovery rooms were not. At all. I was supposed to be resting while my baby was getting checked out and couldn't sleep a wink because the lady next to me received no less than four phone calls, all of which shrilly rang through the wall and every word heard. I also heard her baby cry all. night. long. And that wonderful location near the door to the nursery? Well, the loud clang of that heavy security door opening and closing every five minutes as people went in and out made me think someone was coming into my room each time. Add in the fact someone did come in every hour to check my vitals and massage me means I got no sleep. And when things finally did quiet down and I thought I might be able to rest, they decided to wash and wax the floors outside my room. For about two hours.

Baby Cupcake and Charming had been gone over two hours before they finally joined me in my room. Charming and his mom headed home to get some sleep for a few hours and I was left alone with my daughter for the first time ever. I wish I could say that we bonded in that moment, but I was so exhausted I couldn't even think about sharing this special time. My head with spinning with everything I had to remember. How to feed her, when to feed her, when to check her diaper, how I, carefully, needed to go to the bathroom myself (that was a lovely process) and if I ever did drift off I had my baby's cries, the next door baby's cries, the nurses and the noises to wake me up constantly. It was a very, very long day and night. Add in the fact that no one came to check on my baby for over twelve hours and my stress level had skyrocketed. Because they were swamped in the nursery no one came to even take her temp like they were supposed to every few hours. I was alone, struggling to feed and take care of my baby while being so utterly exhausted I couldn't see straight. Finally, my nurses, around 2AM seeing that I desperately needed a break, persuaded me to send the baby to the nursery. Breastfeeding moms keep their babies with them constantly in the hospital. Which is fine, but not conducive to me getting any rest. By that time I had been up for 40 hours, gone through labor and given birth to a baby. I needed rest. So I agreed they could take the baby so I could sleep for a few hours. At least that was the plan. Forty minutes after my baby left me a nurse from the nursery threw my lights on and cheerfully announced my baby must be hungry because she won't stop crying so here she is! If I knew then what I know now I would have told them she could have a bottle of formula, I needed to sleep. But I did what I was told and tried feeding her again. And again. And again.

When Charming came the following afternoon to bring us home, I still hadn't slept and our baby was getting increasingly fussy. I had been discharged by 2PM but the baby couldn't leave until her final tests, including the hearing test, had been administered. And because of the amount of babies to attend to, you guessed it, they were behind. We did not get to leave until after 8PM and even then felt rushed, like we were hustled out too early. Our lovely insurance companies at work, 24 hours and you're outta there!

Unfortunately, our frustrations had only just begun. And the ineptitude of the nursery hospital staff was going to rear its ugly head in a way we never imagined.

To be continued...

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