I first want to write about a couple things I forgot to include in the last post. First let me start by saying, in no means did I want to imply that my contractions were not painful… I think I had just prepared myself for them to be unbearable. And if I had to endure them for much longer than I did, I surely would have asked for some kind of medicated relief!
I also forgot to mention something that happened during pushing that has made a huge impact on my life. So, there I was pushing along and all of a sudden there was a huge pop (not what you might be thinking!). Sean and I looked at each other (he later told me he thought it was my hip but didn’t want to say anything because he didn’t want to freak me out) and I assumed it was my back. Well, I figured out a couple of days later that it was actually my tail bone breaking – our sweet little baby broke my tail bone on the way out! It didn’t really hurt at the time, but it has been a very painful healing process – on top of everything else I’ve gone through!
I also remember feeling totally out of control. I didn’t have control over what was happening to my body – and I didn’t really like that feeling. I also couldn’t express myself at all and that was a little distressing. I had all these thoughts and feelings, but couldn’t verbalize them because it was taking all I had to keep doing what I was doing. Anyway, I just wanted to remember all these things in the future – I know time has a way of letting us forget 🙂
Also, this is going to be a VERY long post – a lot happened that first week…
So, I left off just after we had moved to our new room. Baby girl did a lot of skin to skin once we were in the room. Our wonderful neighbor who works as a nurse at the same hospital came by for a visit, which was very sweet and it was great to see her. My parents left and Sean’s parents arrived soon after. It was wonderful to watch his parents meeting our little girl. They were super excited and totally in love (just like everyone else!). Unfortunately, Sean’s brother had to stay at home and take care of the family business, but we know Haley will be meeting her uncle soon. We tried breastfeeding a few times that day with a little success. We went to the nursery and gave her first bath. I had requested that we get to do the first bath – that was something I was pretty set on. I thought it was only fair since I’ve given so many first baths – I wanted to have that experience with our own baby. I didn’t want someone else to have that first. Daddy took lots of pictures, of course 🙂 We also got to sleep a bit, which was much needed after our sleepless night.
Our friend came back later that evening to say hi again and she brought us some little girl clothes! Really, our first ‘gender appropriate’ clothing 🙂 Most everything else is yellow, white, or green! After a long day with our fresh baby girl, we went to bed early – visiting hours were over at 8, so that’s when we headed to bed 🙂
The nurse came to check on Haley at around 10 or 11 that night and decided she was breathing too fast. She took her to the nursery to observe her more closely. Once during the night she brought her back so that we could attempt breastfeeding again – it didn’t work too well because Haley was just so sleepy. So the nurse said she would try to cup feed her a little (our hospital is what is called ‘baby friendly’ and that means very pro-breastfeeding. They don’t offer bottles or pacifiers to breastfeeding babies unless necessary). I have to say it was nice to be able to get some sleep… but I would have much rather had her stay in the room with us.
The next morning (Tuesday the 31st), the night nurse came in and told us they were moving Haley to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). We went down to the newborn nursery to say goodbye and then headed back to our room to pack up our belongings since we would be moving back to the labor and delivery unit (the NICU was located on that same floor and the hospital allows mothers whose babies are in the NICU to stay on that floor). So, after a shower and a good cry, we moved back to L&D (our 3rd room during the week). After getting settled we checked in on Haley. The nurses had taken a blood culture, drawn other labs (CBC, CMP…), and done a chest x-ray. They knew that I used to be a NICU nurse and so told me what was going on, but also used common terms to help Sean know what was happening too.
Basically, her CBC was normal. Her CMP was normal, but showed she was a little dehydrated. The CXR was a little hazy on the right side which could have indicated early pneumonia or just some remaining amniotic fluid in her lungs (which would make sense since she never really cried after delivery). If it was just some fluid, the hope would be that it would reabsorb (which it usually does) and not turn into pneumonia. They had started her on full IV fluids and antibiotics just in case and she was naked on the warmer. It didn’t scare me to see all the wires and such, but it was upsetting because I didn’t feel like she needed all that. The plan was to keep up with the antibiotics for 48 hours at least and longer if any of her labs showed anything or if she worsened. She was very sleepy and not hungry acting because of all the IV fluids. We went back to the room and called our parents to let them know what was happening and then rested. Later that day everyone got to visit Haley in the NICU.
That afternoon I started thinking about the breastfeeding. If she wasn’t eating and I wasn’t pumping, well, things weren’t going to move along. So I asked to meet with a lactation consultant. She was great and got me started pumping. The plan was to pump every 3 hours. Then once we were able to start feeding her again, to pump for 15-20 minutes, go to NICU and breastfeed her, pump again, and then sleep. I think she was able to come off the warmer later that same day/night (it’s hard to remember exactly) because she wasn’t breathing fast anymore and that was when we were able to start feeding her again. However, she wasn’t that interested because she was getting so much through the IV. So every 3 hours, day and night, I got up, pumped, attempted to breastfeed her, pumped again, and then went back to bed.
She started taking the pumped milk and the Neonatologist decided that if she took a specific amount by mouth then we could start weaning the IV fluids. While that was great in theory, it had some major drawbacks. First off, I was breastfeeding first and we had no way of knowing how much she was getting from me. Second, she was on so much IV fluids that she didn’t have too much interest. Third, the amount they wanted her to take was unrealistic to me considering she was only a couple days old.
Anyway, we started this schedule at that point because we just wanted to get her home: sleep, pump, breastfeed, pump, clean pump parts, sleep (for about an hr.), do it all again. Except during the day, because we tended to stay awake for a couple longer periods of time to visit with family. So, it was a little exhausting. I was there for every feeding (which probably was a little annoying to the nurses! But I didn’t care) and Sean was there for almost every feeding – I let him sleep through one feeding each night. He didn’t want to, but I kept telling him that one of us needed to have a brain and it would have to be him!
My parents left on Tuesday and Sean’s parents stayed at our house – cooking us meals and cleaning for our return. I was discharged on Wednesday, but we were able to stay on the L&D unit – called ‘rooming in,’ because Haley was in the NICU. As long as they had rooms available, we could stay. On Wednesday morning we got moved again! Our current room was about to get new cabinets and so, once again we moved – room #4!!
Haley couldn’t be discharged on Thursday (48 hrs. on antibiotics) because her first blood culture came back + for a common containment – so they had to redo it and we had to wait another 24 hrs. That culture came back neg. – so we were in the clear! Eventually we got her IV fluids weaned off and she was eating well. However, we did end up having to supplement with not just pumped breast milk, but also formula because I wasn’t getting enough to give her to satisfy the NICU requirements for turning her fluids off. And after talking about it with Sean we decided we could work on breastfeeding at home – we just wanted to get her home as quick as we could 🙂
Haley was discharged on Friday. When we went in for her first morning feeding that day, her nurse that day told us the good news – and I started crying! Oh, we were so excited!! Finally! We had to wait until the afternoon to leave because she still needed her hearing screen and a final assessment by the nurse practitioner and her Heb. B shot.
We decided to surprise Sean’s parents and didn’t tell them we were coming home. After having her newborn pictures taken, we got to leave! Sean drove us home and I sat in the back with our baby. She was very good for her first ride home. When we got home Sean went in and told his parents we had a surprise in the car for them. Boy, were they excited!
Saturday and Sunday were a little bit of a blur – with all the feeding and changing and sleeping… Sean’s parents were great and kept us fed, hydrated, and as rested as we could be! On Saturday morning we did have to go to the pediatrician’s office – they wanted to see her right away since she had been in the NICU. It was a quick trip and went smoothly. We also gave her first at home bath in order to get the hospital off of her 🙂 She screamed the whole time except when I washed her hair. Our pup did good with her from the start. We had given Sean’s parents a hat that Haley had worn and they carried it around the house with them for the few days before we came home from the hospital. He was a little nervous the first couple of days, but has since calmed down. He doesn’t really show too much interest in her unless she’s pooped! Sean’s parents left Sunday late morning and then we were 3 (4 with our pup).
Haley’s wt. On Sat.: 7lbs. 5oz
# of pictures taken: 146 (not including those taken on our phones!)
# of pictures taken on my phone: 36
# of pictures taken on Sean’s phone: 90
# of diapers changed: 60ish
# of nights in hospital: 4
# of nights at home: 3