at the hospital

This post will probably meander through feeding, nurses, family, etc. Hopefully I’ll find my way to an ending.

So after BabyHope was born, they did some essentials in the labor and delivery room, like her weight and my stitches. Then they pretty much left Mr. Hope and me with BabyHope to attempt breastfeeding and wonder in awe at what had just happened for about an hour.

Then Mr. Hope left with BabyHope to the “transitional nursery”. They bathe the babies there, take their vitals, take blood samples, etc. They ran her first glucose level here – it was low/borderline, so they fed her 1/4 ounce of formula. More on that later.

My parents and Mr. Hope’s mom watched all of this from the window to the nursery.

I remained in the delivery room for another hour or so at this point in “recovery”. They then wheeled me to my mother/baby room – basically across a corridor to a smaller room without all the labor and delivery stuff.

That’s where I met my first post-partum nurse. That relationship did not go well, and she was the only nurse I had twice. She had no affect, made fun of my family at one point, criticized me, and never available when needed. She was always “busy”.

So because BabyHope’s birth weight and glucose levels were low, we were pretty much mandated that we feed her formula. I don’t have a problem with formula per se, but the way this played out in the first 24 hours was unfortunate. We were to feed her every 3 hours – first 15 minutes per breast, then 10 cc’s (1/3 of an ounce) of formula.

She was difficult to wake for feedings, as most newborns are in the first 24 hours. In addition, because of her blood sugar, BabyHope was taken for additional glucose levels – Mr. Hope accompanied her for all of them. So each feeding took a very long time – about 45 minutes to rouse her, about an hour to feed her. And she wasn’t tolerating the feedings well at all. She was spitting up what seemed like everything we fed her at each feeding.

And she wasn’t pooping. Which is very important to the hospital staff. The baby must poop once in the first 24 hours of life.

At 12 hours past her birth, she was weighed. She supposedly had already lost over 5% of her body weight. In the end, there was a scale error – she had not lost that much weight – but we didn’t know that for another 24 hours. It was a scary number, and the nurses started talking about her not being able to go home with us if that trend continued. She had a projectile spit up in the nursery during one of her assessments that night.

In the morning, after another feeding, BabyHope started spitting up again – this time violently and through her nose. She started gasping for air – I did all the things they had told me to – hold her head lower than her body, pat her back with some force, and use the bulb syringe to clear her mouth. It wasn’t working, and she stopped gasping. I yelled for Mr. Hope to pull the call device out of the wall. He grabbed it, but hesitated until I told him to do it again.

The nurses came running in and were able to clear all the gunk out of her throat and nose. She was hoarse the rest of the day. I cried. A lot. It was really scary to watch her struggle like that.

She was due for another one of those assessments – this time the pediatrician would actually be there. Mr. Hope went with her – the pediatrician siphoned the rest of the contents of her stomach off. She had swallowed amniotic fluid and blood during delivery, and her body couldn’t digest it, or anything that was getting put on top of it. So all that formula was simply coming back up.

And she still hadn’t pooped. The pediatrician ordered an ultrasound of her bladder and kidneys due to the two vessel cord, and at the same time had them look at her bowel to make sure they didn’t see any obstructions.

The lactation consultant entered the picture that morning. She set us up with a supplemental nursing system (SNS) where you tape this flimsy little tube to your boob – baby sucks on the boob and gets whatever colostrum you have in addition to the formula coming through the tube. It’s great, but it’s a pain in the ass, and it takes forever to set up and clean up. But we were glad to drop the bottle at that point – it seemed she couldn’t keep anything down from the bottle, anyway. The LC reviewed the feeding chart – we were so delerious, we had our AMs and PMs confused. Mr. Hope and the LC re-wrote the chart. The LC also ordered a pump for me – I was to pump for 15 minutes after each feeding. My nurse was to show me how to use the pump. Ha.

When they came to take her for the ultrasound, she was due for a feeding, but they took her anyway. My nurse – the one I did not like at all – chided me for not sleeping. When was I supposed to do that? They finally brought BabyHope back – all appeared normal on the ultrasound. But no poop.

We fed her and then Mr. Hope went home to shower and take care of the dog. His mother stayed in the room and held BabyHope while I attempted to sleep. The evil nurse entered for only the second time her entire shift at about 4 PM (her shift begins at 7:00 AM, and she didn’t see me for the first time until after noon – and never showed up, despite Mr. Hope tracking her down, to show me how to use the pump). She requested our feeding log, left, and came back to tell me we hadn’t fed BabyHope often enough. I lost it. I had followed to a T the instructions the lactation consultant had given us. She was talking about the time period where they took BabyHope for the ultrasound. And when the chart got re-written, some of the times got messed up. And then she flat-out said that she disagreed with the LC on just about every point. I pretty much refused contact with her from there on out – Mr. Hope was the only one with any contact with her. The list of crap she didn’t do goes for miles: contact the pediatrician about the u/s results, show me how to pump, actually do my check when her shift began and ended, etc, etc, etc. Thank goodness she wasn’t my nurse the following day – I would have requested a different one. Enough about the stupid nurse.

By late that evening, BabyHope was feeding much better – it still took forever – but she wasn’t violently spitting everything up. My new, sweet nurse actually called and got the official word on the ultrasound via the pediatrician, and reported that BabyHope STILL hadn’t pooped. The neonatologist from the NICU was to see her if she didn’t poop by the middle of the night.

She finally pooped around midnight. It only took her nearly 36 hours. But we were SO relieved that she did. And she hasn’t stopped.

There’s more to say about what not to say to someone who has just had a baby. Mostly the assvice – particularly from family. I don’t know how many times I heard, “We didn’t do it that way”, “We didn’t do so much testing”, and “Mother’s milk is best”. I just have to say – none of that helps anyone. It made me resent my parents and MIL – and their continued questioning about our decisions – even once the reasoning was explained (low blood sugar, low birth weight, spitting up, no poop, two vessel cord, yes you must wash your hands if you’d like to touch her) – made me feel like shit. I don’t think the hospital did everything right, but I also think support should have come in a different flavor. So, if you are visiting someone in the hospital who has just had a baby, and they are doing things differently than you think you would – shut up about it.

The rest of the hospital stay was mostly uneventful. She had to do a car seat test because of her weight – which she passed with flying colors. She came home with us on time. That was so incredible – and no words can express how amazing it was to walk into our home with our daughter. Our daughter, our dream, our home. Finally.

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~ by Larisa on January 21, 2008.

No Responses Yet to “at the hospital”

  1. Warning – looong comment!
    Hi, Mrs. Hope –

    I’ve been following you for about two years or so. I commented in the early days, but grew stupidly superstitious about saying anything as you faced your many obstacles toward motherhood. So I just kept reading and praying for you (and I know you’re not big on prayer).

    Though we are complete strangers, I’ve been so happy to see that you were pregnant with ‘the real deal’ and that BabyHope has finally arrived. I’m sorry you had such a nasty nurse, too.

    Breastfeeding is one of the biggest challenges faced by mother and baby – neither one of you really knows how to do it. Having breastfed and bottlefed, I found that I preferred breastfeeding, only when I had already given it up and it was too late to go back. That said, ANYTHING that works best for you and your baby is the best road to take. People – especially other mothers, no matter the generation – are so quick to pass judgment on new mothers no matter which they choose. If you bottlefeed, some women say you’re not giving baby the best you can and it makes you feel like they think you don’t REALLY love your baby. If you did, you’d use cloth diapers and plant the placenta under a tree in your backyard to appease the spirits, right??

    But if you breastfeed, some women say “How can you be sure how much she’s getting? Are you sure she’s getting enough? Could you not do that right in front of me?”

    You do what works best for you, and what you feel is best for BabyHope. Even as a brand-new mother, you already know what’s best for both of you, even if you don’t KNOW you know… if that makes any sense.

    I know I’m just one more person with an opinion, but my opinion is, you just keep right on doing your thing and try hard to ignore the assvice! Best wishes to you, BabyHope and Mr. Hope. It’s a hard road ahead with a brand-new baby, but there’s so much good stuff ahead, too.

    -Erica

  2. geez, i’m so sorry the first few hours were scary, testy and all together not what you deserved. i’m happy that in the end you were finally abel to hold your daughter in your arms as you walked back into your home. enjoy!

  3. So glad she’s home!

    Your beginning to breastfeeding sounds SO much like mine. We had to supplement with formula for about a week with the supplemental system as well as finger feeding (like the supplemental system, but the tube was hooked to a syringe and the boys sucked it out off the end of my finger. I pumped after every feeding for weeks and was able to supplement with breastmilk instead of formula, and eventually I didn’t have to supplement at all (Happy days!). Hang in there. It’s hard. Really effing hard. But after we got it down and I wasn’t pumping and wasn’t supplement and just nursing, it was so much easier.

  4. I just want to say CONGRATS! What an awful nurse experience though. I’m SO SORRY. I had the best experience at my hospital. So much that when my insurance changed, and then I got preggo again, I did everything I could to get NEW insurance so I could have my old Dr back (and hospital!). It’s so hard to get advice especially when you are feeling low. Usually it’s easy to shrug it off and smile cause it is YOUR baby but when you are going through scary and awful times you just want them to BE QUIET! Ugh!

    Congrats though! I’m so happy she is here and you are home with her and your hubby. Kristi from BabyCenter 20s Moms.

  5. I’m sorry you got to experience common U.S. post partum care in all it’s awful glory. I’m so glad that you were able to know that this was wrong and not the way it’s supposed to be and that you got a better nurse later.

    As a doula, I often see exactly what you have described from family and friends as well. Becoming a mom suddenly seems to give everyone the right to comment, judge and worse.

    I firmly believe that the new family (mom, baby, dad) should be enveloped in a cocoon of love and support with one main knowledgable caregiver, ideally chosen ahead of time by the parents. Holland has an excellent system of family care at home for 8 days postpartum that I wish we had here.

    I hope that now that you are home things are going better and that you are able to find the support you need.

    Please contact your local La Leche League and/or a GOOD lactation consultant if you continue to experience difficulties with nursing. I’m sure that you and BabyHope can have a positive breastfeeding experience. You definitely deserve it! No matter what, try to see the pump as your friend for as long as you need it. I know how time-consuming pumping and nursing and supplemental feeding is and how much hard work it can be, too.

    Trust your instincts. After reading your blog for so long, I know you have excellent instincts as well as a lot of common sense and intelligence. You love your baby more than anyone else in the universe and will make the best decisions you can possibly make in her best interest.

  6. Mrs. Hope

    I have been following your blog for a while now and just wanted to comment. I recently had a baby as well after several years of trying and understand your frustration. Everyone wants to tell you their way and what worked best for them. My mom and I got along much better once she understood that he was my baby and we would do things our way (what my husband and I thought were best for him!) And what a difference that conversation made and I am sure she assumed it was just because I was hormonal.
    I too had to supplement with formula because he was losing weight. I breastfed and pumped for about a month (and was still having to supplement with formula) and finally decided to go to formula. I know people have very strong opinions on this but it worked for us. I think it was the best decision for us. AND that is what matters. Do what works best for you and sometimes its hard to know what that is when you are hormonal and sleep deprived.
    I know you will do what is best for your family. I promise it gets only better with each passing day and you think that your heart does not have room to love them any more but each day you love them even more.
    I am so glad that the LORD has blessed you with BabyHope. Enjoy each moment to the fullest!

  7. Mrs. Hope,
    I had a horrible night nurse. I had a c-section our son was in the NICU and I had to pump every 3 hours. Our 2nd night in the hospital my husband went home for the night to be with our daughter and I called the nurse to help me clean up the pumping equipment and then to go and see Lincoln in the NICU. She promptly told me that I needed to clean the equipment myself and that I shouldn’t be using a wheel chair. I said, I’m sorry but I just had a c-section…YESTERDAY?! and I need help…that is what you do at the hospital? She wheeled my up and after she left I just lost it and started crying, Lincoln’s nurse was wonderful and I was able to hold him, which they didn’t want me to do. Its amazing how one nurse can really spoil the whole experience.

  8. Right on, Mrs. Hope. I think you held it together fabulously; it all sounded very exhausting.

    Just wanted to add that Isaac also had the issues with blood/mucus in his tummy. He didn’t eat for the first 24 hours due to the choking, and they had to siphon his tummy twice. I can’t imagine how awful that was for him, much more so for delicate little BabyHope.

    I was scared to be left alone with him, told to keep the bulb aspirator within arms reach. I did NOT feel confident in that respect.

    I’m glad BabyHope is home and thriving now!! Just keep going with your instincts–everything I’ve ever read says that’s the BEST thing to rely on anyway!

  9. Sorry to hear that your hospital experience was less than ideal. A good nurse really makes such a difference. I had a not-so-great one too, but the others made up for her. Nurses should know better – new mommies need kindness and support. It’s not easy bringing a little person into the world and then learning how to care for her. But thank God everything turned out OK and you are home and safe! Now go and post some more pictures. 🙂

  10. WOW, so sorry about the nurse and all the testing, etc. She sure knows how to make an entrance into the world and make you start paying all attention to her! Glad you are home and all is well now. No assvice from me!

  11. So sorry your nurse was so awful. With all those things going on, I would cry too. Actually, I cried a lot at the hospital even without the drama that you had to deal with. I bet you were happy to finally be home.

    Hope breastfeeding is going better. And don’t feel bad about having to supplement. Breastfeeding is such a tough thing. Hang in there, Mrs. Hope.

    And I know what you mean about the comments and advice from the relatives. I wish I had some advice on how to handle them, but I don’t. That drove me absolutely up the wall.

  12. Congrats on finally achieving your dream of bringing a baby home. Yours was the first infertility blog I found when we began ART after a couple of years of TTC (I googled “laminaria” and that is how I found your blog). Sorry you had to suffer the bad nurse but thank goodness BabyHope is fine. Hopefully 2008 will be the year for me and others still trying.

  13. Sorry things were so bumpy at the hospital for all of you, but you’re home at last. Congratulations! Here’s to lots more poop!

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