Three weeks has passed since by gorgeous little girl arrived into the world 5 weeks early and I can’t believe how time has flown! You may have read my birth story second time round, well here’s what happened after the birth and in the first few hours and days that have followed…
Once the immediate rush of the delivery was over I was stitched back up by the theatre team. I remember asking them if they could do a quick tummy tuck while they were down there but I was told that wouldn’t be possible (oh well, they say god loves a tryer!) I was wheeled back from the theatre to our delivery suite, where my husband was waiting with our daughter. It was then that I was able to have my first cuddle, hold her close to me and have the chance to feed her. She took to the breast immediately and I felt the most overwhelming sense of love towards her.
Hubby stayed with us until 4am and then headed home for some sleep and I was left to try and get some of my own. However at 4.45am a lady was brought in via ambulance to a nearby room and she was screaming. It went on and on and there was just no chance of any sleep! I had asked on returning from theatre if I could have some food as I hadn’t eaten since 11.30am the day before, but I was told because I’d had an emergency c-section I would have to wait. (Don’t know what the difference is between last time and this time, each time I only had a spinal and last time I was given tea and toast immediately.) As the morning wore on I asked a few times as I was feeling so weak and starving and finally I got something at 8.30am (almost 24 hrs after last eating).
I was wheeled to the post natal ward mid-morning, ironically to the exact same bay and bed I had been in when I had my other daughter, where the midwife from the labour ward did a handover. It was then that I realised exactly what the problems had been. I heard her mention placenta previa and the cord being pressed on my baby’s head and it really hit home as I don’t think anyone had fully told me exactly what had happened.
Hubby arrived shortly after I had moved to the post natal ward and both sets of grandparents and our little girl came that afternoon at visiting time. Luckily I was in the bay on my own at that point as it was like an entourage had landed! lol! My little girl was quite good and came straight to see her “baby sister”. However I think she had most fun playing hide and seek! It really was a good job the bay was empty! It was very hard saying goodbye as she left each day as you could tell she was confused as to why I wasn’t at home. One day she even got hold of my hand and said “you coming too mummy” and it broke my heart. Hubby decided to spend the last two evenings at home with our daughter to give her some attention and a sense of normality, which made sense. One evening my sister came to keep me company and the other I just took time to relax.
As our daughter was born a good size and did well with her Apgar score following her birth, it was decided that she should be placed in transitional care, which meant she could stay with me but the midwives monitored her and fed information back to the Special Care Baby Unit, who then made decisions on the course of action / care she required. On the first day she was placed on a special heat bed and remained on this for 2 days until she was able to regulate her own body temperature. She also had heel prick blood tests for 2-3 days around each feed to monitor her blood sugar levels. Initially her levels were a little low and she did have to be cup fed some formula in addition to my breastfeeding to help her, but eventually they decided that her levels were acceptable and she no longer needed monitoring. The final thing she was monitored for was jaundice, to be honest she wasn’t that bad at all and didn’t require any treatment for this. By day 3 she had been released from transitional care and we just needed monitoring for another 24 hours by the midwives before we could come home. For a 5 week premature baby she did amazingly well!
I was in hospital from the Saturday afternoon till the following Wednesday and during that time the majority of midwives and healthcare assistants that looked after me were wonderful. One went way beyond the call of duty and was such an immense support. I was still confused about what had happened between me arriving that day and my baby being born and she took my notes away, read through and came back to me, spending a considerable amount of time talking to me and explaining everything, she even went through the monitor print out, showing me where key changes happened. I was also in a considerable amount of pain at certain points and she made sure everything possible was done to alleviate this and make me comfortable. The day after my c-section she and a healthcare assistant helped me out of bed and into the shower room and stayed by the door to make sure I was ok. I was unable to bend to dry my legs and dress myself (so dignified) and they both came in to help me. It was lucky I had buzzed them and they were with me as shortly after they entered I went shakey and passed out! I was wheeled out of the shower room naked, with only a sheet covering my dignity! At this point I had a new “room mate” who’s boyfriend had just arrived… how to make a first impression! lol!
At the other end of the scale there were two nights where I wasn’t impressed. I had been told on my first night to buzz to ask for help in getting my baby out of her cot to feeed as I had a catheter in and couldn’t move or twist sideways to reach her. My little girl was cluster feeding as she was so small so as fast as I was feeding her, she was falling asleep and unable to wake her or stir her to feed her more I was having to put her back, then within half an hour max, if not sooner, she would wake again. Therefore I was buzzing quite a bit during the night, but had no choice. However I overheard one of the midwives complaining that I was “buzzing every time the child made a noise” which I felt very unfair. I have had a baby before and I know how to settle a child and when a baby is just stirring or actually hungry. I did wait and try to settle my little girl before buzzing but the fact was she was hungry. It made me feel like I couldn’t buzz for help. On another occassion I was trying to get myself to the toilet but my tummy hurt so much I was unable to move and had got stuck at the bottom of my bed. My room mate buzzed for help and the nurse (at least I think she was a nurse or a healthcare assistant of some kind) that came in just looked at me in a perplexed manner. I had to ask her to help me and explain to her that I needed to get to the toilet and needed support. She didn’t even know how to support me and frankly I felt like I was holding her up more! I then had to ask for her to help me get back to my bed! It was unreal.
However I am pleased to say that the positive experiences once again outweighed the negatives.
By the time Sunday evening came I was desperate for sleep as I had only had 3 hours sleep since going to bed on the Friday night. However my baby had other ideas and for the first two nights cluster fed continuously! I think if I was lucky, I managed 2-3 hours over the two nights and by the Tuesday I felt totally washed out and my body was shaking. The midwife that had been so great felt that I might be anaemic so took some bloods and sent them off immediately to be tested, they came back within a couple of hours but I was told I was fine, I was merely exhausted!
Tuesday night, as previous nights, saw another bout of cluster feeding and I have to say I was looking forward to getting home the following day! After waiting for final test results for my little girl we were given the all-clear and headed home at lunch time to start the next chapter of our little family life! (Not before my husband nearly drove me into the side of an ambulance in my wheelchair though! But that’s a different story!)
Check back to see how my first few weeks home have been.