Having gone through a vaginal birth and a c-section it is hard to not compare the two and how each one shaped those early days with our new babies. With Molly she was immediately after birth placed on my chest and she nursed right away, and with Colin I didn’t get to hold him until much later. Once we were in recovery he was placed on my chest and he nursed there for about an hour but I wasnt really holding him. I was still laying semi – flat because all the medications I had been given made me pretty dizzy when I tried to sit up so he was able to nurse with the help of Mike and the nurses. I also was having the post surgery shakes (like I was freezing cold but I wasn’t) so I couldn’t really hold a baby securely. We had to stay in recovery for about 4 hours while we waited for my heart rate to come down. Finally after what felt like an eternity we were leaving the recovery room to go to our post partum room where we would stay for three or four nights. Finally once we got there I was able to really hold Colin and snuggle him. It was amazing.
Mike and I spent that first day just us with our new baby. Our good friend came by after work and brought Mike dinner (I was on liquids only still) and we looked forward to having my mom and Molly visit the next day. Colin initally latched really well and I was hopeful that breastfeeding would go smooth, but that was not the case the rest of the day and night he wouldn’t latch. This was a pretty big problem since he was a pre-term baby the nurses had to do blood sugar checks and if he didn’t pass then we would have to bottle feed him. Luckily I had some amazing nurses who helped hand express my milk onto a spoon that we then fed Colin with.
Tuesday morning Mike left to get my mom (who would spend the rest of the time in the hospital with me) and Molly and I had some one on one time with Colin. We also scheduled our first visit with the lactation consultant because Colin still wouldn’t latch to feed. I still had one IV in my hand and wasn’t able to get out of bed on my own but I was feeling pretty good (thank you pain medicine) and was anxiously waiting to see Molly. Once they arrived she was a little hesitant, I think it was a little weird to see me in the hospital bed with the gown and IV, but she snuggled with me and enjoyed looking at the baby but she did not want to hold him. I rememeber during that visit Colin had a little weird episode choking/gagging on some fluid but the nurse was in our room and she quickly turned him over and it was fine, but after that she took a little longer each time doing her assessment on him. I said goodbye to Mike and Molly and my mom and I settled in for our evening and night.
Just before I was planning on going to bed the night nurse took Colin out for a weight check, I was going to just rest my eyes while he was gone and she would wake me when they got back to feed. The next thing I know I’m being woken up (hours later) by the on call pediatrician she explained that while checking Colin’s weight his breath rate increased significantly and he was struggling to get a good breath. She explained that they had taken him for an x-ray, but it didn’t show a reason for his stuggle. Since they couldn’t explain it they had to treat him with IV antibiotics as if he had an infection until the blood cultures came back 48 hours later to know whether or not he had an infection. She told me that he had been taken to the Pediatric Intermediate Care Nursery (PICN) and he would have to stay there during the 48 hours we waited for the blood cultures to receive antibiotics and keep a close eye on his breathing. I was devestated but at the time all I could think was I had to get to him to feed it had been too long. Thankfully my nurse took me upstairs to him. It was so sad to see him with all the leads tracking his oxygen, breath rate, pulse, etc and he had an IV in his itty bitty arm. Breastfeeding was even more challenging but we were able to have a pretty good feed that night. He was also given formula before I got to him because his blood sugar got too low. And I started my every three hours hike up to the PICN.
Wednesday and Thursday were both pretty much the same every three hours I would get my pain meds and hand express or pump milk to bring to Colin and then make the hike up to the PICN where I would attempt to nurse and then feed him with a syringe. We were able to work with an amazing lactation consultant in the PICN and by Thursday afternoon my milk was in and my boy was latching which was perfect timing because he had hit 10% of his birth weight lost which is when the doctors start to worry. Colin did great while in the nursery and he had some amazing nurses. He breathing stabilized on Wednesday so then he just had to stay to finish all the antibiotics and we waited for the blood culture results. Colin was released from the PICN Thursday night and was able to stay that last night in my room, and we prepared for discharge Friday.
Friday we got ready for discharge Colin had to pass a car seat test (he had to sit in his car seat while his vitals were monitored to make sure he could safely sit in the car seat). He also had to show that he could hold his body temperature. Thankfully he passed both tests and we were able to pack up and finally leave the hospital and head home.
So we were at the hospital longer than we wanted and Colin needed some extra care, but considering all that we went through to get him in this world we were just happy to be going home, and then the real fun started.