Around 1 AM on Thursday morning I was moved to post-partum to finish my magnesium drip. The nurses ran my bed into the wall a few times while I moaned in agony, but I was so much happier once we got to post-partum since they were way better equipped to deal with recovery (usually patients stay in labor and delivery until they are off magnesium, but L&D had run out of beds and there were more patients in labor). Anyways, my blood pressure had already started to drop and within 24 hours of delivery stabilized well within normal ranges, so it was clear that delivery was the right choice for me. I try really hard not have doubts that it was the right choice for her, but it’s hard not to wonder if we should have tried to wait it out another week.
Finally, after 24 hours of drunken hell the OB came in and turned off my IV around 8:30 AM on Thursday. I was told I still could only have clear liquids until I passed gas (this is a c-section thing, I think), which wouldn’t be for another day. And don’t try to strain to force yourself to fart after abdominal surgery. Anyways, she told me to rest a little and then I could go see my baby in a wheelchair.
I forget how long I slept, but I know I didn’t make it to NICU right away because I was still rather drunk on mag. I managed to choke down some chicken broth (sidenote: I did not know I was capable of not being hungry for over 24 hours. That was scary) and then demanded someone fetch me a wheelchair, which I kept hidden in my room the entire hospital stay. I do not like waiting for things, so it seemed best to make it my own personal wheelchair.
The hardest part about going to see Leapster was that I was in agony. I couldn’t even stand up straight, but I somehow made it into the wheelchair. I only got to spend a small amount of time with her because I was so wrecked from what I assumed was the surgery. My husband returned me to my room and he, my mom, and his mom took turns sitting with me while the others visited Leapster. I started pumping and tried desperately to get some milk.
Later that night (Thursday), our mother left and my husband helped me get to the bathroom. I started shivering and my teeth were chattering, but I convinced him that I was just that cold and he covered me up with an extra sheet and turned the thermostat up. I woke up around 1 to the nurse’s aide taking my temperature and freaking out. Turns out that I had a fever around 103 and a doctor was paged immediately. I had managed to develop a uterine infection and needed IV antibiotics immediately.
Within 2 hours of starting antibiotics, I felt like a new woman. I could pull myself up to a sitting position and stand up pretty straight. Turns out a c-section really isn’t supposed to hurt that badly. I was so relieved to find out my pain wasn’t normal that I wasn’t even upset about the whole thing.
I think the hardest part of all this is being away from her. My next-door neighbor was rooming on with her infant and when it cried in the middle of the night I felt like I was going to lose it. I think NICU moms might need their own corner of the maternity ward because hearing everyone else’s babies and having to go by the healthy baby nursery every time we went to NICU felt like being slapped in the face. It just kept driving home how unfair this all felt. And I almost killed my neighbor because she let her herd of feral children run up and down the hall when I was trying to sleep.
Oh, and that next morning (Friday), my husband had to go close on our house. Less than 72 hours old and he was buying the baby a house. Spoiled. Anyways, the closing was successful and we moved yesterday. My sister is going to set up the nursery for us when she comes for my baby shower on March 17 (it’s kinda weird with the baby already out, but everyone still wanted to do it).
Anyways, those first couple days in the NICU were brutal as Leapster had a few “spells”, which are basically episodes of dropping her oxygen saturation below 85%. Even on CPAP and supplemental oxygen she struggled. Luckily, she seemed to turn it around once I was discharged (Sunday).
Discharge was the hardest part and there was a lot of sobbing (not just me, but you keep denying it dear). Suddenly we were going to be away from her (before she was just right downstairs). No one every thinks about leaving the hospital without their baby and it just about killed me. We’ve gotten used to it now, I think and I even have a routine, but it’s still a lot harder than being on the floor above her.
The good news is, slowly the wires are getting pulled. In the last week they’ve removed her umbilical vein catheter, her peripheral IV, and the temperature probe (that had nothing to do with her, they were a trial thing and failed horribly). That means we can dress her. Next she’ll hopefully get the CPAP off for good sometime this week and then we just wait for them to pull the oral gavage tube. They’ll replace it with a nasal gavage tube until she proves she can eat every meal out of a bottle, but it’s still a step. When she starts eating and weighs enough, she gets moved to a crib, which means I can pick her up whenever I want (I cannot wait to get to this point). Finally, they’ll remove the heart rate and oxygen saturation monitors when she’s discharged. Small steps. I keep hearing about babies the same age as her being discharged around 35 weeks, so I’m trying not get my hopes up, but I’m definitely hoping. I definitely plan to keep this up to date with her progress.