Thursday, September 27, 2007

The End?

It's possible that I've told enough of the story that this could be my last Birth Story/Hospital Saga post. Wouldn't that be nice?

So, what didn't make it into the letter....

I was exhausted by about 9 P.M....which is when they kicked me out of the nursery the second time, when Peanut needed a break. whatever.

I couldn't sleep, of course. so I rested from about 10 to 11, when they told me I could come back. Tom was resting too, and when I asked him if he wanted to come, he politely declined.

In addition to telling me I wasn't allowed in when I got there, they gave me some other bad news. When I told them I'd like to come back soon--because when I talked to the pediatrician the second time that evening, he'd said it would probably be okay to feed Israel at Midnight--they said something like "Oh no. Dr. so and so said you definitely may not feed him tonight." I burst into tears and went back to my room. I hope I never have to see that silly on-call doc for an office visit at the pediatrician's office, as I'd have a hard time not giving her a piece of my mind.

I'm sure if I could have gotten my pediatrician's opinion on the matter at that time, that he would have given the green light, because when I'd talked to him a little before 8 that night, he said that Israel was doing surprisingly well (no surprise to me, but anyway) and that in these matters it's important that you look to the patient and proceed accordingly, and that he may be ready to be fed as early as midnight. The doctor on call probably just didn't take a look at the situation when she was last in--probably not long after the last time my ped. saw him, quite honestly--and just read the report on what had happened and made the same call my ped. had to begin with.

At the time, I was really happy to be laboring during the day time and to have the baby at a time of day that would allow a fairly normal night's sleep to follow. However, looking back, since Israel wasn't okay enough to be with me, I really wish I'd had him in the early morning like I'd had Eve--that way my Ped. would have been working and available to assess Israel's state more than 4 or 5 hours after his birth.

Anyway...the postpartum nurses were concerned for me coming back from the nursery crying hysterically, and Tom got pretty freaked out when I got back in. I've only just now considered that Tom might have thought something much worse was going on than rude nurses and bad decisions by on-call doctors. (I hate that about all the clinics I go to for care--I don't trust other doctors the way I trust my doctors. I detest having to ever rely on them for advice or decisions, because I can never be sure they are as invested in the situation as my own doctors, and I know nothing about their judgment in general.) Poor Tom, I wonder what went through his mind. Once I got out what had happened, between sobs, I just cried in his arms for a while. He was very sweet and understanding. I have such a wonderful husband.

I had been avoiding the pump and the need to pump until that point, as I'd been hoping to just get to breastfeed soon. However, I decided that just possibly pumping would help me. I could maybe get enough stimulation to produce some good hormones and maybe even some uterine contractions. I pumped for the first time ever with a double electric, and it wasn't as awful as I thought it would be, although I still feel hand pumps are superior. I got probably two teaspoons worth of colostrum in about 15 minutes.

I was sore from sitting up and didn't really want to keep pumping, and of course, I was still really tired. I was also really angry. I let bitterness creep in, and honestly, I think it might still be there in my heart. I need to take care of that and forgive those lousy nurses and the lousy on call doctor, and probably my own pediatrician as well...and anyone else I might hold responsible for the way things went. sigh. That realization just hit me. It's funny...I might still need to forgive my previous OB...and both the nurses who placed IVs in me....I bet if I gave it some time, I could think of even more. I'll have to take care of that today. It could take a while to go through the list.

So, looking back, I think the nurses kicked me out at 9 partly because I was so tired, and gave me a bogus time to return because they didn't expect me to be conscious until much later.

After pumping I took Demerol because it wasn't time for the next dose of Ibuprofen and I was hurting. I'm not sure if I could have fallen asleep then without the influence of Demerol, but Demerol certainly didn't give me a good night's sleep. I woke up at least 3 times between whenever I actually fell asleep and 6:30 A.M. when the Ped. finally came back. And each time, my mind raced with repetitions of the events following Israel's birth, and my fear that this forced separation would adversely effect our nursing relationship grew. I couldn't keep myself from being worried that all those struggles I'd read about in the La Leche League magazine would become my own struggles, but that I wouldn't be able to face them or conquer them. Tom, as wonderful as he is, is not the biggest breastfeeding proponent. I had visions of myself hysterical over trying to feed my baby and Tom saying off-handedly to simply give him formula and be done with it. I had such any easy time initiating breastfeeding with Eve that I don't know if I'm equipped to handle breastfeeding obstacles combined with the same--or even more pronounced--lack of support at home that I experienced with Eve. I prayed and prayed that God would still my fears and give me peace. And he would, and I would sleep, but each waking brought a renewal of those fears and a disruption of peace.

With a clear mind, a weight-gaining son, and the period of breastfeeding initiation behind us, I cannot say what exactly I expected to go wrong, but the possibilities seemed endless.

I want to mention here as well, that Tom has been much more supportive this time around, in all ways really, but specifically in regards to breastfeeding. We are both in such a better place spiritually and in our life and marriage, it's amazing the difference that makes.

I woke up when the Pediatrician came, just like he said at like 6:30. He said I could breastfeed and that Israel was doing great. He encouraged me to go down to the nursery as soon as possible.

It's a good thing I got at least some sleep the night before, because I tried for quite some time to wake Israel up, and he simply wouldn't...I got him to suck literally once. If I'd been a bit more tired, I'm sure I would have been hysterical, because this simply seemed to confirm that breastfeeding was going to be an uphill battle. Discouraged and uncomfortable in the nursery (even though the staff was different and much more friendly), and still tired enough, I left the nursery and my baby by choice for the first time. I went back to sleep, had breakfast, and then saw my OB before heading back down for what I just knew would be a painful and failing attempt to breastfeed Israel again at around 10:30.

Happily, my fears were unfounded, because this time he was waking up and hungry and ready to go. He latched on well and stayed on for about 12 minutes before falling asleep again. I'm sure I was grinning from ear to ear, because not only did this mean breastfeeding was not utterly doomed to failure, it also meant that we could take Israel to our room, and I wouldn't have to deal with the nursery staff anymore and I could hold him and breastfeed him all I wanted.

The rest of our hospital stay was fairly uneventful. Nursing continued to go well, although I rushed laying down to nurse with this lazy boy and ended up with one side blistered, cracked and bleeding because he wouldn't maintain a good latch in that position. I had to deal with that for a couple weeks.

My OB kept me in the hospital over concerns about elevated blood pressure, which looked significantly better once breastfeeding was initiated, so I'm sure it was all emotionally induced. Israel had to stay until 24 hours from his first feeding. We were discharged at 9:45 PM on the 16th--we had our 10th anniversary dinner in the hospital. Not quite what I'd have in mind for unforgettable, although it surely will be so.

Indeed, the end, although I still have some related posts regarding the call from the Hospital Director and my recent discussion with my OB.