Practically, part 4 of Coffee break with a new mom directly follows the events of part 2 (read the previous parts here, here, and here). Can you remember what happened in part 2? A baby girl was born. And now her mom tells us about the days following this shocking yet fantastic experience. Series written by Ágnes Szabó.
After getting back my baby girl, we could spend half an hour together. The three of us finally being together was an indescribable feeling. Since I’m insulin resistant, I’ve been taken away for glucose testing an hour after delivery. Afterwards, we remained tête-à-tête with my husband. We called the unsuspecting grandparents and congratulated them for becoming grandmother and grandfather. Another hour later, the midwife arrived with a wheelchair. I didn’t really understand why the wheelchair was necessary (fortunately, I didn’t really have to use it).
I took a shower, then walked over to the baby ward. I wouldn’t say that it was the liveliest walk of my life, but it wasn’t unbearable. I’m not antisocial, but I definitely wanted a single room (one can receive visitors here, and the room has its own shower and toilet). Fortunately some of them were available, so I seized one. My husband was with me at the time and helped me unpack the bags. I was really hungry so I placed my order. Meanwhile the hospital breakfast arrived as well, so I could quell the hunger for a while. Since the baby’s glucose testing lasted into the doctor’s morning walkaround, we didn’t get her back soon. We saw her again around 10 a.m., but then she could be with me until the evening walkaround. At 11 a.m. my husband went home to have some rest and to take care of a few things (visiting the pediatrician, getting the prescriptions etc.). And I just admired our baby girl, who was really pretty, even as a newborn. I’d seen lots of newborns, and I was worried that, in the first few days, my daughter would be unsightly, too, but my fears were baseless. My delight, however, was overshadowed by cold reality…
Going to the toilet after giving birth isn’t pleasant at all. For three days, going number 1 was only tolerable while taking a shower. I wouldn’t go into details about number 2, but my fears regarding it were substantiated… Sitting down during the first days/weeks isn’t the most enjoyable experience either. The first five days were the worst. Lying was comfortable, but the bed was quite tall, and by the time I’d finally got comfortable, I surely had to get up for something.
The nurses I’ve met at the baby ward were mostly very nice, but since there were many of us, if we didn’t call them, sometimes they forgot about us. In the first morning a lady came into the room and told me she’ll soon be back to show how to change the diaper and how to treat the umbilical stump. Since she didn’t come back, I took care of the baby throughout the day. Before the evening walkaround, I told the lady that, even without her explanation, I kept my daughter clean. She apologized and showed me the process (fortunately I did everything right).
Every day followed a similar schedule. At 7 a.m. we had to bring the babies to the ward for the doctor’s walkaround. Then we had breakfast. We got the babies back around 9 or 10 a.m. Around noon, when we had lunch, we could optionally hand over the babies (I didn’t use this option). The afternoon was the time for visitors, until 7 p.m. (we had multiple visitors each day), when the babies were taken away for another walkaround. At these times they were measured, vaccinated, examined, and bathed. We got them back around 9 p.m.
Since my daughter was born on Tuesday at dawn, we could already spend the first night together. I was very tired as I hadn’t slept the previous night either, but once again, the night brought little rest, unfortunately. On one hand, we had to sleep with the door open, so we heard the cries of all the babies in the ward. Because of this, my baby girl didn’t sleep well either, and she started crying many times. On the other hand, the lights were on throughout the night. The reason for this was that when the nurses checked on us at night, we wouldn’t wake up to them turning the lights on (instead, we couldn’t really sleep at all because of this).
Then, on Wednesday, the real misery began. My milk hadn’t come in. I read a lot about the topic, and I know this is perfectly natural, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to breastfeed immediately after giving birth. I managed to squeeze out a few drops, but that was it. The first measurement showed that it wasn’t even 10 ml (0.34 oz), so on Wednesday we had to supplement (with just water at that time). I didn’t want to give her a nursing bottle, so I gave her water (and later formula) from a baby cup. She drank from the cup very skillfully. In the meantime, of course, we tried breastfeeding, and as a result, despite the nipple cream, my nipples became sore. This is really painful. During the childbirth course they told me there’s no need to bring a breast pump, if we need one, they’ll provide one. On Thursday, when we were already supplementing with formula, I wanted to ask for a breast pump, but they turned me down saying I don’t need one and that I should hand express, that should help too. I did it for 2 hours (not even remotely pleasant), resulting in 5 drops of milk. They mixed it with the formula and gave it to the baby.
„Light therapy is used to treat cases of neonatal jaundice. Bilirubin, a yellow pigment normally formed in the liver during the breakdown of old red blood cells, cannot always be effectively cleared by a neonate’s liver causing neonatal jaundice. Accumulation of excess bilirubin can cause central nervous system damage, and so this buildup of bilirubin must be treated. Phototherapy uses the energy from light to isomerize the bilirubin and consequently transform it into compounds that the newborn can excrete via urine and stools. Bilirubin is most successful absorbing light in the blue region of the visible light spectrum, which falls between 460-490 nm. Therefore light therapy technologies that utilize these blue wavelengths are the most successful at isomerizing bilirubin.”
By Thursday my cheerfulness had faded away. The room was hot, my milk still hadn’t come in (which was still natural, but the continuous measurements didn’t help me relax), sitting hurt, even peeing was toilsome (hand over the baby, take a shower, get dressed, get the baby back), and I really wanted to go home. After the evening walkaround they told me that my daughter will receive some blue light at night, and in the morning we’ll see if we can go home. Therefore, I had to hand express once again at night (another 5 drops), and I was constantly anxious over being able to go home in the morning, because I certainly couldn’t have stood spending another day in the hospital. I want to emphasize once again: everyone was very nice, they took quite good care of us, but still, we were in a hospital.
We got lucky, however, because so many deliveries had started overnight that when they took the babies away for the morning visit, we were told to pack. They wanted to send home as many of us as possible, as there were so many women giving birth that some of them, in labor, were even in the corridor. We could go home. She received her first set of earrings before leaving, and we got in the car with her wearing her very first little dress.
Traveling to Budapest City Center to get my stitches removed, sitting on one leg, supporting myself with both arms, wasn’t a dream come true. A pillow with a hole in the center (travel pillow) may have helped, but I only realized that at home. The baby slept all the way back home, so I only needed to focus on supporting myself, so that potholes wouldn’t make me lump down on the seat with both buttocks… That stacked up to the pain of labor contractions…
The suture removal only lasted for a few seconds, but I think people in the corridor could tell that more accurately, because they heard it for sure.
The hardships ended with the afternoon, because we arrived home, and a new way of life began…
Source of featured image: flickr.com
Translated by Ádám Hittaller