Due to my C-Section, I had to stay in the hospital for four days. The first day or two seems like a blur now…..every morning there was a flurry of people who would come in to check on us. Why this needed to happen starting at 7:30 am was beyond me. It was like being in a hotel that didn’t have a sign to hang on the door that said “Do Not Disturb”. So there you are, in your pajamas, sleeping soundly in a room with your husband and your new baby, and in walks the lactation consultant. And then the pediatrician. And then the OB. And then the day shift nurse. And then housekeeping. And then someone with breakfast. It started out feeling really bizarre, and then ended up being kinda nice to have so many helpers rallying around us. Except for the time that Sean woke up to find me staring at a doctor with a blank look on my face, asking him if he could up my pain medication. And heard this doctor respond “Ummm….I’m the pediatrician. But I can find your nurse for you.” I’d love to know what I could possibly have said to him for the FIRST part of our conversation!
A few things I learned while in the hospital:
1. Help is necessary. Say yes. Say thank you. Don’t turn it down. We had one special nurse in particular who helped me with things that I never thought I would need help with……personal things. Things that made me cry at 3 am because I was scared and in pain, and still coming off of the anesthesia. I loved that nurse.
2. Pay Attention. We all noticed that Max was a little jittery a few days in. My mom encouraged us to speak up and ask the doctor about it, and the pediatrician finally ordered some tests. Max had low blood sugar because my milk hadn’t come in yet, and we learned that we needed to supplement with formula for a while. Nothing that would be a long-term issue, but enough to make me realize how important it was to pay attention to my “mom instincts”.
3. Walk around. I never expected to have a C-Section, so I wasn’t fully prepared for what the recovery would be like. The nurses encouraged me to walk as soon as I could, and always followed up by saying that the earliest I could walk would be Friday evening when the Spinal wore off, but that most women waited until the next day. That was all the challenge I needed. As soon as I could feel my feet, I was up and walking on Friday night. The same went for taking the catheter out, and then the IV. As soon as I could, I wanted to be free from all of the wires and contraptions and restraints.
4. Swaddling. Breastfeeding. Learning how to position Max when he sleeps. How to suction out his little mouth if he spits up. And so many other “baby things” that we were lucky enough to learn over four days. Even though it was a long time to be in the hospital, we were fortunate to have an intensive “Baby Boot Camp” that was staffed 24/7 with brilliant, sweet nurses who could answer every little question for us.
5. Ice chips, water, apple juice and graham crackers never tasted so good. And they came from the always-open “nourishment station” that was in the maternity ward. There were even popsicles in the freezer. A nice reward for walking a lap around our floor each evening. And even nicer when I found out that I was still on a “Clear” diet until Saturday morning (liquids only) because all of the other doctors let their patients eat real food the same day as the surgery, but Dr. N had hand-written a note for me saying that I was only on liquids until Saturday morning. Because he hates me.
6. Most importantly, we got to know Max. His little facial expressions (especially the one raised eyebrow look, the big yawns, the streettttttching my body in my sleep look….he is ALL personality), his sounds (the little squeak noise that he makes, which immediately earned him the nickname “Squeaker”), his little body (his adorable little frogger legs that he loves to keep curled up underneath him, his wrinkly elbows and knees that he still needs to grow into….making him look even smaller, his beautiful dark blue-grey eyes, his soft sweet head with just the tiniest bit of light brown hair, his little arms that he loves to tuck underneath him when he sleeps…..)
And then, suddenly, it was time to bring Max home and into his new little world.