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The first few nights

November 26, 2009
by

When we moved to the mother-baby unit after Jesse’s birth, I discovered that I had a psychotic bed. As I’d lie in it, various compartments would inflate and deflate, and I joked that it was alive and breathing. Dean immediately conked out on the couch, and I set up my computer to start sending out notifications to folks while getting the hang of breastfeeding and swaddling. It quickly became apparent that Jesse didn’t like the hospital bassinet, and I didn’t either — they were clearly set up for standing up care by nurses rather than bedside care by moms, and I had to get out of the psychotic bed to lift him out of the bassinet, then clamber back into the psychotic bed, which would then heave and sigh and readjust to the change in weight. Jesse took to breastfeeding pretty easily, all things considered, but showed (and still shows) a strong preference for my left side.

I couldn’t sleep, though. I had an incredible amount of adrenaline coursing through my system. So I watched the baby, transfixed, in awe. In fact, at 1:30 or so I sent my first tweets out, and one of the comments I made was “And I just cannot get over how beautiful this baby is. Seriously.” Seriously.

But about 4 a.m., something weird happened. Jesse started making choking and retching noises and I freaked out. The nurse happened to walk in before I could hit the page nurse button, and she picked him up and started vigorously burping him, explaining that he was now clearing amniotic fluid from his tummy and it would need to be burped out. The stuff that he kicked out was a foul-smelling mix of colostrum and amniotic fluid. This continued for the next two hours, before he started a whining scream that carried down the hall. The nurse rushed in again, took his vitals, and discovered that he was running a mild fever. Off he was whisked to the nursery for monitoring, and there he treated everyone to a grand show of projectile vomiting amniotic fluid.

I was half panicked, but so exhausted that I collapsed into a fitful sleep for an hour or so, punctuated by my iPhone alarm to get Dean up so I could send him to get Elder Son off to school. At that time, we asked if we could see Jesse before Dean left, but apparently Jesse was getting labwork done and a checkup by the pediatrician. The nurses were more nonplussed that I was up and walking around the floor so easily. I was more nonplussed that we couldn’t see our baby.

An hour later, I was summoned in to feed Jesse. He had stabilized considerably since the vomiting thing, and if he could feed without any reflux this time around they’d be satisfied that he was ok in spite of the mild fever. They offered me a chair in a room for privacy, and I realized, horrified, that I was in the circumcision room–with two immobilization stations that made me weep that I’d put my first son through this procedure. It struck me also that the chair I was in was the antithesis of a comfortable breastfeeding chair, and the boppy they gave me did nothing to improve my own comfort level. But Jesse did fine, and so he came back with me to my room.

When the lab results came back, he showed a higher than normal white blood cell count, and between that and the mild fever, the pediatrician was a little concerned. But he seemed to be “over the hump,” as he put it, and when Dean got back we spent the day cuddling Jesse. But I wanted to leave. I’d passed through my postpartum checkups with flying colors, refusing Percocet for the cramps (though I did take a couple of Motrin) and peeing just fine. In fact, I was amazed at how little pain I was in, having had a second degree tear–with Elder Son, I’d had a second degree episiotomy, and had a hell of a time with basic elimination functions.

And the second 24 hours passed without much of a glitch aside from the fact that Jesse went on a crying jag about 3 a.m. And nothing I could do would appease him. I just wanted to go home, to take Jesse home, and realized, somewhat blankly, that I really could have, and should have, done all of this at home. My midwife had even suggested it to me at one point, and I was reluctant, thinking of the risk factors I had. But really, looking back on it, I was so aware of my body and my baby that I’d have known if any of those risks were coming into play.

But I don’t have regrets, either. It took the experience to teach me that I could do this, and that I could help others do this.

At any rate, we were discharged late Friday morning. I couldn’t wait to get my little boy home, to introduce him to his big brother, and to enjoy getting some rest in a bed that didn’t sigh every five minutes. After having a light lunch, I took Jesse upstairs, and we both slept-comfortably-for the first time in his life.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 23, 2010 5:57 pm

    I know this was written a while ago, found you from My OB Said What?
    But on a side note: My last baby was a high risk, hospital birth at 35 weeks. I found that raising the bed to the height of the bassinet helped. =) something to pass on to future mommies!

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