Today, we are finishing up the second part of Gideon’s birth story.
If you missed the first part, you can read it here!
Thursday August 10th
When I left off with the first part of the birth story, they had just finished the C-section, lifted me on to a rolling bed, and rolled me (with Gideon on my chest, and my Hubby by my side) to the recovery room.
It was so much quieter in that room. All the doctors, the anesthesiologist, and most of the nurses dispersed leaving just my midwife, one nurse, and us three (three!!) Lotuleleis. This recovery room was one of my favorite parts of the entire experience, because it was truly the moment when we all could bond without an entire room of people around us. I was still numb from the waist down, so it was really hard to maneuver Gideon, so my midwife, Amber, helped put him in the right place for breastfeeding, and latched him on. She asked me what color of paint I wanted his footprints in, I chose red sparkly paint, and she took his footprints, and then disappeared. There was just one nurse left entering information on a computer, the rest of the room was empty.
After about half an hour, they wheeled me to the hospital room where we would live for the next two days. A couple of nurses came in, and said they needed to take Gideon to measure him, give him a bath, and give him his shots. I clearly outlined that we wanted to delay his bath, didn’t want the eye ointment or Hep B shot, and Hubs wanted to go with them. They were super sweet, and accommodating, and Hubs and G left with them. While they were gone, the nurses were busy strapping on leg compression things (they would inflate and deflate to keep blood pumping through my legs), putting a belly binder on me, putting something in my IV, and pushing on my stomach. Once I had a moment alone, I called Mom to let her know that G was here–and she said she would spread the news, and I texted a few people.
A few minutes later, Hubs and Gideon returned.
A nurse came in, and listened to my tummy, and said that I was making digestion sounds so I could eat. I was shocked! I had read that they wouldn’t let you eat until a good 18-24 hours later, but they said I could have whatever I wanted. They brought me graham crackers and apple juice, and a menu for the hospital food. I hadn’t eaten anything since the night before, and I thoroughly enjoyed those crackers and apple juice and then promptly threw them up about ten minutes later. I called the nurse, and she put an anti-nausea bracelet on me (like this), gave me one of those essential oil packs like the anesthesiologist used in the operating room, and gave me some anti-nausea meds. Thankfully, they worked, because I never felt nauseous again, and when my hospital pizza arrived, I snarfed that thing down!
Within a few hours, my parents and sibs arrived along with my Grandma. Everyone held Gideon, and oohed and ahed over him.
That night, the nurse helped me get out of bed, and walk two steps to a recliner, and instructed me to sit in the recliner for at least an hour. I never realized how difficult it would be to take a few short steps, but my legs felt like they were made of lead, I had to hunch over to protect my incision, and I felt so dizzy. Once I got to the recliner, I stayed there as long as possible, just to avoid the return trip to the bed.
That night, Gideon slept really well, but I could not sleep. I was so full of adrenaline, and love for this little guy–that I stayed up hour after hour just watching him, whispering quietly with the nurse when she would come in to give me my pain meds, and just absorbing everything that had happened. I knew that I really should be sleeping, but I just couldn’t make myself sleep.
Friday, August 11th
The next day, we had more visitors: many friends, aunts, uncles, and cousins came to see Gideon!
Also, the nurse finally took out my IV, and my catheter! Friday and Friday night were by far the toughest times, because I wasn’t feeling so great, physically or emotionally. I hadn’t realized how exhausting it would be to simply walk to the bathroom, even with the help of a nurse! Once they took out my catheter, they expected me to use the restroom within the next few hours, but when I tried I just couldn’t figure out how to go. They said this was normal, and that my muscles just needed to remember again after the catheter. My nurse used an ultrasound to see how full my bladder was, and gave me 30-60 mins to go or else they’d have to put in another catheter. I was terrified of getting another catheter, because I had read that it was painful. My nurse told me to drink tons of water, because that would help, and my Mom prayed for me that I would go. And, within the hour, I finally was able to–and I was so incredibly glad I didn’t need to get another catheter.
Later in the afternoon, I got to take my first, post-surgery shower, and it was pure bliss. My favorite nurse walked me to the shower, and assisted me. May I just say that a good nurse is worth her weight in gold? This woman was truly an angel, and really took care of me, and cheered my spirits. I wish I knew her name, and could send her a present! After the shower, I was feeling a bit more human, albeit exhausted.
One thing I hadn’t realized at the hospital was just how invasive the staff would be. We constantly had people knocking on the door and coming in. To just name a few of the people who came in the room: the head of the anesthesia department to ask about my experience, the head of the labor and delivery apartment to ask about my c-section experience, a religious gal to pray for us, a woman to get information for the newspaper, a hospital photographer, and more. I really hated this part of th experience, because I was trying to heal, already felt so overwhelmed, and was trying to figure out breastfeeding and there was this constant stream of strangers coming in and wanting to talk to me.
Finally, I expressed my concern to my Mom, and the nurse said that she could put a “do not disturb” sign on the door, and all those unwanted visits finally stopped. I really wish I would have known that from the start, because all those extra people really depleted my limited energy reserves.
That night, was our worst night, because breastfeeding suddenly became excruciatingly painful. Gideon was a good eater from the start, but I didn’t know how to latch him on properly. Since he took to breastfeeding so quickly, I expected that he was eating correctly, and didn’t ask Mom or the lactation consultant who stopped by any questions. But that night, he seemed to eat almost every hour, and I sobbed through the most incredible pain.
Saturday, August 12th
Once dawn came, I knew that my one goal for the day, was to figure out breastfeeding, because there was no way I could keep handling that level of pain. So my nurse said she’d ask the lactation consultant to stop by, and I asked my Mom to come in, and help me.
That morning, a nurse came to get Gideon to take him to the pediatrician. Saia was ordering breakfast, and a nurse was changing the dressing on my incision, so I just asked her how long she’d be gone, and she said she’d have him right back. They wheeled Gideon out of the room. Shortly after, my grandparents came to see Gideon, but he wasn’t back yet. They didn’t bring him back for an hour and a half, and I was getting so anxious and frustrated. I sent Saia to ask them what was taking so long, and told a nurse rather shortly that I just wanted my baby back. They finally brought him back, and said that there was a queue at the pediatrician’s and that is what took so long, but I resolved to never let him leave the room without Saia again. Seeing my grandparents with Gideon was so incredibly sweet. I had looked so forward to introducing him to my and Saia’s family, and that was by far the best part of the hospital experience.
Later in the morning the lactation consultant came and showed me several different ways to hold Gideon, and how to latch him on properly. She was a sweet and warm woman, and I liked her instantly. I was willing to try anything to lessen the pain a little, and while it still hurt, I at least had some things I could work on, and was more informed. My Mom came later in the day, and helped me, too, and gave me more tips and tricks to try.
Later that day, the nurse asked if we were planning on leaving the next day or not. I hadn’t realized that it was even an option to leave that early, but she said we could leave either Sunday or Monday. One of my midwives stopped by to check up on me, and I asked her whether I should leave Sunday or Monday. She said my bleeding and pain were under control, so she would base it on breastfeeding–if I was feeling like I had the hang of it, she would suggest I go home on Sunday, but if I was still struggling then stay the extra day, and go home Monday. That really lit a fire under me to figure out breastfeeding–so that I could go home!
I talked to Hubs, and we were leaning towards driving home the next day. I still felt incredibly weak, and was a little nervous about taking G home, without the watching eye of the hospital staff and pediatrician, and yet I was so uncomfortable in that hospital room, and knew I would feel a lot better in my home environment.
Sunday, August 13th
Gideon went to see the in-hospital pediatrician that night, and the nurse told me that he had gained 3 ounces in one day!! The lactation consultant came in the next morning, and her eyes were as big as saucers–“It is unheard of for a baby to gain three ounces on his second day! Especially for a first-time mom! Usually, we want baby to gain that much by his fifth day for a first-time mom, and fourth day for a second-time mom! Good for you! You are just doing awesome! That is unheard of!” which made me feel really special!
That morning we just worked on packing up our room, I took my first shower unassisted by a nurse, we signed all our forms, and we were ready to go. I was so weak, and accepted the offer of a wheelchair to ferry me to the car, but oh so ready to be home! I was nervous that G would not like the car-ride, but he slept the entire way home!
When we got home, we found that our family had cleaned the apartment (thanks Andersons!!), my parents brought over a bed that would be easier for me to sleep in, and there was a meal waiting for us as well.
I am so grateful for all the friends and family who encouraged us, cleaned our apartment, visited us, texted us, and supported us through this crazy time!
I am also grateful for the hospital staff who took care of me so well while I was there. I didn’t enjoy my hospital experience, but it was so necessary under the circumstances of this pregnancy.
I am hoping that if we have another baby that I will be able to have a VBAC.
Also, THANK YOU to all you sweet readers!! You buoyed my spirits during the tough parts of this pregnancy!