They eventually got me stabilized enough to move into a normal room. So, that was good. I could not move my legs or toes at all, which was not so great. For comparison purposes, I could wiggle my toes within an hour of my messy surgery for C’s birth. With G? She was born at 9:03 am and I couldn’t feel my feet at ALL until 6 pm that night. That, my friends, is NOT the aim of proper anesthesia dosage. But, anywho…
What was really not so nice was that my baby wasn’t with me. And, as a result, neither was my husband. G. had been taken to the Special Care Nursery because she had some fluid in her lungs. This is not entirely uncommon with c-section babies. They do not have the benefit of the contractions from the vaginal canal that help push fluid out of their lungs. (If this kind of talk makes you uncomfortable, my apologies– but this is all just the business of having babies. ) Anyway, because of this, she had an oxygen hood and a pulsox monitor. Honestly, had she been my first baby or had I not dealt with the terrifying ups and downs that went with C’s prematurity, this might have freaked me out. As it was, I was able to just shrug it off. An oxygen hood is NOTHING compared to a ventilator. I don’t mean to minimize the worry that people feel when their babies have issues going on, but, the truth is, it just wasn’t a huge deal. I never really had to worry overly much that she wouldn’t be just fine.
Oh, and she was jaundiced a bit. So she needed those special lights. Again? I’d fried bigger fish before. Bili lights don’t phase me much.
She was also being fed by IV.
What did this mean for me, her mama stuck by herself who wanted to nurse? Well, it meant I had to pump. Having pumped exclusively with baby #2, I consider myself a bit of an expert in this department, so I tried to take it in stride. I asked for a pump and just nodded agreeably when the nurses advised me that I wouldn’t get much the first couple times. I asked if they would mind bringing me bottles anyhow, then proceeded to pump a full ounce and a half of colostrum and three ounces of milk an hour later.
I produce a LOT of milk. Really, truly, a LOT of milk. The very first day she was born, I bottled about 24 ounces. I had warned the nurses. I don’t think they really believed me until I kept handing them bottles. One got pretty snarky and insisted that my husband drive it home to our own freezer because I was “taking up a ridiculous amount of space.” But most were enthusiastic supporters.
The entire day had gone by and I had yet to hold my baby. My husband had held her a bit and spent the hours by her side– so that was good. But I had only had a brief glimpse of my sweet newborn daughter and I was getting restless and angry. They refused to bring her to me because, apparently, she wasn’t stable enough for that. When I asked to go see her, they told me I could go when I could get there on my own. (Read: they would not give me a wheelchair.)
I tried to get out of bed just as soon as I could feel my feet. Blood poured down my legs and I started to cry. I asked a nurse if she would help me and she handed me a wet washcloth and left. I couldn’t bend down yet (I’d just had surgery, remember) and wasn’t able to clean my legs. I cried some more. A different nurse helped clean me up and changed me up a bit.
I started to walk.
Excruciating pain shot across my mid-section and white spots flashed before my eyes. I felt like I was being ripped and twisted simultaneously. So far, I was not a fan of this “pain patch” they were testing on me. I missed the percocet from my first c-section.
I walked on, sweating and breathing hard, and, by clinging to the walls and counters along the way, finally made it to the nursery.
The nurses there immediately saw that I was in very bad shape and helped me. I looked down at my stomach and saw it was wet– not with blood, but with another liquid. It was the medicine from the pain patch. It was leaking OUTSIDE my body instead of into it and, not surprisingly, I was in terrible pain.
I admit it– I begged for percocet. One of the nurses called my OB. She prescribed a Lortab. I took it and got dizzy, but was still in pain. The nurse called back. She told her to give me another Lortab. I didn’t want to take it, but I was by myself and scared by the pain. So I took it.
While all that was going on, I was finally able to see my sweet girl. She was beautiful. I later remarked to my husband that I thought she was our prettiest newborn yet. He laughed and said, “She looks like you!”
Eventually, I had to go back to my room to change out pads and what-not. I stood and started to walk. The pain was as bad as ever and the room spun madly. Again, I was expected to get myself back there by myself.
I made it to the room and collapsed against the wall sobbing. I couldn’t sit. I couldn’t bend. I couldn’t fathom moving another inch.
And that is where my husband found me when he returned from tucking our older children in back at home.