“My Story… ” Monday: G – She struggles to breathe, I struggle to walk.

(You can catch up on G‘s story right here: A Third Baby, Fighting Panic, Connecticut to Oklahoma, You’ve Got the Job, The Birth Story, 95 Degrees )

 

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.

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29 comments to “My Story… ” Monday: G – She struggles to breathe, I struggle to walk.

  • Laraba

    Ok, you did NOT have a good experience with that delivery! Absolutely loathesome! With my 2nd C, I declined one kind of pain med (because I was concerned it would cause itchiness) and boy did I regret it. I was in agony. Fortunately the baby was fine and they could bring her to me. I’m sorry you weren’t treated more compassionataly. I still remember wanting to climb the walls from the pain.

    That is awesome about your milk, though! I do pretty well with my milk starting to come in by the 2nd day but the first day is just a bit of colostrum.

    So glad that your baby was born at full term, though, and without all the agonized worry of your second little one.

    • Oh no, I’m so sorry you were in so much pain! One of the anesthesias they use in conjunction with a spinal makes me super itchy– just on my face, though, which seems odd. This last time, they gave me something in my IV for the itchiness…

  • Celine

    ((hugs))… You have such a determined strength. I would have gone off the deep end.

    • It’s funny because, at the time, I felt like I was fighting so hard but, looking back, it’s really disturbing how I was treated… Ah, well. Good end result, so I’m not going to dwell too much. :)

  • The pain we go through for our children….just pure, pure love. Looking forward to the next part of the story! :)
    michy

  • Well that was just a sucky experience all around. I don’t understand why post partum people have to be so nasty. I hear stories like this all the time. (My mom’s a post partum nurse and shares stories like this without thinking it’s a problem.) I am so sorry you had to deal with that alone. I can’t believe she wouldn’t even help you clean up!

    • I remember feeling so helpless and ashamed when that happened, Heather. Isn’t that awful? Honestly, I think it’s given me even greater compassion for the elderly who sometimes need assistance with basic self-care. It’s humbling to have ask for help with those things and it’s important to try to maintain human dignity, I think.

  • I hate your hospital. Is this the same place you had such loving care a few months ago? Cannot seem to be the same place….

    • My miscarriage happened here in CT and I went to my local hospital. G. was born in IN at the hospital where my OB practiced. I’d heard decent things but, clearly, such was not my experience there. (The major university hospital where C. was born was amazing, though, so I’m certainly not knocking on Indiana. ;))

  • I don’t know what it is about some nurses, they seem to disregard everything about their patients except what they FEEL like handling. Others (the ones who understand people and what they are there for) are truly “angels of mercy”. How can both types end up in the same profession!

    I worked in Administration of major hospitals for over 35 years. If you should EVER encounter such poor care and callousness again, sent your most assertive and forceful family member down to the Administration Office. Ask to speak to the VP of Nursing. Explain the situation to that VP and outline what you expect to have happen (assign a different nurse, better drug control and over-sight, an opportunity to see your own child, for instance,) and insist that changes be made immediately! If there is not immediate response (within one hour of making the complaint), have forceful and assertive person go to the President/CEO or if unable to see that person, insist on speaking with the Chief of Staff/Medical Director.

    I’m not recommending yelling, threatening, or scare tactics….just righteous indignation on your behalf! Hospitals have certain levels of care that are expected from their staffs and if you )or whomever the patient is)are not getting that care, you have the RIGHT to expect that it be made better!

    That stuff about the squeaky wheel isn’t a joke. But before the powers that be can fix something, they have to know about it and too many people just assume things like, “well, she’s a nurse, she must know what she’s doing,etc”, so they do nothing but sit and suffer. It is partly the patient’s (or family’s) responsibility to expect excellent care and to complain when they don’t get it!!

    (If something like this had ever come to my attention in the hospital where I was working, it would have had quite a different outcome. I guarantee you!)

    • This is really, really good information to have– thank you!! I absolutely adore nurses and have met so many who were truly amazing people. I’m convinced C. wouldn’t be here were it not for the nursing staff in that NICU and I have been treated with true compassion by so many wonderful nurses. In truth, I had that one really bad nurse (who wouldn’t help me at all) and the rest kind of had their hands tied by my OB. That was the most shocking part of this whole thing– how lousy my doctor ended up being in the situation. Total surprise. But more on that to come. ;)

  • Amanda

    Honestly, Jessie, I thought about posting this before when you posted about your birth experience, but I didn’t, but now I just can’t help myself…I really hope you complained about the lack of help you got at the hospital. It is absolutely unbelievable to me that they think that treating you like that is acceptable, especially doing things to you that you haven’t been asked about beforehand. Experimental pain patches? Not giving you a wheelchair? Unbelievable. I have respect for the fact that you didn’t give up and that you held your temper, because I’m not sure I would have. I would have had a complete breakdown and started screaming or crying uncontrollably. And then perhaps my husband would yell too. I am not sure I would’ve had the poise you did. I compliment you on that, but honestly, I really do hope you lodged a complaint. I would’ve!

    • There’s more to the story, of course, Amanda. (And not all good!) I did have the opportunity to talk to the head of the nursing department at the end of my stay. Honestly, I DID cry a lot. And then I felt guilty about that because I also felt so, so blessed to have a (relatively) healthy baby– what was happening with me seemed insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Now, had this happened to, say, a friend of mine, I would have been spittin’ mad and tracking someone down to fix it. But, well, my emotions and hormones were haywire. So, for the most part, I just took it.

  • Katie

    You are such a trooper! It seemed to be one thing after another from your pregnancy all the way after you delivered. Glad that is behind you now!

    • Me too, Katie! :) It really wasn’t all bad. It’s funny, because I hardly ever mentioned any of this when she born. I think my husband is the only one who really knew the whole story. I got my precious G.out of it, so it was more than worth it! :D

  • Um, I’m really REALLY angry right now. That is NOT how it’s supposed to be, in any situation. Lance would have marched himself straight to the DON, I’m thinking. Do NOT let people treat you like that!!!!!!!!!!

    Good to have your “small potatoes” perspective on the no immediate breastfeeding and the oxygen hood, though. I would have FREAKED at those things alone.

    Oh, one more thing. Your milk taking up too much space? Huh?! Why were they not FEEDING IT TO THE BABY? (Maybe they were? Didn’t sound like it…)

    • Well, I wasn’t in a strong position to advocate for myself right at that moment… and I haven’t yet told the tale of my husband’s response. ;) (He hadn’t really seen me yet… between visiting G. in the special care nursery and going to see our older kids back home, I’d been alone a lot.) G. got my milk, never fear. I was there for almost 4 days, total, and I produced between 24-30 oz. a day and she, of course, didn’t eat anywhere near that amount. I had the same “issue” when C. was hospitalized– and that was over 100 days. You can only imagine how many shelves of their industrial freezer I took up.

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