We recently had a hospital stay for two nights after the birth of our second child. We learned from our first stay two years ago how the entire operation worked so this time we were not just better prepared for the hospital “lingo” but also better able to handle ourselves at the hospital. Hospitals are no place for rest. It seemed that Murphy’s Law applies at a hospital stay more than anywhere else. Right when you fall asleep, someone decides to take your vitals, or right when your baby falls asleep, someone decides you need to undress him or her so they can check the vitals on the baby. What? Couldn’t you do that in another few hours?
Despite the signs we put up on our door even the hospital-provided ones, people still found ways to disturb sleeping, labored-weary mom and newborn baby. The first night, we knew what to do – “for the love of God, take the baby to the nursery already!” It was almost midnite. The nurse threatened us, “well, if you do not feed the baby, we will give her a bottle in the nursery.” My response after being a second time mom was…. “so what? feel free to give her as many bottles as you want. I am not worried about any type of confusion.” I was more experienced and wiser because of the last time. In the end, the truth is, bottle or nipple, the baby turns out just fine. And because of what happened last time, I knew better. Needless to say, we did not get much rest. I was in pain all night and when I was not in pain, I had stomach issues because there was no food available after I delivered. I did manage to get about 3-4 hours of sleep and I guess that is what I have to look forward to from here on out.
The next day was more of the same- they wheeled in the baby around 630am and took my vitals and checked me. We must have changed like 10 nurses and each one had their own thoughts and opinions on things and even though my birth plan stated not to ask me my pain level (1-10) every two minutes, no one paid attention. So they kept irritating me with questions like that all the time. It was quite annoying. Then, the signs went up – do not disturb, shhhh napping, but it made no difference. People would stroll in and out of our room like it was okay. The picture lady came by; the folks who run tests on the baby’s cord, and so on. It never ended. My doula came to visit when we were napping and the nurse always popped in and out. There was no end to the disturbances and napping was out of the question. That night though was the kicker. It was Oscar’s night and I was fading fast. I needed sleep and they were not taking the baby to the nursery. The nurse told us there were not enough people in the nursery and they were understaffed so they could only take her for 3 hours. I was going delirious from lack of sleep and at 1130pm I finally went to the nurses’ station and BEGGED them to please take the baby to the nursery because if I did not get sleep, I would lose my mind. It worked! They rolled her out at midnight and did not bother us until 650am when they returned her. I slept good and got 6 and a half hours… not much but let’s face it, every hour counts from here on out.
Hospitals are no place for the weary to rest. You would think it would be but it is not. In the end, you have to just hope for the best, put your foot down, and be persistent. I did not let them guilt trip me into thinking there would be nipple confusion or that I had to breast feed at night. I was not going there again and so I was wiser. In the end, it is how you handle the staff and your mindset that will determine whether you get any rest at the hospital or not. More importantly, communicate with the staff and do let them know your expectations. There is a lot of turn over so you may have to repeat yourself several times. Happy Hospital Stay!