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!
I write this one week post-partum because I needed distance from the entire experience to gain perspective. They do not call it “labor” for nothing and the thing is, it does not end after the child is born, the “labor” of love continues throughout life once a child is born. From breastfeeding to sleepless nights caring for your child when he or she is suick; from hospital and doctor’s visits to sleepless nights wondering where your teenager is; from worrying about how you’ll pay for their education to sheer tears at their wedding, parents go through a lot but this blog is about the LABOR of love that mothers experience.
My labor of love has seen me through natural child births now- one two years and last week, my new baby girl’s birth. It was quite the trying experience and even though it was shorter, it certainly wasn’t any easier. I knew a little more what to expect this time and right down to the birthing room, I was comfortable with the hospital experience more this time than last. Still, it is scary and until your child is born, it is hard to know what will happen or what “turn” the labor and delivery would take. Fortunately, we got through this one okay as well. I had a lot of help and guidance and was surrounded by good people especially my husband.
But, alas, the pain does not end really after the baby is born – if you are having a second child, this is just the beginning. We had our two kids a bit close together so while our toddler who is almost two does not understand really what is going on, now we have introduced night-time feedings and wakings into our routine too. This combined with our toddler who has poor sleep habits makes for quite the hellish nights and leave us all looking and acting like zombies. For the first few days, I was ready to send our newborn back into the womb because it was a lot safer there for her and for me. Safer for her because our toddler is a bit rough with her new sister and safer for me because I would not have to face how tough it really is to care for a newborn and a toddler at the same time. But alas, my “labor” of love continues through the 1am nursing, the 430am crying of both children, comforting one through nursing and the other by letting her hold a lock of my hair. I know that dads “labor” too- they do things daily that show they love their child and make sacrifices but moms seem to carry the burden – from carrying the child for 9 months to labor and delivery; from nursing to staying up late nights comforting the child- nothing compares to moms.
What they say about babies is absolutely true, unless of course you have scheduled your induction or C-section – babies come when they are ready and that is how God and nature intended it. Since Thursday, I have had some early signs of labor and thought this past weekend (President’s Day) was it. Alas, the long weekend is not over it but there are no signs today. Needless to say, everyone got excited and the office even started a pool. So far, no Baby. But that is okay. Sure, it was the LONGEST weekend in recorded history for my husband and my friends but, babies come when babies are ready.
My due date is still 4 days away anyway so we patiently wait. Don’t get me wrong, I will be excited to see the baby and find out the gender and all that but I am in no rush- you can’t rush a good thing that is for sure and if the baby is not coming, there is a reason for that – I think that this baby is not quite in the right position as I learned on last Friday. This baby is in the posterior position whereas my first was anterior. Posterior is quite painful to deliver, I have learned. It is when the baby’s face faces out, thus the spine or back of the head of the baby rubs against the mom’s spine during labor/delivery and causes back labor which is quite painful. OH JOY! Needless to say I am doing some exercises to try to alleviate this and hope the baby turns. I am hoping for the best because back pain can be quite trying for someone trying to have a natural birth. In the end, labor pain is temporary so that is a good way to look at things.
As we play the waiting game, and my husband keeps his cell phone handy at all junctures, I am both excited and nervous. I am not anxious to have the baby out early and am quite nervous about what is about to transpire but, remain optimistic and happy. Now, if I just did not have to pee every 10 minutes, life would be good!
The other night we had a scare as we approach our baby’s due date. I had some very strong Braxton-Hicks 3 to 4 minutes apart and felt them for an hour. It was scary. I was sure I was in labor but alas, it was false labor. Nonetheless, it was a scary thing- I was not feeling well at all, felt lethargic, felt like I was also coming down with general illness that was going around my office a few weeks ago, and to top it off, was having false labor. It at least opened my eyes to the realization that I needed more rest and this was confirmed by the midwife I saw the next morning. Needless to say, she said I needed more rest, more hydration, and needed to listen to my body. She was right.
Now came the dreaded part, talking to my boss about possibly working part-time, working from home, or doing some combination thereof. This conversation I dread because I always feel like a needy whiner when I ask for something especially since women have babies daily and I feel like I should be stronger and not so weak. It is, after all, a man’s world and you do not see many men asking for bed rest. Of course, when I see a real man (not that hokey “man” I saw on Oprah), give birth to something the size of a bowling ball from something which starts off as the size of a pea, then I will be impressed and be ashamed for asking for rest. Anyway, the moment came. I talked with my boss but fortunately, the big boss walked in at the divine moment and approved my request on the spot – he thought it was a no-brainer. Of course, he is a new boss and what a refreshing one at that. It was nice that he thought of me as a human being instead of a machine, a robot hired to do work. It was quite nice and since then, I am just trying to get some rest, and stay focused on the thought that there are still at least two or three more weeks to go. My due date is 3 weeks away but the longer the baby stays in, the better off the baby will be. I am prone to having small babies, and therefore, it is even more vital that this baby go as long as possible – 39 weeks or more is ideal.
This incident was eye opening and I am glad that I was able to react immediately and start doing what my body needs otherwise, it could carry some bad consequences. I look forward to the R&R and trying to stay healthy for the next few weeks – now, if someone just had a magic cure for this horrible upper respiratory infection, that would be great!
I am approaching that stage in my pregnancy (34 weeks) where I am starting to focus on the baby and with the baby comes the arduous task of childbirth. My first experience was not all that great. I was in pain for a long time and was utterly miserable. I wanted natural and that is how I went but there was nothing natural about it let me tell ya. So, along with packing the bag this time, I am also considering hiring a Doula or a massage therapist – someone to help me manage pain.
While I could take the easy way out and get an epidural I find the cons and risks of of an epidural outweighs its benefits and I am in no mood to have a needle stuck in my back, me laying on my side for hours …. that sounds uncomfortable beyond belief as well. So, I am considering now whether I should hire a doula for the labor and delivery. It would be covered by my healthcare spending account but not insurance which kinda sucks but since I am only paying $100 for my total maternity care, I cannot really complain. So, now I am working with a group and hopefully can find a good person to show up on “birth”day and help out a bit. While my husband is a great trooper and coach he may have his hands full with our daughter if my mom is not here in time. Moreover, there is something about a neutral person there to help out instead of family. I definitely do not want my mom near the hospital this time- she was not a help last time but rather, a hindrance. Needless to say, I think the peace of mind of knowing that someone will be there for you and show up to help no matter what type of birthing relief you may choose is a huge relief. I just hope I can hire someone in time and meet with them before … D-day.