In case you missed it, you should start with part 1 on the birth story of my son here. For everyone else, I’ll continue where I left off yesterday.
During that first night after having the baby I was confined to bed for most of it. If I needed to put Adam in his bassinet or get him out I had to ask my husband to do it or a nurse (once again, the hubby slept fine after going home to feed the cats). They took the baby away at one point to run some tests. Shortly after that we found out there was a slight complication during the delivery. My blood attacked Adam’s in the umbilical cord. This was kind of surprising to me because I’m O+ and he’s B+. I didn’t think my blood could attack his since I’m a universal donor, but I guess it could in this situation. It wasn’t anything dangerous, but it would increase his chances of developing jaundice. They contacted the on-call pediatrician for the doctor office I’d chosen and he said to just monitor the baby closely.
I also wasn’t allowed to have much more than juice, broth, and crackers until 6:30 a.m. when I could order a full meal. That totally sucked after a whole day of labor in which I hadn’t eaten and probably burned a few thousand calories. I’d never been more hungry in my life, so I ate as much of the broth and crackers as they’d give me. I also tried talking my husband into getting me something more substantial, but he refused. Once again, he’s lucky to be alive.
The first full day after birth was a whirlwind. We had lots of visitors and the hospital photographer came to visit. Adam did such an amazing job not crying at all and let us position him however we wanted. I’d brought a special outfit and blanket just in preparation for this and was pleased with how the photos turned out.
It was such a busy day I hardly had time to eat lunch and only took a thirty-minute nap. I was allowed to get up and walk around, which was nice, but I was swollen badly and it was hard to move. It wouldn’t be until after I got home and weighed myself that I’d discover I’d gained five pounds rather than lost any after giving birth. I had horrible water retention from the IV and surgery. At the time I was in the hospital, though, most of my focus was on the baby. They were keeping me medicated enough I didn’t even worry about the pain from my stomach being cut open.
The next morning they took Adam again for more blood tests. This time his levels were rising enough they feared he’d develop jaundice. We’d hoped to go home that day, but instead they ordered the baby be put under UV lights for the next twenty-four hours and then they’d retest. That was pure Hell for all of us. Adam was cold, alone, and miserable. All he could wear was a diaper and an eye mask to protect his eyes, and we could only soothe him by putting our hands on him for a few minutes at a time. I took him out to feed him every two hours just to give him a break. Otherwise, he just cried non-stop. Watching him flail around, begging to be picked up left me in tears. I hated having to torture my baby that way even if it was for his own good. Once again, I hardly slept because he was crying so much I felt I had to stay by his side giving what comfort I could.
Thankfully, the next morning his blood tests came back looking much better. I was ready to go home and spend time with my husband and baby without all the medical staff around (though they were wonderful). During my stay, I did see a couple different lactation nurses who helped me out with refining the latch with the baby. My milk had come in and Adam was eating fairly well at that point, but I was cracked and very sore. They gave me some cream and shells that have helped so much after that. By a week or so after giving birth, the baby and I totally had a hang on breastfeeding. I am really thankful that part went well.
We were able to pack up and leave by that afternoon. This was day four I’d been in the hospital since starting the induction and I was tired after getting almost no sleep. That first drive with the baby was nerve wracking and yet so exciting. We just couldn’t wait to get home. Adam wasn’t a fan of his car seat, and still gets fussy when we put him in there these days, but he eventually calmed down once we started driving.
In the last photo you can see my stomach went down quickly, but I swelled up badly everywhere else. Someone had given me the advice during my pregnancy to take a pair of slippers to the hospital that are one size up from normal. Best advice ever! It took three weeks before the swelling in my feet went down enough to wear any of my other shoes. Most of my socks wouldn’t even fit. My legs, ankles, and knees were all twice their normal size. Those slippers were all I could wear at home and to doctor appointments. It sleeted and snowed during that time, so I wore them out faster than what would have normally happened.
Also, once I stopped taking pain killers, I developed a migraine that lasted for weeks. My blood pressure was very high as well. The OBs office ran tests to be sure I wasn’t developing post-partum pre-eclampsia because I had so many of the symptoms. It turns out it was just severe exhaustion. My body was trying to heal from major surgery and produce milk for the baby, but I wasn’t sleeping more than an hour or two a day. Just like when I was little and made my parents suffer, karma came back to haunt me. Adam wouldn’t sleep for long and just wanted to be held all the time. I wasn’t getting enough rest or food and my body couldn’t heal.
My husband had to go back to work the day I got home from the hospital, so he wasn’t helping much. I was alone most of the time at our house with the baby. It was taking a toll on me in every way. Of course, I’d look at Adam, seeing the most precious baby in the world. I loved him and taking care of him, but I was so tired and I was getting lonely being shut in the house all the time. More often than I prefer to admit, I broke down in tears because on top of everything my hormones were a mess from delivering a baby. My OB said if my health continued to decline I’d have to be hospitalized.
Once my husband heard that frightening news, he started taking care of the baby for four or five hours a day only bringing Adam to me so the baby could feed. I still wasn’t getting eight hours sleep, but it was a heck of a lot more than before. The swelling started to go down gradually and so did my blood pressure. By three weeks after the baby was born, I could at least move around better and we went back to me taking care of the baby full time. It took quite a bit longer for my c-section incision to heal, though, because Adam had an uncanny ability to kick it all the time no matter how I held him. Not his fault, of course, but it left me sore and I’d get a lot of cramps. Sometimes, I’d have to stop and take a breath they got so bad.
I should note during this time we took the baby for several follow-ups at the pediatrician’s office. At Adam’s two-week visit, the doctor found a problem in the baby’s right eye. He had a cataract partially blocking his vision. It’s a rather rare occurrence, and I was told by other healthcare professionals that we were lucky it was caught so early. They were impressed that the baby’s pediatrician noticed it because many don’t until it’s nearly too late or worse. We had to visit a ophthalmologist soon after that who informed us Adam would need surgery to have his lens removed in that eye. If it wasn’t done soon, he could suffer permanent blindness. It has something to do with a baby’s developing brain seeing a weakness and deciding to shut vision off rather than keep it going if it’s not working well.
As you can imagine, I was a wreck finding that out. I was still recovering from childbirth and now my precious little baby was going to face surgery so early in his life. It made me want to cuddle him that much more. Sure, far worse things can happen to a baby, but I still worried about putting him under anesthesia. Also, he was going to face more obstacles once his natural lens was removed since that eye wouldn’t be able to focus on its own anymore.
We set up the surgery for the day he turned eight weeks old, which I’ll get into in my next post. Once again, this one got a bit too long. I promise I’ll fill you in on the rest of the story soon, so stay tuned!