Sunday, June 7, 2009

Birth Story Cont'd: Post-Partum

The rest of our time at the hospital was mixed and stressful unfortunately. N was right on in her comment to a post before Daniel was born. This hospital delivers tons of babies every day, but I swear there were moments where I wondered if they had ever delivered a baby before. This hospital has a public cord blood center on-site, yet they found our private cord blood collection kit confusing. I hope we were able to get some usable cells, but who knows. It took us forever to be moved from the delivery room to a post-partum room, and when we were, we were moved to the overflow area in the main hospital instead of one of the nice rooms in the birth center. It felt weird and somehow not right wheeling our newborn in his isolette down a long hall, into an elevator, and down another hall.

This wing of the hospital was apparently undergoing construction because almost as soon as we got into the room, we could hear very loud hammering and scraping that at time sounded like the workers would be coming through the ceiling. The nurses apologized profusely, informing us they had no idea construction would be going on when they reopened that floor. Hours later we were finally moved to another room down the hall.

When we explained the surrogacy situation to the nurses, they looked at each other, baffled, and one said, “Oh, We’ve never encountered that situation before. We’ll have to think about how to handle it.” Feeling good and confident at this point! They were obviously confused about whether they needed to address me or F about Daniel’s circumcision and other issues that needed a parent’s signature. One of the nurses commented that even though we were the parents, there might be some legal issues involved that necessitated F signing. F and her husband and Husband and I whipped out our PBOs at that point and told the nurse we had legal documentation. The infuriating thing was that F had delivered her previous surro baby at this hospital 1.5 years ago and I also doubt that we have been the only other case they’ve encountered since then.

The birth certificate lady informed us the state needed another certified copy of our PBO for us to be named parents on the birth certificate (never mind the fact that the hospital had one that they apparently weren’t using since they were clueless). So, instead of getting to spend lots of time with baby boy, Husband had to call the attorney to get another certified copy. He also had to deal with getting the hospital to finish up the cord blood kit procedure, which we had been told would be no big deal.

We left our house so quickly that we didn’t think to grab a few bottles. The hospital provided formula and huge bottle nipples, noting that all babies look like they are choking on them. Um, ok. F was pumping as well, and we wanted to use the colostrum but didn’t have any bottles to put it in. And apparently neither did the hospital. The nurse finally found something that would work, acting like she was doing us a huge favor. Daniel took an ounce of formula early on but refused to take anything else using the large nipples. We tried to feed him the colostrum via a syringe, which didn’t go that well. I wasn’t too concerned about his intake at that point since I had read that newborns actually don’t need much nourishment the first couple of days although that was constantly contradicted by nurses coming in to tell me he needed to eat every 3-4 hours.

When we left, F was in the wheel chair, and the nurse told us that Daniel would have to be wheeled out as well. She was perplexed by what to do since apparently they have only one wheelchair in the entire ginormous hospital; we again heard the now-familiar “I’ll have to figure out how to do this.” She wanted us to take the baby out of his car seat and put him back in the isolette for the trip downstairs, but I refused because he was strapped in and recovering from his circumcision, and I wasn’t going to bother him again. We finally agreed on F holding the car seat on her lap as they wheeled her out.

Amazingly, the only thing that went smoothly was discharge. F had terrified me by telling us that it may take us hours to be discharged, but the hospital was on the ball with that thankfully. I think I would have lost my mind having to sit there any longer.

I don’t want to give the impression that Daniel’s birth was a horrible experience. His birth was wonderful although a bit shocking, fast and terrifying! He was a wonderful baby in the hospital, and I was thankful for my quiet, cooing baby when the baby next door cried all day and all night long (something I could hear clearly all the way on the other side of our room). No, our main irritation was with the hospital and their disorganization.

I have to admit that the whole situation was a bit awkward overall. F was great and never did anything that made me feel weird. It was just that the rooms were small and people were coming in and out and I felt like I had to be “on” 24/7. Husband and I had an important role in this drama since we were the parents of the newborn, but F was the patient. We had no privacy. She had no privacy. The chairs weren’t comfortable. The futon was not ideal for sleeping. I don’t think I went to the bathroom for hours b/c you could hear everything in the room. We were new parents trying to figure out what the hell to do when the baby cried or needed a diaper change, and we had to do it in front of everyone. And never mind the fact that we were feeling a little emotional ourselves since we had just achieved our heart’s desire after 4 long years.

When we first arrived in the post-partum room, the nurses were being unhelpful, F was eating, I was starving and tired, I told Husband that I was about to lose it and I didn’t think I could stay there that night which made me feel awful since that meant leaving my precious newborn in the nursery. I calmed down a bit once I fed the baby, and it was quiet for a while. Then our pediatrician came in and told us that if the baby was doing well, we could be discharged after 24 hours. That then became my goal. If I could get to that, I’d be fine b/c all I wanted to do was go home and be with Husband and Daniel.

The evening went better because we had friends visit. F insisted that she had no problems with any visitors we wanted and to treat the room as our room. F’s parents brought her kids to see the baby later on and finally, everyone, including F’s husband and Husband left around 10:30, and we were alone. Daniel was a bit fussy around midnight and wouldn’t be quieted, and F and I had some nice moments trying to figure out what was going on and her showing me a few tricks. I finally gave in and let the nurse take him to the nursery since all I was doing was watching him, and I was exhausted.

We left the hospital at 1pm on Wednesday, the day after he was born. We felt exhilarated and jubilant as we snapped his car seat in the car and headed home. I kept looking over at my beautiful baby boy, and he makes it all worth it.


Sarah said...

I am so glad that you were able to write this all out. I cannot believe the story - how fast the lanor was, the STRESS during and then afterwards with the hospital staff. But thank goodness it's all over now and he is home safe and sound with you. So happy for you and give Daniel a kiss for me.


FET Accompli said...

Sounds stressful and at times overwhelming, and I am so happy to hear you are now home with your beautiful baby boy. How wonderful! This is just so nice to hear. You must be over the moon. Congratulations :-)

Carrie Jo said...

Elizabeth, I am just so excied for you...stupid hospital or not. I wish that expereince had gone more smoothly, but I am just so glad that you finally have your baby and he's home safetly. Enjoy every minute of him!

Sue said...

Sorry you encountered so much confusion at the hospital, but I'm glad you're home now and able to fully enjoy your new family.

Ellen K. said...

He is beautiful! Congratulations many times over.

I also found the hospital stay very irritating. I had no privacy and rest (despite being the only new mother on the floor with a private room) because so many people were constantly coming and going. Social worker, lactation consultant, nurse, pediatrician, obgyn, postpartum obgyn, nurse again, another social worker, someone from the local library's "books for babies" program... then a flood of visitors. I too felt like I was constantly "on." For 4 days. I am glad you got to go home so quickly; I was all nerves by discharge, and my blood pressure was pretty high. I wonder why!

KLTTX said...

I think hospitals need to have refresher courses on the non-typical situations. Our adoption experience was horrible - like the first adoption the hospital had every dealt with.

Congratulations again on finally getting to take your son home with you.

Wewurtskihit said...

What a wonderful story (again). I wouldnt worry about how you felt, ie the need to throw up or being uncomfortable a bit around F during labor. that is natural. WE felt the same way.

Hospitals are hospitals. NOTHING you can do about. THey are all a bit difficult throughout the world (though we had actually a GREAT experience at Victoria General but then they KNEW we were

It is all done now and you can enjoy Daniel to the fullest. THAT is the most important thing!!

Anonymous said...

For someone who should be happy about finally getting a new baby, you sure do seem to complain about everything. If you don't like the hospital setting, have your surro-mom deliver at your home or at a birthing center next time. Hospitals are, after all, hospitals, not the Ritz Carlton. I'm sure in hindsight you'd rather have a nurse say she's not familiar with a procedure of documentation than to do it improperly and cause a legal dilemma later on.

And why on earth would you have the baby circumcised in this day and age anyway? What a horrible way to welcome a child into the world.

Ananda Joy said...

Wow. Though I have been reading your blog for a while now I didn't realize how powerful it would be for me when your story finally resulted in a baby of your own! Having just (Sunday, June 14) completed our second attempt via transfer with a surrogate it is so amazing to hear a success story! He's beautiful and I am truly happy for you and your husband. Congratulations. Rest, enjoy, relax, and savor these moments. It's only the beginning...

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