Monday, June 9, 2008

The Beginning, Part Two

So then there was the placenta and the stitches and things of that nature going on and I didn't care because I was basking in all of the beautiful baby glory. We actually got to hold her for quite a while before she was taken to the nursery. I did try to breastfeed right away, which didn't work at all, but that was ok. We were both tired and had no idea what we were doing. B got to go with her to the nursery to help with her first bath and to make sure nothing happened to her. We were already in full-blown protective parent mode...

My post-partum stay had some real ups and downs - we were visited by many loved ones who came bearing gifts of delicious food and showered us with affection. What disturbed me was all of the conflicting advice I received from each nurse regarding breastfeeding. Penny had some trouble latching on at first and although I was hoping to work with a lactation consultant right there in the hospital, I kept getting "help" from whomever was on duty. One nurse in particular really bothered me and immediately busted out the supplementary nursing system with the little tube and the formula. Penny started gagging and sputtering on it and I freaked out because SHE WAS GOING TO DROWN MY BABY. Ultimately, I taped the little tube to my finger and let Penny suck on it so she would learn to keep her tongue down. Later, a different (and very nice nurse who owns cats) gave me a nipple shield, which helped Penny latch on and our first "real" feeding happened.

I was elated about this until I was told the next day by the aforementioned awful nurse that nipple shields were bad and that doctors don't recommend them. The nurse on the night shift told me not to worry about obsessively trying to feed Penny because she would eat when she was ready and had a nice big meal before she was born, and that it was normal for newborns to lose weight after birth, etc, etc. And then a totally different nurse after that told me that if I didn't feed her at least every 3 hours she could go into a HYPOGLYCEMIC COMA and have BRAIN DAMAGE. Jesus.

This was all understandably upsetting for me, however, in the midst of it all, we had this really cute baby:

So we tried not to let anything get us down.

After 2 days we were ready to go home. After agonizing over her middle name, we filled out the paperwork for her birth certificate, signed papers saying she was really our baby and hadn't been swapped for some other baby, and that we felt
less incompetent about caring for her at home, thanks to the highly informative videotape we watched. (I signed the last one even though I still felt totally incompetent). Then it was time to leave:

I like this picture because she looks so sentient, and she didn't object to her car seat. When we got into the truck I insisted that the radio be turned down and B drove 20 mph home so she wouldn't get bumped too much on the drive home. :)

1 comment:

sheree said...

Oh, dear. The hospital staff and the conflicting advice on nipple shields and nursing. My third day there, a nurse gave me one. It really helped my bebe latch on (which he had done initially, but forgotten how to do after his own traumatic experience)--and it relieved some of the excruciating pain of nursing for me. I went back a few days later to buy some more, and the lactation consultant deterred me with stories of all the damage they could do. After a few minutes of talking to me and hearing my story, she said, "Oh, that was your birth? Take the nipple shields!!"
Yeah, they can reduce the amount of milk that's expressed, but so what if they make it possible for an infant to latch on and get some milk in the first place.
Well, that's my peace on the nipple shields--I may have to write my own post to expand on the pressure the breast feeding culture puts on mothers.
Also, kudo's on getting through the first night alone, and the first month of nights!