It’s a little different to eat, sleep, rave repeat…although there are some distinct similarities!
My first 24 hours with a newborn was hazy.
Not least because the painkillers and drugs they give you after a cesarian are great.
My first taste of actual real-life exhaustion had kicked in after being in labour for over 24 hours.
I remember the room, the bed, and the little plastic hospital bassinet next to me.
I’m pretty sure I spent the entire time sitting upright.
I’m pretty sure I fell asleep sitting upright… and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep sitting upright… with the baby in my arms.
One of the biggest shocks about giving birth for me came around the 36-week mark.
Someone – I can’t remember who, (even though the words were etched in my brain) said “when hubby goes home, he can always bring you fresh supplies in the morning”
Hang on… when who goes where?
You mean to say that he will leave my side after I have just produced a new life, in probably the most painful and emotional event I will ever experience?
I will be alone. In the hospital, with a baby. By myself…???
What kind of ridiculous outlandish rule is this?
Yup, in a public hospital they don’t allow the Dad’s to stay overnight in the maternity ward.
Something about security and not being able to monitor the dad’s whereabouts at all times, especially in the small hours of the morning.
UMMMM HE WILL BE SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO ME FEEDING ME ALL THE BRIE, RUNNY EGGS, UNWASHED SALAD LEAVES AND COFFEE I THOUGHT I WOULD BE ABLE TO EAT AND DRINK STRAIGHT AFTER.
WE WILL BE LOVED UP AND HOLDING HANDS, AND COOING OVER OUR PERFECT CHERUB WITH HIS PERFECTLY SHAPED HEAD.
At this point I’m asking hubby if we have health insurance, can we afford to go private, and the thought of being on my own is giving me anxiety with a capital A.
We don’t, we couldn’t, and sorry babe, but you’re going to have to.
You will be fine!
The nurses and doctors and hospital staff will all be there to help you.
Now, I have a mixed bag of feelings towards the hospital staff.
I was lucky enough to strike some absolutely BRILLIANT staff, nurses, and midwives – but the reality is, there simply weren’t enough to go around.
Because I had a c-section, I found it quite challenging to pick up bubs.
They smooshed the bassinet right up next to my bed and I could sort of lean over and grab bubs if I needed too, but it hurt.
Even when I pressed my magic drug clicker, it hurt.
Safe to say the putting down and picking up situation wasn’t the easiest.
At the time (as I mentioned I’m still in hazy drug town) I didn’t really think too much past the fact there was a baby there and I needed to make sure he fed, slept and repeat.
Some crucial information I now know:
Newborn babies need feeding every 2-3 hours.
Babies with Jaundice should ideally be fed every 1-2 hours.
I think about this and I realise with a bit of a sick to my stomach feeling… my baby was not fed enough in his first few days of life. Oh my god, it makes me feel like the WORST mother in the whole world.
I actually still get regretful tears in my eyes.
I think the nurse may have handed him to me once or twice, and I think I faffed around with him thinking he was “latched on” and feeding – but he was most definitely not feeding enough.
He certainly wasn’t feeding every 1-2 hours.
If I could give any new or expectant Mum advice, especially those with a Jaundiced baby; (we actually didn’t even know at this point that he had Jaundice) get some kind of help to wake you and wake the baby to feed – if that’s what they need.
An alarm, or even ask a nurse or the duty night manager to just pop their head in and say “feed time” if you don’t think you are managing.
I am pretty sure this was one of the contributing factors to his prolonged Jaundice, and another one of those “I had no clue” things.
At birth care a few days later the wonderful ladies helped me hand express for bubs.
He really could have done with this a few days earlier and oh how I wish I had known!
They gave me the one on one support I needed to learn and understand what the hell I was doing.
How to hold the baby, how to hand express, and how to tell if he was actually latched, sucking and swallowing, or not.
It was there at around 6 days old, they also finally picked up that he was Jaundiced.
I wish that one on one care had been a few days earlier, but there simply weren’t enough staff to allow them to do this with every single new Mum in the maternity ward.
A little later down the track, I also ended up going to a lactation consultant.
They helped us further with latching and feeding and having a very small tongue tie snipped. With the Jaundice hanging around there were a few things going on which were very stressful for all of us.
Our breastfeeding journey had only just begun and what an absolute rollercoaster ride it would be.