Where do I start with this! We were in hospital for a fair few days. I was admitted Thursday, my son was born in the early hours of Sunday morning, and we eventually left the hospital on the Wednesday.
I won’t go day by day as it was all a blur and hard to remember all the details and what happened and when so I will focus on different things and go like that.
Feeding. It didn’t really get any easier for us. It was Monday or Tuesday before anyone really came to help us, despite the fact my son wasn’t really latching on. I’m not sure how much milk he got but I know by ten days he had gained back 99.99% of his birth weight so he must have got something right? I have flat nipples. I didn’t know this until after I had given birth. Had I known before I would have invested in nipple shapers before hand. I have them now, to use for next time, I try to use them now but we have gone past the point of him wanting my actual nipple. I have nipple shields but while in hospital I was encouraged not to use them. So we struggled on. Eventually a midwife came and helped as much as she could. She literally grabbed my boob and squashed my nipple and any and all surrounding breast in his mouth. He latched on but he soon fell asleep, lost his latch, we then had to try and wake him, then we would start the struggle cycle all over again. It was difficult and it hasn’t got any easier for us but I’ll get to that another day.
Antibiotics. He was on them for 48 hours, until his blood cultures came back. Three times a day they came. He wasn’t too bad with it actually. I didn’t go with him to have the cannula put in though. It was the same day I had given birth, I hadn’t even really left the bed yet, I was an emotionally mess and would have just made the whole thing a lot worse so his nanny went with him. It helped that I knew the doctor that did it so I knew he was in good hands. I know people hate to give their brand new babies medicines, especially as all his bloods came back clear even before the cultures came back, but with a tiny brand new baby you can’t be too careful. They hide things well until they can’t hide it any longer and by then it’s too late.
Jaundice. This was way worse than giving him antibiotics. He had to receive phototherapy. This is when he is placed under an ultraviolet light and he is not allowed to come out for anything other than feeds until his treatment ends. His treatment lasted about two days as well. He needed regular blood tests to test his levels which was bad enough. But the fact that he just wanted nothing but cuddles and just screamed and couldn’t be settled was horrible. I just cried when he screamed to be held. I wanted nothing more than to just cuddle him and make him feel safe and secure but I couldn’t. What made it worse was as he wasn’t feeding a lot his body wasn’t flushing his system fast. It did do one good thing though, it made him become less sleepy which helped the feeding situation a little bit and it also helped him open his bowels and finally poop out that meconium nearly two days after he was born!
Sleep. I was a baby that slept through, so was my partner. Our son however is not. His first night he basically did but this was because he still had pethidine in his system and he was jaundice. The following night however, he just screamed. It was a combination of him being hungry and wanting to be held all the time. I don’t think I got more than an hour at a time and probably no more than three hours in a night
Home. Finally being able to take him home was the most amazing feeling ever. Don’t get me wrong, it was scary as well, I mean here we were, in charge of keeping this tiny human alive! It wasn’t how I imagined. He didn’t fit in the outfit I wanted to take him home in, probably the only outfit that didn’t fit, this baby has long legs just like his dad! I felt drained and sore. Getting home was more about getting into my own bed than anything. For the next few days I just wanted us to be in our little bubble, left to get to know each other, but people had other ideas and it wasn’t long until everyone was taking it upon themselves to arrange visits. I understood people wanting to visit that hadn’t yet, but most people had already come to the hospital and it was beginning to get tiring and overwhelming to get ready and be sociable when all I wanted was to sleep and have a bath.
Those are probably the main things that the first week really focused on. Don’t worry the sleep situation did eventually get better and there is no sign of his jaundice anymore, though I feel like that may be why he is not a fan of sleeping alone in his crib… Feeding is an ongoing battle but I’ll dedicate a separate post to that at a later date.