Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Stella's Birth Story: Part 2

We stayed in the hospital for 4 full days and 4 nights when Stella was born.  We arrived Saturday night around 9:15pm and didn't leave until Wednesday night around 8:45pm.  And I loved every second of it.  My nurses were great, the cafeteria food was wonderful (seriously!), and I only did partial room-in with Stella so I was able to get some rest.  I knew we were in good hands and I was very relaxed despite all the pain.  I couldn't have been happier with my birthing experience, which was somewhat of a surprise since I had planned on delivering at a different hospital. 

I was very excited when I woke up Monday morning.  I had high hopes Stella would be able to come out of her oxygen hood.  They tried a couple of times during the night but her levels always dropped so she had to go back under.  However, she stayed out a little longer each time so I was hopeful today she'd be out for good.  Plus I got to get off most of my machines in the morning!  They took my leg puffers off and catheter out first thing.  A little later the IV came out and I started taking my pain meds orally.  I also had to use a breathing device to make sure I didn't get pneumonia since I wasn't moving around much.  I was glad to be off the machines, but going to the bathroom was tough!  I couldn't bend over and Mark had to pull my pants up for me.  Sure am glad for that "for better or worse" clause!! 

Not long after I was free to move about on my own (even though I didn't want to it was nice to have the option!) Stella accomplished her oxygen goals!  She was breathing on her own!  The baby doctor came down and updated us on her progress.  I was so glad, and they finally brought her down (Mark had been running to the nursery frequently to check on her progress).  I was able to breastfeed her and much to my amazement she latched right on.  What a fighter!  Despite having a bottle the first 24 hours AND a pacifier she was a natural at breastfeeding!  Holding her was the best medicine I could have received.  I was also able to eat, which was good because I was starving!  Much to our relief the hospital food was amazing!  Mine was "free" (included in that hospital bill anyway) and Mark got to eat for about $3 a meal.  Not bad. The cafeteria staff delivered the food and they were so nice.

Monday was a day of visitors.  My sister and her husband came in the morning, and they got the best visit because Stella was awake!  Mark's grandma came next, followed by my parents, followed by Mark's parents, followed by Jeff & Jenny.  It was nice to have company, especially for Mark I think.  Everyone actually got to hold Stella, which was nice since they didn't yesterday.  We enjoyed seeing our family, but by the end of the day I was exhausted.  We decided to do partial room-in...Stella would stay in the nursery and they would bring her to be when she was hungry.  It was a broken night of sleep, but I enjoyed all I could get!

Finally holding my baby girl!
 Tuesday we took the day to rest.  Mark had thought he'd have the opportunity to run home, but I was so helpless from the C-section that it just wasn't possible.  He didn't pack anything, so he ran to Wal Mart to pick up some essentials.  He also helped me shower.  Ok basically he showered me.  It took everything I had to stand up for those 7 minutes, but afterwords I felt like a new person.  I even put my own PJs on!  It was the little things.  We spent the day eating, napping, hanging out with Stella, and watching TV.  My doctor was coming in every morning to check on me and she said I was healing very nicely.  Good to hear, but I didn't feel like any healing was going on.  Stella's hospital doctor came in and told us her jaundice count was going up, but it wasn't high enough to require treatment yet.  They were just still watching it.  By the end of the day I think Mark had pretty bad cabin fever, but I was enjoying our time there.  My favorite part of the day was right before bed when they would bring Stella in to eat after her bath.  She smelled so good and was so adorable swaddled in her blankey.  She was a dream come true.

Just enjoying time with our daughter.
Wednesday brought the last day of our stay.  In the morning Stella's doctor told us her jaundice levels were still rising.  He said we could go home early, but we might have to bring her back for a test in the evening.  Or we could hang around all day and have the test done that night at 6pm.  We opted for that, it was cold out and truth be told I wasn't ready to go home.  I was nervous to take her on our own.  I also looked forward to a relaxing day getting ready to leave.  I was able to shower again...well, Mark showered me again...and we got some rest.  Mark went to Wal Mart to pick up my pain meds while I began filling out discharge paperwork.  They took some pictures of us and Stella for the hospital website and as an option to order later if we wanted.  Stella received her Hep B vaccine and was tested again right at 6:00 to check her jaundice.  We packed up as we waited for the results, which came at 7:00.  They were rising, but not enough for treatment yet.  We would have to go to the Princeton hospital tomorrow to be re-tested.  They helped us load Stella in her car seat, and by 8:45 we were being wheeled downstairs.  I was excited to go home, but so nervous. 

Ready to head home!

Our family.

On the drive home she slept so well I made Mark pull over to make sure she was breathing.  And the paranoia begins.  When we got home my parents were there with Kaiser.  He was excited to see us, but unfortunately we had to keep him downstairs otherwise he'd jump on me...not good for a healing stomach.  The first night at home was awful.  Stella pooped all over right away, I could barely climb in our bed (we've been sleeping on the couch ever since), I was in tons of pain, Stella wouldn't eat and cried hysterically that first night (I woke her up to feed her, like I was supposed to, but it made her mad.  I learned my lesson and haven't done it since.  She gets up on her own when she's hungry.)  Luckily my mom stayed with us the first two nights to help out and so I wouldn't have to be alone.  Somehow we made it through that long first night with only one call to the hospital (because she wouldn't eat).  The next day would prove to be a bigger challenge that that first night.  More on that in my next post, which will be about the past 3 weeks of recovery, challenges, and yes lots of joy too.

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