Tag Archives: hospital

Post-labour days at maternity hospital

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After giving birth to my amazing little ray of sunshine, my life has changed. Now that we have been home for almost a month, again, I finally have a spare moment and am in the mood for writing about the three days spent at the maternity hospital after the baby was born.

Before I got pregnant, I never knew how not easy pregnancy is and only then I realised what my friends with kids have gone through. Now I have a whole new appreciation for that. The same I can say about labour and the time after giving birth – I didn’t realise how hard it would be physically to be in labour and give birth, and also – what I would feel like post labour. And oh my, it is hard.

Whilst I was exhausted from labour and birth process, felt physically weak and poorly, I still had to attend to my new-born baby and feed it every three hours. The first night and day with the baby were quite difficult, and thank god I was lucky enough to have my partner with me, helping me with everything. Because of the pain in my lower back and bum it was a challenge getting up from the bed, as I couldn’t sit, not even on my side. Next challenge was undressing and dressing, and showering (with the goal of having the first pee after birthing – that was successful). With all of these things my partner helped me – he dressed me and was next to me in case I’m unable to stand on my own or get dizzy and faint. I didn’t get dizzy or faint though, luckily. But I was so weak that it was a challenge even stepping into the shower, I couldn’t bend over or squat down to pick something up from the floor, I couldn’t dry myself after the shower. Good thing I was able to pee, otherwise they would have put in a catheter down there, which I believe is not very pleasant.

After showering and peeing I got a few hours of much needed sleep. My partner stayed that night and day, but left in the evening of the first day, so that we wouldn’t have to pay extra for him staying and he could bring unnecessary things home, as well as get some rest at home too. So the rest of the days he came during visiting hours. In the three days I was there I didn’t get much sleep at all because at night the baby was fussy, having his first tummy aches. You would think that I could then compensate during the day, especially when my partner was there, but no – every day was busy, not only caring for the baby, but also going to see children’s doctor, gynecologist and getting my blood pressure measured every day. On the second day I also had to go and get an x-ray done for my lungs. In addition to these errands, people would just pop in my room to either examine me or the baby, the janitors came already around 7 or 8 AM to clean up the room and mop the floors, as well as food was brought to the room three times a day. So with all these activities – no sleep for me. On the third day a nurse came at 6AM and just took away the baby to have blood drawn from his hand for some tests. Well, no aspect of that is normal.

When I did have to go to doctors and other errands, that was not easy again. Because all the intestines were kind of loose in my tummy without a baby in it, it was hard to breathe when I was standing up or walking, my diaphragm was sort of misplaced. For this reason I couldn’t even stand straight with shoulders back. Whenever I went to doctors, or to the x-ray, I had to wait in line because they call in many women to the docs at once. I couldn’t sit down to wait and had to stand there, breathless, hunched over. As a law, everyone just had to tell me to sit down, and ask why I can’t sit and I had to explain about my new friends – hemorrhoids. Some other new mummies though didn’t look affected by labour at all, walking around cheery like nothing has happened. I heard one of them say: “oh, not a big deal, I only have given birth, piece of cake!” I envy women like that. But there were some who were worse than me too – I saw a woman who looked extremely exhausted, with terrible bed hair, barely able to stand or walk. Would not want to be her. So I guess I was somewhere in the middle with how I felt.

On the first day I barely ate anything, all I had was some yogurt and maybe a banana or two because I was afraid to go to the toiled with No.2 due to the painful hemorrhoids. On the second day I realised that I don’t have a choice and have to eat, as lack of nutrition was one of the reasons I felt so weak. So I started eating somewhat normal again, and the food that was served was quite nice, I enjoyed it. The one thing I didn’t eat was buckwheat – I hate it. It did happen – I needed to go No.2 soon enough, which was quite an experience, but was not as bad as I feared, I survived. 😀

Every day I brought the baby to children’s doctor who examined the baby, weighed him, he got his eyes and nose cleaned, as well as his skin crevices. His umbilical cord was attended to as well. In the first day the baby spat up bloody liquid. When the doctor examined him and I told about it, it also happened in her presence. It turned out it was from my breast – colostrum in my right breast came out slightly bloody. So nothing scary, I just had to feed more from the other breast and put compresses on the right one.

In the first days babies lose some of their birth weight through pooping, peeing and just drying out slightly. My baby lost about 200-300 grams, but on the third day showed a little growth in weight, so feeding him was successful. On that day my breasts also swell up and were hard and very sensitive – the real milk was starting to come in. The doctor was so satisfied with all this that she offered me to get discharged that day, even though I wasn’t on the planned list. That was happy news for me – we went home just before Christmas. 🙂

Before leaving we had to run final errands – getting baby’s blood drawn from a toe for testing, he had his TB shot done, I got checked by the gynecologist the last time as well.

Around 4 PM on the third day we left the maternity hospital. Before that we, of course had to pay invoices for the epidural and the rooms that we stayed in. I knew that if you have a Riga public transport card, you can get a discount for the services provided by the maternity hospital. Unfortunately, for that one of the invoices need to be redone, and it was even more stupid because the woman at the reception was extremely upset and grumpy about needing to do that. According to her, you have to tell beforehand that you have the card and want the discount, and now she has to do extra work just before Christmas! She didn’t even end up doing it – she called someone else who came and redid the invoice. Such lack of manners, even though I apologised and told I didn’t know, etc. In the end, the discount only applied to the charge for the room I stayed in after labour. I still had to pay fully for my partner staying over, for the room we stayed at during induction, as well as the epidural. Guess how much I saved – 3 fucking euros. If I knew that it would take all this for only 3 euros I wouldn’t have bothered. But it is so stupid that that is all I could get a discount for. I don’t understand why everything else couldn’t be discounted, especially the epidural. So unfair, Riga!

The woman at the reception did lighten up a little and even wished me merry Christmas when I gave little presents upon leaving. I’m generally not a rude person but I have to say it. Bitch!

What I was also unhappy about is that in the last examination at the children’s doctor, my baby’s umbilical cord got basically torn off, leaving a little stub left on the belly button, which I would then have to clean with an alcohol wipe every day. I expected for them to do the right thing – leave the umbilical cord, so that it would just dry up and fall off on its own. They taped a pad over it, which would protect it from infection, and it had to stay on until next day. However, on the way home the baby had a major poop explosion in his diaper, which resulted in the pad soaking in poop, so we had to take it off as soon as we were home. And later it also got soaked in pee from the diaper. It didn’t look good, the remainder of the umbilical cord was basically raw white stuff that wouldn’t dry up, as it was covered all the time by the skin of the belly button, like a hood. Luckily nothing got infected and it did end up healing well. It did anger us anyway that this is what they did to our baby, it was just not right.

Overall the stay at the hospital was both good and bad, there were things I didn’t like, and some I did appreciate, such as having food served three times a day. Now at home I have to serve myself. :p But being home is always the best, even if it is slightly harder. I feel better and better with each day, and hope to be completely back to normal soon. 🙂

 

Approaching 30 weeks of pregnancy

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In 4 days I will be 30 weeks pregnant and my maternity leave will start officially. I am already off work, using up a week of vacation days that I had left. So whoopty-doo, no more working for at least a year! I brought my work computer to the office, so now I’ll be able to free up a bit of space at home and arrange furniture so that there is place for baby’s bed and wardrobe, which we don’t have yet.

Today is the first day that I went out to charity shop and Kilomax clothes shop to buy some clothes for the baby. Otherwise I couldn’t spend a cent on baby things earlier because our budget was quite tight after car repairs. Now I have just been paid, so I want to buy everything! I am looking for the cheapest options though, I don’t understand how a long-sleeve onesie can cost 15 euros at normal clothes shops. I bought quite a lot today and only spent around 20 euros. The clothes are only going to last a few months, so I don’t see a point in spending a lot. Same as with pregnancy clothes for myself. I’ll only get one pretty and new outfit for baby for homecoming, after all it is a celebration. 🙂

I also went to pharmacy today to get Pregnacare vitamins – I’ve been taking Amway Nutrilite daily ones, but ran out a few weeks ago, and thought I would give myself a break from those specific vitamins. That was not a good idea, I’m deteriorating – my nails have become brittle and have started peeling and my tongue problems have aggravated. So, at the pharmacy, I found the vitamins in the shelf and was just looking at other baby stuff, just to see what they have, what I’ll need, etc. The cashier offered her help, asked if I need to buy things for labour, told about how it is cheaper to buy a set for labour, rather than buying diapers and pads and stuff separately. I ended up getting that, and a sterilized labour set (which should be provided by the hospital, but is recommended that I get it myself). In the end she gave me a special discount because we are frequent customers there, and because it’s for a baby, as well as the Pregnacare vitamins came with a gift – a onesie for the baby. Plus I got a 2 euro coupon for the next purchase there. So quite a pleasant experience there, nice that the cashier was so kind to help and give a discount.

I’m happy about buying things finally, as I’ve felt quite anxious about it, the due date is quickly approaching and I want everything taken care of ASAP, so I don’t have to think about any of that and can relax and just enjoy the rest of the pregnancy. Right now, we haven’t gotten much, apart from what I’ve written above. No crib, no pram, no car seat, no wardrobe. The small things, however, are the trickiest because there’s so many of them.

My partner told me that last night I was talking in my sleep. He said I tapped him, and murmured something about the list. He asked a few times, what list, to which I eventually responded – the baby list! So I’m even anxious in my sleep. I’ve now drawn up two lists: general baby list, and hospital “bag” list. Really it will be a suitcase because you practically have to take your home with you, even spoons, forks, mugs, towels, water, anything you could think of, even toilet paper. As if we were going camping for a week. It’s so ridiculous, really. Good thing we don’t need to take a tent, sleeping bags and blow-up mattress with us. Seems like they will literally be providing us only with four walls. What a nice, civilized EU country we’re living in! I really hope I won’t have to stay there for too long.

As to pregnancy symptoms and how I and the baby are doing, everything is kind of the same as a few weeks ago. My hips are still hurting; my lower back muscles start aching when I go on longer walks, but I still try to have them anyway, determined to keep up my stamina. I haven’t really gained much weight lately, and even the bump size seems the same – 101 cm. I guess the baby is growing upwards of my tummy instead of forwards. The baby is active, sometimes makes me jump from unexpected and even painful kicks. Had a doctor’s appointment last week, again, no problems, everything looks good.

This week I also went to pregnancy yoga class for the first time, and enjoyed it very much. I just love the atmosphere at the yoga centre, and the class really is much better than the exercise classes I went to before. What I really loved was that the end of the  yoga class was us mummies just laying down while the teacher worked with singing bowls. I just loved it.

Tomorrow I’ll go to so-called Mummy Thursday at Domina shopping centre. It’s like a free class for mummies, covering various topics, taking place once a month. Hope it’s interesting.

Lastly, another list we need to make – baby names. At least that doesn’t cost anything. Maybe just my nerves. 😀

Courses at hospital about childbirth

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Yesterday was the last of three days of classes at the Hospital about giving birth. Overall it could have been better because much of the content was quickly rushed over, just touched upon, and there was little to no interaction with the attendees, or any practical part. We all just sat and listened, I took some random notes. Only a few bits of information  were new to me, for example, that it is time to go to the labour ward when your contractions last around 45 seconds. But otherwise, I went in already knowing a lot, thanks to the classes about pregnancy and babies that I attended in the yoga centre. Otherwise, if I went there as a blank page, I wouldn’t have understood much.

In the end of each class we watched some videos. On the first day it was about birthing positions, second day – about the actual birth process, and on the third day – about breastfeeding. The videos were really old, from the 90s or so, in video cassettes, and the first one about the birthing positions just gave me and my partner the worst giggles! I tried suppressing my laughs so bad, to not let them out loud, I was in tears! 😀  The combination of the old style clothes, the man’s moustache and the circling hip movements made by the woman, together with her partner – it was all just too funny!

What I did like about these classes is that they cleared up some fears and stereotypes about the birth process and the procedures of the hospital. After the first video I asked the hosting midwife if the fact that a woman wants to give birth in any of those positions is supported by the staff there, because my concern was that it is inconvenient for everybody if I want to do it any other way than on the bed (I was the only one asking any questions, by the way). The midwife responded that you have to come with your own initiative, and be prepared for the labour both physically and mentally . According to her, the problem is that majority of women have not done any of that, come to the labour ward, and instead of moving around, knowing how to breath during contractions, etc., they just get in the bed and stay there, ask for epidural, and that’s it. She said that even if you get an epidural, and it is done correctly, you should still be able to move around, walk and do things and take different birthing positions, you don’t just get paralysed from the waist down. So, if you are the opposite of that, then you will be able to do it how you like it. Unless I change my mind about giving birth there, then I’ll see in December if this actually works out in real life.

All in all, the midwife just encouraged to aim for the process to be as natural as possible, without any interfering with hormone drips or inducing methods, and to try give birth without pain relief. To try to have a peaceful mindset without fear or tension, to see it as hard work rather than an excruciatingly painful nightmare that you don’t know how to get through. If you need interference, then fine, don’t beat yourself up about it, doctors do know better in the end, and many mummies do have complications. But in the ideal scenario the doctors would be there to just monitor your process and be ready to help if anything goes wrong.

Regarding the pushing out period, she told and emphasized that it is not necessary to PUSH the baby out. There should be no need to push as much as you can to get the baby out. Your body will basically take care of it itself, that’s what the contractions are there for, they move the baby out gradually, and there is pressure there, etc. Especially if you are in a position where gravity helps the process as well. Emphasis on making the birth less brutal, make it a beautiful peaceful process and, again, if you have prepared for the birth, breath the baby out. 🙂 Just like I was taught in the pregnancy classes in the yoga centre.

Also, as of recent years they also don’t cut the umbilical cord right after the baby is born, but wait a few minutes until it stops pulsating. It is scientifically to do with the baby’s blood system and lungs rearranging, or something, I didn’t get that completely. But I’m glad about that, it was one of the things I want to happen.

After the baby is born, you are left holding the baby for at least two hours and then a doctor comes to assess, examine and weigh the baby, and a nurse will dress it in his/her first clothes.

So, mostly what I heard was positive and encouraging, I’m glad I don’t feel afraid anymore that I’ll be forced to do something I don’t want to in the process or that there will be objections about birthing positions, or that meds and induction and whatnot will be forced on me. Any medical manipulation that is done, must be explained beforehand, and with some of them you have to sign and give your permission. So that’s all reassuring.

On the last day we also went to see the labour ward, the rooms, premises and equipment. It didn’t look too bad. They don’t have abundance of equipment, but the birth rooms did have a beanbag and a fitness ball, so at least something to use. According to the midwife, they also have laughing gas for pain relief, which is the least intrusive one, and it is also for free, good to hear that. They only have two showers for the entire ward, and the same ones did not look very fabulous – not a positive. We only saw one room for staying in after the birth, which was a private one. It looked very basic and small, but at least it would be private. We didn’t see any of the shared rooms though. If you have a private room, your partner can stay overnight on a very modest worn-out folding bed, but at least that would be for free, instead of ~60 euros per day, like it is in other places. Although, it depends on pure luck if a private room is available for the time of birth or not. I really hope for the best, that we will get a private room, because my partner will definitely not be OK with going home and leaving us for three nights.

Mostly this was a positive experience, although initially there was something that threw us off too. In order to not disturb the main entrance and area of the labour ward, we were told to go and use a lift that isn’t the main lift and brings us to the back of the ward. To do so we had to go through the cellar, which looks quite scary, and even had a cat hanging out there, which is probably not very good for a hospital. My partner joked about the appearance of the place – not only the roads in Latvia have potholes, but also the hospital floors! But I guess that is only the cellar where you wouldn’t be supposed to go normally, and other premises are not scary. 🙂

In the end we were also given two books – about breastfeeding, and one about pregnancy and labour in general. That will be something to read. 🙂