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. 🙂