I’m going to write a sort of hodge podge, point form post of the events in our lives during Lyla’s first two weeks of life.
- I was initially kept an extra night in the hospital because of my third degree tear, an elevated pulse, and higher than they’d like blood pressure. Then we were given the option of staying a third night because Lyla’s jaundice levels were on the borderline of too high and they typically peak on day 3 so the nurse practitioner was confident that if we were discharged, we’d need to readmit her for phototherapy, which would have to be at a different hospital and would likely involve a wait list. Being proactive and cautious people, we were all for staying another night and getting the phototherapy then to nip things in the bud.
- While Lyla was wrapped up in the biliblanket (the phototherapy method), she was fussier, which is apparently common. In the night, she refused to latch and screamed so much that my roommate was offered her own room. I was at a complete loss. The nurse suggested she take Lyla to the nursery to calm her down and let me get some sleep. At first I said no because I felt like saying yes would make me a bad mom, but the nurse convinced me tat I needed it. Shortly after, another nurse came in saying that Lyla wasn’t settling and she asked permission to give her formula. At that point I felt desperate so I said yes. Over the course of the night, Lyla had 2 bottles and I resumed nursing in the morning, but I felt guilty.
- Ever since the phototherapy/formula night, Lyla hasn’t been feeding as well. She was so sleepy and difficult to wake to eat. She often let go of the latch quickly as well. She wasn’t peeing or pooping much at all and she still had uric crystals when she did have a wet diaper, so we called Healthlink and they sent us to the ER at the children’s hospital for fear of dehydration. Luckily the doctor there said she was fine and some babies just don’t poop every day and it’s ok to still have uric crystals past 72 hours (the number that Healthlink kept referencing – at the time Lyla was 77 hours old). They had me pump a bottle at the ER and she hungrily gulped it down. I had been afraid she had failure to thrive, but clearly she was willing to eat when it was easy for her.
- We had a visit from the public health nurse, which everyone here gets when they have a baby. Based on the concerns with Lyla’s output, we were asked to go in for another appointment the next day. Based on that appointment, we were told to start supplementing with formula and for me to try to pump and supplement with expressed milk when possible. As a side note, the second public health nurse was surprised they made me come in (instead of another home visit) because of my tear. Little did I know I was actually supposed to be resting it considering I was running all over the city from doctor to doctor!
- We also made an appointment with a doctor who specializes in lactation and have had 2 appointments with her so far. The second appointment was yesterday and Lyla has gained her birth weight back plus another 10%, so we’re giving her less formula per feeding now, but still have to follow up breastfeeding with a bottle. We were instructed to buy the Medela Calma bottles because unlike standard bottles, babies have to work to get the milk; they can’t just clamp down on the nipple or get accustomed to a quick, easy meal. Unfortunately, the bottles are on sale for $22 a piece! Luckily, I don’t have to wake her every 3 hours anymore and she appears much more interested in eating now when I wait for her to cue to eat. Her output is much better now too!
- I was sent to the ER one night myself because of my blood pressure. I was so upset being away from Lyla and forced to deal with my own issue when we were at the height of our stress over her lack of eating, peeing, and pooping. Based on the blood and urine results, I was put on medication for 3 weeks. Apparently postpartum hypertension tends to clear up in 2-3 weeks. I’ve been referred to an urgent internal medicine clinic to follow up.
- While I was at the ER, J was an absolute champ! Neither of us expected him to be left alone with her so soon, or even myself for that matter. He bottle fed her exclusively since obviously he can’t even attempt nursing. He also had a moment straight out of a comedy when he went to change a dirty diaper, only to have her spit up all over herself. He panicked about her choking, picked her up really quick (without a new diaper on) and she pooped ALL OVER his leg! So there he was, with one dirty diaper laying to the side, spit up all over his baby’s face and head, and poop all over his jeans! He got her and himself cleaned up and all was well. Luckily he was able to laugh about it and when I got home and found out, I felt so lucky to have him in our lives.
- I’ve also been referred to a pelvic floor clinic and registered for a physio course based on a call from them. The class may be all I need, or I might need more individual help from them.
- In total, in the first week we were in the hospital for 3 nights, had 2 appointments with public health nurses, went to an after hours clinic based on another call to Healthlink when Lyla wouldn’t stop crying for hours on our first night home, had a trip to the ER for Lyla, a trip to the ER for me, got blood work for Lyla to check her bilirubin levels, went to my maternity clinic for the customary first week appointment for Lyla and myself, and had a lactation appointment. This week was calmer with “just” blood work for myself, a doctor’s appointment to check on my blood pressure and go over the blood results, and another lactation appointment. Next week, we have lactation and the internal medicine appointments booked and then a few more appointments booked for 6 weeks. All of the appointments were incredibly stressful for me and J! We’re hoping to develop a sense of normalcy in our new status as a family of 3 now.
- My parents came to town almost a week ago and were scheduled to stay a week. With everything going on and how stressed I’ve been, my mom rearranged her work schedule and is staying an extra week. I am SO unbelievably thankful because she has been an amazing help! Unfortunately, my father has often caused me more stress because, in typical fashion, he seems oblivious to others’ needs and prioritizes his own. I was expecting him to be warmer with Lyla because my mom had told me how excited he was and she had previously said he was more used to little kids than he had been when I was young, but when he got here and my mom asked if he wanted to hold her, he just said he would hold her tomorrow. I was hurt. And then I became frustrated when my dad kept making requests for things on his timeline and for us to go more out of the way to fulfill his requests. In my mindset, I would set aside whatever creature comforts I’m used to getting when I visit and just try to make myself useful as possible, or at least stay out of the way.
- Murphy’s law – our above range microwave broke all of a sudden on the weekend. J once again surprised me with what he’s able to do around the house (my dad was never a DIY kind of man). He was able to remove the old microwave, found a new one from the same manufacturer and then installed it the next day. I was expecting to be without a microwave for weeks, which definitely foiled my plans with the frozen meals I had made. Not to sound like a broken record, but I love my husband and am lucky to have him!
- This post has been mostly complaints because I needed to vent. I found our first week and a half/two weeks to be extremely chaotic and it was hard to fully enjoy the time with Lyla. Nursing was a defeating experience and there was little to no opportunity for rest. Now, I feel much more positive and although we still need to put extra time and effort into feeding, things are going better. I have never doubted my love for my daughter – it’s the depth of that love that made the pain of not being able to figure out what she needed and feeling like I was failing her so cutting. But now I am able to just gaze at her and take in the fact that she is my daughter and I have my whole life to love her, watch her grow, contribute to her development, protect her, and give her the space to try her own things. Today, my mom and I took her for her first walk around the block and it was such a peaceful, simple activity. It’s the kind of activity I pictured us doing during the first week, but that we never had the opportunity to do. It’s the kind of activity I hope we’ll do more and expand upon in the coming weeks.