Hi friends! I promised a part two to Hungry Baby’s birth story, so I’m just popping in to share that. (In case you missed it, read part one here!) This may be too long and too detailed, but I honestly had no idea what to expect from the hospital stay. I had no idea how long we would be there or what it would be like. I feel the hospital stay is as much a part of our labor and delivery story as the actual delivery. So feel free to skim or skip if this bores you!
First up, I decided to refer to the baby on the blog as KJ from now on. I thought about doing KA for Kal Anthony, but that’s just one letter short from his full name Kal. So I decided on KJ for Kal Jr. He isn’t technically a Jr, he was named after his grandpa, but it works for the blog. As with Mr. Hungry, it’s not that I’m trying to hide his identity it’s that I don’t want a search of his name to turn up his entire childhood on the blog. Just like I don’t want a search of Mr. Hungry’s real name to turn up a million photos of him on the blog should his current or potential employer be searching him for any reason. Just because I chose to share my entire life online doesn’t mean it should impact their careers. So there is that!
Okay back to the story. So, when we left off KJ, and I had both spiked fevers, likely due to the prolonged membrane rupture. So the protocol is to treat both mom and baby with antibiotics for the first 48 hours. After I was all stitched up and the room was cleaned up, the nurses and our family cleared the room so that we could be together as a family of three for the first time. I’ll cherish those first few moments as just us forever, both Mr. Hungry and I were in amazement that our baby was finally with us. I had both a sense of relief and excitement rolled into one.
We didn’t have a full golden hour due to the temperatures being spiked and the baby slightly grunting so this was my first time to spend a decent amount of time together. Before he even latched the first time, I noticed his frenulum was very apparent. I pointed it out to the nurse who agreed he looked tongue-tied to her too. She said that all her kids were tongue tied and it never made a difference in breastfeeding. Luckily he latched right away, and it felt pretty good, a little pinchy but not bad.
After we spent about an hour with him, they had to take him to the NICU to start antibiotics. Before I went to the postpartum unit, my mom brought me a bagel and cream cheese plus ginger ale to drink. I also drank like five mini orange juices. Not exactly what I expected for my first meal haha. I thought maybe I would want something a little more exciting, but all that sounded good was bland toast.
Anyways, before we go on with the story, it’s important to know that at the hospital we delivered at things were set up funky/inconveniently. The NICU and special care units were located on the first floor with labor and delivery. However, the postpartum unit was on the fourth floor. That meant we had to leave our baby on an entirely different floor in a different tower while I was sent up to recover. So after dropping him off at the NICU, we headed up to the fourth floor.
When we got upstairs, the nurse showed me how to use all the things, (peri bottle, analgesic spray, and giant pads.) I asked if I could change into the pads I brought from home, but she didn’t think it was a good idea. I guess in case of an emergency, like a postpartum hemorrhage they know how much their pads weigh so they can quickly assess how much blood you are losing. So even though I was uncomfortable, I stayed in my hospital gown and their giant pads. After a short nap, we headed back downstairs. At this point, the baby had been cleared out of the NICU and was now in the special care unit (a step down from the NICU). It was two large rooms with 4-5 babies in each room, and two nurses in each room.
The rooms were dimly lit with faint nursery songs playing in the background. The beep of monitors surrounded every baby except ours. I later found out that at most other hospitals babies in need of antibiotics whose fever had already gone down are allowed to room with the mom. However, because of the difference in floors, the babies are kept in the special care unit when they need antibiotics out of precaution. So that was frustrating because it felt like he should be with us, not locked down there. But, it was what it was so we tried to make the best of it.
The upside to him being in the special care unit was the nurses always were there to help with breastfeeding, and they set up a lactation consultant appointment with us. We ended up setting the alarm and going downstairs every two hours throughout the night. KJ would nurse enthusiastically then go right back to sleep, so I didn’t feel too bad about leaving him.
At some point during the night, I woke up with excruciating cramps. I remember my SIL warning me about the uterine cramps breastfeeding causes, but man they were so much worse than I anticipated. Luckily the nurse got me a heating pad and additional dose of Tylenol (on top of the ibuprofen I was already getting) which ended up being my saving grace the next two nights.
The nurses had changed shifts a few times at this point, so I decided it was time to put on my clothes from home which felt terrific. At this point, I had been in the hospital 36 hours and was ready to feel like a human again. I also decided to wear my pads I had brought from home, which were actually super sexy adult diapers. (Here is the Amazon link.) Best decision I ever made, they were so much more comfortable than using the hospital’s giant pads (I assumed at this point I wasn’t at risk for hemorrhage anymore, but I didn’t exactly ask the nurse for permission) and so easy just to toss the whole thing. I would definitely make sure I stocked up on those again!
Saturday morning we consulted with the pediatrician who agreed baby had a slight tongue tie. He said he could perform a frenectomy but wanted me to meet with a lactation consultant first before he did anything. So, I met with her later that morning in the special care unit, and she gave me a ton of great tips. After sitting with us for a while and helping out, she also agreed that the slight tongue tie was causing him to latch much too narrow which was causing the pinching I was feeling. So, her recommendation to the doctor was to perform the frenectomy the next day.
For the rest of the day, we came down every two hours until around 3 pm, when the baby wouldn’t stop crying. The nurses asked if they could give him a pacifier and I declined which meant they were calling us down every 30 minutes to an hour to come to console him or try feeding him. Eventually, they put us in the breastfeeding room attached to the special care unit. The room had a TV and couches which was nice privacy-wise, but it lacked the bathroom with all my “equipment” that I had in my room upstairs.
Eventually, we found out that the baby would be joining us in our room around 3 am, with that end date in mind we powered through. We ate dinner in the breastfeeding room. Mr. Hungry’s mom brought us Capriotti’s (one of my planned on postpartum meals) which we INHALED. She even joked that we were eating like two people who didn’t know where their next meal would come from. My appetite was raging the whole time we were in the hospital, I ate just about anything put in front of me. Well almost anything, I wasn’t into the Thanksgiving style meals with roasted chicken/turkey and veggies. Just about anything else was fair game though. Most of the time I ordered off the personal choices menu instead of getting the meal of the day. Sometimes Mr. Hungry ate the meal of the day and went down to the commissary to buy food for me. A few times we ate out of the vending machines, and I drank a ton of Gatorade and ginger ale.
My OB even made a joke about me being a Dietitian and asking for Gatorade. Everyone thinks RDs are the ones judging the food choices of others when the truth is we could care less what you eat unless you directly ask us. Even then I counsel, I don’t judge. But, our food choices are judged HARD. Anyways tangent done… I drank the Gatorade, and it was the best. My mom even got me organic Gatorade which made me laugh because let’s be honest there is nothing organic about Gatorade.
We spent most of the night in the breastfeeding room, only going back upstairs so that I could take medicine or use the bathroom. Finally, we went back upstairs at 1 am to catch a little sleep before the baby came to join us. At this point, KJ was super fussy and just wanted to be held all the time. I figured he spent the first 36 hours of his life in a box instead of with his parents and we had some bonding time to make up for. I nursed him on demand, almost every hour. Finally, Mr. Hungry woke up and took him so I could get some sleep. Mr. Hungry held him for 3-4 hours while sitting on the chair watching TV.
At some point during the night, the nurse came in to give me meds (antibiotics and Ibuprofen) and do a vitals check. She lifted up my shirt and for the first time we realized that my belly button ring area was oozing, red, and swollen. It wasn’t hot to the touch or hurting, but it did look gnarly. She cleaned it out for me and covered it with a band-aid. PS haven’t worn a belly button ring in over 5 years, I’m guessing it got irritated from the portable monitors that we tried during delivery. Eventually, I ended up seeing a PA at my GPs office a few days later for it and going back on antibiotics.
I could not have been more excited to go home on Sunday. The pediatrician came to check on him one last time then they took him down for the frenectomy. He was gone a total of 15 minutes max, and when he came back, he nursed right away. The nursing definitely felt a ton better after that, so I was glad we did it. We also had one last meeting with a lactation consultant who gave us a few last minute tips. Then, we were finally able to go home. He slept the whole way home in the car seat and I must have undone my seatbelt 5 times to check on him. It was totally the best new parent moment. Walking in the door was the best feeling, second only to the first shower I had in 3 days!
I’ll update soon on how we are settling in soon! Stay tuned, I also have guests posts and pre-written recipes posts scheduled starting next week as well!