Having to wait so long after surgery for a nurse to come and check on me should’ve been indicative of how the rest of my stay was going to go, but when you’re shaking uncontrollably and your sole thought is your newborn child, the future becomes a far away thing.
Why is it that no one tells you the “bad parts” of delivering a baby? Why does Pinterest only have pins for what to bring for you and baby for the ride home, baby outfits, what type of robe to get, etc? My father-in-law said it’s because if we knew, we wouldn’t do it, and though I think those are words of wisdom, I really wish someone had told me what to prepare for. Yes, you can always plan for the worst and hope for the best, but it would’ve been nice to know what to pray for, what to expect. And maybe that’s just me. I’ve always been a planner and one who HATES the unknown. So far all of those people out there who are like me in that way, this blog post is for you (I apologize now for any graphic details you might not want to read).
The worst part of the hospital for me, and I know my husband echoed this sentiment, was how often people come in and out of your room. And that’s saying a lot with how little our nurses actually showed up. There were “nursery nurses” (for baby) and then ‘regular nurses” (for momma), and I can honestly say I only had 2 good nurses out of probably 10-12. More on that later.
Here are a list of people that you can expect to check on you multiple times throughout your stay: different students from the medical program nearby who don’t even know how to take your temperature (Oh yeah, that was in my birth plan too and promptly ignored. I’d requested no students or any interns), people drawing blood from you and your baby, people checking your IV, people checking your and baby’s temperature, another person checking her hearing, your OB, your pediatrician (she ended up being awesome), people bringing you nasty hospital food that you didn’t order, people cleaning your room, people taking your baby for pictures, picture taking your baby for a bath, people people people, from 5 am on. 5 am for anything is just wrong.
Obviously some of those things were really nice to have and I’m not complaining about that, BUT YOU NEVER GET TO SLEEP. Between trying to get breastfeeding down, family visiting, baby fussing, having to use the restroom, etc, I literally slept in 10 minute patches.
Getting up and going to the bathroom fresh out of a c-section topped the charts on the awful scale. I wasn’t able to sit up on my own, well, do anything on my own really in regards to sitting up. Thank goodness for remote controlled beds and strong husbands. My husband had to help me swing my legs over the side of the bed, higher the bed for me to even prepare to stand, pull me up, walk me what felt like the 5 mile trek to the bathroom, help me sit down on the toilet, help me get up from off of the toilet, help me sit down, help lower the bed, swing my legs back, etc, all while I grit my teeth from the excruciating pain. I happen to be allergic to pretty much any strong pain medication, so the best they could do for me was Motrin. It felt like I was taking children’s tylenol or a gummy vitamin.
Having an IV attached to you the whole time while you’re trying to go to the bathroom was also awful. Having a nurse remove the IV from you to go to the bathroom one time and watching your blood gush everywhere from her messing that process up is another thing. I know she was just trying to help, but I think the part that was the most awful was after enduring her shoving it back in my hand, she just left. My husband and mom had to help me wipe the blood off of my body and the floor and the wall and who knows where else.
Showering after a c-section? Plan on a washcloth bath, and definitely bring dry shampoo, because the thought of having to bend over to flip my hair to wash it made me cry. Some other general awful things that happened: my catheter overflowed because my nurse was gone for so long. Having no buzzer or way to contact the nurses for four hours. The nurse who finally showed up said, “I’ll have to put in an order to fix that,” and just left again. My IV bag ran out a couple times and my husband couldn’t get anyone to come refill it for over an hour each time. There was blood in my urine for a longer period than it was supposed to have been. My daughter, bless her heart, had such a good suck and latch that she literally sucked off part of my nipple and the nurse just said, “Don’t let her use you as a pacifier”, and walked out. It took 3 days for a lactation consultant to show up. She literally showed up as we were leaving the hospital. They put me in a wheelchair that was broken. You know the part that you’re supposed to be able to rest your feet on? The girl, who wasn’t even a nurse, but some random janitor, didn’t know how to fix them, and told me it was the only wheelchair available in the entire hospital. I cannot tell you how painful it was to have to use my core that had been sliced open and stitched to hold my feet up as she wheeled me down to the car. They also left the IV in too long. I understand you need it, but I had an IV in me for the 3 full days I was there. I know there were a lot of other things that aren’t coming to mind now, but I have never been so glad to leave a place than I was that hospital. Thank goodness for Chris.
I’ll never forget her. Chris, with her charming British accent and blunt way of speaking, was one of the few people who seemed to know what they were doing. She was one of the last nurses I had. Thanks to her I got the medicine I needed when I broke out all in welts and rashes all over my backside from an allergic reaction to the iodine and a nipple shield for when my daughter literally sucked off part of my nipple. She even went off on my doctor when she told me my rash was just from the sheets. Told her that she needed to prescribe me medicine right away and that it had to be something internal. She made sure I got food, got the IV out of me when my doctor failed to “approve” it in enough time, put a “do not disturb” sign on the door and made sure no one bothered us for a good couple of hours. She even stayed a few hours after her shift was over to make sure I had the medicines I needed (the sad thing was these instructions didn’t make it to the last two sets of nurses I had and I just had to “deal”). I think the most helpful thing she did was tell me I should’ve been walking around to help with the pain. She was furious no one, including my doctor, had told me that. Although I walked slower than a tortoise, I felt 100 x’s better by the time I left that day, and attribute walking to healing so well. Our other good nurse was a nursery nurse, who answered our million questions, bathed our daughter in the room to show us how it’s done, and picked up the slack for the nurse who was supposed to be helping me.
Positives for the stay? Naming our daughter. We had debated over names for months and didn’t decide on her name until the morning of the 3rd day. We had come with a handful of names we liked but still couldn’t agree. My husband was holding our daughter in his arms when suddenly everything seemed to get really quiet. He touched her little cheek and said, “Madilyn Paisley Rougeau”. The spirit washed over me from head to toe and tears welled in my eyes. My husband looked at me with tears in his own eyes and said, “That’s her name. I feel the spirit so strong.” I could only manage a nod. I’ll never forget that moment, and I cannot wait to tell Madilyn about it when she’s old enough.
The other positives were our parents being there with us for brief moments, bringing us edible food and holding their new granddaughter. And of course leaving. I cannot imagine having to stay longer had she been a premie. My greatest hope is that I don’t appear ungrateful, I know we’re so lucky and blessed to even be able to have a child, loving parents, meds, hospital insurance, the wonders of modern medicine and technology that my daughter wouldn’t be here without, but I will never step foot in that hospital again and hope no other mother has to go through what I did! Tune in next time for part 3: the recovery.