While I love my family and very much want them to be part of our baby’s life, I did not want ANY of them in the delivery room. I don’t care that you have the same parts or that you changed my diapers and have seen all my parts before. Nope. Not gonna happen. But we knew that they’d want to see her as soon as possible. We wanted a little time on our own, but figured that by the time we got up to our room, they could join. We figured our Moms might make it to our room before we did in their eagerness. We had called them around 1 or 1:30 to let them know that things were moving along and we’d likely have the baby this afternoon (though we figured it would take longer than it did). They’d agreed to meet each other for dinner and come over to the hospital together. When we called around 4:30 (we’d synchronized our calls to each call our moms at EXACTLY the same moment – let’s not have to worry about that one later!), we figured they’d be rushing over. It turned out my mother in law was on her way to pick my Mom up and, much to my shock, they actually still went to dinner first! (They did nicely bring us some food so we weren’t subjected to what the hospital had to offer.) They wound up arriving sometime after 7 – well after we were in the room. I was shocked! We figured they’d been sitting on the hospital steps waiting for the word go!
But once they arrived, together with my sister in law, they couldn’t have been happier and more excited. (My Mom later showed everyone the picture of her with the baby proudly noting that she was only about 3 hours old there!) They didn’t stay long – as we still seemed to have so many doctors and such to deal with and were exhausted – but they were so excited by the new addition. Unfortunately my father in law was traveling so he couldn’t come till the next day (when he fought the exhaustion of the trip from CA and not sleeping to meet his first granddaughter), but it was amazing to watch how our families reacted.
(Of course, we didn’t really watch how our families reacted. It was only in looking at the pictures in the time that followed that I could begin to see their reactions and gauge them… The reality was - ) Our own reactions were overwhelming. Well, no, overwhelmed! The first night we didn’t put her in the nursery right away. She was just born in the late afternoon and I think it was about 7 by the time we got to the room, so while I admit we were ready to go to sleep and call it a night by the time our parents left and we ate (it might have been 9?), we didn’t feel like we could. I mean, we’d JUST gotten this person. How could we relinquish our care already? (For anyone who does immediately relinquish it to get some much needed sleep, I’m NOT judging you – well, maybe I am. I am judging you as SMART and far more well adjusted than we are.) Around midnight, we started saying to each other – it’s OK if we send her to the nursery so we can sleep. That doesn’t make us bad parents. But we didn’t do it. Not then. Not when they came in to do some 10 hour old tests at 2. Not when we were still up at 4. Around 6 we finally gave in and decided to send her off so we could sleep. Doctors and breakfast and life started happening around us about an hour later, so we just went ahead and got her back. Sleep be damned.
The day flew in a flurry of activity – my doctors, her doctors, God knows… The pediatrician came by – to our plethora of questions! The lactation consultant came by – to start things off as one expects with the lactation consultants… I asked her how to ‘break the seal’ to get the baby off the nipple and she asked me why I’d ever need / want to break the seal. Hmm, because if I look at the chart, the baby spent sessions of 40-45 minutes latched on last night all night and at some point it’s likely that I won’t be able to hold it (or will need to do something in life) for 45 minutes. She seriously didn’t answer the question because her view was I should never need to break the latch. But she was but one visitor. There were also the cord blood people – we’d decided to donate the baby’s cord blood and they had some questions for us about family history, etc. After going through most of the questions, the consultant asked my husband to leave so I could answer the last questions – I laughed and said that they just wanted to find out if he beat me (as I’d been asked that one more times since pregnant than I could have ever guessed!). But no, it actually wasn’t. She wanted to ask about all my sexual partners without my husband present – that one made me laugh (to myself) even more!
Our parents came to visit, as did some friends and towards the end of the day, it was just us with my sister in law. She offered to hold the baby so we could eat. We were all joking around and someone said something funny that had me laughing until suddenly my laughter turned to uncontrollable tears. I had no idea why I was crying. I just knew I couldn’t stop. My husband kept trying to cheer me by saying something funny and I’d start laughing and it would just turn to tears again. I wouldn’t even turn my head to look at my sister in law – what was wrong with me? (I only later realized this was just the first of many instances of this.)
She left and we were again left with our munchkin. This time we did decide to send her to the nursery to get some sleep. It was a little after 9. But, of course – I couldn’t sleep! It didn’t matter that I really hadn’t slept in the prior 2 nights. I just lay there thinking about her. My husband was out in the chair next to me, but everything was keeping me up. It seemed to me like there was a beeping / buzzing noise – I wondered if it had always been there and I was just noticing now. It got to be 11 and I asked my husband if he thought we should go get her. He said that if they didn’t bring her by midnight, he’d go get her. I might have pushed more, but I realized that he was really asleep and I should let him sleep while he could. Near midnight, I got up (with some difficulty) and decided it was time to get her. I asked my husband what he thought and he groggily asked me if I wanted him to come with me. I said, no, it was OK and he rolled back over (proving he was never really awake) and I started down the hall. It was a very slow progress. I’d done this walk once before at this point and had been leaning heavily then. This was hard. As I rounded the corner, I heard the nurses saying that someone had accidentally thrown out one of the baby monitors (each newborn gets like a baby lo-jack on the umbilical stump so that no one can leave the maternity ward with them) which had set the alarm off – that was the buzzing I’d been hearing (thank God I didn’t know that’s what that was). I finally made it to the baby barn and… I’m embarrassed to say I couldn’t identify my baby! I thought I’d just know it was her and be able to pick her out – but no! I had to read the signs like everyone else (the first one I thought was her turned out to actually be a Hispanic boy…). I finally got her and started my slow progress back to the room. When I got there, my husband hadn’t realized I’d left.
As this has gotten really long, I think I need to break it up. I’ll continue in my next post.