Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Birth story for Paul: The dreaded hospital stay

The hospital stay is the absolute worst part about giving birth (for me).  I would totally do it at home if a) my OB would come to my house and b) it wouldn't freak William out.  :-P  The first three I had gone to a hospital across town.  This time I had the choice between that hospital and the hospital where William works.  So I weighed the pros and cons.

Hospital A:
- I was familiar with it.
- There are queen size beds in the recovery rooms, providing William a reasonable place to sleep.
- ...

Hospital B:
- William works there
- No bed for William (a futon - that he would NOT have fit on)
- Had a great rep for excellent nurses

I asked William his thoughts.  He said it didn't matter to him.  The plan was already for him to go home at night.  This would allow him to be able to easily get the kids ready in the morning to come visit.

Two out of 3 nursing experiences at Hospital A were...horrible and the last was great with a mediocre chaser (my L&D nurse was awesome, but once I left there...I was surrounded by mediocrity at best nursing).  My initial thought was to stick with what I knew - but when I really thought about it, I decided that there was really no reason to return to the familiar.  My chances of having another horrible nursing experience seemed pretty high to me.

So I chose Hospital B.  I didn't feel I had anything to lose really and everything to gain.

My hospital stay didn't disappoint.  While there were a few things I didn't care for (like asking me about my full meal plan for my entire stay with in a couple hours after giving birth...I kid you not).  But the nursing did not disappoint.  The quality of care I received was so excellent that I felt in some instances, the care at the hospital was sub-par.  (You know how you think you have had a certain kind of experience...but it is all you know...and then you have another and you realize that first was worse than you thought?)

There was a nurse in my room post-recovery nearly all day.  They poked and prodded on me frequently, but it was ok and completely necessary.  I had the same nurse all day.  She was friendly, sweet and completely professional.  Just plain awesome.  And when my nurse did change, they came in and introduced themselves.  I also noticed that everyone who entered my room asked me if I needed anything - no matter who they were or what their job role was.

The day went by quickly with people in and out of my room.  You know in the movies when time passes they show people walking along a sidewalk in a fast forward fashion?  It felt a little like that.  My focus was wrapping my head around the fact that this baby was here, it was a boy and his name was Paul.

Paul has been an unusual baby from the start.  That day, instead of sleeping like most babies, he was highly awake and alert.  He was already turning his head and lifting it up to look around.  To top it off, Paul is probably the best nurser "straight out of the chute" that I've ever had.  He nursed every 2 hrs for 30-45 min at a whack.  I had nothing better to do and didn't mind a bit.  Plus those early nursing session can be so important to setting up for a successful nursing relationship.

That night, my new nurse came in to introduce herself.  She was by far my favorite nurse.  You would think a night nurse couldn't  receive such high praise - but she totally deserved it.  We chatted a bit (in which she again mentioned she heard I had 'quite the morning'!!) and I learned she had 2 small kids at home and she was a fan of nursing.  She told me that she needed to check me again around midnight.  This angel of a woman then told me that I had the choice of calling her to let her know when I was awake around then OR she could just come in and check me every 4 hrs (or whatever).

Um, yes please.

I settled down for the night, expecting a pretty good sleep.  That first night is usually pretty quiet since the newborns are in their just-being-born-stupor.  I was looking forward to some rest, because I hadn't gotten too much since I woke up at 2 AM.  I turned off the TV, placed a snuggly swaddled and sleeping Paul into his little bassinet thing and settled down. About 2 minutes later, the snuggly swalddled and sleeping Paul woke up in full force.

I took him out, nursed him a bit until he again fell asleep and put him back.  Rinse and repeat.  I gave up around 10:30 and attempted to sleep sitting up.  It wasn't a great sleep, but I was getting more than I would have otherwise.  So I place him such that he wouldn't roll and nodded off a bit.  It was a very unrestful sleep...did I mention that?

I finally called the nurse around 1 AM.  I was awake at midnight, but I was curious if she'd come in anyway. :)  She came in a few minutes later and apologized for not being there immediately.  I was a little surprised at that, because she didn't really take that long in my opinion.  She poked on me, took my temp and blood pressure and then said "I don't think you need that, how about we take it out?" pointing to my IV.

I hate the IV.  They always leave my arm sore for at least a week post-birth.  (This time it was 2.)  I also have a small allergic reaction to the glue used on the tape.  If left on too long, I get a nice rash.  (Happens with all medical adhesive stuff...)  At Hospital A the nurses always refused to take it out until right before I left.  I was told that it was a "precautionary" measure "in case something happens".  Right.  I didn't bother asking this time around, since I had been shot down for all the other kids.  Imagine my surprise when the nurse asked if it was OK if she took it out?  "You'll probably sleep better without it." she told me.

I really didn't need any convincing.

I tried a few more times to put Paul in the bassinet, but it appears that he hates to sleep flat.  (We are still trying to figure out a good sleeping arrangement that works for both of us.)  I'm sure he will outgrow it soon enough.

I got a hospital picture of the family this time!
William and the kids showed up around 8 the next morning.  The kids ran around like hooligans until I was able to leave at noon.

All in all, I was happy I chose Hospital B.  If I were given the choice again, I'd make the same decision.  I still hate the hospital stays, but the nurses really made it bearable.

About the only other thing I disliked at the hospital was the over utilization of the phone.  I've never had to use the phone so much.  Awful.  I hated answering it and half the time it would get moved to where I couldn't reach it.  I was left scrambling to get it several times.  And let's not forget my basic dislike of phones in general.  I barely answer my phone! :)

One other thing I liked - the room itself had a nice little waiting area where family/guests could go whenever they needed to get out.  I don't mind kicking adults out and letting them stand around awkwardly in hallways.  However, the room was super nice for kids (chairs and a tv were included in that room).  I know that keeping my kids corralled is a job in and of itself.  So having the room was great so that all of these kind people who were corralling the children for me had an easier time of it.

I'm glad my hospital stay wasn't dreadful.  It is a miracle in my mind.  I prayed over it heavily because a lot went wrong with the hospital stay at Ruth's birth.  Everything went smoothly and I have positive memories - priceless.

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