On the 11 day of December as I was told to head to the hospital my doctor advised me not to go to my intended hospital as he was on call. If you've kept up with the blog you know that I switched to this Doctor at 24 weeks pregnant. Since my 24th week I visited the L&D Unit about 4 times thinking I was in labor. Often times I would wake up and trek over to the hospital without calling my doctor for fear that it would be a false alarm and that he would get annoyed with me. On my second visit to L&D I got a nice stern talking to. My doctor advised that he needed to know whatever was going on with me as he didn't want me to fall into the wrong hands. Hands that were eager to csection me, hands that were eager to allow small contractions to progress into labor, or hands that had no intention on following my birth plan. He told me to call him whenever because when he became a doctor he gave up on the idea of sleep.
Fast forward to Labor Day. He urged me to come to the hospital where he was on call and covering for two of his colleagues. While I wasn't familiar with the hospital I knew and trusted my doctor. Registration and check in went smoothly. Our problems didn't arrive until after active labor started. Some kind of way they lost the blood that was drawn from me earlier and in the midst of contractions the nurse came and said they had to draw blood. I was highly annoyed but managed to sit still for a blood draw between my horrific back labor contractions.
After the blood draw the shift changed I got a new nurse who was down right awful. She walked into my room right after I was told that my labor was stalling. I was moaning through contractions and she came in and snatched the covers off my body to ask why I was making noise since I got an epidural. My previous nurse advised her that I actually did not have one and that I was having back labor. She proceeded to tell me that my labor stalled because I didn't put any pressure on my cervix and that I needed to sit up right. Never mind the fact that my doctor told me to labor on my left side, or that I had not eaten at all that day and that I didn't have a wink of sleep. She automatically assumed the stall was from me laying down. So she took the controls of my bed and brought me to and up right position. This position ironically caused my contractions to slow and kept my cervix from progressing for another hour. The nurse had awful bedside manner and when my doctor came in to see me sitting up he told her to lay me back down. She refused and left the room. My doctor adjusted the bed himself and my mom told the doctor she didn't like the nurse and didn't want her to come back. It was a very tense time until we got another nurse. Our newest nurse was a breath of fresh air.
Shortly after I dilated completely and it was time to push. I was wheeled to the OR and prepped for delivery. The OR had its own team of nurses so I bid goodbye to the nurses that were in my suite. These nurses were more about getting the baby out than stroking my ego. I didn't like it during the process but I am grateful they kept me focused to get my babies out and to keep us all safe. My problem with the OR staff was them losing a gauze and the taking my perfectly healthy twins from me for four long hours. I had requested that we not be separated but somehow that request was lost in translation. This four our seperation is what I truly believe lead to Oliver's stay in the NICU. Also because they lost a gauze they immediately requested that I be xrayed to look for it. My doctor was so upset and refused to have me xrayed. Hospital policy said I had to have an xray or pelvic exam. He talked to me and we opted for the pelvic exam. Everything in me wanted to kick those nurses in the face, if you ever want to know what it's like to have a pap after giving birth to twins feel free to ask me.
After being away from me for four hours they brought Oliver back saying he hadn't eaten and I need to feed him right away. His mouth was tiny and he was tired so getting him to latch was very hard. They said his sugars were so low that he would need an IV with sugar to bring it back up. So I immediately began pumping my breast to feed him during our separation. It was honestly hard for me to enjoy time with Chauncey as my mind was constantly worried about Oliver. After pumping for the first time and not being able to get Chauncey to latch I was seen by a lactation consultant. She immediately asked if my breast were real and then proceeded to say my nipples were too big for the baby's mouth. She told me he needed to eat and I would need to supplement until his mouth grew. I gave her the crazy eyes and she left my room having provided zero help. I stayed up watching YouTube videos of various baby's latching so I could continue practicing with him. When I did get him to latch he was then too tired to eat, it was hard. I started to believe that I would be an exclusivity pumping mama and that idea was hard.
On Oliver's second day I was praised for the milk I was bringing to him by the first shift in the nursery. When I finally got up to visit him he looked sad and lonely. I cried the hardest I ever have in my life. I felt so helpless and he looked so miserable. Later that day we were told that he was having some trouble breathing. I told the nurse I wanted to hold him and she said that he needed to stay in his bed to be soothed and avoid stress. I immediately quipped so you don't think laying on my chest will sooth him?! She was speechless as I told her to get the doctor because I wanted to hold my baby. I'm sure at this point I was perched over Oliver's bed growling at everyone who passed by my wounded cub! Sure enough the doctor returned and had Oliver placed in my arms. She told me he was hungry and he immediately rooted around my chest and he latched perfectly for the very first time. At some point during the night Oliver wasn't doing so well so he had his tummy pumped and fluids removed this sent him to the NICU. I wasn't there with him but my mom and husband were. I cried in my room holding Chauncey. They brought me pictures and he looked so sad with his tube down his throat and IV on hand. What happened to my healthy baby from the OR? The one that received a 9 and then a 10 on his APGAR?!
The night that Oliver got his feeding tube Chauncey and I were discharged. It was a bittersweet moment, awful yet beautiful. The very next day when coming to bring him milk I passed by other mom who I chatted with by the NICU hand washing station. She introduced me to her mom as the mother to the baby that was under the blue light. Whoa?! Blue light?! Who has a baby under the blue light? Not me! So I rushed in sure enough to find that Oliver was now in his isolette under a light. I was never called or informed that jaundice had set in. I had actually been told they would take his feeding tube out that day and that he would possibly be going home if his breathing wasn't erratic. Instead he was now being held in NICU for jaundice and they were no longer sure when he would come home. I also observed him crying in his isolette that day, he was screaming at the top of his lungs but the sound was muffled. A nurse ran over staying she was about to feed him. My instincts told me he'd been ignored and had cried for a while. Afterwards i started to show to the NICU at random times to keep things interesting and to make sure my baby wasn't being neglected.
After 6 days of traveling back and forth to the hospital Oliver was ready to come home. I had never been so tired until I had two newborns under my roof but it was worth it to know he was safely in my care.
I continue to focus on the good things that happened on their birthday but I wish I had been able to speak up more during delivery. If you are expecting make sure you have someone to advocate for you about having your baby not transition without you. When I was busy delivering Oliver my husband and mom were trying to support me through it and it left a window of opportunity for the staff. Assign someone to baby duty. Tell them what shots you do or don't want baby to have, and where you do or don't want baby to go. Also don't be afraid to ask for a new nurse if you two don't mesh well. Liking your nurse is very important during labor. Last familiarize yourself with all the local hospitals just incase. I would also advise that your register with them, in the case of an emergency you don't want people handing you papers to fill out. It's super annoying. And do your research on hospital lactation teams. If the hospital doesn't have one that seems well establish you may want to bring in outside help. These are a few things I wish I had known before giving birth.