Week One: Huge Adjustment All Around (Part One)

Yesterday our girls, yes OUR GIRLS, turned one week old. Can’t quite believe that we have had them for a whole week, and they us. I won’t deny that it hasn’t been bumpy; best hoped for plans got tossed out the window, and frak me if a c-section isn’t the most painful fucking thing I have ever gone through. Excuse my sleep deprived brain if I just throw a few things out there in an addled stream of consciousness. OUR GIRLS are sleeping in their OWN crib so this is probably the only chance I get today. (Please note I am choosing blogging over sleep – aren’t I a fool!)

Day 1: C-Section & Cylon Invasion

We were both fairly calm for last week’s c-section. I was re-markedly chilled out in the OR despite having a trainee anesthesiologist perform the spinal anesthetic. His boss (ironically a Brit so no escaping the NHS) gave him 3 shots to insert the spinal anesthetic (plus a bonus shot of the local to “numb” the area) before he stepped in to once again give me a local because the first one had worn off, and finally get get the spinal anesthetic administered. Frak me if that was not an awful way to kick things off. Trying to hold still and “roll up in a little ball” when 9 months pregnant with twins once was bad enough but 5 times. By the end I had my OBGYN and the nurses gathered around me in a healing circle holding me.

Once I was numbed up things picked up a pace. Alex was brought in in scrubs, the curtain went up and everyone got to work. Since I was awake I was trying to make conversation with Alex who had suddenly got very tense – as it turned out he was straining to hear what my OBGYN was saying as it sounded as if thing could have been going pear shaped, and she was not impressed with someone who hadn’t given her full information or something (plus the nurses hadn’t shaved me). Alex told me afterwards he heard her calling for all the clamps and a hemridge kit standing by. As it turned out surgery went well – looks like it was more preventative.

Putting aside the possible trauma we were in shock as they pulled out not one baby girl but two! We had some how bought into mass delusion that I was carrying boys from my shape. I remember lying there thinking girls – wow. Girls – we have daughters. When Baby A (Zoey) came out everyone in the OR remarked that she was the spit of Alex, and when Baby B (Naomi) arrived of me. It was a good hour before I got to see them, and it was love at first sight of the two squishy noses. So relieved that they both healthy (though Naomi had to be aspirated as she gulped down a bunch amniotic fluid before exiting).

The rest of the day is a blur. We all hung out in recovery, and then Alex went with the girls when they went to the nursery for their bath. Then I was moved to my room (for the first two night I had it to myself – bliss) and we hung out some more. I was hooked up to IV, pain meds and a catheter so wasn’t very mobile but I did try to start the breast feeding process with skin-to-skin and suckling but the girls were so damn sleepy, and I was in a fair amount of discomfort and hideously nauseous (was throwing up water like crazy), that nothing was really happening.

Day 2: Evil Catheter & Plans Are Thrown Out The Window

I didn’t really sleep as there seemed to be a constant stream of people popping in. The nurse to take my BP, and temperature (twice); the nurse wheeling in my babies at 12:30am and leaving them there (I had no mobility so it’s not like I could pick them up); my night nurse to change my IV/pain meds, a nursing assistant to give me a much needed sponge bath (I had to keep asking as the last time my pads had been changed was 3pm the previous day and I could feel myself bleeding away – yuk!); my night nurse to take blood for whatever reason; the attending to assess the c-situation and give the order remove the catheter, IV etc; my night nurse coming back again to remove everything;  the new shift  nurse who would be looking after us all that day; the pediatrician; the woman with my breakfast tray and of course housekeeping to take out the trash. That parade of people was all before 8am. All the while I am trying, unsuccessfully, to get my sleepy babies to latch on and I am counting down the minutes will arrive.

The pressure to get the babies to latch on and feed from me felt really intense. I seemed to spend the whole day pinned to the bed with whiny, hungry babies that needed to be latched on with such force that I started to panic that I would never be able to do this when we got home. The babies kept crying, and I was the only one with what they needed. Alex was being AWESOME and doing everything else (changing, soothing, swaddling, etc) but I couldn’t even get out of bed to the bathroom to pee when I needed to. My catheter had been removed at 7am and I was told I needed to pee within 6 hours. Coming up to hour five I hobbled out of bed (pain meds had worn off and I had been given nothing else other than a stool softener) and to my horror discovered I couldn’t pee even though my bladder was full and I was in so much discomfort.

We got my nurse back in, and she got me to take a Motrin (think strong Tylenol)  and we tried a few techniques to get me to pee but none of them worked so she re-catheterized me to empty my bladder and I was given strict instructions to pee every hour so that my bladder wouldn’t get too full again and forget how to work. Again this was an added stress as I had to haul my sawn-up body to the bathroom on nothing stronger than a Motrin. In hindesight I wish I’d asked for stronger meds on day two but the pushy breastfeeding nurse was quite adamant about seeing if I could manage on Motrin and I was overwhelmed and going with the flow.

By the end of the night I was pretty broken. Screamy hungry babies plus feeling like I’d been sawn in two (and only got two Motrin to see me through the day) I felt like a failure so I decided that the babies needed to sleep in the nursery over night and to have a formula feed. Alex was amazing, and supported this decision. I started to feel very teary about using formula but I just felt like if I continued breastfeeding I wouldn’t be able to start enjoying my babies and learning everything else that needed to be so I could care for them.

Day 3: Saved by an Asian Nurse with a Realistic Grasp on the Situation

Day 3 of course starts at midnight and the long 9 hour stretch of night time visitors and waiting on Alex to return. Just to recap that after major abominable surgery my last pain killer (Motrin – you know for period cramps) was at 7pm the previous night so you can imagine the mixed emotion to having to drag myself out of bed every few hours to pee to make sure that my bladder kept working (after a c-section you can’t get discharged unless you can still pee) and that at 5:30am the nurses wheeled in my girls for me to try to breastfeed. I could barely move yet I somehow managed to get both girls out of their plastic boxes for cuddles. I spied in the girls incubators that some bottles of formula had been left – a comfort blanket if ever their was one. Once Alex arrived we started feeding the girls together with formula and this huge depressing pressure lifted though I was still in an alarming amount of pain (plus my back started to spasm from where the zillion injections had gone) and that’s when the amazing Asian nurse stepped in.

At around 10am I had my third dose of Motrin, and it took the edge off the pain enough to drag my sorry stapled abdomen to the bathroom for a quick sponge bath, and to dress myself in my own clothes (huge psychological lift). The Asian Nurse followed up a few hours later, and suggested that I take the stronger pain meds so that Mummy Hung could function. And I did. And I could. They were strong (I took only a half dose for the day), and I felt a bit light headed for ten minutes or so, but I was suddenly able to move around more and even go for walks up and down the corridor.

Had my pain been managed more effectively on Day 2 things could have worked out differently but sometimes you just have roll with the punches…

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