Birth Story [part III – discharge]

[Cont from part I and part II]

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A Valentine’s Day to remember

P arrived in his new room right as we got there.  What we then came to discover was his “room” was really just a cube with a crib in it.  Worse still, was that Kyle and I were planning on staying the night.  We had one recliner chair.  And a borrowed rolling office chair from the nurse’s station.

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Try learning to latch and breast feed in that environment!  All the lactation consultants in the world couldn’t make this situation work.

So once again I revised my priorities.

From what I understood (although the step down was kinda vague), his ticket out of the hospital was dependent on his getting enough kcals from my milk.  Well, I’d been pumping for almost 3 days at that point and I was getting a decent amount per session, so my supply was definitely not the limiting factor.  Which meant I absolutely wasn’t going to let breastfeeding be what held us up.  New plan: slam P with my breast milk via the bottle.  I mean, latching was our problem area, so why deal with it in the hospital?  I’d much rather sort out that relationship in the comforts of our own home.

I made this pretty clear to the staff and aside from the first nurse we had, everyone was supportive and on board.  They were just as happy to send a healthy infant home as soon as possible.  So for the rest of that day and night and next day I pumped every two hours and then fed it to him with a bottle.  It was bittersweet seeing him chug down my milk.  On the one hand, I was thrilled I was able to produce enough and that he was getting the good stuff; but on the other hand, I was afraid of the whole “nipple confusion” thing.  I really wished I could breast feed my baby the way I imagined I would.  What if he got used to the ease of the nipple?  What if he never wanted to breast feed because of the OG tube that he had those first couple of days?  But like I said, getting home to work on it was my priority.  And I knew I was determined enough to make it work at home.  I wanted to breast feed so I would breast feed.

I met with a lactation consultant and she made me feel great.  She said if I was set on breast feeding at home, I’d be fine.  People who were determined definitely made it work.

This is not to say that I didn’t try breast feeding.  I tried it a few times actually – in both the NICU and the step down.  I had success once in the step down and it was the best thing ever.  EVER.  I was so happy.  It was the most amazing feeling in the world.  So it 100% reinforced my desire to make it work at home.

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Breast feeding trials

The rest of the experience in the step down was probably one of the worst times of my life.  With hormones aplenty and a freshly healing, but still very damaged (read: hot mess of a) body, the last thing I wanted to deal with was a sleepless night in a chair, with a public bathroom, and monitors beeping every second.  Kyle was a saint and took the swivel chair, giving me the recliner.  He stayed up most of the night “working” while I slept between feeding sessions.  I now understand why sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique.  It’s amazing what the lack of rest does to a person.  By the next morning I was feeling completely worn down.  I knew there was NO way I could do another night of that.  I was trying to be optimistic and realistic at the same time – preparing myself for another night, but desperately hoping the MDs would think P was stable enough to be discharged.

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All swaddled up

Again we were really really lucky that the NP and RN were on our side and shared our sentiments (acting as the patient advocate = world class staff).  It took all day but eventually we had the paperwork and we were cleared to go home.  Weeeee!!!!  This was the happiest moment of my life.

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Kyle & P in the hospital lobby

We got our crap all packed up, loaded P into the car seat and hit the road.

Part of the discharge criteria was that we had to go to outpatient care the next day to have his bilirubin levels drawn.  Since he was borderline at the time of discharge, they wanted to be sure he was okay.  Knowing pee and poop were the ways he rid his body of bilirubin, I continued to slam him with breast milk via the bottle that first night he was home and the rest of the day leading up to the appointment.  He had several massive BMs (black meconium turned to green turned to yellow) and peed quite a bit, so I was positive the bilirubin levels would be fine.

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Mom (with mega bags under her eyes) & P at home

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Proud grandparents

That first night was more awesome than anything else.  Sure, we were up a lot (both Kyle and I got up each time to tag team the activities).  Pump, bottle, clean pump, change diaper, rock to sleep, repeat.  And again.  And again.

My parents were staying with us, so they were in the nursery, which meant my dresser was a temporary changing table.  P slept in the pack ‘n play next to my side of the bed.

The next day I felt fine though.  Everyone kept asking me if I was exhausted, and maybe I was, but all I could think about was how crazy, over the moon, truly truly thrilled I was that our little family was home together.

The trauma of the hospital broke me down so much that as a result I felt like I could handle anything.  Everything.  Anything.  Bring it on.  I will conquer.  That’s really how I felt.

Our first outing (to the outpatient clinic a mere few blocks away) was supposed to be a simple blood draw.  An hour max, right?  Wrong.  But like I said, we were totally on top of it.  We had the diaper bag fully stocked and even though we were gone for over 3 hours – and included two diaper changes, one bottle feed, one breast feed, one outfit change, and a separate trip to the emergency room.  It was insane how things went down.  I’ll start with the silver lining: P had to latch.  So we did successfully breast feed.  Out in public, no less (in a private room though).

In this instance, the medical system kinda failed us though.  We were given the run around, sent from one office to another and wound up in the emergency room waiting room for a freakin’ blood draw.  The first place didn’t do blood draws.  The second place wanted to admit us (oh hell no).  And I was about to go bananas and sign out AMA (yes, I turned into THAT patient).  But seriously.  You’re making me wait with my 4 day old son, in a room with people in flu masks, and you think I’m not going to be pissed.  We found out later, we could have just gone to the phlebotomist.  Perfect.  But it makes for a good story I guess.  Even though I’m too lazy to vent it all out here.

We got home just in time for P’s first visitors (Alene, Ethel, & Jess).  And like I said, he latched and we breast fed, so I was pretty content.  Oh and that bottle I gave him while out and about – he hasn’t gotten a single one since.  Breast feeding all the way baby!

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The rest is history…not really (definitely more than I could ever continue to include in this post though).  We are a work in progress, but we have so much love between the three of us.  Our family is doing amazing.  I think the rough start did us a favor because after overcoming the insane obstacles of delivery…and the NICU…and the doctor’s appointments that ensued, I feel like we can take on ANYTHING.

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There’s actually more that I’m not sharing, but everything is great now, so I will probably never address it.  [Bottling things up inside to seem composed and calm on the outside = classic Elise move]

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Even though I would have been fine with a totally normal uneventful labor and delivery, my little guy clearly just wanted to create some buzz surrounding his arrival into the world.  Well congrats P.  You gave your mom quite a scare and I’ll probably never let you live it down.  But I’m even more deeply in love with him now (as if that’s even possible).  Same with Kyle.  Our family bond is so much stronger because of what we all went through.

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59 thoughts on “Birth Story [part III – discharge]

  1. Sally

    Thank you for sharing your story! What an eventful arrival and first days. He is so gorgeous and he looks very content. I’m glad the breastfeeding is now going well, it makes it so much easier if you can skip the bottle step.

    I hope you are loving these newborn days now you are all home, they zip past so quickly.

    Reply
  2. Jessica

    So lovely to hear the great news! You look amazing, so natural, as a Mom. Hope you’re all doing and feeling well :)

    Reply
  3. Angie

    So glad you’re doing we’ll and your able to breastfeed because you want to. We had problems at first too and I had to pump. It’s amazing when you get to bond in that way.

    Reply
  4. Brooke

    Thank you so much for sharing your birth story! Not only do I love reading about them, but they also go to show that every single mother and baby have their own unique story and it’s usually far from what the mother “planned”. I’m a big planner so I’m trying to prepare myself now that anything can and will happen when I have a baby, but I’m confident that no matter what happens, it will happen the way it was meant to. Like you said, the rocky start you and P went through has strengthened your family bond like nothing else could. So, it ended up being the perfect way for P to come into this world. Thanks again for sharing and you and your baby look so content and healthy…and to think this is just the beginning :-)

    Reply
  5. Izabela (yoginiselfportrayal.wordpress.com)

    Elise, big congratulation first of all. Thank you for sharing your story, it’s truly amazing how strong we get in situation like that. I am sure that from now on everything will go smooth and you and your family will feel great. Happy motherhood!!!

    Reply
  6. Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries

    What an adorable little family you three are! Although reading your story made me a little anxious with our little one due in a few weeks, I’m SO glad to hear everything worked out and that you all are home safe and sound. :) Congratulations again on your new little man! He’s gorgeous!

    Reply
  7. Abby

    That first picture of just you and P and attempts to breast feed? Priceless. So priceless?

    Also, the title of this post–”discharge”–conjured up something other than you being released from the hospital. I guess it can work either way ;)

    So glad things are settling in and you’re figuring out your new routine. You have the most adorable little family, and I look forward to more pictures of your bouncing baby boy!

    Reply
    1. Elise Post author

      its one of my favorite photos. it brings back the good emotions from the step down.
      i was wondering if discharge was a bad call bc im used to it referring to sending peeps home, but i know im in the minority probably. ha.
      im trying not to be obnoxious with the pics, because im obsessed w my boy!!

      Reply
  8. Jessie

    Oh goodness, girl! What a story! I’ve been waiting until the last installment to comment but man, you are a trooper. What would be stressful for any mom is made 100x worse with the post-partum hormones. Thank goodness all is well and breastfeeding is going great. I’m so happy for you guys!

    We had a 3am visit to the emergency room when Lyric was 3 days old and god, I never want to do that again. Those waiting rooms!! Ugh.

    Reply
    1. Elise Post author

      yikes. whats w the emergency room visits w newborns??? i was so annoyed. sorry you had to deal w it too :(
      motherhood is a wild ride huh?

      Reply
  9. Jessica

    Yay, the part of the story I have been waiting for!!! He is so beautiful and you both just look so happy, it thrills my heart. You three are all such fighters. I’m so pleased he took to the breastfeeding, great news!
    I’m counting my way through contractions right now in the middle of the night, can’t sleep or even lie down cos they hurt too much!! Your blog is a welcome distraction, thanks Elise!

    Reply
  10. The Valley Vegan

    The emotions involving a birth & new baby are so complicated, no need to share. :) just glad you’re all home together, nursing is going well, and that you can see how the 1+1=3 equation truly works out.

    Wish if had the same “love” factor when my son was born, so I am living vicariously through you. As I said, my new hubby & I will never have this experience together, so thank you for sharing.

    I’ll be off the grid for a week, but thinking of you & sending you all kinds of positive nursing vibes! I remember being such an old hat at it that I would nurse right in the middle of a public place no problem. I hope you can experience that kind of freedom, too!!

    xo
    Lisa

    Reply
  11. Kate

    Love, love, love. What an adventure you’ve been on already! So happy the breastfeeding has worked out for you both. You look just radiant with him. :)

    Reply
  12. Caitlin F.

    What an absolutely beautiful baby! Thanks for sharing your story. I’m so happy for your sweet family.

    Reply
  13. carol

    What absolutely beautiful pictures of your absolutely beautiful son. You and Kyle are blessed and indeed P is. Enjoy all the moments.

    Reply
  14. Lara

    You’re right–you CAN do anything! It’s stories like this that make me realize that if someone REALLY wants to breastfeed, they can. You are amazing. Am I reading this right, that P was in the NICU and didn’t have to have any formula? I know you addressed it in part 2 but I wasn’t entirely sure. Either way I am so so proud of your persistence with pumping every two hours, etc. You’re a superhero. And sleeping in that chair…OMG. I love that this story has a happy ending.

    Honestly, I have not yet met one person who had the perfect birth they imagined. And I was lucky to have a pretty great one, and I still have a few unresolved feelings. I think given your situation it’s totally normal and OK to have some pent-up feelings about your experience, and you will deal with it in your own time in your own way. And that’s just perfect.

    Beautiful boy. Beautiful family!

    Reply
    1. Elise Post author

      thank you lara! its a life changing thing, isnt it?
      in the end, he got like 3 ccs total of formula. barely anything. :)

      Reply
  15. Sarah C

    Congratulations! I’m glad everything is worked out, that you’re all home, and that breastfeeding is going well. No one has a perfect delivery, or a perfect start to the parenting or feeding or whatever, but ending up with a happy family and a healthy kid are all that matter in the end. You all look like you’re doing great, and you’re right – you can do anything now that you’ve gone through this!

    Reply
  16. amanda d

    Thank you for sharing all of this, I imagine it was difficult to write out! So thankful you are all home, well and together!

    Reply
  17. Sarah Crowder (punctuated with food)

    Thank you for sharing P’s birth story! I have a one-year-old and I STILL love reading them. I’m so glad P is healthy and that he is breastfeeding well. That photo of the two of you near the top is priceless.

    Also, I know what you mean about not sharing it all. I never fully wrote Z’s birth story because it was just too painful. Too many happy things to focus on to dwell on the awful details of the past…

    Reply
    1. Elise Post author

      theres definitely something about hearing others’ birth stories that piques once youve gone through it yourself. im all about then now, whereas before i didnt quite appreciate them the same way.
      i know what you mean about focusing on the positive now that youve gotten through the painful stuff. its a weird mix of emotions, huh?

      Reply
  18. ashleigh

    so glad you shared your birth story with us and even happier that everyone is now safe and sound. you are one strong woman! p is such a handome lil guy! :)

    Reply
  19. Katie

    It’s amazing how a difficult and scary situation can make a family buck up and pull together, isn’t it? So grateful it all turned out well! <3

    Reply
  20. Emily

    Thank you so much for sharing this story with us- I can’t even imagine how difficult it must have been to recall all of the details. But, it’s an absolute joy to see that the story has such a happy ending (and beginning!)
    Your family is gorgeous and I’m SO excited to see what the future holds for the three of you. (:

    Reply
  21. Lou

    Oh this makes me SO happy (not all the annoying run-around stuff that happened, but the fact that you guys are HOME and HAPPY!)

    I agree – If you are determined, breastfeeding WILL happen – I success, just not as long as I had planned, but oh well – SOME BFing is better than NONE, am I right? Also these babes are pretty onto it – Misty BF AND chugged from the bottle which turned out to be a blessing in itself – pumping meant that Viper could take one of the night-feeding shifts while I got extra zzzzz (!)

    Yay! You guys are the sweetest little family :)

    Reply
  22. Siobhán

    What an amazing story it must have been so tough to remember, write and share (esp with strangers like me), you really are the epitome of a mom, your natural instincts clearly are protecting both you and your amazing son. Some people would have let it all colour their experience in a negative way but you saying you know now you can take on anything, is such a powerful lesson ,you felt the fear and did it anyway, nothing can stop you now (singin Starhip…). Cherish it all, the good and not so, you’ve given expecting mums a gift too, the knowledge and comfort that they too can do whatever is needed, something you don’t read in the books. Relish your new roles as a mummy and daddy you’re living your dream x

    Reply
  23. Monique

    Thank you for your honesty in sharing your story. I hope to be a mom one day and I love reading these sort of stories, especially when the less ideal parts aren’t glossed over. I’m happy you three are healthy and happy :)

    PS – cannot stop making your seitan recipe. It saved me money at first, but with the frequency I’m making it, I’m pretty sure you now owe me money :). Our diets are eerily similar… Most of your meals look EXACTLY like mine!

    Reply
  24. Lani

    Congratulations! I’m so relieved all is well now. You did so amazingly and your story is inspiring. Thanks for sharing, Elise.

    Reply
  25. Michelle

    Elise, you are seriously a superwoman… As a nurse myself… It’s so hard to hear about healthcare providers who aren’t being the supportive patient advocate especially during this exciting/scary time during a persons life… But so joyous to hear that all is well and you are soaking in your beautiful little man… Congratulations!!

    All the best,
    A longtime reader!

    Reply
  26. Susan Young

    There isn’t a mother alive who could not relate to this story at some level. Tears are dribbling down my 57-year-old face empathizing with your Mother Bear love for P: Don’t mess with my baby. It’s definitely time for you to nest at home.

    Reply
  27. Colleen Grossner

    Congrats Elise (and your boys!)!! Loved hearing your story. I wish my births were so well chronicled! So happy your nursing successfully and your boy is totally gorgeous!!! With such a bumpy start (to put it mildly), you’re right — you can take on the world, just like you seem to do already, with your awesome blog! …here is a post mentioning you as one of my favorite blogs! Thanks for all that you do! I’m sure you are a super-duper mom, the way you are in the rest of your life :) Happy weekend (though on maternity leave — it’s all just a blur of a weekend :) !! http://fresh-you.blogspot.com/2013/03/5-fabulous-ladies-and-their-5-rockin.html

    Reply
  28. Siobhan

    I just came across your blog as I’m a vegetarian and found your birth story. The same thing happened to my daughter almost three years ago. Doctors don’t know if it was meconium aspiration, pneumonia or what, but she was in the NICU for 10 days and it was the worst time of my life. I know many people have it so much worse but I felt like I was robbed of a “normal” childbirth experience. No bringing my baby back to my room, no nursing, no bringing baby home. It was awful. I ended up pumping a year because she never latched due to her breathing problems (I had the same internal dilemma of formula v. nursing/breastmilk – and my number one goal was to get her out of there) I still have trouble thinking about it but it does get better. I’m due with my second in September and I’m really hoping to have the birth experienced I missed the first time. I’m also hoping to nurse exclusively. Only time will tell.

    Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story and know your feelings are completely normal and you aren’t alone.

    Reply
  29. Patti at Worth The Whisk

    I have been soaking up every word of your experience. So happy your loving family of three is rested, breast feeding, bonding. Shall we pick a night soon for us to visit? We’ll bring the dinner!

    Reply
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