Each day I was in the hospital was almost like a blur. I remember people being
there but it was just all surreal. Days and nights went by and I had no idea
what time it was and I remember one thinking we moved rooms because I thought
our room looked different the day before. Everything was so great the first
night in the hospital. I was fed food and some of it actually wasn't too bad,
had visitors, and so far the nurses were so nice and helpful. Breastfeeding
wasn't all of the horrors that I thought it would be. I read books about how you
would be extremely sore, the baby would have trouble latching on...everything
was peaceful and perfect. We were still mulling over what to call our son - we
had decided on Andrew Clayton Roy but Andrew didn't sound right and sounded
funny calling him that for some reason. A nurse came in and we even talked to
her about it...well, this is where freedoms were not taken as seriously.
We were very specific on what we wanted for our son. We didn't want him to get a bath at first and we didn't want any tests done on him (my insurance sucks, they were un needed (to us), and we didn't have a bunch of money to spend on tests that we thought were unnecessary). Well, the night nurse the first night we were in was super nice and we talked to her for a while telling her about how we didn't really want any tests done on him. Well, they took our son around 3 a.m. for the nightly check ups that they do. When he came back (and I fed him) we noticed a prick on his foot. We asked the nurse what happened. She told us that she asked us if they could do a blood test on him and we said, "ok". Now, remember it was about 4 a.m. by the time they brought Clayton back, so very sleepily I said - was it dark outside when you asked this? and she said it was. Now, I'm ok that they did a blood test that he had to have anyways BUT he is my child and 3 a.m. is not a good time to take a parents word that they could do something. There are many times at 3 a.m. my husband asks me something and I answer him something completely opposite to what I would normally say. It is just another way hospitals should really cater to the parents. Also, why do hospitals test babies in the middle of the night?! I'm awake during the day....not at night. Couldn't they do this in the daytime?! It can be early morning but everynight they come in and out in and out. There is no rest. That would be fine if I had a baby the old fashioned way but I just had major surgery and was dead from exhaustion.

The next night we had a meeeaaaaaannnnn nurse. You could tell she was counting the minutes until she could go. She barely talked to us and when she did she was not very nice about it. Anyways - remember how I said my days were nights and nights were days? I was a hot mess, my husband was a hot mess, and Clayton was adjusting to life outside the womb. Our only goal was to feed Clayton and sleep. We didn't turn on our t.v. in the room once the entire 5 days we were in the hospital. If you have ever been in a hospital you know that they give you this blue sheet where you mark the baby's bowel movements, wet diapers, and when you feed. Well, I guess I forgot to fill one in. This nurse came in, looked at my sheet, and at 2 a.m. yes 2 a.m. while I was asleep started screaming at me. She scared the crap out of me. I was in the dead of sleep. She was telling me how I was not taking care of my son, how he is going to die of brain damage, and that this is not allowed. She told me I wasn't allowed to wait 8 hours in between feedings... uh.... DUH! I am a new mommy completely in love with my baby boy....is my #1 goal to starve my child?! NO! She didn't even think for one second that maybe..just maybe... I forgot to log it because it was late when I fed him and sleep was more important than writing on that stupid blue sheet. Now, there are two kinds of parents and neither are wrong in what they do. One feeds on a schedule the other feeds on demand. I feed on demand. It just so happens that he ate every 2 1/2 hours on the dot. I didn't starve my son - he was laying next to me because I fed him and while he ate I fell asleep. He was safe, well fed, and happily sleeping. When a baby is hungry they will let you know until you feed them. Heck, they will let the whole floor of the hospital wing know!

On the 3rd day Clayton and I were released to go home from the hospital but I am still barely functional from all of the painkillers that they had me on. I was loopy, talking was like a P90X exercise video, and I still had no clue where I was - I just focused on eating, sleeping, and nursing. I wasn't ready to go home. Stupid me. I should have left. Clayton had a circumcision that day and was fine while he was sleeping but when he woke up he was in a lot of pain. He didn't want to eat. Which a few of our close friends made a point... if someone cut part of your manhood off would you want to eat a steak dinner after?! (It was a guy who came up with that lol I would have never thought of it.) So, I fed him the best I could. The next day I was ready to go but Clayton was not allowed to go. He was 2 grams underweight from where he should be. 2 grams. Do you know how small that  is?! I know they have certain perameters to follow and I completely understand but it was just ridiculous and made our hospital experience so much harder. Because he was underweight they told me he has to be up to weight or I would be discharged and he would have to stay in the hospital until he was up to the weight he was supposed to be at. Randy and I were so stressed out. Breastfeeding wasn't as nurturing because I constantly was worrying, "Did he eat enough?" "Am I producing enough?" "How will I be able to stay at the hospital if I am discharged to take care of my son while also trying to recover from surgery?" I know it seems small (and it is in retrospect) but I was freaking out, which didn't help my breast milk supply, nerves, or rest. We ended up supplemental feeding him organic formula with a syringe, which I will admit did give me a little peace of mind - I knew he was getting 12 milimeters extra each time I fed him but I knew deep down that when we went home this would have negative effects. I would not have the supply when we got home but I was rushed and would worry about this later. Then came the problem. After a couple supplemental feedings his tongue was in the shape of the syringe. He rejected my breast. He didn't want anything to do it. Our bliss of mother son nursing was gone. It took me, each time I nursed him, 45 minutes EACH time for him to latch on, which on top of everything else that was going on was pure torture. I am frustrated. Many time I just wanted to give up on breast feeding and give him what he wanted. Each time I had to coach myself and remind myself of the first 2 days - how sweet nursing was how much he DID want me. Every 2 1/2 hours it was the same routine.

All I wanted at this point was to get his weight up to the hospital's standard, so I could get out of there, go home, and get my son to love my breast again.

Overall, everything I planned went down the tubes. Am I happy that I went to the hospital? No. Will I do everything in my power to never go again? Yes. Do I like hospitals? Yes, for the fact that they can save people who are dying. If my baby needed the NICU it is there for him - that is beyond comforting. But, honestly now that I have gone to the hospital I know that it is not for me. Deep down, in the beginning of my pregnancy, I wanted the hospital period. I wanted the peace of mind knowing my baby would be safe; that I would be safe. But, after reading Ina May's books my confidence in the body that God created grew. I knew I could do this is all of the other thousands of women could do it. I just had to trust my body to know that it knew what to do automatically. Next time, I will trust my body and not rush anything. I learned my lesson.

Please don't think I am putting hospitals down because I am not. Not all of the nurses were mean and didn't listen just some. Not all of the situations were bad just some. I just know if I was home I would have been 100% happy. At a hospital I wasn't happy - it just wasn't for me. There are some babies that are born prematurely that NEED a hospital. Some babies are born blue and NEED a hospital. I had  a healthy 8 lb 6.5 oz baby who didn't need a lot of what they gave him. All he needed was me and to be home.

We got home and it was SO much better. I started using a nipple shield to help him latch on better (WHAT A LIFE SAVER!!!) and we were doing so much better. Of course I was in pain from my c-section and exhausted from being up and surgery.

After a week, guess what? Yep, I was heading back to the hospital. The right side of my incision was infected. They prescribed me antibiotics that were safe to breastfeed with and sent me on my way. (It was too bad just oozy and smelled bad)

4 weeks after that is when it got reealll fun. I started to have flu like symptoms but no flu. I would have extreme chills, achy all over my body, bones were brittle feeling. I felt like I was dying but I was stubborn. I wasn't taking pain killers for my c-section anymore and thankfully I had some Ibuprofen left over. I took it and like clockwork 30 minutes before my next dose the flu like symptoms were back. Then it got really bad. I started to have a hard growth on the left side of my incision. After a week I went back to the hospital. When I got there my left side had a mass the size of a small kids football. It was HUGE! and it hurt. I had the most amount of antibiotics I have ever had in my life. It was so much that it hurt to be given each dose through the IV. Even after the first dose, though, I felt so much better. I didn't need the Ibuprofen anymore. I had a CAT Scan, Clayton was fed the most amount of breastmilk I could give him through pumping and then formula the rest of the day. (The fluid they flush through your body is radioactive...bad for baby) Once the scans came back I found out that I was ok and that the antibiotics would be enough. I was relieved that I wouldn't have to have surgery again. I went home, finished the antibiotics, and prayed that nothing else would happen with my surgery anymore. I wanted to be normal!

So, this is it. This is why I call it an experience. My labor was very long and intensive. Would I do it again if I had to, to have a healthy baby? Heck yes.

I did learn something from this though. When I first went into labor I said I was not able to handle pain; that I was a wimp. I learned that I am not a wimp. I am a warrior and can do anything that I set my heart and mind to. Every hurdle was thrown my way but I stuck to it. Clayton is now 5 1/2 months old, he is healthy, I am healthy and losing weight, and he is breastfeeding perfectly. We are one happy family and learned that together we can get through any storm.

:) Lauren

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