Read the first part here.
So there I was, chilling in Recovery, right after the C-section. I had to hang out there for an hour so they could observe me and make sure, I don't know, that I didn't spontaneously combust or something. At some point, Adam came back... without baby. Uh oh, I knew exactly what this meant.
"He's in the NICU," Adam said.
One problem with delivering a baby before 40 weeks, particularly with white males, is an increased risk of the baby having immature lungs. Poor Baby D was having to work too hard to breathe, so he had been put on CPAP, which is a little device that helps inflate the lungs a little so the patient can breathe easier. I was very relieved to hear, though, that his blood sugar was just fine, which was supposedly the thing that landed Oscar in the NICU.
Eventually (8 hours later due to C-section protocol), I got to see the little guy! I couldn't pick him up because of all the machinery attached to him, so I just rubbed his feet and stroked his hands. That first day postpartum was spent walking back and forth between my room and the NICU, enjoying some cable television (a rare treat for the DD family), and pumping milk. Since I was still breastfeeding Oscar, I produced awesome amounts of colostrum right from the start!
One thing that surprised me was how much better I felt immediately after delivery. It was impossible to notice during pregnancy, because it came on so gradually, but I was sick those last few weeks. You know that when you are creeping down the hospital hall after major abdominal surgery, in massive amounts of pain, and you still think, "Whoa, I feel SO much better!" that there was something seriously wrong. As soon as Baby D was born, my blood pressure went back to a healthy level, and everything else recovered at a textbook rate-- we definitely made the right choice to deliver when we did!
I have to stop here and rave (in a good way) about the staff at this birthing center. I can't tell you enough how polar opposite it was from the hospital we had Oscar at in Oklahoma, and it made all the difference. Everyone was super nice and supportive, and it seemed that all the staff were very knowledgeable about lactation. I had to beg and bother for a pump until someone decided to bring one by 18 hours after Oscar was born, but this time around, the nurses were practically shoving a pump in my face as soon as I got out of recovery. A lactation consultant visited me every day before I was discharged, and no one in the NICU ever dropped the f-word (that would be "formula". What did you think I meant? ;-P ). Several of my nurses were full of good ideas on how to relieve the engorgement, and several of them also mentioned that they had read my birth plan and they were sorry I didn't get a VBAC-- I thought it was really sweet that they had taken the time to read it.
And the NICU staff... oh my word. SO MUCH BETTER than Oklahoma's. In a way, it was nice to go through the NICU experience again, because this one brought a lot of healing and closure, I think. The nurses were super helpful and gentle with Baby D 2 (no yanking out chunks of hair this time, grrrr). The neonatalogists took the time to explain things to Adam and me and talk things over, instead of issuing doomsday proclamations and trying to bully us.
Oh, and the feeding thing? If you've read Oscar birth story, you may recall that we had a real issue with the NICU's stringent and counterproductive feeding schedule. The NICU in Virginia was a lot more reasonable. They had the set 3-hour feeding times, but their approach was that he could eat as much or as little as he liked at those times, and if he was too sleepy to eat much then, they'd just feed him later as he got hungry. They had a little chart where they'd record how much or how long he ate in any given hour, so they could see his pattern over the course of the day. Thank you, common sense!
So I'm sure you're all dying to know what name we chose for Baby D 2.0. After he was born, we thought, Hey, we'll just gaze at him and see what kind of a name he looks like! Unfortunately, this approach is kind of problematic when your child looks like this:
There was not much of a face to see! Adam and I went round and round with name ideas, but nothing seemed to stick. We've always thought "Al" was a really cute name, but couldn't agree on what the long form should be. I had fallen in love with a name several weeks ago, but Adam wasn't completely sold on it; but three days into the hospital stay, with the discharge day looming, we needed to submit that birth certificate. So we made the agreement to use my name this time, and next time, Adam can have the 51% vote. :-D
Friday, four days after Allen was born, he was finally breathing well enough on his own to breastfeed! Just like Oscar, he latched on right away and nursed like a champ.Things were looking up, and everyone was saying he'd be heading home on Sunday!
Sunday morning, I called the hospital (by this time, I was discharged and at home) and found out that no, Al would not be coming home on Sunday-- or Monday, for that matter. Overnight, his bilirubin levels had spiked and his weight had dropped, so they wanted to observe a reversal of those trends for at least two consecutive days.
I can't tell you how thankful I was to only be a three-minute drive away! Al was finally released on Tuesday, eight days after he was born. Oscar is totally in love with him.
And how can you not be, with a face like that?