So it’s past midnight; I’m groggy, my cheeks are tear-stained, eyes swollen, pain meds starting to wear off, and I get wheeled to my room. Ummmmm, are you sure this isn’t a closet?
I swear there was the single bed for me, and about 2 inches away, one of those vinyl fold out chairs for my husband, bathroom straight back. Just enough space for 1 person to walk in without tripping over my IV. Anyway, a nurse comes in and starts doing paperwork. I can barely keep my eyes open, can’t this wait until tomorrow? Apparently not. Literally, it’s over an hour later and I’m getting aggravated. If that wasn’t bad enough, another nurse comes in with these inflatable things for my legs. Huh? Apparently they’re to ensure circulation so you don’t develop a blood clot because of the c-section. Lucky me!
So I have an issue with light and noise when I sleep. I can handle white noise, but cannot when sounding like 2 pool motors turning on and off EVERY TWO MINUTES. It was bad enough you can hear all the hospital noise, the paging, the nurses coming in and out of the room, your husband snoring next to you…. I was completely wide awake until someone came in around 6am. I was crying because all I wanted to do was SLEEP FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS. The nurse pitied me, I think, and swore me to secrecy (as DR. Doom wouldn’t be back until 9am for rounds), and turned off those noisemakers so I could finally rest.
I’m sure I didn’t get any deep sleep, but I was thankful for my empathetic nurse, who was a savior of sorts. I think an intern came in at some point to check on me and I know I was delirious, and quite possibly incoherent. My Dr. came in for rounds, I complained about the leg inflatable thingees, to which he sneered was necessary to prevent clots (why does no one tell you any of this stuff ahead of time?)
I was trying to breastfeed as well, which no one can really prepare you for. It’s like an internal pulling feeling on the inside of your nipple, and if the baby’s mouth is not positioned correctly, can hurt like H***! Another tip I didn’t know ahead of time, was that it’s not just the nipple that goes in the baby’s mouth, but as much of the areola (the red/brown part around your actual nipple) as possible. You feed your baby colostrum (it’s like this yellow pre-milk) and it usually takes 3-4 days from birth for you real milk to come in. And you will know when that happens, because your breasts will increase even more in size, and feel like they are ready to burst will fullness. All I can say, is if you have a lot of milk, pump and freeze as much as you can in the beginning. Once your supply regulates (I think after a few weeks), your supply will not be as abundant (at least mine wasn’t). Your nipples will get chaffed (hello lanolin), possibly crack/split, and there is a chance for mastitis at some point. It means you have a clogged milk duct and OMG it is painful. It is super important to empty your breasts during feedings/pumping – if you feel pain anywhere, massage it out before it gets worse.
Sorry above was a slight digression, but necessary. Had some visitors (have no idea how anyone fit in that room), more checks with doctors, nurses, etc. I was anxious to go home, start my new chapter with baby. When you have a c-section, there are three physical tests you must pass to be able to go home, go pee, pass gas, and pass a bowel movement. Now you think, how could that be challenging, I do that all the time? Just wait… You have a catheter so if you’re anything like me, I have residual irritation (basically I can feel where the catheter was and I was actually fearing it being painful to pee). Needless to say, I think you have to pee within 24 hours otherwise they threaten to catheterize you again.
2 days later, tests all passed, ready to bring my baby home. I’m showered, walking around well at this point, but they make you sit in a wheelchair. Took everything not bolted to the floor with us (newborn diapers, snot-sucker, pads for me, etc.) and made our first trip home. I sat in back the whole time, trying to shove that newborn paci in her mouth, while holding my boobs to prevent the leaks while she wailed. So grateful to get home and start the next chapter, with my precious girl.