An Old Baby Story (Part 5)

I started pushing I think around 6:30 or 7 AM. Phoebe Katharine Wilson was born at 7:36 AM on October 6, 2000. She was 7 lbs. 1/2 oz and 20 1/2 inches long. Did I mention she was 4 weeks early? Thank God!

She seemed to be breathing OK but she had some lung immaturity. There were lots of doctors all around her working on her. I got to hold her once before she was whisked away to the NICU. Tom went with her. We discussed that before hand. She had a full head of black hair, just as I expected. There were lots of tears.

BTW, they never seem to tell you about having to push out the placenta in the birthing classes. What's up with that? It freaked me out when the doctor told me I had to push again after she was born. I was completely unprepared. I grabbed Nicki's hand (SIL) and she was forced to sit down. She told me she almost got sick. That is the part of the story where she wished she wasn't there. Sorry, Nicki. Tom was watching Phoebe with the doctors on the side of the room while they were getting her ready to go to the NICU.

Phoebe was on a respirator for the first 24 hours. It broke my heart. We have lots of pictures of her in the NICU, but none on the respirator. I just don't want to remember her that way. We also if you noticed didn't get to breastfeed when she was first born. But I'll tell you it didn't get in the way of a successful nursing relationship. We did it exclusively for 7 months before she ever had even a drop of formula (not that there's anything wrong with that!). She also never had a naval stump that had to fall off, because the doctors used her naval to put a central line in. It might not be the right terminology, but she was fed through there for a few days.

After Phoebe and Tom went to the NICU, they let me sleep in L&D and have lunch there, too. Apparently they didn't need the room that badly at the time. I think they felt a little sorry for me too, not getting to be wheeled up to Maternity with my baby.

I slept in Maternity for the good part of the day. I felt like shit for lack of a better word. I had broken capillaries all around my eyes from pushing. Before dinner, Tom came and took me down to see Phoebe. I tried to walk there, but I didn't get too far and needed a wheelchair. That was the only time I saw her on the respirator. By the next morning, she was breathing on her own. They had given her surfactant to finish the lung maturation process and it worked great. She had some chest XRays that day to look at the mass on her right lung and it was still there. We stayed with her for a long time, and then I went to bed.

I woke up the next morning starving. I wake up around 6 AM no matter what. Breakfast didn't come until 8:30 - 9:00 AM! Are these people crazy! I asked the nurses and they found me some graham crackers and apple juice. Then I walked down to see my baby. She was on oxygen at the time, but looked much better. She had tubes and wires all over monitoring her. She was also the biggest baby in the NICU. Nurses and doctors kept asking me if I miscalculated my dates. When I mentioned the date, time, and doctor that did my IUI they understood I knew what I was talking about.

So Phoebe was at this hospital for the first 6 days of her life. I pumped while instructed by the nurses in Maternity. It made my nipples crack, because they put it on full force and told me if I couldn't handle that I wouldn't be able to handle a baby eating. That was so not true. Phoebe never hurt me like that. Met a great lactation consultant. She helped me immensely. Showed me how to really use the pump and rented me my own for home use while she was in the hospital. We spent every day at the hospital. We were able to sleep at the hospital too, since I was able to nurse, they had nice rooms for me to sleep in down the hall of the NICU. There was a bed, TV and a phone for the NICU to call me if she woke up hungry in the middle of the night. Funny thing was they never needed it. I kept waking up in the middle of the night, I'd go down the hall to check on her, and she'd wake up hungry about 20 minutes later while I was watching her.

So the first six days were uneventful. Every now and then the monitors would go off, but we learned to turn them off, as she was OK. The surgeons from the other hospital never came by until day 6..... That's a story in itself.


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