I won’t bore you with a rehash of labor and delivery, but if you are unfamiliar or just want a refresher of the gory details click here.
Anyway, so she came flying into the world (seriously, I only pushed for 30 minutes!), was placed onto my belly, and the tears began. She was perfect… ten little toes, ten little fingers, and a full head of dark hair! Umm wait a second… dark hair…? My hair (with age) is now a dark blond (really light as a child) and my husband has brownish/blondish/red tinged hair/facial hair. No this is not the start of a Springer episode… but it did make us wonder who has dark hair… my dad and his dad… ok, not the mail mans kid then! (Which although I joked about that with my husband, our mail carrier is female so that would have been an interesting episode of Springer!)
Monkey (the chosen nickname) was taken from me to be weighed while they stitched me up and did the rest of the after birth stuff. My husband took pictures and doted over his little girl when the nurse made mention that she was breathing fast… ummm, ok, what does that mean? They called for a pediatric consult, but while we were waiting her breathing slowed and they decided that she was fine and gave her to us to hold. Once I was able to be transferred, they took us off to postpartum and we settled into our room. A nurse came in to take Monkey to have her first bath, complete the routine genetic testing (foot prick and blood collection done at every birth in our State), and to give her the first of her Hepatitis B vaccine.
The nurse came back shortly without Monkey to tell us that she was breathing fast and they called her pediatrician to see what tests needed to be run. She could not come back to our room and I could not feed her until the doctor said so. Wait… what?! By now it’s getting late and we were hoping to settle down for the night with our new baby… now she is sick? We went to the nursery to see her and even though through my job I have seen many babies hooked to monitors, it was scary. This was my sweet, little baby who was not even a day old and she was attached to monitors that every time she cried her alarms went off (due to a jump in her respiration). My husband stayed for a short time but excused himself because he was tired (and, I think, because he couldn’t fix it and it was hard for him). I stayed with her until 3am and was able to do skin to skin contact. When she was on me her breathing was fine, but as soon as I put her down for the nurse to do her vitals, it went right back up again. Her lab results were coming back with conflicting results. One tests implied infection while the other said that was not the case. She had some fluid in her lungs at birth, which may have been associated to me only pushing for 30 minutes, and the nursing staff indicated that this maybe the cause for the conflicting tests. The nurse told me that the fluid in her lungs may have caused her body to stress and as a result her body created immature white blood cells to fix the problem. This then mimicked an infection. Her pediatrician ordered additional tests and wanted a chest x-ray. The nurse told me to go to bed and try to get some sleep. They would come and tell me the results.
My nurse came into my room and brought me a pump to start pumping as Monkey could not feed due to the respiratory issue. They were concerned that she would aspirate during feeding and cause other problems. While my nurse was getting me situated, the nursery nurse called and asked me what formula I wanted to feed her! I told my nurse that I had no idea because I had not wanted her to have formula. My nurse explained that Monkey’s glucose was low and they wanted her to eat something… I just told them to give them whatever they felt was best.
I was devastated… This was so not turning out how I thought it would…
Because I had not started feeding right away, my milk was slow to come in. We had to supplement with formula for almost a week, but that was once I was allowed to feed her. I pumped every three hours over night and got nothing. I kept going because I was going to be able to feed her. I refused to have to turn to formula (to me why paid for something if you do not need to).
The following morning they told us that the chest x-ray showed fluid on her lungs so they suctioned it off. The lab results were still confusing as the initial mature white blood cells were elevated, but in the second test they were normal and the immature white blood cells were elevated. The doctor had asked for a culture to see if there was an infection; however, it would take 48 hours to come back… we had to be discharged in 24… I was going to have to lave the hospital without my baby! I was devastated. The nursing staff said that she had been diagnosed with Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn, a form of respiratory distress caused by excess fluid on the lungs that does not resolve during the infants transition period (time span after birth when their bodies adjust to being outside the womb).
My husband went into work for a few hours that day, leaving me to sit with Monkey in the nursery. My Mother-in-Law come down for a visit and I felt so bad because all I could do was show her Monkey through a glass window. They still would not allow her to be in the room with us except for feeding her, which I was now allowed to do. I had to use a nipple shield to help her latch, so I would squirt the formula into the shield to get her to latch and then my husband would use a curved syringe to squirt a bit or formula into her mouth as she nursed so that she would associate eating with my nipple and not a bottle.
She was doing well and her breathing had been regular since that morning.
The following morning she was brought into us so that I could feed her. After she was done they took her back to the nursery and I met with a representative from the blood cord donation company. They finished up with me and my husband came walking in with monkey. They had decided she could stay with us now and also go home! We just had to follow-up with her pediatrician the following day.
We did just that and he said she was perfectly healthy! Talk about a happy ending for this mummy!
All in all we we’re lucky. Monkey had some issues out of the gate; we were stressed and upset, but they resolved. But this did start the long list of little things that did not go to plan, and I am a planner! Because of this experience, Monkey had formula, something I never wanted to happen. She also wore disposable diapers, another thing I did not want. She did not get her first “fluffy bum” (AKA a cloth diaper) until we were dressing her to leave the hospital. Now that was our choice (to a certain extent) because she was not in our room and I was worried that the diapers would get lost. But still, I had to learn quickly that with Monkey, there would be no sticking to the plan… it was going to be fly by the seat of your pants!