Thursday, April 30, 2015

Nursery or no nursery? That is the question.

As a first time mother, I was thrilled to find out the hospital I was giving birth in kept babies in the rooms with mothers unless for some reason they had to go to the NICU. Thinking about this gave me comfort. I would have my son with me and nobody could take him away from me. When my family visited me, he would be there with me to meet them. When he cried, I would be there to comfort him.

I would be able to observe the care he received at all times. I would be able to feed him when he was hungry and bathe him when he needed it. My husband and I were so excited to share our private suite with him.

It was theory.

In practice it was a trying experience.

On December 19, I woke up at 3am when my water broke. I ran to the bathroom, screamed to my husband that it was not a drill and executed our very well thought out route to the hospital. By 5:30am my doctor and I agreed that I needed to have a c-section and by 6:30am I had my perfect son Ryan in my arms. 

After they sewed me up and brought me to recovery, I found out that seven other women gave birth that morning and there were no private rooms. I was disappointed, not because I had to share a room with someone, but because my husband wasn't allowed to stay with me in a semi-private room. Regardless, they brought be the baby in recovery and we began our breastfeeding journey together.

We had an amazing day. Other than a half hour of nausea I was doing great and so was Ryan. We had a ton of visitors who got to hold him and play with him. He was doing a great job with latching on, though I wasn't really producing a ton of milk.

Everything was great, that is, until 11pm when my husband had to go home. My adrenaline was running low at this point. I hadn't had anything to eat at all and I hadn't slept in 20 hours and the pain was starting to kick in. The nurse stopped in to tell me that they could take the catheter out but if they did I would have to urinate in five hours or they'd put it back in.

I could barely get out of bed at this point, but Ryan was crying every half hour or so and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't position myself so that I could reach into the cradle to get him; rather I had to get in and out of bed every time I had to pick him up or put him down. He was clearly hungry but I wasn't producing very much milk. I was exhausted and desperate. I buzzed the nurse to see if there's anything they could recommend and she asked me if I wanted to give him formula. Every fiber of my being wanted to say yes but I knew if I did that, I would never get him back on breast milk.

photo credit: Evalynn via photopin (license)
I eventually went to the bathroom and he slept on my chest for an hour. At about 6am they brought me food finally and I texted my husband to please return as soon as they'd let him in.

The next morning I was moved to a private room and my husband was by my side for the rest of the stay. 

As much as I enjoyed having Ryan in the room with me, I quickly realized that I would have him in my home with me for the next 18 years. What I needed, more than ever, was time to rest and heal. 

What's the point? There needs to be a hybrid of the current system. Have the babies in the room with the moms but after significant others or family members leave for the night, open a nursery where babies are taken care of and bring them to their moms to feed when necessary. Give moms the strength to take care of their precious babies. 


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