Monday, 11 April 2011

Still At the hospital and Jaundice...Part 3 of my birth story

Following on from Part 1 and Part 2 of my birth story..

So Isla was taken off to be weighed and I was being expertly stitched up! I was in a daze, on reflection now I know that I didn't have that rush of love that I see going through the faces of most of the women on 'One Born Every Minute' - I think I just felt like that was my ordeal over and apart from the guy between my legs sorting out my under carriage, everyone else was surrounding the baby, including OH obviously and I was just left with my legs akimbo! I was so tired after no sleep for nearly 3 days and all I could think of was myself!

Isla (she wasn't Isla just yet - she was nearly Iris) was doing a bit of grunting apparently and there was talk of her being taken away for a bit for oxygen, anyway, this calmed down and we were eventually taken down to our own room. I'd been cleaned up (sort of) and had my tea and toast. I still had a catheter in and this was really horrible having the bag in the bed with me. I don't remember a lot of the day apart from my mum, dad, sister, her partner and my MIL coming to visit. I looked like sh1t and I felt like I'd been knocked down by a bus. I was on the same pain killers as the Caesarean ladies because I think it was felt that I'd been through just as much as them! I had my Catheter removed and so could move about a bit more freely which was nice.

Once it got to 8pm, it was time for the OH to go home and then I was scared. He was under strict instructions to get his arse back up to the hospital the minute the doors opened in the morning! I got through the night, must have slept a bit. However I couldn't go to the toilet, it was like having cystitis, knowing i needed to go, only doing a trickle, trying to force it but it wouldn't happen. This went on all day until at night it was agreed I needed the catheter again - a whole litre came out straight away!!

The morning of Day 3 and I had the catheter removed and thankfully I could wee! Now I felt like I was sorted out I could focus my attentions better on my baby but this was the day that it was raised that Isla looked jaundiced. She had been gradually developing this lovely deep St Tropez tan and so on this day steps were taken to wipe out the jaundice. This involved her being under fluorescent lights, naked with a blindfold. This wouldn't seem very kind to me and I guess to a newborn baby this is the scariest thing ever. Isla certainly made her feelings known about it and screamed the place down. I could only take her out to feed her and clean her up (she was without a nappy) she was just lying on a pad that would absorb the wee but the meconium poo was another matter! She'd do a poo and then her legs would kick it everywhere, her feet would mix it around and make it into some kind of weird black artwork! That night was hideous, she screamed solid from about 1am to 4am. I was calling OH on and off and waking him up. I was crying to the midwives (who were all too busy for this!). Everything felt so bloody awful in the middle of the night.

The morning of Day 4 and Isla was tested to see if her jaundice levels had come down and they hadn't, so a second light was introduced. I was so upset as the day before they'd seemed so sure that 24 hours of this treatment would produce the desired results but they hadn't. I also knew this would mean another night of hell. My mum came to visit me that day, and as my Dad was still pretty poorly from his Cancer she couldn't really come for long and I really missed having her support. I was feeling really low and the breastfeeding wasn't going very well and one of the things with jaundice is that it's really important to get the fluids in the baby as this helps a lot. But my boobs were letting me down, where was the milk!? It got to 8pm and I had a mini breakdown as I knew that they would be sending my OH home and I'd have another night of a distressed baby on my own. They were very sweet and said that he could stay but wouldn't be able to leave the room - well that wasn't going to work at all, so I pulled myself together and let him go home. It was decided that Isla would need to take on some formula until I could get my milk flowing. I felt really disappointed in myself about this, but knew it was for the best and I'd keep trying to feed her.

Day 5 and Isla was tested again and things were going in the right direction, jaundice levels were coming down and also my milk came in! It was still not a great day though and I was so fed up of being in the hospital. I wasn't mentally prepared for more than 2 nights in hospital with my baby (the possibility of this had never come up in my NCT classes). I wanted to be home, receiving all our baby's visitors, showing her off and also sleeping in my own bed. I was hopeful that we could go home that night but it wasn't to be. I realise now looking back that I didn't leave that ward for the whole 6 days I was there, I'd become institutionalised! I didn't even choose my own food until the last day I was there. I'd send the OH out to choose for me, it was all a bit weird. She came out from under the lights at midnight which was great as it meant she could wear a nappy, wear clothes, not be blindfolded, the lights didn't keep me awake and the room wasn't 500 degrees (it was July and the windows had to be closed while she was under the lights!).

Day 6, was all looking promising for going home. She was still tanned looking but her blood showed the levels were dropping. However it takes the hospital ages to discharge and we didn't leave until 6.30pm, and that was under the proviso that we had to come back at 9.30am the next day to have Isla tested again. They tried to persuade me to stay but at that point I was  gathering our things, I had to GET OUT!! Isla was strapped into her car seat and I was running hobbling as fast as I could out the doors to the car. I was so happy and I couldn't wait to get back to our house and begin family life. We got home and we put Isla in the moses basket, I ran around doing some chores (nutter!), I enjoyed my surroundings. She slept well that night, we set our alarm to wake us up in the night to feed her as we were so paranoid about the jaundice and ensuring that the test in the morning would be OK.

Day 7 - Returned to the hospital and got the official go ahead to go home and enjoy our baby - she was on the mend and family life started here!

I realise that this post mostly deals with my feelings and it doesn't really go into how much I loved my baby - of course I did but I think the long labour prior to her birth and then the 6 days in hospital really challenged me mentally as it all hadn't gone as well as I'd hoped it would during pregnancy. I'd had such a smooth pregnancy that it hit me like a sledgehammer when I had Isla. I don't do well in situations that are out of my control and it just wasn't the dreamy ending that I'd hoped for when thinking about welcoming our new life into the world.


  1. Thanks for sharing your story, you really did go through it! Not sure how I would have coped with such a long labour! Well done you! There are lots of emotions That you describe that I also experienced, I'm planning to type mine up soon. Thanks again for sharing, Lucy x

  2. thanks Lucy, the emotions can be really extreme and really hard to get your head around. I look forward to reading your story too. x

  3. WOW Sharon, loved this honest and frank account of your experience of labour. Def an eye opener as a mum to be. I feel all the more prepared for things now, real eye opener! Thanks for sharing xxx

  4. Can I make it known now that if I am able to have a natural birth with baby number 2 I don't want to experience the labour you went through Sharon. Quick, easy and pain free is my request- hear that unborn baby - listen up!!

  5. thanks ladies and I sincerely hope that you have problem free natural labours! I'm hopeful for number 2!