After Labor: The Hospital Stay

Read Jenny’s previous post.

They weighed the baby and then immediately gave him back to me. I put him right on my chest, and he latched on to my breast almost immediately and started nursing, which was incredible. I was so happy about how everything had gone. I was also ecstatic about how great it seemed he was doing. His Apgar scores were fantastic, and he was nice and pink and screaming heartily. My baby. I was also really proud that I had been so effective with pushing that I had been able to have the birth experience I had hoped for, especially given how unbelievably crappy our conception experience had been, and how much Dr. G had thought we were going to need to do a C-section. 

Dr. G  began sewing me back up as I had gotten a second-degree tear, and my husband went out to tell my parents that our baby had been born. They said later that they heard his cries from outside the door as they were walking in and knew that it was their grandson crying and that they were about to meet him. It was quite the moment, having them come in and meet him. I'm pretty sure at least a few of us were crying.

My parents finally went home for the night at around 2:30 a.m. My husband went downstairs and got me a veggie sandwich, which was delicious since I hadn't really eaten anything too solid for several hours. The nurse came in and started me on magnesium, a drug used to prevent seizures that are a concern in the 24 hours after birth when someone has preeclampsia. I was disappointed to have to take it since I knew it was really unpleasant, but it had to be done.

When daylight came we were moved into a high-risk observation room on the labor and delivery ward so that they could continue to monitor my blood pressure . It was a bright, sunny and, most importantly, private room. As the day wore on, though, I started feeling worse and worse from the magnesium. I was extremely out of it, and by late afternoon I could barely focus my eyes. I remember nursing and sleeping and watching my husband hold our baby. I was too out of it to want to hold him, and I remember my mom saying that I should hold him anyway so that we could bond. It made me sad that I was feeling too sick to want to.

That night, my husband went home to feed the cats and take a shower. While he was gone, I started having some trouble breathing. I called the nurse in and she found that my blood oxygenation was around 92 percent, which isn't great. She called in a high-risk OB who gave me oxygen and ordered a chest X-ray, which found nothing. They took me off of the magnesium since it had been almost 24 hours, and I started feeling better within an hour or two.

The next morning I felt even better, and they moved me into a shared room on the postpartum floor. Everyone came by to visit, and, aside from feeling weak, I was pretty much OK. Nursing was going really well, and I was starting to really love skin-to-skin time and cuddling with my little guy. We were told I'd be released the next day, with a prescription for Labetalol to control the high blood pressure, which usually resolves on its own within a few weeks.

That night my nightmare roommate kept us up all night. She had the light on, and she kept standing up and pulling her catheter out, spilling urine on the floor. Then, she'd call the nurses in and yell at them for not putting it in right. Her baby screamed the whole night. It was awful and I barely slept.


Up next: Another Twist: Coping With Pulmonary Edema

Read more about preeclampsia duing pregnancy.

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