Q: The First 24 Hours After Birth
A couple of weeks ago, I shared the story of Q’s birth and how he kept us waiting through a few days of induction before entering into the world. The first 24 hours after birth is when the most ‘firsts’ occur and so I thought I’d share what happened for us.
The few minutes after he was born were the most frightening I’ve ever experienced. After Q was brought round and started to cry, he was brought back to me for some skin-to-skin time and an attempt at his first feed. I was still confined to my bed in the delivery suite as my epidural needed to wear off. Q managed to feed for maybe 3 or 4 minutes, but found it so much effort when he was so tired and weak. He had some bruising on his head from the forceps and a couple of small, but deep, cuts on his scalp. I had presumed that the midwives had attached the monitor to him during labour, but apparently not. One of the midwives suggested that these cuts could have been caused by the hook used to break my waters. I imagine after the trauma he’d just been through, he needed rest.
He slept in my arms for a little while, before we moved him into one of those little plastic, see-through cots at my bedside. I needed some rest and so the midwife asked me to express some milk for them to try to feed Q whilst I slept. I understand that he did take it okay, but I was reluctant to express any more until I had managed to get him feeding from the breast.
My mother-in-law, mum and sister-in-law all managed to visit in the early afternoon which was lovely. The whole time I’d been in labour, neither my or hubs’ phones had any signal! It was a blessing in some ways, as we weren’t being distracted by text messages and phone calls asking for updates on my progress throughout labour, but it did mean that hubs had to leave us to go outside to make the phone calls. It’s not something that we could help – but you’d think that nowadays you’d be able to get a decent phone signal in our hospitals!
I was experiencing side effects of the epidural for some time after delivery, and I became very close to needing help from the Obstetrician. Thankfully, I managed to pass their tests by the skin of my teeth in the evening and they said I’d probably be staying the night on delivery ward. There were no free beds on the postnatal ward! Crazy. I had more visits, this time by my dad, father-in-law, mother-in-law, two nieces, hubs and, finally, O. O came to meet his baby brother. He was so happy to see me and I gave him the biggest hug I could. I had missed him so much!
O was in awe of this tiny baby that was now his very own brother. The thing he had longed most for was finally here! He gave him a little kiss and asked questions like, “Why doesn’t he talk?” and “Why has he got a hat on?”. I promised him I would come home as soon as I could. My nieces were amazed by Q too – it’s so lovely that they all share such a closeness as cousins.
My visitors stayed a little while until my Consultant came by to check my stitching. We had agreed this during my antenatal appointments, and found everything to be as expected. Phew! It’s not something they would usually do, and would normally leave it up to the midwives to check every now and again, but I hadn’t healed well after O’s birth and needed the reassurance. I was now told that I would be moving up to the postnatal ward and I should pack up my things. Typical!
We got back up to the ward and were settled into a private room. Thank goodness! I had dreaded going onto a communal ward with other mums and babies – mainly because I needed as much sleep as I could get! Just as I had got myself into bed, Q woke up to be fed. I couldn’t have written it! I was so tired and needed sleep so badly, I allowed him to feed with a poor latch. Well, I won’t ever let tiredness convince me to do that again as I ended up with such a sore nipple. I remember almost falling asleep sitting up whilst I was still holding him. I snapped myself out of it and when he finished feeding, I asked the midwives to look after him for a few hours so I could get some sleep. They brought him back to me four hours later when he needed fed, but that was enough for me.
Just as I had gotten him back to sleep, the paediatrician came in to do his 24 hour check. He was happy with everything, but made a fleeting comment that he was a little bit jaundiced. I mentioned it to the midwife when we discussed my discharge later that day and she said it hadn’t been written in his report. I requested an SBR test and his results came back within an acceptable range. I also saw the breastfeeding midwife whom I explained our issues to – about O’s tongue tie, my previous awful feeding experience and that Q also had a tongue tie. She diagnosed it, referred us and we had an appointment to have it snipped the very next day. Perfect.
I was discharged later that evening and hubs and O came to pick us up. I was proud as punch as I wheeled my brand new baby out of the hospital, holding my 4 year old’s hand and looking ahead to our journey as a family of four.