So, I know I finished my last post by saying ‘it was time to be happy’, but that was short lived.
The rubbish feeding had started just hours old. I was trying to breastfeed Teddy and he was not interested at all. Fancy that- having your boobs rejected! Pfft!
Within a few hours, Teddy was struggling to maintain his temperature, his oxygen levels and his blood sugar. It was escalated to a senior doctor on shift when he started to do a not so funny shivery thing. (Technical term obvs!) I remember the midwife asking the doctor if she wanted the resuscitaire turned on and I felt myself internally answering no! That all felt very serious and very scary, and absolutely not in the plan!
So there we were, me, Adam, my Dad and my Sister, standing in the corridor watching our boy under the bright lights of the resuscitaire. I squeezed down the side of the station where the emergency equipment was set up so that I could be close to Teddy- to put my reassuring hand on his chest hoping that it would be something familiar for him. He was crying as his head was moved into a position which ensured a patent airway and an oxygen mask was squashed over his nose and mouth.
And there is was again- that now very familiar feeling of hot, dull and hollow. Is this actually happening?
I was shooed out of the way and found a chair scooped underneath my legs- maybe because I was actually in the way and they had a job to do; or maybe because I looked like a bag of shite having just given birth and was now dealing with this.
Teddy was transferred to Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU). I was gutted when I saw him, laying in an incubator wearing only his nappy; he had already had a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube and cannular inserted- I wasn’t expecting that- it almost felt like that was the standard procedure for all babies that came in to the unit, but felt dramatic to me….. like give the kid a chance.
I was given a side room on the Maternity Unit and Adam was able to stay on a fold down bed. The senior doctor (who I initially didn’t like with her no nonsense shooing of me earlier, but actually turned out to be very nice, down to earth and reassuring) came to see us around 11pm to explain the infection markers were raised in Teddys blood, so that night he would have a lumper puncture to rule out meningitis. We were asked not to be around when that happened and on reflection I’m not really sure why we agreed to that…..I was never that good being there when knowingly painful things were going to happen- were possible Adam got those jobs.
Tests came back negative for all the obvious things- Meningitis, Group B Strep, UTI etc, but clearly there was something going on, so we all stayed in hospital for five days while Teddy had a course of IV antibiotics. We spent most of our time camped out in SCBU, any time away was in between the 3 hourly cycle of failed attempts to breast feed, admitting defeat and trying three hundred different types of teats, cups and nipple shields, followed by 30-40 mins of expressing!
Teddy was on calculated feeds- which is, if my memory serves me, a formula used to tell you how much a baby needs to feed and how often, using the baby’s weight and how many days old they are. Needless to say, Teddy very rarely met this guideline and if he did it took about an hour to get about 30 mls into him. I mean…..that’s just one shot of sambuca!
I’m sure my boobs were exposed and manhandled to more people that your average Page 3! And to be fair, those first few days postpartum- I would have given them a run for their money!
Que the funny story………….
After three nights, Teddy was moved to the Maternity Unit with us and we visited SCBU 3 times a day while he had his antibiotics. Conscious that there was no longer monitoring or advice regarding calculated feeds, I tried my best to stick to what I knew about it, wanting to avoid being kept in hospital longer than the 5 days because of poor feeding; I done my best to get as much milk into him as possible.
During one of our visits to SCBU, I mentioned my concerns to one of the doctors. She felt that if we could just get Teddy to latch on, everything would be so much better! She didn’t really have any justification when I questioned if that was just a case of ‘ignorance is bliss’- being unable to see how much a breastfed baby actually takes.
Sensing her eagerness to help, we seized the opportunity to try again. We were coming up to the three hour mark and my boobs were well aware. I sat in a small bay on the unit which was unoccupied by babies and parents. We tried all the different positions that had repetitively been exhausted- resting on a pillow lying across my knees and around my side like a rugby ball. Teddy remained uninterested and was now crying and protesting about this big boob that was being sloshed around his face.
Well anyone who has breastfed knows the effects a crying baby has……I had very quickly turned the unoccupied bay into a milking shed as I involuntary squirted milk all over myself, poor Teddy and the floor! It was everywhere! It took the ‘walk of shame’ to a new level as I made my way through the Maternity Unit with humongous wet patches covering both thighs of my jeans.
The following day I was under the care of such a lovely, genuinely caring midwife. The Maternity Unit was short staffed so she had come to help out from the Midwifery Led Unit. Together we were on a mission to get Teddy to meet the feeding requirements whether it was from me or a bottle. I finally felt positive- we were making progress. That was until the little dream boat from the breastfeeding support arrived and basically told us both off for giving him a bottle. At that point I made it quite clear that I didn’t want to see her again, and made the decision that ‘fed is best’….not breast!
We were allowed home once Teddy had finished his antibiotics. He still wasn’t feeding great and he failed his new born hearing test, but we wanted to get him home- if these are things that can be monitored and managed in the community there was no reason for us to be in hospital.
Take a read of my next post which will be about our audiology journey.