Sunday, January 9, 2011

The days after: hospital stay

Thank you all for the kind comments and emails, really appreciated it!
I'll keep going with recording the events that followed Oliver's birth and of course I'll include some pictures this time too!

Thinking I should be 38 weeks pregnant is impossible. I know now it's normal not to remember much about the pregnancy and I'm trying to get to term with it. Like I said all along, I have not enjoyed the pregnancy, maybe the last 4-5 weeks I did, but I was constantly worrying about something going wrong, having the worst images in my mind like "there's no longer a heartbeat" or "I'm sorry to tell you the baby won't survive" etc. I was making a conscious effort to erase those thoughts and repeating to myself positive affirmations like "Elvis is perfectly healthy" "We have a healthy baby!" "Mom, dad you are grandparents!" etc. But still I feel I didn't give him any credit for being "the little embryo that could" that started his long journey with me completely detached, expecting as always a BFN out of a FET. And this brings lots of tears to my eyes any time during the day or night...

But let's start recording once again.

When Elvis/Oliver was born we actually had no name chosen yet! We had a short-list of some kind but no definite winner. When Dr. Wonderful showed it to us above the drape all purple and waxy, it felt to me like he pulled a rabbit out of a magic hat. Mike asked him "is it a boy or a girl?" and Dr. Wonderful said "I hadn't looked actually" but quickly the paediatrician said "it's a boy!" Mike and I looked at each other and said "We can't really call him Elvis though..."
We saw him again a couple of minutes afterwards as he was cleaned and getting weighed. He was perfect. And looking to us like an Elvis after all. Even more difficult. As the weight was above expectations, baby was breathing on his own and pinked up very quickly, after a few kisses to me, he was handed over to Mike (besotted) while I was wheeled to recovery.
My haemoglobin, which had dropped due to the bleed, was already climbing. My mom, who had made her way to the hospital earlier on, managed yet again to come and see me in the recovery room for a few minutes. It was all totally surreal. The feeling in my legs was as if they belonged to someone else! My belly was practically flat, I had no pain at all, and chit chatted with the nurse all the time.
As I went to my super-duper private en-suite room in the ward, I was told that the baby had been put in an incubator for a short while just to regulate his temperature (very common that smaller babies get cold quickly) and that they fed him formula as his blood sugar was quite low (I had been fasting for almost 48 hours at that point, my blood sugar must have been low too!) but all was well. This a picture Mike took through the incubator.
As I had a c-section the nurses minded the baby for the first night (but they brought it to me for a much needed skin-to-skin session). I had a morphine pump which I was strongly encouraged to use even if I felt well (which I did). I think I clicked the button twice just because I remembered, not because I was in any pain whatsoever.
The morning after I was woken up around 6.30 by a nurse who removed all my lines, catheter and drips, helped me out of the bed and into a shower. This was 14 hours after surgery! A part from feeling weak and starving (they insisted I didn't eat for fear of vomiting, thank God they didn't remove my chocolate from the bedside locker so I nibbled on it all night long!) I had no other issue.
They brought me the baby which had had a good night and fed well and they never took it again.

Due to swine-flu alert, no visitors were allowed apart from the husbands. And my staying at the hospital became way too boring very quickly. Being in a private ward has the great advantage of having plenty of room for yourself, but if you are alone all day long is not that fun. Every other person in the ward was in her own room with the door closed. And after a c-section, the most uncomfortable thing is getting up from a lying down position and being suddenly 100% responsible for a newborn means you do have to get up more often than you wish!
But Mike was there as much as he could. After I had some time with the baby we decided to call him Oliver. I really liked the name, it did contained most of the letters of Elvis! it was very difficult though not to call him Elvis all the time...
One thing we noticed as we started taking loads of pictures of the yet unnamed baby was that he didn't look at all they same in reality!
By the evening of that day, I was only given paracetamol as painkiller as I felt well. Nurses and doctors could hardly believe it, but really for me the recovery was super-speedy.
That night was hard. Oliver was extremely good, woke up for a feed, but never cried. it was hard for me. I know it's normal but I was constantly checking his breathing and didn't get much sleep at all.
The second day of my recovery was much easier physically. As it became so much easier getting out of bed, it became psychologically much more difficult. I really wanted to go home, at least my mom was there and my sister was arriving that evening. I felt very lonely. Mike was doing a lot of chores, we had nothing ready for the baby, he went shopping with my mom, then came to the hospital, back home, back to the hospital. He must have felt exhausted too. And I was missing all the shopping and felt sad about it too.
Paediatrician came to see Oliver in the afternoon (any diversion at this point was like a God sent) he was very happy with everything so when I asked if I could go home early he had no objections! Dr. Wonderful came to see me too that day, asked about pain relief, I said I had taken a couple of paracetamols the previous evening and once again he couldn't believe it. He said most women after a c-section are very sore and hardly think of going home early, but if I felt well he had no objection. My OB was back the following morning, he said, he'll come to see me and if he was also happy I could go home then! A ray of sunshine!! I was probably going home!!
That day I also started to express some milk. When I say this, I mean I started using the pump, but nothing was coming, not even colostrum that I could see. Oliver wasn't really latching on either and we kept him on formula. But I was trying anyway.
Night came and it was much the same as the previous night, Oliver was the perfect baby (I had to set an alarm to wake him up for a feed) and I was a wrecked nervous mom. And hated me for being so. Nights are bad. Mornings are good.
The morning of the third day came, my OB came in to see me at 6.30 am (he likes early mornings!!) and we had a great chat, after all his great care he missed the grand finale! He said he would see me in 6 weeks, wished me all the best and signed my forms to go home. I was up and about and by 8.30 I had all my stuff packed and ready. Day shift nurse came along, did her final checks, all was well, Oliver was a bit yellow but in the normal range, he had lost only 100gr with respect to his birth weight. Mike arrived and we were ready to go. Oliver security tag was removed (doors are alarmed so I could never leave the ward for a walk with Oliver, restricting even further what I could do) and we were waved goodbye. As I was walking towards the lift, I passed by the ante-natal ward were I was only a few days before. I saw many pregnant women obviously close to giving birth with huge bellies and I couldn't remember having had a belly of my own. I was saying to Mike "it's really us, we are leaving this very hospital with a baby this time" and expecting an alarm to go off any minute either to wake me up from the dream or to take the baby away as it wasn't really ours. It didn't happen. We are finally parents and a new adventure has now begun.

This was Oliver in his going home outfit.


  1. I'm all teary eyed over here. Such a beautiful story and I can relate to many of your surreal moments.
    I love the name Oliver (although I keep thinking of him as Elvis) and he's just perfect!!
    I can't believe you recovered so fast, you're a rock star!!

  2. I am going to have the same name issues, having spent all this time calling the baby Cricket. We have "real" names picked out, but I have no doubt that Cricket will stick, LOL. I am so glad you had an easy recovery! And that all is well with your LO. HUGS!

  3. I had the same feelings when I finally got to bring Ethan home, after a few days in the NICU after he was born I was so worried! Your story is amazing and such an inspiration! Congratualtions on a precious little gift. Wishing you a speedy recovery and many years of happiness!

  4. I can't believe he is here, I think he is SO handsome, congratulations to you and I can not wait to hear more!

  5. That is a great story. And I know exactly what you mean about it all feeling so surreal. Oliver is a fantastic name!

  6. This is so lovely! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story - just beautiful! Congratulations on being a mom...

  7. Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Precious, precious Little Boy! I am soooo happy for you, Girl! such an incredibly story.
    Love the name!

  9. Congrats Fran, Oliver is a handsome young man born on a wonderful day, I knew that 1.1.11 would be lucky for someone !!! :)

    Wonderful that you had such a fast recovery, home sweet home with your family. I bet you have to pinch yourself perodically. What a beautiful new chapter of life to be moving onto.

  10. I felt so overjoyed reading this post and seeing pictures of your baby son that I am covered in goose bumps!

    Oh, Fran, what a perfect, gorgeous, sweet and YUMMY little baby you have! I LOVE him! Thank you so much for sharing pictures.

    I'm so glad your recovery is going well and you were able to go home early. Also that your mom is there to help and to meet her grandson. Enjoy these days, my friend, he will grow before you know it!

  11. Oh Fran! He's precious---you look terrific!

    He will always be Elvis to us...but I sure do love the name Oliver.

    Your emotions are going to be all over the place---partly from being IF and partly from just normal lack of all those hormones streaming through you.

    Every day will be better, and you'll feel stronger about who you are as a MOTHER! Yes, A MOTHER!!! :)

    Big hugs and kisses.

  12. Very beautiful baby and Oliver is a strong male name. I am so happy for you and I encourage you to enjoy every moment of this, as we once infertiles know, very privledge opportunity.

  13. What a wonderful ending:) He is such a handsome little man and I love his name:)

    Wow momma I hope if I have to have a c-section that Im as strong as you!

    Take care and cant wait for more updates...Hugs to you and baby

  14. A wonderful adventure is about to commence. Oliver is beautiful. And Oliver is a beautiful name.

  15. Absolutely adorable... looove him! {HUGS}

  16. Fran I am so happy for you. Reading this brings back all of the memories from when my baby was born. Those first few days and weeks are so very surreal. It is strange to look at that baby and know it really is yours. My daughter is almost 2 now, and I still have days where I don't dare to blink.

    I am so glad that all of your trials and tribulations have ended so happily with such a wonderful blessing. You are in inspiration.

    Much love!

  17. It's really so amazing that it does actually happen. Thinking and trying for something for so long, I can imagine the disbelief when the baby is born. I'm so happy for you :) He is beautiful!

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  19. I was out of blog reading action and just checked in and nearly fell off the chair!!! I can't believe your baby is here! wow congrats. let me share, every day you will feel better and it's normal to feel so up and down I've been there! if you need any advice don't hesitate to email me!!!

    good luck and congratulations

    Louise xxx

  20. I was out of blog reading action and just checked in and nearly fell off the chair!!! I can't believe your baby is here! wow congrats. let me share, every day you will feel better and it's normal to feel so up and down I've been there! if you need any advice don't hesitate to email me!!!

    good luck and congratulations

    Louise xxx

  21. These are the pictures I have longed to see of you and Elvis/Oliver!! :-) I am just beyond elated to see him at last, and you holding him...such bliss!! The pic of him in his going home outfit is particularly cute.

    @Kakunaa: OMG, I've always thought I'd wind up nicknaming my child Cricket! Too funny!

  22. I LOVE THE NEW HEADER!! (sorry, I needed to shout). I was wondering if you were going to change it. The picture of Oliver is sooooo cute! I'm happy dancing for you, Fran!

  23. Fran,
    I'm quite certain he is by far the cutest baby boy I've ever my life. What a doll! Congrats xx

  24. He is PERFECT!!! Cngratulations mamma!! Enjoye everything... it only gets better but they grow so fast. So happy for you and congrats to the daddy too!! Welcome to the world Oliver!


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