Monday, March 21, 2011

Elena Since Birth...

First, I need to give mad props to you Choice Moms who do this completely on your own…sure, I don’t have a partner but I have had tons of help & could not have done it on my own…okay, I could have done it on my own but I’m glad I haven’t had to!

Elena & I have had a very challenging 1st two weeks…our 1st bit of excitement happened in the hospital the night she was born…we were brought to our room on the maternity ward (we didn’t get one of the luxury rooms but we got a private which was nice)…it was a little unnerving, after having so many people around, to be all alone, just Elena & I...I was at a loss as to what to do. I unpacked a little & the nurse came in & gave me the low down then told me to try to get to sleep…Elena was sleeping soundly in the bassinet beside me so I laid down & drifted off for a bit…all of a sudden all I heard was what sounded like Elena choking!!! I couldn’t see anything as the room was dark but I quickly pulled the call bell & begged the nurses to come right away as my daughter was choking. I then switched on the light & looked at Elena…& just about passed out! There was blood all over her & it looked like someone had gutted a pig in her bassinet! No lie! There was so much blood! All I remember was feeling my knees go weak, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t speak & I didn’t know what to do!! Thank god the nurses were there instantly…they looked at Elena & were much more concerned for me at this point…it sunk into the logical part of my brain that if they weren’t concerned with Elena, then she must be fine & not choking…they explained to me that this was all perfectly normal, that Elena had ingested a bunch of my mucus & blood during delivery & was now throwing it up & that it happened all the time…so the blood was MY blood, not hers…when I could finally catch my breath & speak, I said, “Well someone should have warned me this could happen!! I thought I’d broken her already!!” That gave them a laugh…scariest moment of my life!!

Saturday night was hell for another reason…I had the Nightmare Nurse…she was just short of mean, very pushy & hounded me ALL NIGHT LONG about Elena not eating & implying she was starving to death…I’m not going to get into a lot of the details as I don’t want to give the wrong impression…I mean, in the 5 days I was in the hospital I had upwards of 30+ nurses tend to me in some capacity or another & only had 3 nurses who were not great…but this one was the worst!

Basically, she came in & told me I HAD to give Elena a formula bottle…she gave me conflicting reasons I said, she implied Elena would starve by morning if I didn’t…I said if that was the case, I would page my midwife for her advice, the Nightmare Nurse’s response was, “Oh, this isn’t something to page your midwife about.” WTF?!?!? She makes it sound so dire then won’t let me talk to a Dr or lactation consultant or “bother my midwife”…I had started pumping what I could & finger feeding, cup feeding, spoon feeding Elena what I collected. Knowing what I know now & hind sight being 20/20, I would have given Elena the formula bottle…but the Nightmare Nurse’s approach prevented me from trusting her or believing her…she kept contradicting herself & giving me conflicting information (she told me Elena had lost 6% of her birth weight but I found out from my midwife the following morning that at that point she’d only lost 3%)…then blaming me for being over tired & not making good judgments but still hounding me & not allowing me to sleep!! Worst of all, while I was on the toilet, she came in to take Elena for her 24 hour tests, I told her to wait because I wanted to be there & she just left with Elena saying she would get things ready & I could meet her at the nurse’s station…this is strictly against hospital policy & I was flabbergasted!! I quickly got myself together & went to the nurse’s station & neither she nor Elena was anywhere to be seen. It turns out she had taken Elena down to where they do the hearing test & I had missed the whole thing…all she said to me was, “She passed.”

You can imagine that by Sunday morning, I just wanted to go home! I was an emotional mess having fought with this Nightmare Nurse all night & my biggest fear was that if I stayed another night, like they wanted me to, she would be on again & I’d have to deal with her again. Luckily, I was able to convince the Powers-That-Be to let me go…so Elena came home Sunday, March 6th.

We weren’t out of the woods yet though! Sure enough, Elena was losing weight as my milk hadn’t come in yet & the colostrum just wasn’t cutting it…I was afraid that if we introduced formula & bottles that she’d never go back to the breast…we tried finger feeds & all kinds of other breast feeding friendly interventions…but by Tuesday (March 8th) I just needed to see Elena eat & gain weight. She had lost a whole pound & was down to 7lbs 5 oz…I started her on formula the Monday afternoon & by Wednesday, she was up to 7lbs 11 oz…on Monday, I started taking some herbs (Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle, 3 capsules 3 times a day) & my milk came in Wednesday afternoon with a vengeance! I started pumping but I was afraid to offer Elena the breast because I was so afraid she would refuse…my Mom convinced me Thursday morning, after being up all night pumping & feeding, to just try…well, Elena took it like a superstar!!

We had an appointment with a Lactation Specialist that Thursday afternoon (March 10) & she helped me with understanding latching & what “let down” was (I thought it happened just once, not every time!) & since then Elena has been feeding exclusively on the breast & gaining like crazy! By Sunday, March 13th she was up to 8lbs 3 oz & by last Wednesday (March 16th) she had surpassed her birth weight & was up to 8lbs 9 oz!! This was good news for a number of reasons as you can imagine but most importantly it meant that I could stop waking her every 2 hours to feed…we could just feed on demand!

The only challenge we have now is that Elena likes to be up all night & sleep most the day! Compared to everything else, this is very minor & I’m pretty much just trying to sleep when she does though that’s easier said than done since the dishes & laundry, etc needs to get done too. Last night she had a good night though & tonight looks like we might be lucky again…

It has been through all of this that I have really had to admire the Choice Mom’s who have dealt with all of these same challenges yet they faced them alone…they didn’t necessarily have their Mom living upstairs to help out at any hour or their Aunt stopping by every day after work to pitch in & help with whatever was needed…I’ve really counted my blessings lately!

Sorry this is another long one but now we’re all caught up to date…Lastly, as you can see, I’ve changed up the look of my blog…I figured since I had entered this new phase, so too my blog should reflect that…what do you think?


  1. Love the new look. She's so beautiful.

    The blood would have freaked me out to. They would have to peel me off the floor. I'll have to remember that.

  2. Sorry about nurse meanie. My friend is a nurse so she gave me the low down on how to deal with nurses like that one. I had only one of them. I would have passed out if I saw the blood. I'm glad you had a good experience overall. Your daughter is beautiful. Congrats again.

  3. The new look is perfect!

    So sorry to hear about the mean nurse. With all the challenges of being a first-time mom, you'd think they'd be more understanding. Just because it's Old Hat to them doesn't mean it's not still scray for you (us).

    I'm surprised you didn't pass out at the sight of blood. I'd have been a wreck. Thankfully, she's doing great and just so beautiful.

    Congrats again!

  4. Whew!! I want to go to that hospital and yell at your meanie nurse. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. GRRR.

    I love the new look of your blog and the picture of Elena is adorable. She looks so peaceful.

    Glad everything is going well!

  5. She's beautiful!

    I consider myself pretty informed about babies and have read a lot of birthing stories, but to be honest I'd never heard of the vomiting mucus and mom's blood before - good lord, I would have died if I'd seen that (although my daughter was born via C-section, therefore much less likely to have happened).

    I'm sorry you had to deal with Nightmare Nurse - that just sucks. I didn't have anyone like that, but I did have a ton of nurses and lactation consultants trying to help me get my baby to breastfeed, and they all gave me conflicting advice. It was extremely stressful, and in the end none of them were able to help (I gave in at 3 weeks and just went to formula - not what I wanted to do at all, but I learned quickly what we want and what is best aren't always the same!).

    I'm a choice mom who had to do it "on her own" (my mom was there for the first 2 1/2 weeks, but she has her own health issues and wasn't nearly as much help as I needed). I also dealt with a very fussy, colicky baby with feeding and sleeping problems. The newborn period was an extremely difficult time for me, but fortunately it passed and life with my toddler is a real blessing now. But even if you have plenty of help, the first few weeks are unimaginably hard on all new moms (and dads), so don't feel bad!

    The mixing up nights and days thing will get better soon, I promise. :)

  6. I have never heard of that "blood ingestion"--I would have passed out. You handled that scary situation great! I know how hard those first weeks are whether you have help or not. I was by myself and had really difficult postpartum recoveries (my boys were BIG). I'm glad you have lots of support around you right now. Your baby girl is just adorable!

  7. I love the new look, and while I'm going to miss the cute ultrasound pic you did have up there, she's even cuter now!

    I"m so glad that breastfeeding is now working for you both, and that you survived Nightmare Nurse.

  8. OMG! I've never heard of babies swallowing blood during birth either. I totally would have freaked. I hope you report that nurse to the patient advocate at the hospital. She was way out of line.

    Love the new look. Elena is so beautiful!

  9. So sorry you had to deal with Nightmare Nurse. She gives the rest of us nurses a bad name :(

    Great job with Elena's weight, mama! And I love the new look of your blog - she's absolutely beautiful.

    I am just so happy for you, Tiara!

  10. Love your new look. And Elena is so gorgeous!

    What a scary experience at the hpspital!

    Glad to hear she's gaining wait and that nursing is going well :-).


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