Friday, February 16, 2007

Baby Day: Part IV

In the recovery room, I entertain myself for a while by trying unsuccessfully to move my toes, which is tremendously irritating because I can feel them but they won't answer when I tell them to move. I then get morphine at some point, which causes me to lose the rest of the two-odd hours I'm in recovery. I come back to myself as I'm being wheeled down the hall into my own room, and my family is all there -- my mom, my brother, my sister and her family, G's parents and sister, my dearest friend. I was there for the birth of her child, and I tell her how glad I am that she's here for the birth of mine. They shoo everyone back out and get me settled in, and then I'm given a Coke to drink, the most delicious Coke ever. I never drink real Coke, can barely stand the taste after decades of drinking diet, but I'm ready to down a 12-pack of these. Later I will get a liquid-diet tray, broth and popsicles and more Coke, and I am so excited about it that I will make G take a picture of it.

The rest of the night is lost in a druggy haze, since I'm getting morphine shots every two hours or so -- the spinal is gone, and I'm hurting, though not unbearably. I don't think I ever really slept, or ever really woke up, except maybe just a little bit when the babies came back in. I know I nursed them pretty much all night, having G bring me whichever baby was awake and crying, but the only part of it that stuck with me is being frustrated because I couldn't remember which one had eaten off which side and when.

I was really committed to nursing them, as the one part of a "normal" birth experience I'd get to share, and I tried hard to prepare for it. I didn't take a breastfeeding class, what with the bedrest and all, but I went to La Leche League meetings during the pregnancy, and read several books, including the classic Mothering Multiples. I knew it was important to feed the baby(ies) whenever they expressed the first signs of hunger, for as long as they wanted, and for the first two days, that's exactly what I did. Every time a baby woke up, I had G diaper her and bring her to me; I would feed her until she fell back to sleep, and then move on to the next baby. I didn't get much waketime with them -- they seemed to sleep an awful lot, and if they weren't sleeping, someone was nursing.

Overall, though, I thought we were doing well. They lost some weight, and then some more weight, but they ate for long stretches and produced appropriate diapers, and they didn't seem discontented. I made G bring me a notebook and a travel alarm clock, and I faithfully logged each feeding's start time, length, side, and associated diaper contents. I didn't tandem-nurse yet, and football hold was the only thing I could get the hang of. I needlessly complicated matters by alternating sides at each feeding, because I was concerned about having an even milk supply; it took me a week or so to realize that swapping sides each day was sufficient and much simpler. I ignored the nurse who told me that nursing longer than 10 minutes per side would give me cracked nipples, because I knew that was a latch problem, and I thought our latches were OK. The lactation consultant who came to see me on Friday morning even told me that we looked like we had it pretty well together, and helped me experiment with tandem and with cross-cradle. My milk wasn't in yet, but I was less than 48 hours postpartum, and I wasn't worried. I was really starting to feel proud of myself for doing such a good job at this whole breastfeeding thing thus far.

That's why I was totally unprepared for Saturday morning, when they told me the babies had crossed the line to being in trouble.


Eva said...

Oh my goodness, you keep leaving me in suspense! Write more soon.

You're way ahead of me -- it was just like 2 weeks ago that I figured out that I could alternate sides by the day, not the feeding. Silly me. Though Jordan is so much bigger than Sarah that sometimes I have to mix things up more (12 versus 15.5 pounds is a big difference in appetite).

Nico said...

Bad blogger! Just ate my comment :-(

I wanted to thank you for writing this, it's really nice to be able to share in your birth story!

Your comment about not being able to remember which baby ate on which side struck a chord with me - the first few weeks I couldn't remember when I'd last changed Ant's diaper, when he'd last eaten, when (or if) I'd taken my meds... fortunately it's gotten a bit better now!

Maggie said...

what an amazing birth story. Thank you for sharing!

Happy 6 month birthday to the girls!!!

Eva said...

Thanks for your comment. I miss your updates -- please don't tell me you're retiring, too!