On September 5, 2009, Johnny and I received our official discharge papers. We passed our final checkups with flying colors and we were on our way to home sweet home. That morning the hospital photographer came in to take Johnny's first photo. I had him dressed in his going home outfit and a blanket that matched. The photographer gal took a bunch of pictures, laying Johnny on his belly and side. He looked so cute! We got a couple of great shots before he had had enough.
After his photo session, the nurse came in and gave me our discharge papers. I was very ready to go home, but still worried about so many things: nursing, circumcision and cord healing, there would be noone to check his vitals every few hours...Some people hate to be bothered in with pokes and prods, but I welcome them. Paranoid anyone?
So we pack up all the stuff we brought to the hospital, of which I used NONE of it, minus my tooth brush and contacts case/solution. Next time, I will pack only a toothbrush, contact/glasses stuff and a clean going home outfit. The hospital really does provide everything else, and I really didn't need anything. Why I thought for one second I would be showering, blow drying and flat ironing my hair is beyond me.
I emptied out the baby's cart and basically took everything that wasn't nailed down. The nurses gave me all sorts of things for my wound, and I was so thankful. A 2nd degree tear is no joke, however, I must say that it was only uncomfortable and fortunately not painful. I just had to walk a little slowly, but it wasn't too big a deal. Going to the bathroom, however, was. It was a huge ordeal that included a squirt bottle, a hospital size pad, tucks pads and a numbing disinfecting spray. Use your imagination. All I can say is the tucks pads were a little slice of heaven in my undies. Oh, that brings me back to delivery. I did poop, but didn't get hemoroids. There I said it. I knew it would happen and lots of people don't mention it and I think most nurses don't tell you, but remember the mirror I had them put in front so I could see everything? Well, I saw EVERYTHING and everything included me pooping. Shit happens, happy birthday...so let's just forget about all that and move on, shall we?
John made a couple of trips down to the car with all our bags and my Mom and I got the baby ready for his big trip home. I got to leave in a wheelchair, even though I didn't need one. Hospital regulations and all. So john brought the car around and we were put to the test of putting Johnny into the carseat for the first time. All the practicing I did with a doll was no comparison to a little scrunched up newborn. He was so tiny in the carseat and getting a good fit seemed impossible. I didn't want to hurt him, but wanted him to be safe and secure. I followed all the directions the police station had taught me a month earlier. He was secured in the carseat and we were ready to go home as a family of three. With all the excitement, I forgot to get a cute picture of us leaving the hospital. Oh well, I looked like crap anyway.
We got home about 10 minutes later and unloaded the car. I carried Johnny in while John lugged all the bags in. My mom was right behind us and helped. As soon as we got in the house, panic and overwhelming exhaustion hit me. I gave Johnny the tour of his home and ended up in the nursery. Well, here we were, after all this time. I put him in his co-sleeper and laid down on the bed. John came in and I asked him to lay with me. I stared at Johnny in his co-sleeper and cried and cried. I kept telling John that I didn't know what to do with him. "I don't know what I'm doing." I think at that point, I was just so tired because I never did sleep while I was in the hospital. It had been 3 days since my last sleep. Plus, the nursing wasn't going well and I really worried that I wasn't going to be able to do it and that Johnny wouldn't gain weight, etc. All these overwhelming worries that I suppose I ought to just get used to now, being a Mom and all. So I fell asleep for a little while until Johnny woke up. Hungry? Wet? What did he need? I guess it was up to me to figure it all out. And that scared me to death. All of a sudden, all my confidence as a Mommy went flying out the window. Thank God my Mom was there to help me. All day and all night for an entire week. She saved me. She saved Johnny. She saved John. My Mom was by my side every single second that week. Nursing was such an ordeal, and I know my Mom (and everyone else) was wondering why the hell I didn't just give the kid a bottle and call it a day. But I was determined to nurse him, or at the very least, pump and give him my milk. The problem was, that since he wasn't nursing, my milk wouldn't come in unless I pumped.
My mom and I went to the Kaiser Lactation department the following day. Surely, an appointment with a professional would help, right? I didn't know what to expect, but kind of expected a few booth type rooms where a lactation person would work with me one-on-one, but when we got there, it was one big room with chairs lining the walls. You mean I had to whip out my boobs in front of other people? Aw, what the hell? I had whipped out all sorts of body parts in the last week, what was one more audience? So I sat down and waited for my instructions. The lactation gal, Michelle, had me undress Johnny to his diaper. Even though it was FREEZING in the room. I guess they keep the babies awake that way, so they will nurse. Well, Johnny was not happy with that arrangement. She took his diaper off and weighed him, then put a diaper back on him and handed him to me. She also gave me a nursing pillow. This was not like the boppy, which had been very difficult for me to use. It was a My Breast Friend pillow and it was fantastic! It belted around me, the baby laid flat and it was at the right level. I was actually able to get the baby at eye level with my boob. I wasn't able to do that with the Boppy. Anyhow, she went on to tell me that Johnny was NOT gaining weight, so I would have to increase the amount I was supplementing until he was able to latch and/or gain weight. This was not good news and I expected that after all the trouble I had had the past few nights trying to feed him. He was not happy when he nursed and I think it was just too hard for him and too forced. So he usually screamed at my boobs while trying to nurse. Not the kind of reaction you want from your baby. So Michelle had me nursing him with a shield, which is like a plastic nipple you wear over your own nipple and gives the baby something more to latch on to. It worked well and I was able to get him latched on and actually drink. She had me nurse him for 15 minutes on each side, then weighed him again. When she took his diaper off and put him on the scale, he pee'd all over the place. Well, there goes the weight reading. He was not making this any easier for me. She couldn't tell how much he had gotten, but suspected it wasn't much. So I was told to continue supplementing with formula, which I did throught a syrince, so there would be no nipple confusion. I was willing to do anything just as long as he was breastfed. So stubborn am I!
Directly after the appointment, we walked over to the hospital store and bought a nursing pillow like the one in the office. It really did help. When we got home, I felt a little better about the nursing until it came time to nurse again and it didn't go as smoothly as it had there. Why is that always the case? Well, he screamed at my boobs, but finally latched. I really believe it was the pillow that helped. I learned how to syringe the formula though the shield one handed. My mom would sit next to me and fill them up and I'd go to it. I was nursing him on demand, which meant every 2 hours he would nurse and directly after that I would pump for 15 minutes, 24 hours a day. I was exhausted to say the least. And so was my Mom. She would help me at every feeding and hold the baby while I pumped. I love her and don't know what I would have done without her...and holy crap, I would have to do without her soon, because she was leaving after the first week. Nursing HAD to get better. I cried all day and all night. I just didn't understand how this natural thing that our bodies were supposed to do wasn't working for me. It pained me to think that I could not provide food for my crying, hungry baby. I felt guilt, frustation, and sadness. I felt like my baby hated me the way he'd scream. And then I felt guilty that I didn't just give him a bottle. I had already given in and let him take a pacifier.
We took him to the doctor for his first checkup on Tuesday, September 8th. Dr. Cordes was his pediatrician and I had a list of questions for him. He was so nice and the baby responded really well to him. We stripped him down and had him weighed. He had lost weight, so the doctor told me to supplement and work with the lactation department. Check. Next he gave Johnny a full examination. He checked his heart. It was perfect. He checked his ears, nose and eyes. Checked his legs, feet, hands and chest. Opened his diaper up and checked his cord and circumcision, both healing well. Then he mentioned that Johnny had water in his testicles. Um, what? I guess this is normal and should go away by his first birthday, but if it didn't he would have to have it drained. Um, what?! Yep, if they didn't deflate (my terminology, not his) then he would have to have a needle stuck in there to drain. Great. Lets hope they deflate!
I pointed out a little hole by Johnny's ear that I had noticed after his hearing exam. I thought maybe they had poked him with the equipment, so I had him look at it. He said it wasn't a hole, it was a Preauricular sinus pit. It was a sinus on the outside that was a direct line to his ear canal. Weird, but I guess common. It was something I needed to watch for infection. Something for me to google, I thought.
Other than that, Johnny was the picture of good health and we were scheduled to come back in 10 days to check his weight.
The rest of the week was a blur of crying, horrible nursing, lots of pumping and no sleep. My
Grandma, brother and his family came to visit along with Selena and Mikey. It was great to have visitors, but I think having them all at once was a bit overwhelming. I still hadn't slept and Johnny and I still hadn't gotten into a nursing groove. So anyone that came in to the house, was subject to seeing my ginormous boobs and hear Johnny's screams as he struggled to eat.
Now, you are probably reading this thinking that I was not loving being a Mom and that all the bliss I felt in the hospital was gone, but you're wrong. When I wasn't trying to nurse Johnny, I was absolutely in love with the little tyke. He was gorgeous and perfect. I loved to watch him sleep, loved to look at his little toes and sweet little face. I loved everything little ounce of him. I just wanted to be a great mother to him. I couldn't stop taking pictures of every cute thing he did, like breathe, blink, move....
He was now my life and my life couldn't get any better...well, actually it could if my milk came in and he could nurse easily.
More on that to come...