I had to wait for 4 hours before I saw S again. She was healthy but because of low birth weight, she had to be observed for 4 hours at the nursery.
In my hospital room was a roommate. She was a 17 year old Latino girl who had an emergency C-section and spoke little English. Her baby boy was LOUD. Interestingly, the night-shift nurses were all Filipinos. When I had K in the same hospital, both night and day shifts are mostly white and some Asians, but somehow, the population shifted. They were so hilarious. Since they spoke no Spanish, to communicate with my roommate, they tried to make English word into something that sounds like Spanish. It was not even close to Spanglish. My belly hurt because of their hilarious but fruitless effort to communicate with the girl. They were much more caring and friendly than day-shift nurses, for whatever reason. During the four-day stay in the hospital, I befriended with the night shift nurses.
One of the nurses pushed the cot cart and I immediately knew it was my girl. I got up though my belly hurt so much. This was the first time I looked at her carefully. She was so tiny and so different from K, who was born at 41 weeks at 7 lbs. 6 oz. She barely had any hair and her skin was scaly and red. And most noticeably, she had no fat at all around her arms and legs. I worried a little bit, since I’d never seen that tiny baby. I held by myself. She was weightless. Still, she somehow made eye contact with me and filled me with happiness.
I asked the nurse for permission to breastfeed her. I wasn’t sure my narcotics and anesthesia will affect my milk. After the okay from the nurse, I tried. But she was unable to latch on. Well, K took a full week to master the art of suckling milk, so I didn’t worry at that time. The next morning, however, a pediatrician on day-shift warned me that I had to give her a formula to prevent dehydration. I didn’t want to, but she was so tiny and different from K, so I obeyed and gave a teaspoon or so of formula with a cup. Lactation consultant was outraged. “She was not dehydrated at all or at any risk!” She noticed that my girl showed sign of hunger, so I tried again. Success! She latched on and start suckling. Now, just by remembering those moments, my breast starts to feel tender. There is something special about breastfeeding that affected me a lot. Some might say, “oxytocin”, and that’s probably it.
She lost a few ounces during the stay, which was pretty normal. I started to practice walking and the nurse was really tough on training! I had a horrible gas pain. I didn’t know it was caused by gas but the nurse gave me a piece of Gas X and poof! The pain was gone. During Gas X was working, I walked around and around the ward. During that exercise, I could hear the cry of my roommate’s baby. I could hardly hear my girl’s: “whe, wheoie, hoe”–I’m trying to spell what I hear. Unless I pay attention, I couldn’t hear her cry even though her cot was right next to me and my roommate’s was several feet away.
I had a normal recovery and left the hospital after 4 days. I tried to maximize the stay I can because once I come back home, I knew I had to take care of K. Except that wheelchair took so long to come (I waited well over an hour standing after all the paperwork was finished — they wouldn’t let me discharge without wheelchair — though I had to walk that much during the stay), I was discharged as a normal healthy patient.
I was anxious to know how K react with the baby.