After having spent the night at home I’d like to say that I was well rested but honestly, it’d be bollocks! I was absolutely knackered, BUT I felt better than I had done the day before at least.
I woke up at 6:00am and managed to leave the house by 7:00am to get back to my wife with a batch of new washed clothes for the little guy and some much needed relief for my other half. As it turned out she didn’t get any sleep as he seemed to cluster feed throughout the WHOLE night. Cluster feeding is when your baby feeds little and often for a long time. For him this meant feeding for around 5 minutes at a time and then leaving about 10 to 15 minutes between each feed… all… night… long!
After sorting out the dogs I had planned to come back just after lunch time to spend a little time with them and grab myself something to eat, but in the rush I left the house without any breakfast. Something that would bite in the arse a little later. Arriving in record, but of course well within the legal speed limits, time I ended up waiting outside the ward, just like every time. I understand that the ward is a secure locked one and think this is great for the safety and well-being of all those tiny new lives and also the vulnerable mums… But in this case they should have someone there to monitor the door all the time. You couldn’t get in there quickly in times or emergency!
After chatting with my wife fora little while I decided to try and give her a chance to get some more rest, so I settled in to my little leather chair with Ripley and let her get some sleep. Although during this time the dinner lady did come a calling and I had to make an off the cuff executive decision… It was a Sunday so it had to be a full roast right? … (don’t worry, of course my decision was right!)
A Day of Little Information
After my wife woke up one of the midwives finally came round to see her and to our surprise, get her ready for going home. I gave my mum and dad a call to let them know that they shouldn’t come around today and then got back to seeing why they thought that this baby who had only just over 30 hours or so ago had been wearing a little red hat was ready to leave the care of the hospital. But to be honest very little of that information came. In fact in the end they even forgot to give us the injections my wife is meant to keep taking for the next 10 days.
Just so you know, if your partner takes home a course of clexane injections, they are really easy to administer (I help my wife) and are just there to help thin the blood and stop the chance of her getting blood clots. However they do seem to be a little sore after a while – not doing the injections themselves but the bruising which they leave afterwards. Probably best to keep that last bit to yourself until she figures it out herself… They are really important and perhaps it’s just that my wife has a little reaction which makes her bruise easier with them.
So what sort of information were we missing?
- On our first day in my wife had capillaries burst in her legs and as a result was given stockings to wear. She wore these home but no one said how long they should stay on for and when they should be worn.
- No one mentioned anything about how his health status was or whether there would be any further complications as a result of the caesarean (as shown next).
- He was really sick at one point which was heavy with mucus, and his shit was the same. We asked if this was something to worry about but were told no it’s a good thing. When a baby is born vaginally the mucus in their stomachs is pushed out due to the pressure, but they don’t get this with a caesarean birth. We were told that it needs to come out one way or another – either out of the mouth or ass! You’d think someone would just tell us this rather than waiting for us to panic and ask!
- We got no advice about what he should be wearing or how to ensure he is sleeping safe.
- We later discovered that no one even measured the little guy and recorded his length! I know that he weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces when he was born but have NO IDEA how long he was. Surely the doctors would have wanted to know this! Right?
Tip of the day – The midwives are very busy and they talk to pregnant women and new parents all day of their working lives… So I guess they take certain facts and questions for granted – I think that’s why there were so many unanswered questions. Don’t just let these slide! Instead if there is anything you don’t understand or want more information about, ask them… before you leave the hospital!
The Car Seat Anxiety
So we installed the car seat ages ago, choosing one with an ISO-Fix base which makes putting the seat in and out SO easy. After we had gone through a few checks with mum and the baby I made my way back home to sort the dogs out and get some things ready for them to come home… Don’t worry I know it seems like I’ve just jumped ahead and missed a load of stuff out but that’s not the case. I just jumped forward and missed out more stories of people talking without giving us any real information or reassurance.
Oh and just a little tip (although not to tip of the day levels)… don’t buy sushi to eat on the labor ward. Even if it is from the hospital restaurant. We were stuck in a small hot room with loads of other people and my little piece of salmon stank the whole place out!
Besides all the questions which we had, there was a huge amount of excitement at the prospect of bringing this little guy home so when I came back from my house I brought the car seat in with me… thanks to the long wait at the entrance (again) I decided that I would bring all of my wife’s bags and the baby out at once. Remember – after a caesarean, they shouldn’t do much lifting.
However before I could bring everything out to the car… and of course in true man fashion I carried the holdall, 4 shopping bags and the car seat in one go!… I had to try and get Ripley in to the car seat. Easier said than done!
You can practice securing the car seat as much as you want, but getting a wriggly baby in to one of these seats for the first time is stressful for them and for you! Especially when you have a little guy like us whose head is a little on the bigger side which meant that I had to remove the newborns head restrain pads and keep him in the new born’s body pads and next size head pad set… It was a weird combo but kept him so much more comfortable – although he looked like a fat potato squeezed in to the chair. It’s easy to see why they recommend that babies don’t spend much more than 2 hours at a time in these things.
The most important thing to remember is to keep calm – especially if your little one is getting stressed and upset because its a whole new sensation for them to be strapped in and restrained without being in contact with their parent any more. One thing which we found really helped was to have my wife sit in the back with him so that she could touch him and reassure Ripley that we were still there… Although the second I started moving the car he fell asleep any way!
I was so glad to finally get the car out of there for the last time (fingers crossed), because they were starting to earn an absolute fortune out of me!
One of the things which is really easy to forget is such a basic and important principle for people.
During out ante natal classes they kept saying don’t forget to eat… make sure you eat! I thought to myself why did I pay for shitty advice like this? I love to eat and would never forget to eat! Guess what, apart from the occasional sandwich here and there, I basically forgot to eat properly.
This does sound like dumb advice, but whilst in hospital this goes to the men and when out goes to both of you… Eat regularly and eat healthy.
With that in mind, we made our first stop out with little Ripley, the McDonald’s drive through near the hospital. Nothing screams healthy first dinner with baby at home like a large big mac meal with a cheese burger thrown in for good measure!
First night home
I’m not going to say too much here, because we are starting to now head rapidly towards the midnight mark so the results of the first night at home with baby will be in the next diary entry… but know this! Getting them home for the first time feels weird!
As there is no one around to help and no handy bed side emergency button to press you will feel a little panicked, but just remember – you’ve already in most cases been doing this in the hospital with help on hand. Just do the same thing!
I said in my first post that I wasn’t going to tell you, everything is fine, it comes to you naturally. It doesn’t, it’s absolute bullshit! BUT you do figure it out, and in this day and age just about anything you could want to figure out how to do will most likely have a how to video on YouTube… That’s how I figured out how to strap him in to the car seat. If all else fails keep reading these to try and prepare you for what we figured out and ask in the comments below if there’s anything I missed out!
Even though everything will feel very strange it is important to figure out what works for you. In the Hospital they showed us how to wind the baby. Every one has seen a baby get winded on the shoulder. Watching and social learning is how all primates figure out what to do with their first baby, but what I had never seen is a technique which looks and feels like you are strangling your baby… Go for which ever technique works best for you! On our first night at home I figured out that a mixture of the 2 techniques, and then the movement between the two seems to make him burp the best. You’re going to make great parents, just use the resources you have available and find what works. It takes a little time and it is a steep learning curve but you’ll figure it out!
Oh and I’ll do a post about winding at some point. It’s such an important thing to do and can be a daunting thing to get right. It’ll come to you naturally? Pffff, it won’t need to once you figure out how to combine YouTube and Google!