I should have spent this day reclined in bed, recovering, while nursing a new born.
Because of a stubborn neonatologist who really should have retired years ago, instead I spent it walking back and forth between my hospital room and the NICU, and sitting in the worst chair possible for a post cesarean patient, trying to get started on nursing a sleepy preemie, full on glucose IV.
By morning the day after birth, there was nothing wrong with our baby any more - he had recovered from his wet lung completely over night. He was off the oxygen and all his levels were perfect, however the attending wanted to keep him “under observation” for an additional 12 hours. Really?! Our pleads that the best thing for the baby at this moment would be to join his mother in her room were futile. Telling the doctor about my difficult surgery, and how hard it was for me to walk back and forth, had no effect. "Why are you coming to nurse him so much? He's fine, since he has the glucose IV,” was the answer we got.
The sad thing is, all this time that I spent in the NICU, I never saw another mother feed her baby (and there were plenty of babies there). In fact, during my entire stay in the maternity ward, I never once saw a fellow nursing mother. I guess it's a matter of culture here.
But I have certain beliefs when it comes to baby care, and one of them is that "breast is best," so I set my alarm for every two hours and made the trek. Breastfeeding was difficult at first because it had been 24 hours since the birth, our baby was not hungry due to the glucose he was being administered, I was in pain, and holding the baby was a challenge due to all the tubes, IVs and monitor cables. Also, when Courtney went over to check on him in the early morning, our baby had a pacifier in his mouth, despite our specific request not to give him one.
It took me a few hours and several attempts to get him awake enough to latch on and then even more time to get him to actually start drinking. I can't count on my fingers the number of times the staff offered me formula and/or pumping "for supplement," during this time. At best they thought I was crazy, making things so difficult for myself. I never had trouble like this before, but my experience helped me endure and I just kept trusting my and the baby’s instincts. Finally in the afternoon he really started sucking and I could hear little swallowing noises.