I’m not sure how, but I kept going like this - walking back and forth to the NICU to nurse our baby - for about 24 hours. When I returned to my room in the early morning on the third day however, my incision was bleeding profusely, and I collapsed on my bed. My doctor told me I should stay in bed, but at the same time, he understood what I was doing, and knew that as long as our baby was in the NICU, I couldn't focus on my own recovery. I begged him to interfere, somehow, so that I didn’t have to walk across the hospital to nurse a perfectly healthy baby any more, but we both knew that sadly he couldn't do much.
I was in horrible pain too - to go over to the NICU I had to remove my IV, which meant I was just taking paracetamol in tablet form against the pain – not very effective when you've just had your stomach split open.
My husband was supposed to teach this day, but I called him and told him I needed him. He came, and worked hard on discussing with every resident he could find, and argued with the attending. I don’t know why this particular expired professor was so adamant about keeping our baby in the NICU, but sadly we had to suspect that it was a matter of proving himself right in front of his students (we overheard him teaching on several occasions, and it was obvious he was no longer up to date or even remembered basic facts). Here’s an actual conversation that took place during one of the discussions:
Attending: “We need to keep him here because he has lost a lot of weight.”
My husband: “Um, he weighed 3100 grams at birth and now he weighs a little over 2900 grams, which means he has lost 200 grams.
Attending, with a serious and concerned voice: “Yes, that’s right. He has lost 200 grams.”
My husband: “That’s about 5% of his birth weight.”
Attending: “Yes, 5% - he has lost FIVE PERCENT.”
My husband: “Normal weight loss after birth is 10-15%.”
Attending: “Yes, that’s correct; 10-15% is normal.”
Then, when there were no more medical arguments left, the doctor claimed that it was impossible to transfer a baby from the NICU to the nursery. There were no protocols for this kind of action. All they could do was to discharge the baby. But I was not in a state to be discharged. Things took a twisted turn that ended with the chief, who was abroad, being contacted to OK the transfer.
In the end, towards early afternoon, I couldn’t hold back the tears any more, but cried desperately in my bed, too exhausted to go back. “Just get my baby here,” I sobbed to Courtney, and he went over, more determined than ever. I’m not sure what else went down here exactly, but within an hour, I had our little baby in my room.