One whole month. I can’t believe it’s ONLY and ALREADY been one month of knowing this little face.
We’ve had quite the month. 2 nights in the delivery room, 3 nights in the NICU, two trips to Urgent Care. I should make an entire post about her first week of life, but instead, I’m going to share it here.
Like I’d shared in the post about her birth, when Madeleine was born, I suffered a postpartum hemorrhage. While in the hospital, I had an iron infusion and two blood transfusions. I was casually told that the blood loss might make my milk come in late.
She was born Saturday night and on Monday morning, we excitedly packed our new little human in the car and drove home. We spent the day snuggling and loving on her. I tried to nurse her like they showed me in the hospital, but after a few attempts, my nipples were destroyed. bruised and nearly bloody. I decided maybe I should pump because even though it hurt, I’d gladly go through that to feed my baby.
That night was SO HARD. Madeleine would not stop crying. I’d try to nurse her, wincing in pain, but she just wouldn’t stop screaming. I took a picture that next morning because I figured I’d one day move past that but wanted to remember HOW HARD that first night home was.
(check out the bruises from a bad IV site (on the bottom) and from one of the times they drew blood on the top)
A few hours later, while Justen was showering, I went into the closet and wept and prayed. I asked God for discernment on what to do with our little baby who wouldn’t stop screaming about everything and seemed to change overnight. Later that day, I was texting my mom-friends asking about breastfeeding and I got a lot of “you’re doing a great job, it’s hard, just keep trying!” but I still felt weird. I had Justen call the lactation consultant number at the hospital and tell them about how she wouldn’t stop screaming when we tried to nurse and she hadn’t peed since we got home. They told us to call her pediatrician and if we couldn’t get ahold of someone there, to take her into the ER or Urgent Care.
and in that moment, she FELT different. I was laying with her on the bed just like in the picture and her weight just felt different. She felt limp and weak and in that moment I got the answer to my prayer. I said, “We are going to the emergency room.” For good measure, I let Justen call her pediatrician’s office. After setting her up with her two-week appointment and getting all of our insurance information, they asked us about what was going on and ended up telling us to take her to the emergency room.
The whole trip there, I sat in the back seat with her trying to get her to respond. I had my finger in her mouth hoping she’d start sucking on it, I was agitating her trying to get her to cry, and she just sat there. I honestly freaked out thinking she was going to fall asleep and never wake up. When we got to the emergency room, I jumped out and ran in with her. When we got to the window, they started asking us questions and when they asked us how to spell her name, I lost it. I turned into a Grey’s Anatomy extra, screaming at everyone who would look at me asking them to help us and take her to get help. They brought me a wheelchair and took us back.
It was the longest day of my life. They poked her over and over and over trying to draw blood in the ER and I just sat there weeping, feeling like a complete failure of a mom and terrified that something really bad was happening.
After the tiniest catheter, bunches of blood draws, and people reassuring me she would be okay, the NICU decided to take us. They wouldn’t let me carry her, so I sat on the hospital bed and held her while they wheeled us to the NICU. When we got there, they resumed the task of trying to draw her blood.
Apparently, she was blessed with my skinny veins and they couldn’t find a spot to get the blood they needed for a CBC. At one point there were three nurses holding her down trying to draw her blood and all I could do was stand there and cry. I’m a crier, but I think I wept more on the 3rd day of Madeleine’s life than I have ALL YEAR LONG.
Hours later, a change in nurses later, numerous pokes in the arms and even on top of her head, and they still didn’t have the blood they needed. Every time they took a break from trying, I’d grab her and hold her. I’d see her little face and feel distraught that she was going through all of that. Finally, they had someone come in and ask us for permission to try and draw the blood they needed from an artery in her arm. They were able to get the blood for a CBC (which later showed she had no infection, thankfully) and we fed her donor milk.
Once she had milk in her, I saw my baby come back. The baby I was holding was not the same baby we’d brought into the hospital and I knew we had made the right decision because something had definitely been wrong. She was dehydrated.
We stayed in the NICU for three nights, and it was SO HARD. She was attached to monitors and so for those days, we could only take her like 3 feet from the little bassinet she was sleeping in.
Two days after being admitted to the NICU, they discovered that Madeleine had a posterior tongue tie which explained why she had been destroying my nipples and was unable to latch. It was so frustrating that they didn’t check earlier, but it made me feel better that it wasn’t solely my inability to figure out being a mom.
We were admitted on Tuesday afternoon and left on Friday morning, and that entire time I never left the NICU. Justen went and got me a change of clothes at one point, but I kept asking them to bring me postpartum supplies and we were supported by so many friends and family who brought us meals and food so we never had to leave our baby’s side.
Friday morning we FINALLY GOT TO LEAVE, because Madeleine had gained enough weight and we’d figured out a feeding plan for her that made us confident we wouldn’t end up back at the hospital.
Since then, she’s been to Seattle (we forgot to bring her formula so that was frustrating!), the pumpkin patch, Target (3xs!), the bagel shop down the road (3xs!), and.. wait for it.. Goodwill!
My milk never properly came in. It’s been REALLY EMOTIONAL and REALLY HARD. I’m working on a post all about that, but I’ve basically hit this place where she’s formula-fed with a breastmilk supplement (I can pump an ounce on a good day). As I said, it’s been really hard but she’s fed and happy and healthy and that’s literally all I care about anymore.
IDK how you do these monthly baby update things, but I just am so delighted that we’ve had our little nugget for ONE WHOLE MONTH! I feel like I’ve known her forever. She’s the sweetest (unless she’s hungry, messy, or tired) and I am DYYYING for her first smile. 🙂
ps, we just got her newborn photos back, done by Jessica Pham Photography. She pooped all over everything, but she’s so cute it was okay
What a crazy, crazy first month. I am SO sorry about those gutwrenching moments of tears at nursing pain, the ER frenzy, the NICU admission…as if being a new mom isn’t hard enough! Hoping month 2 will be the chillest. You’re an amazing mom and Madeleine’s lucky to have you!