Our Birth Story: Part 2 The Snuggery
Struggles in the Snuggery
Outside of breastfeeding struggles, things were going okay. Sure, we were exhausted and needed sleep. But we were both recovering physically. However, emotionally speaking, I think we were both struggling. We had watched The Fellowship of the Ring shortly before starting labor and a quote that Galadriel says kept coming into my head.
“The quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail.”
Not necessarily inspiring, but it seemed that we were walking on the edge of a knife. It was hard and we were both struggling with the idea of “what have we done? This is our life now.” It was scary and extremely emotional. It seemed that tears were only one hard cry from Christian away. Let it be known, we planned his birth. We agreed that we wanted to have a child and everything was very intentional. He was not an accident and we both decided it was time to welcome a baby into our lives. But wow, nothing could have really prepared us for what we got into.
I was trying my hardest to keep it together and support Melissa. I’d tell her that I was proud of her. I’d show her how perfect our baby came out and that she did a good job carrying him and creating his beautiful life. It seemed this only helped very temporarily. The more I tried praying the more choked up I would get too I don’t really know why.
Speaking of praying and faith. It’s possible I prayed more this week than ever before in my life. I probably should have prayed more beforehand, but it was too late. I prayed for strength. Not just for Melissa but for me. I prayed that we would be able to learn how to care for this child God had given us. My faith was shaken and challenged as it seemed the more I prayed the harder things got. Our birth plan crumbled and fell apart the longer we were in the snuggery. Now, I am not sure a single thing that we wanted out of our birth story happened the way we wanted it to. It was never our story, it was God’s and it all unfolded the way he wanted it to for whatever reason we may not ever understand.
Positive moments break!
The best times in the hospital were when Melissa’s mom was there. This is when the good things happened. We gave Christian his first bath with the nurse. While he didn’t really enjoy this, it was overall a good experience. Christian also got his photo session done and that went really well and Melissa and her mom enjoyed that. We also got one of the nurses to stamp his hands and feet in our baby adventure book that Melissa found online.
Last Days in the Hospital
We really never knew exactly when we could be discharged from the hospital. At some non-specific time on Wednesday Christian was determined to be in good health and no longer had his own personally assigned special care unit nurse. We were waiting for Melissa to be cleared and healthy enough to leave. Although at this point we weren’t exactly sure what that meant. She already got her IV taken out and her vitals had been good for days. Everything seemed like she was okay. She couldn’t stand the IV in her arm.
Just when she was feeling good about things by Wednesday afternoon, a nurse came in carrying two bags of iron. They told her it was ordered and that she was going to have to get another IV put in so that she could receive the iron. She was crushed and asked why and if there was anything else she could do. She promised to increase her iron intake through food. The nurse could tell it wasn’t something she wanted to do so she left to double-check. When she returned later she said that the iron was something they talked about but was ultimately mistakenly ordered. She instead would simply have to take an iron pill every morning for a few weeks and should increase her iron. We had some friends bring an iron smoothy for her and her mom went shopping for spinach and things like that.
Sometime late Wednesday evening we received bad news at the worst time. We had just had a bad moment trying to breastfeed Christian and we were both exasperated. Just when we were about to call in a nurse for some help one came in. This gave me hope that help had arrived but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead, she told us that we were going to have to leave The Snuggery and we were transferred to another room in another wing and that we had to pack up our things very soon as they needed the room for a couple of c-sections that had just come in. July is a very busy time for babies.
This was a devastating, crushing, blow to us and our confidence. It was the last thing we needed at that moment with a fussy child who needed to eat and sleep. It didn’t help that we settled into this room. We were “comfortable” there. I looked around the room and my stomach sank and my throat tightened. There was a lot of stuff everywhere in the room. Extra stuff we brought from home, extra bags we got from the hospital, gifts from friends, blankets, pillows and just stuff. All this was going to have to be brought to another wing in the hospital. Melissa just kind of went blank. She needed to focus on feeding the baby to calm him before we left. They had brought in a pump and I was able to feed Christian with a syringe a bit to help with the feeding.
This was a brutal 30 minutes or so of packing and loading up a cart followed by watching Christian get put in an isolation crib. At this point, it was kind of nice not to hear him cry for a bit in the crib. We then proceeded to walk down a winding hallway to our new unit and our new room. Melissa was in a fair amount of pain during this time too as her medication needed to be renewed. We slowly proceeded down a plain-walled hallway that seemed like it would never end. The room we finally ended up in was in reality probably fine, but at that moment just felt like a wave of sadness.
It wasn’t as bright or new as the snuggery was. Fortunately, Christian had calmed down and when we got to the bed Melissa seemed to fall asleep pretty fast. It was pretty late at this point. Probably after midnight. I didn’t have the will to ask for blankets or sheets for my pull out bed. I was glad to have brought a pillow and blanket from home. My emotions were just gone at this point. I could handle no more. I grabbed a paper towel, laid down, and wept as silently as I could. This was one of the hardest times I could ever remember. There was nothing more I could do to help at this point.
There is a song that states “there may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.” This was not that morning. Melissa was in pain. I was struggling to keep my composure, and we had no idea what we supposed to be doing, or what was next. We had some idea that was discharge day as it was three days after the c-section. At some point, they ended up taking Christian away for some tests and we got a little sleep.
The nurses were still as friendly in this unit, but it was different. Almost like we overstayed our welcome. It was less crowded and less busy than the snuggery, but I was anxious to go. Melissa wasn’t feeling great and I encouraged her that it was time to go home. It was a scary thought, but I didn’t feel there was much more recovery for us at the hospital. So, we talked to a nurse and she started the process of being discharged.
It didn’t take long to watch the short videos they had for us and I started to make trips out to the car. We went through paperwork and scheduled follow-up appointments. Melissa was deemed medically fit and everything was in order. The final step was loading the car seat and driving home. Our last nurse came out with us to make sure the seat was secure and they let us go. We were told to call if we had any questions or needed help. The lactation consultants are available to us free of charge for at least a year or as long as we chose to breastfeed.
The final step was stopping by CVS to grab a couple of prescriptions. Thankfully we could just go through the drive-through and before we knew it we were home. The second part, and perhaps the biggest part, of the birth story adventure, was over. We survived The Snuggery and it was time to enjoy our new bundle of joy. We were home.