If I had the chance to go back and redo all of this over again I would do it in a heartbeat. The reality is that as new parents you aren’t educated in what could go wrong after birth and how to deal with it. It’s not until you’re looking back that you wish you would have been better educated so you could have done things differently. Not only for your baby in the hospital but for yourself in your postpartum healing.
If any mommy to be’s are reading this and end up going through something similar I hope you take my advice.
First thing I would do differently is ask the hospital staff for a breast pump. (Since I didn’t have one yet). I would want to pump, even if it was only colostrum, so I could physically see what my baby was getting. Especially since it’s important for babies who have jaundice to eat enough so they can have a bowel movement to get rid of the bilirubin.
Recently I’ve heard that you can pump in the weeks leading up to your delivery date and save that colostrum in syringes. This would be great in case you’re not producing enough when your baby is born.
After doing that, if my baby’s bilirubin levels didn’t decrease I would request formula. I’ve heard that hospitals will push breastfeeding and try their best to avoid giving you formula but after what I’ve gone through I would fight for it. If I’m blessed enough to have a second baby and I go through the same I will make sure that my baby is getting formula regardless if they say I’m producing enough breast milk. They say breast is best (which I don’t disagree with) but after what I went through fed is best. It doesn’t always work out and that’s ok.
Along with the formula I would request the biliblanket. If your baby’s bilirubin levels aren’t decreasing you’ll want to do everything to try and get those levels down before you’re discharged or have to be admitted into the NICU. You would think that you wouldn’t get discharged with high levels but it happens and here I am writing my blog trying to help other moms.
I would also have a doctor come in and tell me exactly what’s going on, what the process looks like and what could happen if it doesn’t get better. We didn’t have a doctor come and explain anything to us. It was just the nurses casually mentioning what was going on which made us feel like it wasn’t a big deal. This was obviously something that should have been done since it was serious enough that our son ended up in the NICU. Not once did we have a doctor come by and talk to us about what was going on.
The second thing I would do differently is take better care of my mental health. As a new mom your hormones are already heightened. If you’re breastfeeding they’ll continue that way until you stop. So many moms suffer with postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, PTSD, etc. This can happen from hormones or it could be caused by experiencing a birth trauma or anything else that would affect your emotions. I’m no expert in this so if you feel like you’re suffering the best thing to do is seek expert advice. *A topic I’ll touch on in a later post.
During my pregnancy I read up a lot on visitors after delivery. They said to let your family know when you are ready to see them and to also control who comes in and out of your house once you’re home. This being my first pregnancy, I couldn’t see myself doing this to my family. I also didn’t want to come off as rude by not letting them see the new addition to the family. My family is the type that would want to be there as soon as I got admitted even if it meant they would be waiting around for hours. They’re so supportive and loving but what I came to the conclusion of is that the support and love will be there regardless of when they visit.
What I read put emphasis on getting rest after your delivery. This couldn’t have been more accurate. Delivery is no joke. Not only is it painful but it’s exhausting.
What I would do differently is give myself and my husband a couple hours to rest after delivery. There should be no shame in doing that. You need it! If I would have done that I wouldn’t have been so sleep deprived. Since our son was born early in the day our visitors started as soon as visiting hours started and left when visiting hours ended. You may think that you’ll have time before and after visiting hours to rest but you don’t. Between nurses, doctors, lactation consults and a newborn you will get very little rest. If I would have taken the advice of giving myself time to rest, my mental health may have been better. With having rest I could have possibly handled my hospital stay and NICU stay better.
If I’m blessed enough to have another baby I will make sure that I get my time to rest because it wouldn’t be fair to me or my babies to have to go through postpartum depression and anxiety again. It’s not fun, it takes away from the experience and for some it doesn’t fully go away until you’re medicated.
My family was great and would bring food every time they visited. While this was amazing, I would prefer that they came over a couple times a week instead of every single day. Not only do you need rest but you want time alone with your new little family.
A fun thing I found recently is having a sign up sheet at the baby shower for making the parents to be food. You would have one person in charge of getting that food and dropping it off to avoid additional visitors. I know this can sound so anti-social but after what I went through it’s honestly for your own good. At least for the first week or two.
Overall, don’t be embarrassed or nervous to ask for your space. Set the boundaries from the beginning and you won’t have to awkwardly set them later when your family is used to doing whatever they want.