so, still down in the delivery room, X and i were getting acquainted. when they handed her to me, the first thing i managed to say was "she smells like a science lab." not "she's beautiful" or "hi there" or "happy birthday" like i assume regular people say. but honestly, all the crap she'd been floating in and around for 9 months smelled like science lab frog dissection day. formaldehyde or something. pretty sure the medical staff thought i was weird, but i'll bet their noses are desensitized to it.
anyway, the next hour or two were spent "relaxing" in this delivery room. X was a champ at breastfeeding, impressing some of the nurses. of course i was happy because i hoped it would mean i had one less thing to worry about figuring out about this tiny person. while she was learning to eat, i was taking advantage of the offerings i didnt get to "enjoy" had i come to the hospital earlier in labor. i had cups and cups of cranberry juice and dave and i had a popsicle (this hospital only lets laboring women have liquids, which isnt really a necessary restriction).
somewhere during this time the two paramedics came back. they brought a teddy bear in for X that said "nova scotia paramedics gave me a bear hug." i didnt realize they would still be hanging around. maybe its as decent a place as any to wait for the next ambulance call. and, humorously, the doula mentioned that when she arrived at the hospital she saw one of the paramedics out in the hallway breathing deeply with his hands on knees. she said he looked kinda freaked out. musta rattled him that he might have had to deliver someones baby in the back of the ambulance. lol.
then wanda (doula) drove dave home so he could get some items and drive our car back. during this time the nurse took X to get her weighed, etc. and to put the goop in her eyes to prevent blindness. while that was going on, i was helped over to the bathroom and encouraged to take a shower. i would definitely love to, but i am so FRIGGING sore and battered feeling (how do people who labor for 30 hours feel? or c-section ladies?).
turned out to be the best and worst shower of my life. definitely liked the idea of being clean, and the warm water, but it was hard to stand and i was a bit dizzy and it was kinda hard to breathe. i just had pounds of things leave my body an hour ago and now all my innards must be totally jolted. my belly was an icky saggy deflated balloon and its not like youre not...leaking. ugh. but i did make it out of the shower and in to some clothes. by then dave was back and we sat with X until the wheelchair came to take us up to the fifth floor for rooming-in and recovery.
up on the fifth floor we were deposited in a "ward" room. the hospital has been overrun with women having babies so we were put in this room that holds 4 new moms and babies. they say that normally they still try to keep the ward rooms to two moms per room, but with the heavy load of newborns, our entire room was full. we were the second ones to arrive though, so gradually throughout the night the room filled up.
sharing the room with 3 other moms and babies (and partners) wasnt as bad as it could be, but it definitely meant we got no sleep. there was always a nurse coming in and tending to someone, a baby would be crying, or visitors would be cooing at the new babies. thankfully everyone was pretty respectful of keeping their voices down...but theres only so much you can do in a tiny space.
id have to say the worst thing was to listen to the two bottle-fed babies in our room vomit and gag all day. newborn tummies are so tiny (the size of a chickpea!) and they are pretty inelastic so cramming hard-to-digest formula down their throat on a fixed schedule was too much for them. musta been hard on the parents too to have to be nervous about their baby choking on all that spit up. X had some mucus she was working on all day (she was born so fast that the birth canal didnt have enough time to squeeze all the goo out of her lungs) and her gaggy noises were disconcerting enough for us. but thankfully she was the least fussy baby in the room, and when she wasnt hungry or working on the mucus, she was sleepy and/or quiet.
anyway, typically (at this hospital at least), uncomplicated vaginal births get to go home in 2 days and uncomplicated c-sections get to go home in 5 days. but i had heard of many people with vaginal births going home earlier than that. we requested to leave in 24 hours, if possible. they said the main thing was to establish breastfeeding confidence and to see that X was doing well and then our request could be approved. so, in mean time, how did we spend our day...
1. i ate all the free hospital meals i was allotted. they had a huge menu and i ordered the max amount of food i could per meal. nope, it didnt taste good, but i was SUPER hungry!
(best meal we had at the hospital: veggie lasagna)
2. Xs bassinet was near the window which had a big air vent. the draft kept her from feeling comfortable in her own bed, so we had her with us and/or on us the entire time we were in the hospital. skin-to-skin with mom or dad the whole time. nice for bonding and staring at her.
(the three of us)
3. nurse visits. they are in for checkups of all varieties usually every hour or two. in the beginning, they come and check mom and baby a lot. lots of unpleasant pushing on my belly to make sure my uterus was starting to contract back down to size and not cause me too much blood loss. yes, childbirth is more acutely painful, but now that you are sore and tired, this pressure on your belly is really unwelcome. but what was welcome from the nurses was all the helpful advice, guidance (mainly for breastfeeding), and confidence. we had one nurse, in particular, who was fabulous. older woman who was a fountain of experience and knowledge and she so confidently knew how to hold, soothe, wash, and encourage X that i wanted to take her home with me.
(feeding time; X and her mohawk after the nurse gave her a shampoo)
4. lastly, bathroom time. they encourage frequent urination to make sure your system is functioning properly. thankfully they also have some lovely props to make that slightly easier. first, hospital underwear. highly ugly but very useful and welcome. i wish they would have sent me home with a second pair. second, the sitz bath was definitely taken home with us. when you dont have time for a full bath in the early days this little guy is a perfect fix. warm water, ahhhhh. and speaking of warm water, the little innocuous "peri-bottle" was (and still is) a lovely bathroom accessory.
in the end, we were able to go home at 9p the following night. X did not pass her hearing test because she had "cottage cheese ears" (another consequence of being born fast was that the goo in her ears didnt dissipate as fast as "normal") so we will have to come back for that but otherwise we were set to go. we brought her car seat up and the nurses inspected her positioning...and we were off. entrusted with the life of this tiny, helpless person. yikes.
-cost to have baby: $0 (zero for all the prenatal care visits, zero for the tests i had, and zero for all aspects of the hospital stay)
-cost of ambulance ride: $134
survey of body damage:
1. 40 pound weight gain
2. 4 external stitches (second degree tear) in the nether region
3. one saggy (deflated balloon) tummy
4. one 'roid
*miraculously i avoided belly stretch marks. im thinking this was from a combo of genetics and that all the bloating pre-stretched my stomach to accommodate Xs future fetal growth.