Saturday, May 23, 2009
Spa vacation
No, I'm not taking one. I just had one. That's the running joke on my mommy board. For those moms who have been there done that with one child, a hospital visit to give birth again beckons like a spa vacation. You get to be completely taken care of; all your needs fulfilled. Once you become a mother that nearly never happens. I think most second time moms also know to take full advantage of the nursery at night so they can get a few last nights of sleep. It's so wonderful to be taken care of by nursing professionals. Those ladies rock and I give them all due respect. The food at my hospital was even good. On paper it didn't sound great, but it never disappointed once they brought it to me. It helped that they were feeding me as if I were breastfeeding. Lots of food!

The reality of c-section recovery isn't the prettiest. I've already mentioned how my surgery went and spoken a little bit about recovery, at least the part where I came to. From there we moved to my room. For the next twenty-four hours I was bound to my bed. I had an IV, which fed my body saline, antibiotics and morphine. The morphine was "on demand" I had a little push button for that. I really didn't hit it too hard. Then there was the catheter. Such fun when they come empty your pee bag. I had compression thingies on my legs that automatically squeezed my legs at intervals to keep the blood flow going and prevent clots. Finally I had what they called a Q-pump. Post surgery they ran a thin tube, like a soaker hose, into my incision and it automatically fed painkiller directly to the incision area. Because of all this stuff attached to my body I was bed-bound for all of the first day of surgery. That was especially difficult for me because my back was aching from sitting up in the bed. I could never find a comfortable position. Nurses came in at regular intervals to check my vitals and dispense any oral meds I might need. They also kept me stocked with ice water since that was all I was allowed to have that day.

On day two the goal was to remove the catheter, remove the IV, and remove the compression thingies. I was also railroaded by my daytime nurse team into taking a shower. That was their goal, not mine. I could have waited until the next day. Anyway, when the catheter comes out you have four hours to pee on your own, otherwise they "threaten" to re-cath you. Trust me, that's excellent incentive. I accomplished that goal within an hour. The leg compression apparatus came off when it was time to walk me to the bathroom. I'm actually quite thankful they had me using those. I had an irrational fear of getting a blood clot and dying in the hospital, thanks to a People magazine article from months ago. Later in the afternoon the IV came out of my hand. Or actually the part in my hand stayed; they flushed and sealed it "just in case." They simply detached all the tubes that lead to my hand. That left me with the Q-pump. Unfortunately it's a three-day treatment so I was saddled with that thing until the very last morning. They put it in a handy little bag with a long strap so you can wear it over your shoulder. Still, I would forget about it and jerk the tubes on a regular basis. Once the IV came out I was switched to oral meds. I was alternating ibuprofen and Darvocet. You had to ask for the Darvocet, it wasn't automatic. They also gave me Mylicon and a stool softener. The nurses were still checking in on me fairly regularly. I started back on real food with breakfast, which was Jell-O and something else really soft. By lunch it was turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes. It was nice to be able to get up again on day two, but it was a difficult thing to do without pain. I had to move really slowly and use my upper body for leverage so that I didn't put too much strain on my innards. Because of my Q-pump the shower was a major operation. They had to put plastic over my incision and tape it to seal it off. Then they put the Q-pump itself in a plastic bag and taped it to my body. It was seriously ridiculous. Still, the shower felt pretty damned good. The nurses seemed to know what they were doing.

By day three it seemed to me like most of my goals had been accomplished. I asked the nurses what I supposed to be doing that day. They said rest and relax and bond with your baby. They still checked up on me, but not nearly as often. It was like a "free day." I did have one personal goal (you'll love this), to have a bowel movement. Once again, this function requires heavy use of the parts that they've just taken apart in surgery so it was really important to me that they work before I left the hospital. Because if you get home and haven't had one you may be in for a world of hurt. By that night I required some medicinal intervention, but by golly, I had accomplished my goal for the day. The other agenda item of significance for day three was Jack's circumcision. My OB did it at 10:00 p.m. that night. The kind nurse brought Jack back to see us for a few minutes afterward, even though she was going off shift. The babies had to be in the nursery by 11:00 p.m. for the night so we were cutting it close. I will not kid you, we felt like dirty dogs for putting Jack through that. But the way we explained it to him, the doctors were the "bad guys" hurting him like that and we were the ones that loved him. I honestly don't think he cared ;)

Other chores I accomplished on Day three were calling to add Jack to our insurance, and calling the hospital billing office to make sure we were square and that there would be no delay in discharge the next morning. I also called and set up our first visit with the pediatrician. We were lucky in that the nurses didn't seem to care a bit that we were using our cell phones in the rooms.

On day four, discharge day, I was fortunate to get a nurse who was with the program of getting us out of there quickly. The local university, which surrounds the hospital, was having graduation that day. They were expecting an extra 35,000 people in town. We wanted to get the hell out of Dodge before the ceremonies ended and traffic poured into the streets. My nurse that morning was fantastic. She did everything she could to help us out. I had my Q-pump out by 9:00 a.m. My doc discharged me around 9:30 a.m. The pediatrician discharged Jack by 10:00 a.m. The nurse gave us our final discharge papers by 10:30 a.m. We had the little numbers-matching wristband-cutting ceremony and we were good to go. I got to ride the wheelchair down to the first floor and in no time at all we were on our way.

To satisfy my cravings, we stopped by Arby's for an early lunch and then we were on our way back over the mountains. Despite the rocky beginning, I will remember my spa visit fondly, thanks to the wonderful nursing care I received.