The first night they moved us up to pediatrics so that we could have a private room. I had asked the nurses to let the head of Labor & Delivery know that we were here as she was my old OB and it would be nice to see a friendly face. Unfortunately she never came to visit; we found out later that she was in the middle of an emergency.
The next morning we were moved down to Postpartum. Evan and my mom came to meet Ella. While everything felt really good and looked really good, we were really nervous. We asked for the pediatrician on call to come visit and check out our baby girl.
“I don’t need to examine her. Pediatricians were present at the birth and checked on her then.”
“Yes, but we’d like her checked out now.”
“But everything is fine and they are going to perform all the newborn screenings on her. If there are any abnormal results, they will contact you right away and they’ll be able to treat her and she’ll be fine.”
“Listen, we are very intelligent people. You have to understand that our son died suddenly after eleven days and his test results were all normal. We’re asking you to examine her; please just examine her.”
So she begrudgingly looked her over and unfortunately, it did not relieve any of our anxiety.
That afternoon Ella’s limbs turned blue and she projectile spit up; we did not know what to do. I got on the intercom and said “we need someone in here now”. No one came. My husband had her and after she spit up, she pinkened up again.
Ten minutes later our nurse arrived with lunch. “I heard you wanted lunch right away so I waited at the kitchen to get it for you.”
“No I did not want lunch; I wanted help.” I was beside myself. How scary to ask for help in a hospital and for no one to come. Our nurse explained to us that Ella was expressing fluid from the birth and it was normal as long as her core remained pink.
The next day our nurse walked in and it happened again. The nurse said she just had a feeling that she was needed.
I spoke with my sister, the pediatrician, and she told us which extra tests to ask for and then to have them done again a week later to see if anything changed. The nurse nicely put in the order. Everything looked good and we were discharged.
We asked that our two-day checkup be with our pediatrician and not at the breastfeeding clinic.
“You can make that change on-line when you get home,” we were told.
Although the pediatrician was awful, it was nice to find the majority of the other staff to be supportive. When a social worker came to see us, she asked how the staff was treating us. She was wonderful and told us that all of our thoughts, feelings and requests were normal and she made sure that we had an appointment with our pediatrician two days later.
It was difficult to not have a single familiar face- not the head of labor & delivery (my former OB), my current OB or my current pediatrician visited us. A couple days after we returned home, I sent my OB an email.
Hi Dr T,
I have been really sad not to have your support so far with baby girl. You had said you’d come to the hospital and would watch me like a hawk and would have a nurse come visit me and I haven’t heard or seen you. I tried to see Dr. M and kept telling them to tell her that I was there but she did not come see me either. We were admitted to the hospital Friday around noon and had Ella Friday night at 8:05pm and were discharged Sunday around 11am. I have been advocating for myself with my sister the pediatrician’s help from afar. I requested CBC and a BMP and everything looks normal. I requested to see our pediatrician yesterday and again next Monday and again two weeks later and not to go to the breastfeeding clinic. We went to see our pediatrician yesterday for the first appointment and asked to have the blood tests repeated on Sunday and again two weeks later. Breastfeeding is going well. My milk came in last night and her poop has already changed colors.
She called me back immediately. She had been working at Labor & Delivery when I called in Thursday night and had hoped that I would arrive before she left for a family vacation Friday at 11:30am. We had just missed each other. When she returned Monday she checked the records to find out how we were doing and was planning to call, but wanted to give us some time.
Somehow that was the perception of all of our friends – that we needed some time; they should wait to call; wait to visit; wait to write or send something. It made for a very lonely feeling. And unfortunately made me feel like they were waiting to see if baby girl would die like her brother did.
I began to text my local friends asking them to visit, asking for their support and they came. It felt great. It was such a scary time and I needed as much support as I could get.
Adam suggested that we formally send out an email announcement and then we’d hear from our friends who were far away, but aside from an email back or a text we did not. No one out of town called. When Ella was 5 weeks old, I felt safe enough to send out a formal birth announcement to our out of town friends and family- not one person called or wrote to say they received it. I checked with my mom and my mother in law and Adam, but no one mentioned it. It was almost as if we had not sent them.
I had a hard time sleeping when Ella slept. I would lay down next to the co-sleeper watching her sleep, asking Adam about each noise that might be strange. Our unspoken fears were mirrored in Evan. “Is she ours? Do we get to keep her?” he would ask each day the first week. Her second week he checked daily that she won’t die that only Ethan died; which is healthy for him to express, but hard for us to hear.
On July 2nd, our pediatrician told us that all the tests we did the day before came back normal. As we left the pediatrician’s office, a wave of relief washed over me. I looked at Adam and said “we get to keep her. She’s ours.”