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Making Baby 3 – The Hospital Stay

14 April 2009

I have been very, very lucky with my third pregnancy. The labour was pretty much text book, and there were no complications on my part. Just two small stitches, for those of you who know what that’s about.

When the doctor put Liam in my arms, I was overcome with the joy of meeting my little boy!

But the doctor, who sees babies being born four or five times a week, was carefully watching Liam’s breathing. After about two minutes, he decided that Liam was not breathing quite right, so he took him away from me and connected a blood oxygen monitor to Liam’s tiny foot.

His oxygen levels were a little low, but improved when pure oxygen gas was blown on his face for him to breathe.

They doctor asked me if it was okay with me to put Liam in a plastic box called an infant incubator, where he could be kept warm, and breathe added oxygen, and be monitored by a special nurse. Of course, I wanted to make sure he was getting off to a good start, so I said yes.

Liam in the Infant Incubator
Liam in the incubator. Here, he is about an hour old.

After I had a shower and cleaned up, I went to visit Liam. And about an hour after he was born, he had his first feed. This was another hurdle that can come up for a newborn, that is, if they don’t quite “get” how to attach to the breast for feeding. But I am glad to say that Liam was a natural.

By the next morning, it was quite clear that Liam was just fine, and didn’t need to be in the incubator any more. So we shared a little room all to ourselves. He did just what a perfect baby was supposed to do at this stage – eat and sleep. As a result, I could also pretty much just eat and sleep.

At the end of the first full day, my husband brought Callum and Sean to visit, and they were so excited… for five minutes. After waiting 9 months, they were expecting to meet a super hero, but what they found was a little red lump who didn’t do very much.

Karen, Callum, Sean and Liam
Me, Callum and Sean looking into crib. The boys are underwhelmed.

The novelty of having a new brother wore off very quickly, and then they were more interested in playing with the remote control on the hospital bed: Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Half way up. Half way down. Back up a little bit. Back down a lot. Argh it drove me crazy!

By the end of the second day, things were so well that I was bored. Nothing was wrong, and I didn’t need any help.

However the last time I had a baby, I developed mastitis (infection in my milk ducts), so I thought it best to stay in hospital till after “my milk came in”.

When you have a baby, your breasts don’t produce milk immediately and instead baby drinks a substance produced by your breasts, called colostrum. It’s kind of like a training course for the baby’s digestive system, with a built in immune system upgrade. Babies are actually getting their calories from their own fat supply, and their weight goes down immediately after birth, not up. It takes 3-4 days for the “milk to come in”.

This is a polite medical way of saying that you wake up one morning, and suddenly, your breasts are doubled in size and have become extremely firm – like melons. This may sound like a miracle, but actually, it can be very, very, VERY painful. The suddenness of this volume of milk can cause problems, and so I had to be hooked up to a milking machine, just like a cow. This provides such a relief from the pain that I don’t mind the humiliation!

The Milking Machine
My milking machine. My good friend.

But, by the fourth morning, my doctor came by and said that I should just go home. Everything was just going so well. So I picked up my new baby, and took him home to start his life with our family.

I am so grateful for such an easy start.

Liam 2 Days Old
Liam looking cute, two days old.

Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.