That first day went by really fast. Jace was stabilized pretty quickly, and by that evening his oxygen was at the “room air” level. He was being given nutrients through a feeding tube and was tolerating it well. We were told that when I was ready, I could come up and do Kangaroo Care (hold him skin-to-skin) with him.
I had started pumping earlier in the day. I had planned on breastfeeding right away, plus I felt pretty helpless because I had no part whatsoever in his care, so it was a good way for me to do something for him. I got quite a bit of colostrum during my first pump that we put in a syringe.. I got a little more later in the day as well. Joe took them up to the nursery, where the nurse put them in a refrigerator. She told him they would give it to him as soon as he was allowed to have it.
Despite my pain from the incision and the fact that I still had in a catheter, I was ready to go up and see him that night. My nurse pushed me in a wheelchair and Joe and I went upstairs to see our beautiful baby.
Jace was on his stomach when I got there, sleeping soundly.
The nurse unhooked him from a few things, and handed him to me.
He was so sweet and I felt the biggest sense of peace as I sat there holding him. This is where he should have been all along, with his Mommy.
I asked the nurse, “So if he continues to improve and stay stable, when do you think he will get to come downstairs and stay with us?” We had been told 2, maybe 3 days. He was doing so well, we were hoping it would be sooner than that.
She looked at me like I was crazy, and said, “Oh he will probably be here until you go home.” I was going home Thursday or Friday. It was Monday. He was almost completely normal and healthy at that point. It didn’t make sense in my head. Shouldn’t he be with us as soon as possible? Isn’t that what’s best for him?
Joe was really surprised at her answer as well, and we both questioned her about why he would need to stay there so long. It was completely different than what we had been told earlier in the day. Tears started pouring down my cheeks as she went on about policies and how he was a special care baby and nurses in the regular nursery don’t usually feel comfortable taking care of babies that had been up there. Something about me being on a different floor and if something happened it would take too long to get down to my room. It wouldn’t matter if he was completely fine, he wasn’t going anywhere. None of it was making sense to either of us, and I was getting so upset. I wanted her to be quiet so badly. She then went on to talk about how red he was and how he would probably be jaundiced and would need to be under lights, and how that would mean he might be there for an extra day or so after it’s time for me to be discharged. She looked at me as if I had three heads as I cried. “He should be with his mom,” I said, and stopped making eye contact with her. She eventually shut up and let Joe and I have a few moments of peace with Jace before it was time to go back downstairs.
Apparently a crying mom is really entertaining for the nurses… at least three of them came in to see if I was okay after they saw me being pushed back to my room. One of them offered to talk to the nurse upstairs and find out why she was saying what she did. We took her up on that and 10 minutes later a different nurse I’d never seen before came in, and repeated the same stuff the upstairs nurse had already told us. “Was he early??” she asked after she had gotten done “explaining” things. She didn’t even know what was wrong with him. She thought we wanted a medically fragile newborn released from Special Care. At that point I just wanted everyone to go away. I told her no, but didn’t bother explaining anything to her. She left, and Joe and I were left alone.
We tried to get some sleep that night – hard to do In a hospital – and hoped we could talk to Jace’s doctor and find out what was going on in the morning.