6 months on and I remember it like it was yesterday. My hospital stay was fucking horrible and I hated every moment.
Once Baxter was born I was whisked away into the postnatal wards and they said to my partner “you need to go now”. Um, say what? Are you fucking kidding me? I’ve just given birth to a child, I need all the support I can get and you want my partner to leave? Now this, I did not know. First child and all, maybe I was a bit naive, but really? I know it is the hospital midwife/nurses jobs to look after you and I understand (well, I don’t really) why they don’t want men on the ward but I didn’t feel like they really cared and I was in such a fragile state being there for 3 nights it actually felt like some form of torture. I am not even exaggerating. Not only was I now responsible for this little life and I had no idea what I was doing, I felt like I was doing it on my own.
I had Baxter at 12.49am so I am not sure what time it would have been when I was taken to the ward but as it was the middle of the night my partner got away with sleeping at the end of my bed. Literally sitting in a chair slumped over the end of the bed. It was horrible. Both of us were exhausted, mentally and physically. We hadn’t slept for over 24 hours and I was already at breaking point so just broke into tears at any given moment. I didn’t want visitors and I just couldn’t pull myself together. I had a horrible nurse who would come check on me in the middle of the night, Baxter was screaming, he was hungry. My milk still hadn’t come in, my nipples were cracked and bleeding and I honestly thought to myself, I can’t fucking do this. I was in tears and she would try hand express, it’s times like this when I can see why so many people give up.
The next day another nurse came in and told me about a breastfeeding support group, she said I should go, I honestly felt so pressured and like I had no choice, it was the second time I had been out of bed (aside from an equally horrible first toilet visit). Less than 10 hours after giving birth here I am shuffling the corridor carrying my newborn baby to go attend this class. I could barely walk let alone carry Baxter I was on the verge of tears the whole time and was so scared I was either going to collapse or drop him. Meeting all the other mums, they were shocked that Baxter was literally hours old and that here I was sitting there.
It took me a day or so to build up some confidence in myself again, I got on the phone to my midwife and said what a horrible time I was having, it was definitely not as it should have been and quickly things made a turnaround and I was greeted by a lovely midwife student who really did make me feel a whole heap better. We found out Baxter had a tongue tie which is why I was having a lot of feeding issues, we needed to stay another night and he was to have the tongue tie corrected the next day. Gah, another night! I basically rung my midwife back (who is a personal friend and was a great support on the phone, she was really sick so couldn’t come in) and I said to her if R (partner) isn’t allowed to stay then I am going home. She made some calls and a super bitchy nurse came in and had us sign some forms followed by “we can’t give you a bed though”. We stole a lazy boy about 2am and dragged it into the room. It was uncomfortable and noisy as hell.
The night I was alone was so horrible, I cried for hours and hours, nobody knew because nobody came to check on me. Baxter was starving, I had no milk yet. I was made to feel horrible when we decided to give him a bit of formula. I didn’t sleep, the walls were paper thin and I was so vulnerable.
I know from others they didn’t necessarily enjoy their stay but it was management and they got lots of support, one even saying they took the baby for a few hours so she could get some rest. That would have been AH-MAZING.
Am I the only person who feels this was? I would expect that they would find a way to accommodate the partners to be there and support us as the hospital sure as hell wasn’t doing so. R made friends with another Dad in the ‘milk room’ who shared the same feelings. They discussed how hard it was for us woman and that the staff weren’t nice at all. It was reassuring to see we weren’t the only ones.
Remember, this was MY experience. I am not saying this will be the case for you and there was the odd nice/helpful staff member. All in all, 3 nights and 4 days for me and I had a natural birth so part of me kept wondering why was I being kept it. I should be grateful his tongue tie was picked up and corrected so early on but being discharged was the best feeling in the worst. It was weird, after being wheeled downstairs in a wheelchair (would have appreciated this when shuffling to the damn BF class) and getting in the car, after saying goodbye to my parents and R’s parents who helped us – I bawled my eyes out in the car. They were so unhelpful yet I felt like I was in the right place. I was so damn scared to be going home and being even more alone with this new life.
I honestly don’t know what I expected, maybe just a bit more support and to be able to have my partner there with me. It’s a question I never asked because I guess I just assumed. I would have thought the days after the birth (which are the hardest) would be so important to have the right support and it helps shape how things are to be going forward. It was a really horrible experience for me and I really feared what this whole motherhood thing was going to be like.
6 months on and we’re all still alive so it couldn’t have been that bad.