Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Fifth Circle of Hell (aka Life on the Post Natal Ward Without a Baby)

I'll make this just a quick snap shot of the 8 days I spent trying to get myself discharged from the post natal ward.  Bubs was safely in the NICU one floor below, but I was stuck up in what can only be described as hell.

In no particular order:

*The coming apocalypse?  We had a blizzard, an earthquake, and severe flooding.  All during my time spent up here.  No locusts though.  Just uncomfortable beds.

*The food.  Small portions of particularly nasty hospital food.  There is a menu, and you can pick your poison, but obviously someone only gives you the choice so that they can give you something else and laugh evilly.  And no veggies half the time.  Which leads to the next thing...

*Lack of fiber + c-section + various painkillers = 2 days of constipation leading to a most painful and horrible experience on the loo.  4th degree tearing was not out of the question, but I finally got to use some breathing techniques.  I took the laxatives they offered, but it was not enough I guess.  Because I got to repeat this experience every couple of days with slightly less pain until I managed to finally retrain my guts and whip them in shape (thank you veggies).

*The drugs.  One night someone tried to overdose me on opiates.  I was given morphine and codeine and should not have had them together or so close together.  At this stage I stopped trustingly taking whatever they gave me and decided to stick to plain old panadol (tylenol).  Which may have led to one night of hallucinations...or that may have been a dream...hard to know.  Also my blood pressure drugs were switched with another woman's, and I got her lower dose and she got my higher dose. At least it turned out that she needed to be on a higher dose anyway, and they tracked me down and gave me an extra pill.

*The schedule.  Between expressing breast milk, eating the shitty food, cuddling bubs, and waiting for meds and blood pressure monitoring, and time spent running between floors, my days flew.  Mostly because none of these things ever lined up well, so I spent many half hours waiting for one or the other, knowing that I didn't have time to do anything else. 

*Other mom's babies.  Yup.  Living on the post natal ward means you see all these new mums, with their bubs, and your bubs is down in the NICU.  The crying that wakes you up at night isn't from your baby.  The gianormous full term babies seem huge and yours is tiny.  They are swaddled and cute, yours is in an incubator being fed through tubes and lines.  They can cuddle their babies and pick them up anytime.  You can only have skin to skin a few times a day (when it fits in between meds and meals) and can't overstimulate them by picking them up whenever you want.  Plus all the tubes and lines and monitors.

*Expressing.  Gotta get that milk supply.  So even if you aren't getting up every 2-3 hours to feed a bubs, you are getting up every 2-3 hours to pump milk to freeze for later.  And wheeling the pump down to the NICU mom overflow room at night??  Noisy as hell and sweet revenge on all those new mums whose crying babies are waking me up at night. 

*Dr. Unibrow.  I could write a whole post about this guy.  Ugh.  Lets just say young arrogant prick who doesn't know shit and kept turning up when I really didn't want him to.  None of the midwives liked him.  And I have yet to meet a patient that liked him. 

*Understaffed.  Who's leg do you have to hump to get a labetelol around here??  Come on people, I have a baby in the NICU that needs cuddles and I have to get back in an hour and a half to pump and get my questionable dinner.  GIMME THE DRUGS!

 *Not today.  Am I going to be discharged?  Maybe tomorrow.  And when I asked that the next day?  Same answer.  Never mind that my blood pressure is not dangerously out of control.  It wasn't even out of control.  Turns out they were concerned I would get sick again.  I didn't think pre-eclampsia could make a comeback, but apparently they thought it might.  I never dropped dead, but I did start to get a bit stroppy. 

*??  The two IV access thingies were left in my hands for days.  DAYS.  No one would take them out.  But also no one would flush them with saline, which should apparently be done every six hours instead of once every few days.  No wonder they closed up!!  It took some conning and lying, but I eventually got them both out.  And have a scar on each hand now.

There were some positives.  I met a lot of cool midwives, and really got to know the ins and outs of the maternity ward.  I am not only an armchair gyno, but I am now an arm chair midwife.  Except I will not be found elbows deep in vag.  The people (Dr. Unibrow aside) made it bearable.  And honestly I only stayed up in the post natal ward for meds, food, sleep, and bp check.  The remainder of my time was spent in the NICU, which will be the subject of my next post!

*I should probably state that overall I do consider the whole experience from the emergency c-section to the stay in the post natal ward on a whole to be positive.  It was frustrating at times, but I had other things to think of, and as always it is easier to laugh about this sort of stuff than it is to get upset about it.  When I refer to it as hell, it is tongue in cheek.  But not the magnesium stuff.  That actually was hell. 

Up next, NICU post!  The story is almost all told!!


  1. SO happy you are all well and at home!!!!

    1. Thank you! It is great to be home again!! I did have a lot of housework to catch up on, but nearly there!! And it beats being bored in the NICU any day!!

  2. Oh gosh. I was cringing for you at every bullet point! But being surrounded by moms cuddling full term babies while yours is downstairs does sound a little heartbreaking. But all is well that ends well and now you are home! although if that hospital has a comment box somewhere maybe you should leave a note for them....

    1. It was a bit heartbreaking, but I think my vagina breathed a sigh of relief after seeing just how big full term babies are!! When you get used to seeing small ones in the NICU, you sort of forget that something so big is supposed to come out of something so small. I did think it would be a bit of fun to take Bubs up and parade her 4lbs 10oz-ness amongst the larger full-termers, but a bit unfair, since she came out the sunroof anyway and was already 6 weeks old. I am sure all the mums would prefer a large baby to a preemie and an extended stay in the NICU, but I am equally sure their vaginas would be jealous. And I am just mean like that!

  3. As miserable as the post-natal stay sounds, I'm just really glad that you and Bubs pulled through. <3