I finally sat down and checked the email address I use for this blog (I haven’t actually read the emails, yet). WOW! My sincere, sincere apologies. I had no idea that I had that many readers or that so many people cared about me and baby girl. I think between all of the adjustments and the exhaustion that it never occurred to me that people would actually miss me or be concerned.
My plan is to go through the account, one by one, and you will receive a personal email in return. Again, I’m so sorry, and yet so thankful.
Now, on to the explanation. Before I begin, please know that I’m not trying to make excuses for my absence, though it will probably appear that way. So again, I’m sorry.
Part 1, the U.S.
I’m sure that living in a hotel suite sounds great (to be fair, in some ways it was), and I did the best I could, but it’s just not like being at home. I also didn’t have everything done the way I should have. Even toward the end, it was really hard to believe that I was actually going to have a baby. Taking care of the last minute details was really hard, because I thought something bad was going to happen. I also wasn’t sleeping at all, so when I did go into labor, I was already exhausted. My doctor continued to offer me Ambien at my appointments, but I just wasn’t comfortable taking it, so I declined.
The time in the hospital was absolute chaos. There was medical personnel in my room almost nonstop, add in the lactation consultants (LCs)/ RNs who were also in the room, basically nonstop, for 14 hours a day. I was trying to manage paperwork issues (yes, The Powers That Be expect you to work on their paperwork while still IN the hospital) and a new baby. Made even more fun by a horrible internet connection and non-existent cell coverage.
Things were a bit more complicated because she was late pre-term. They had to do glucose tests on her before she ate, constant vitals, and then she wouldn’t regulate her temperature. One nurse was just about to take her away to the special care nursery, when a fabulous LC, also an RN, suggested Kangaroo Care. While it was wonderful to have baby girl so close, I couldn’t do anything else while lying with her on my chest, under a mountain of blankets.
We had major feeding issues, so again, the LCs were in my room constantly, and when I wasn’t trying to feed baby girl, I was pumping. To add to the chaos, my husband didn’t arrive until almost 40 hours after she was born. He was so jet-lagged, he could barely keep his eyes open. Oh, and then she was diagnosed with Jaundice. Fun times.
To sum it up, as we were walking out of the room when I was discharged, I noticed a tv cabinet. I LOL and thought, you’ve got to be joking. Who has time to watch tv with a new baby.
My husband was with us for about two weeks. We did the best we could, but jet-lagged husband + stressed out, new mom, neither of whom have any baby experience, = an interesting time. As I said in the previous post, the time in the U.S. was busy. There was no down time, or at least I don’t remember there being any. It seemed like every day we had at least one appointment, if not more (medical, lactation, and breastfeeding support group twice a week).
The paperwork for The Powers That Be took up a lot of time, too. Apparently the pediatrician is supposed to be a mind reader, and so instead of just checking a box under a question AND writing “okay” on the newborn medical clearance form, he was supposed to give a detailed account that yes, baby girl was fit for travel. So that was yet another appointment (to go back and have him write a detailed note to MED). Plus every time she had a billirubin check, I had to call Washington to update MED. Ugh. It just seemed like everything was far more complicated and took more time than it should have. Add in that I was feeding her and pumping every 2-3 hours, which took at least an hour, then washing pump parts, etc.
I also learned very early on that my child doesn’t like to sleep, nor does she like to be set down. The first night “home” from the hospital I honestly thought the hotel staff would knock on the door and tell us we had to leave. She was just inconsolable. As it turned out, the hotel staff was WONDERFUL. I’ll post about them separately. Even though they told me not to worry about her crying, I did my best to keep her quiet, out of respect for the other guests. Most of my nights were spent rocking her, walking around the hotel suite, and listening to “The Vacuum” and “The Womb”, both downloaded from iTunes.
The saving grace in all of this was my mom. She lives an hour away from the city I was in, but she drove in nearly every day, and even stayed with me many times, after my husband flew back to Dublin. While my husband was still with us, my mom would drive in and drive us to every.single.appointment.all.day.long. This on top of running errands and taking all of our laundry back to her house to wash and iron. She brought meals, lattes from Starbucks (she knows how to keep me going), and overall just did anything and everything she could, and somehow made it seem like she was never around, giving us the chance to bond as a new family. Mom, you are the best.
Another person I’d like to recognize is one of my BFFs. She just happened to be in the U.S. on home leave, and drove 8 hours, each way, to attend my baby shower, and visit with me. The visit was much too short, 24 hours, but it was right before I was to leave for Ireland and she was to leave for her next assignment. It was really awesome to see her and she was truly a zero-stress visitor. I told her what hotel I was at and she made reservations for herself just down the street. I told her the name of the location of the shower and she said not to worry, she’d find it (I was a bit frazzled when she called and not that familiar with the city, in the first place). She got on famously with all of the shower guests and when asked to give an impromptu speech, did so with such elegance and poise, everyone was moved. Her words brought me to tears. She has been with us through this entire horrid journey of infertility (we’ve been at previous posts together) and it was breathtaking to hear her put her thoughts into words. Later that night, my mom offered to stay with baby girl so I could go have a bit of time with BFF. We went to dinner and had a fabulous time. It was the first opportunity we’d had to openly talk since everything happened in Belarus. The following day we met up again for lattes, my mom took us to lunch, and it was time to say goodbye. It was just so great to see her and she was awesome about doing everything around my pumping, nursing, crazy new mom schedule. C, thanks so much!
There were plenty of not so enjoyable events and situations, but this is long enough, and it’s always better to end on a positive note, so… more later.