Saturday, March 17, 2007

72 Hours With Ashley

I'll preface this post by apologizing for the level of details in the last post. This one should be a bit less unpleasant. Also, it's been awhile since I've posted last. We've been a bit busy so I'll try and catch up with this post.

The first few hours in the post partum room were chalk full of visitors. Our families had come into town from St. Louis and Cleveland and were eagerly awaiting the chance to see Ashley. In addition to our families, we had nurses, lactation consultants, workers to sign up Ashley for a social security number and a birth certificate, etc. It was a busy place with a revolving door.

The nurses informed us of our new schedule of feedings every 2-3 hours. In addition, we were to keep track of her bathroom schedule on a dry eraser board so they can make sure all of her plumbing was working correctly and she was getting the proper nutrition. It's funny how you treat babies and their bathroom schedule. You look forward to the times she has a dirty diaper and physically cheer out loud when they do.

One thing the nurses never told me was something I encountered the first time I changed her diaper. Meconium it's called. I couldn't believe my eyes as I ran to the nurse's emergency button exclaiming "Ashley is dying from the inside!" Kelly calmed me down saying it's completely normal. What I saw in that tiny diaper was black tar. Same consistency and same color and I'm as serious as a heart attack. I learned this is the output from the baby ingesting all the fluids and materials in momma's stomach during pregnancy. It's unreal.

One of the biggest obstacles we encountered the first day was that Kelly's milk was slow to come in. This was apparent when Ashley would start crying as soon as she finished feeding from momma. Since she wasn't getting nutrition from Kelly and she started to lose too much weight, we had to start supplementing her diet with formula.

Instead of giving the formula with your standard bottle, we used a supplemental nursing system (SNS). Basically, you pour the formula into a cylindrical shaped container which has a long tube that pulls the formula out of the container. You attach this tube with tape right onto momma's boob. So when Ashley nurses, she would get both formula and whatever momma was producing at the time.

In addition to the formula, the nurses brought in a breast pump to help get Kelly's milk to come in quicker. So every 3 hours we'd fill up the SNS, tape it on, Ashley would feed for 30 minutes, I'd clean the SNS, Kelly would burp Ashley, I'd take Ashley, Kelly would use the breast pump for 15 minutes, I'd hand over Ashley, clean the pump and Kelly would sleep with Ashley. Lot's of work, right? Keep in mind the "every 3 hours" counter starts when you start the above process. Since this process mentioned above takes about an hour, we essentially had 2 hours in between feedings.

So we spent from Monday around 1pm until Wednesday around noon in this post partum room. On Wednesday, the pediatrician cleared us to leave and we packed up, bundled up and used our car seat for the first time.

I've never driven so cautious in my life on the way to our apartment from the hospital. The speed limit felt like we were cruising at warp speed. Each driver around me was a threat to my new family so I had full defensive driving mode in gear. Of course we had to stop to purchase a breast pump on the way home. BTW, whoever is making these things has to be a millionaire. They are unbelievably expensive and another unexpected cost was out the door.

Since we've been home, we've been challenged with the feedings. The process has been grueling and poor Kelly has been a trooper through each and every time. However, we woke up this morning and our prayers have been answered. Kelly's milk is now flowing like the beer in the bars around our apartment today on St Patrick's Day. So we've ditched the SNS and breast pump in place of your standard and natural feedings. Finally!

Today was a big day for another reason, Ashley had her first pediatrician appointment. Katie and Grandma Rothery gave Ashley a bath last night to prepare for her second time out into the world. Our little girl smelled for real. She had legit body odor coming from underneath her armpits. I couldn't believe it when I first smelled it. I thought it was just my smell because sitting around all day staring at the clock waiting for feedings doesn't bode well for personal hygiene.

The appointment went well, she's perfectly healthy and has gained 5 ounces since she left the hospital. She's up to 6lbs and 9 ounces.

So we're finally caught up to real time. Hope everyone's having a happy St. Patrick's Day! Boy am I in a different place than last year at this time. That's okay though, Ashley is worth that times 500.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy St Patty Day Kelly, Ashley and Ryan. Ryan you are too much, I can't wait to hear Kelly's side of the story. Love you Guys