Thursday, December 28, 2006

Back In Time For Hogmanay

We've been criticised by several of my family members for not updating in several days.

We have lots of really good reasons. This holiday season has been probably the most difficult one this family has seen in a very long time - lots of really sad and emotional circumstances have occurred, not to mention all of the illnesses being passed back and forth. (Did I mention, I got sick right after Scott?)

But again, I don't feel like getting into all the reasons this festive season hasn't been the most festive for us, so I'll just give you our best excuse for why we haven't updated.

I've been in hospital!

Before you concern yourself, I'm fine, Baby's fine, Scott's fine. But on Boxing Day, I started having what felt like really regular contractions in my low abdomen. I had about five in one hour so I called my midwife and took a long, hot bath to stop them. They did stop but started back up about three hours later. My midwife had said if they continue or start back up to go to hospital. So when they started back up, I called the hospital and they told me to come in and to bring an overnight bag in case they needed me to stay. So I packed a bag, and we got to the hospital around 9.30pm. They checked me over and thought it was possibly a UTI but also possibly preterm labour so they kept me overnight. It was my first overnight stay in hospital ever. It was weird. The following morning, the doctor saw me, but the pains hadn't lessened despite the antibiotics so they kept me another night. Let me tell you, it was the most boring and uneventful hospital stay in the world. They never verified UTI, but they did decide it wasn't labour so I'm home.

My hospital stay was very eye-opening, to say the least. How any woman could comfortably have a baby in a normal hospital, I don't know. I stayed in a room with four beds, and the poor woman next to me had to labour behind her pulled curtain with three other people in the room with her. How. Utterly. Horrible. Then she went off to have her baby and came back. I could not do that.

Let me quickly add, by the way, that for some, the hospital is the best place they can imagine having a baby. Many feel safe there and that is perfectly acceptable. I have no problem with other people having babies in hospital. But me? No way, no thanks, not ever if I can help it.

Basically, these are the things I learned regarding how I personally could not have a baby in hospital:
1. Hospitals are SO UNBELIEVABLY BORING. How on earth would you distract yourself during early labour? No TV, no stereo, no snack food. I'd go stir crazy.
2. The privacy, though this hospital was probably better than others, is still barely existent. The poor woman next to me had to labour knowing that there was a woman with a baby right across from her. Surely knowing things like that would distract you from being able to just go with it. I know I'd feel unable to make noise or moan or walk around, knowing I might wake up a baby and the baby's exhausted mother.
3. Hospitals, no matter how good they are, still rely on schedules. Each mother was handed a sheet on which they were to record how often and how much the baby fed, how many nappies were changed, etc. I just cannot be bothered with stuff like that.
4. Women are encouraged to breastfeed (in this hospital anyway) but are then supplied with loads of formula to supplement with. They are encouraged to get the baby to drink however much and then chart it. The whole time I was in (one full day and two nights), I never saw so much as a nipple. All the women said they were breastfeeding though... Not to be condescending, because I'm not saying this in a holier-than-thou way, but it's no wonder breastfeeding is such a challenge to so many women. If babies from day one are fed bottles full of yummy milk and then are suddenly given a boob that has nothing but a few dribbles of colostrum, of course they're gonna refuse! "What's this?? WHERE'S MY FOOD?!" (And of course, there's the nipple confusion issue, too.) But if you give the baby your breast only, they'll suckle a bit, get some colostrum, and eventually, your milk will come in and they'll get what they've been working for. Babies are born with enough fat stores to get them through those first 24-48 hours before Mummy's milk comes in; they don't need formula, but they do need colostrum. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but in general, bottle feeding them to start with and then offering them a boring, rather empty boobie is gonna cause problems. Anyway, that was a rant I didn't mean to go so far on.
5. I want to use cloth nappies exclusively. How much would hospital staff hate me?

Anyway, that's enough for now. I just got way too carried away there. Sorry. I need some sleep. ("They" aren't kidding AT ALL when "they" talk about sleepless nights with a baby. I had to sleep through THREE babies last night - and I wasn't even the one who had to get up and feed/change them!)

So anyway, 2007, march on. May you bring this family some cheer (and a baby!)

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