In The Hospital

We moved from the delivery room to our hospital room Sunday morning around 11:45. We quickly settled in and spent the rest of the day in a sleep-deprived haze, entertaining a few family members and trying to figure out what day it was. I spent nearly the entire hospital stay confused about the day of the week, as my Saturday and Sunday blurred into one long day of pain, hazy memories, and figuring out how to care for a newborn and my own fragile body.

We settled into room 327 in the Mother/Baby Wing of UT Medical Center.

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We had a few visitors that day… our parents came by, as well as some of Bronce’s extended family: Deborah and Richard, Mamaw, and his brother’s family (Spencer, Melissa, and Nonavea). We were so exhausted I failed to get pictures of everyone who visited that day.

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Bronce and I were so exhausted, I insisted that he go home to get rest in the evenings rather than sleeping in the hospital room with us. Before we went through labor together, I thought I’d want him to stay with me, but as much as I enjoyed having him nearby I knew I wouldn’t be sleeping at all and that he needed to be rested. He left Sunday night around 8pm and came back in the morning around 7 – though I’d only slept about 3 hours that night, he was much better off and able to take care of Eleanor while I rested during the day Monday.

Sunday night Mom stayed later in the evening with me and the nurses gave Eleanor her first bath. We asked if we could watch and take pictures and the nurses were nice enough to let us back with them where we saw my little bundle get all cleaned up. They would have given her a bath earlier in the day but they wanted her to nurse first – turns out she was so tired she wasn’t interested in nursing at all on Sunday – we dealt with that Monday when the lactation consultants were back in on the floor.

Here are some pictures from her first bath:

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And while she was getting warmed up under the heat lamp, I took some pictures of her sweet little baby parts:

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Here’s a cute one of her. Don’t you want to kiss those cheeks and breath in that baby smell?

BIRTH_0090 Monday morning Bronce returned to us in the hospital and stayed all day. He was thrilled to be back with his daughter again!

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He enjoyed some special daddy/daughter time and after watching me spend skin-to-skin time with her he asked to do it himself. Adorably, Bronce and Eleanor spent hours reclining in a lounge chair this way – it made me teary to see them bonding.

At this point Monday I’d slept 3 hours since Friday night. It’s amazing to me how young I look in this picture.

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The lactation consultant met with me Monday morning so I was able to get some help with breastfeeding. Once we got her settled, she took to it like a champ and didn’t have any more problems (at that point – we had other issues we dealt with later in the week with a lactation consultant in Larry’s office).

Originally we were hoping to head home Monday and only spend one night in the hospital. However, the doctors were worried that Eleanor was a little jaundiced and wanted to keep their eye on her another night. She wasn’t so bad they put her under the lights or anything, but enough that they wanted to have her in the hospital for the second evening. I’m not sure if it’s a result of her poor breastfeeding the first day (though her blood sugar levels had been fine and of no concern), but they did say if she started feeding well the jaundice would go away quickly. Since we were stuck in the hospital another day, our families visited again, bringing food and company for us Monday. Here are pictures of our dads with Eleanor:

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Later in the day we got a visit from our doctor. He only found out that morning that we’d had the baby – since the on-call doctor delivered Eleanor, no one had even let him know. He was disappointed to find out he missed the delivery but very complimentary of us for making it through the delivery without any major interventions. He stayed to visit for a little while and it was great to share our side of the birth experience with him.

Monday night Bronce stayed with Eleanor and me till around 10pm. I hadn’t gotten much sleep yet so I had the nurses take Eleanor from 11-3 (I got pain meds on a 4-hour schedule so this fell between two of my doses) so I could get a block of sleep. She didn’t do very well in her bassinet and I held her in my arms otherwise, so I wasn’t really sleeping well with her in the room. It was nice to get a break and by the time she got back she needed to nurse anyway.

Bronce returned Tuesday morning and within a few hours we were given permission to leave the hospital. Here’s a picture of Bronce getting Eleanor all riled up about leaving to go home:

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We didn’t have any clothes that fit her (granted, everything we brought was blue anyway!) so we dressed Eleanor in this cute pink and grey outfit Mom brought for us. She’s so tiny!

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And we’re off! A surprised Eleanor in her car seat, followed by Bronce bringing her into the house for the first time.

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When we were planning to be in the hospital we anticipated wanting to leave for home as soon as possible – I figured I’d prefer to sleep in my own bed and be in my house. However, we ended up enjoying the hospital far more than I ever imagined. Yes, it was amazing to have the nurses bringing us drinks and we had food delivered and everyone was catering to our needs, pain, and exhaustion. But the best part for me was having the three of us together in an environment where we felt comfortable asking people to wait to visit (that’s been hard since we got home – lots of people don’t understand when it’s “not a good time” for us or we need visits to be short so we can cause less disruption to Eleanor’s schedule). It was a cozy place for us to enjoy our first few days as a family. The first week we were home when we were tired and trying to figure everything out, I would get emotional about missing the days in room 327. Our memories of that time were somewhat foggy (hey, I was super drugged up!) but still pleasant and it was jarring to get home and have things not going perfectly. As we got our feet under us and felt more comfortable at home we began loving being at home just the three of us, much like those first few days in 327.

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