Baby C is going to be 5 weeks tomorrow. Life has been so overwhelming the last 5 weeks but I am finally getting a little time to try and catch my breath. I wanted to do a post on my hospital stay, mainly for me to have so I can remember for the next time around but also to share with any readers who might be going through a c-section with diabetes.
The c-section was not an overall great experience. It started when we were waiting in our room in Labor and Delivery (L&D). We had about 5 different people come in and tell us about how the process was going to go. However, I didn’t quite think it went the way they explained it. The epidural was probably one of the worst experiences I have had. They wouldn’t let my husband in the room when they put the epidural in my spine and I think if they had, I would have been a lot calmer. Instead, I was by myself while they tried to find the spot to stick the epidural into my spine. It scared me so bad that I couldn’t stay still long enough for them to find the right spot. As a result, it took a lot longer than it should have, which only freaked me out more. My poor husband was right outside the room hearing my screams while the doctors worked to get the epidural in. He kept begging for them to let him in but they wouldn’t (apparently some husband fainted when his wife got an epidural and then sued the hospital and as a result they don’t let husbands in anymore-thanks buddy). It’s funny to because I remember thinking how painful it was when they put the IV in, but the epidural was way worse. You would think that after 20 years of being stabbed with needles, I would be used to the pain.
When they finally got the epidural in, I got numb pretty quickly, which was a very weird sensation. At some point they stuck the urine catheter in me, which I was completely unaware about. Next up was the actual c-section. They strapped my arms down and pulled the sheet over me and got started. I couldn’t feel anything but then they started pushing trying to get my little one (LO) out and I felt some pushing and pulling in my stomach which was the weirdest feeling. It didn’t hurt, it just felt so odd.
They got LO out (although they had to make the incision bigger since he was so big) and then stitched me up. I didn’t really feel anything but my right shoulder started to hurt really bad, and I mean BAD. I was in so much pain in my shoulder it was crazy. Apparently, air got into my stomach or something and it somehow got an air bubble into my shoulder which is what I was feeling (I’m not quite sure about all the technical vernacular for the condition).
The worst part of the whole surgery was that I was CRAZY THIRSTY. I have never been so thirsty in my entire life. I’m not sure if I was legitimately thirsty or if was mental but I craved water so bad. I have never wanted something so bad in my entire life. It would be HOURS until I could finally drink anything.
The surgery was at 3:45PM, LO was born at 3:57PM and we had our “magic hour” (bonding time for hubby, LO and me and to also establish breastfeeding) from about 4:30-5:30PM then friends and family visited until around 9PM. During that time, I was given a few wet sponges to quench my thirst and then ice then finally small sips of water. I handled all of those OK but they still didn’t quench my thirst. I was so happy the next day when I could go back to drinking water normally.
Overall though, the surgery wasn’t too bad. The epidural, shoulder pain and thirst were the worst but the surgery itself was not too bad. My husband brought music for us to listen to during the procedure and we didn’t even use it. It was such a quick experience, that the thought of music didn’t come up. I was also able to keep my infusion set and CGM in the entire time and control my diabetes (although it was such a short time that it was sort of a moot point). I was given Picotin to contract my uterus, which caused really bad cramping for a while. It took about 4 hours or so for my legs to get feeling back. I was given some cute socks to show that I was at risk of falling. Apparently they give it to anyone that has a c-section but they also give it to diabetics so there was no way I was getting around the yellow socks.
After the birth, I had friends and family visiting to meet LO and they were a good distraction from the pain. I was pretty drugged up and I think as a result, I didn’t really feel an instant connection with LO. I was feeling pretty guilty about not feeling more of a bond but once the meds started to wear off, I started falling in love with him.
My blood sugar managed to stay fairly stable during this time but it had also been over 12 hours since I had eaten anything so I was given Jell-o to try and eat. I had two small pieces and instantly got sick. This started a long night of getting sick. I guess I wasn’t handling all the drugs from the surgery that well. t thought it had to do with eating but I soon learned it also hit me when I attempted to move. I tried to sit up and got sick. I think I got sick about 5 times that night. It was a long night. I was finally given anti-nausea medicine. The first round of meds didn’t work so they had to give me strong anti-nausea meds. The second round finally did the trick.
I overcame the thirst, the nausea, and the numbness and then diabetes started to rear its ugly head. The vomiting had subsided but I still wasn’t eating much. My blood sugar got low and I had to scramble to figure out what my stomach could handle to treat the lows. I ended up drinking apple juice, which seemed to settle OK. My blood sugar decided to stay low for the majority of my hospital stay but I upgraded from only treating with apple juice to treating with graham crackers. I drank a lot of apple juice and had a lot of graham crackers during my stay.
The nurses let me control my blood sugars the entire stay which was nice. However, I wasn’t doing a very good job because I was so low but I appreciated that they didn’t bug me about testing my blood sugar. I was supposed to change my basal rates and bolus rates after giving birth and I had even discussed my new rates with both my diabetes educator and my endocrinologist but I never got around to doing it. As a result, I was low the whole time. I also ran into an issue with my CGM. Because the day of the birth was unplanned, I was going off of an old CGM sensor. I think I was on about day 12 of the sensor and so about 12 hours after the birth, the sensor decided to crap out. I took it off and didn’t put a new one in until about a day later so I was kind of flying blind. I was trying to test often since I didn’t have my CGM guiding me but at the same time, I was so exhausted and busy with everything that I wasn’t doing a very good job of checking my blood sugar.
My diabetes wasn’t the only thing bothering me during the hospital stay. My shoulder pain from surgery continued into the hospital stay but the nurses didn’t seem too concerned about it. I was given pitocin to contract my uterus and this caused some discomfort. I also had an incredibly itchy face! I believe it was because of the drugs but whoa, my face felt so funny! But the worst part of the time in the hospital was the extreme exhaustion. The first night I was up all night throwing up. The nurses also came by to check on me every 2 hours and then the pediatric nurses would come by to check on the LO every two hours and for some reason they couldn’t get their act together and come in at the same time. We also had a lot of visitors and not just our friends and family (who were very welcome!) but we had a variety of people like the cleaning crew, a random photographer and the cafeteria people dropping off and picking up the food trays.
Between all of the people, it was nearly impossible to get any sleep while we were in the hospital. I think we got about 2 hours of sleep the entire four days. Because LO had low blood sugar the first 36 hours, we had to stay in L&D instead of moving to the Mother and Infant (M&I) unit. We finally had an hour to ourselves to try and sleep and that’s when we got the notice that since LO’s blood sugar had finally stabilized, we were finally going to move from the L&D unit to the M&I Unit. So, instead of sleeping, we had to pack everything up and change rooms.
The M&I unit was much nicer than the L&D. L&D is typically only used to people staying for about 6-8 hours and mainly for delivering, not for extended stays like us so we didn’t think they were all that attentive. The lactation consultant only came to visit us once in L&D, despite my request for her to come by more. Once we moved to M&I, we saw the lactation consultant several times and she spent a lot of time answering our questions. The L&D unit didn’t advise me to move around at all (granted the first night anytime I moved, I threw up) but once we got to the M&I unit, they really stressed how important it was to move around. I was worried that I might have hindered my recovery because I didn’t move around those first three days. The M&I unit also showed us how to give LO a bath, which was supposed to happen within the first 12 hours (when we were in L&D) but we didn’t get it until day 3 (when we had moved). The nurses were also much nicer in M&I than L&D but I think that’s because the L&D nurses were really busy. It was a full moon on Thursday night (we checked in on Wednesday) which apparently means an increase in deliveries so they were pretty overwhelmed.
One surprising thing about the hospital stay was that the food was really good. I was able to score some extra food for my hubby too which was nice. I was also surprised at how comfortable I was around the nurses. You basically lose all modesty when you have to have a nurse help you in the bathroom and I can’t count how many times the nurses would come in when I was breastfeeding. Having help in the bathroom reminds me of one other thing I liked about the hospital stay and that was having the urine catheter in me. It might sound odd but I enjoyed not having to worry about going to pee. Having to pee every 5 minutes when I was pregnant was annoying so it was nice to have a 24 hour break from worrying about that. When they finally took the catheter out of me, I had to make sure I peed within six hours, which I did so all was good to go. It didn’t hurt when the pulled the catheter out either, which I was worried about. Another thing I loved about the hospital stay was getting to wear the leg compression. These things rocked! The purpose is to avoid blood clots but since I have a minor case of restless leg syndrome, they did a great job of helping me to sleep. The nurses said that most people don’t like them so I guess I’m in the minority but I didn’t want to take them off!
While I was in the hospital, I was also able to score a lot of freebies. It’s funny because my husband and I were stressing about our hospital bag and I don’t think we used anything in our bag. He might have used more than me but I completely overpacked. I packed all sorts of tops that buttoned down the front, several pairs of pants and underwear, pillows from home and a blanket to name a few. I didn’t use any of it! It was so overwhelming at first that I didn’t even think of the pillows I packed and once we settled down a bit, I was fine with the pillows that the hospital provided. I also lived in my hospital gown for the majority of my stay. I had read about how bad the mesh underwear at the hospitals were which is why I packed my own underwear but I actually liked the mesh underwear just fine. When I was leaving the hospital, I took everything that wasn’t tied down. I’m exaggerating a little bit but the nurses told me that I could basically take anything I wanted minus the linens. I came home with extra mesh underwear, a ton of pads, lots and lots of diapers and wipes, and many more items. It was comedic how much stuff I took home. I think my advice to someone that is going in to deliver would be to take an extra suitcase for all the free stuff you get. I took things I didn’t even need. If anyone needs a perineum ice pack, I’m your girl!
Overall, I wasn’t that impressed with the whole delivery and hospital stay but I’m so happy that things went well and we didn’t have any major issues and my LO came out perfectly healthy and happy. We finally headed home on Saturday afternoon, where we got to introduce our LO to her “big sister” (aka our dog, Scarlett).