Saturday, January 2, 2016

Hospital Stay & Discharge

   Yesterday afternoon, we got to take Baby Girl home from the hospital. She ended up being there for 5 days, which is the minimum recommended for NAS (withdrawal) monitoring and observation. Since she never ended up needing to go to NICU, we were able to leave after this minimum monitoring period. She did have some NAS symptoms, though-- I'll write more about that later. But for now, I'm going to summary what our hospital experience over the past 5 days was like.
   To talk about our hospital stay, I should back up a bit and talk about what the delivery day was like. Anne had already established in her birth plan that she wanted me in the to be in the delivery room with her while the baby was born. She had also asked for either Ben or her mother to be in there with her, as well. It ended up that all 3 of us were there, which thankfully didn't go against any hospital policies. Many hospitals will only allow 1 or 2 support people to be present in the delivery room, so this is something to double-check when the birthplan is being made.
   Late in the evening, Anne called to let me know that she was in the early stages of labor, but they were going to give her Pitocin to make her progress more quickly. Her water had broken and her amniotic fluid was pretty much gone, and they were worried about the baby being in there dry (basically) for too long since her contractions were still pretty far apart and she was only dilated to a 3. She asked me to go ahead and come to the hospital since her doctors were predicting she would progress fairly quickly after the Pitocin started, and to also give me the chance to ask any questions that I may have of the doctors and nurses before she got to the end stages of labor.
   I ended up getting to the hospital shortly before 11 PM, and Baby Girl was born not long before 5 AM. During those 6 hours, I had the chance to have some good conversations with Anne's mom, whom I had only gotten to meet briefly prior to that evening. She had some questions about how exactly our open adoption was going to work, and reassured me that she was supportive of Anne's plan and truly felt like she was doing the right thing, even though there was some sadness to see her granddaughter go home with another family. Other than that, it was a pretty quiet evening. Anne's mom and Ben really don't like each other, so they both chose to just stay quiet rather than risking getting into a fight in the delivery room. Once Anne got her epidural, she was able to sleep through most of her labor until she woke up feeling like it was time to push. Anne's mom fell asleep in a rocking chair, I fell asleep on a couch, and Ben stayed awake playing games on his phone.
   Once they brought the delivery team in after Anne had said she felt like she needed to push (they checked her and verified she was fully dilated), Baby Girl was born in less than 10 minutes. I got to watch her be born, and was given permission by the nurses to follow them into the little baby-care alcove to watch her be cleaned up, Apgar scored, and get her initial vitals. Once Anne was stitched and cleaned up, she asked for the baby to be brought to her so that she could say hello and hold her for a minute. I stayed back on the other side of the room and took a few pictures (with her permission) for Baby Girl to have as part of her memory book. Anne, her mom, and Ben all took turns holding the baby (all of which I have photos of), and then she was given to me. When she was acting like she wanted to eat awhile later, Anne asked if we could share the first bottle-- I could start it and she could finish it. After we did this and she handed me back the baby, we had a brief exchange that set the tone for how the hospital stay would be: I told her how much I appreciated her allowing me to be in the delivery room, and she told me how much she appreciated me being comfortable with them having some time together as a family.
    And that was pretty much how things stayed for the next few days. My husband and I took primary care of the baby, and did the majority of her feeding, diaper changes, and comforting. A couple of times throughout the day, Anne or her mom would hold Baby Girl for a few minutes. The maternity ward was quiet enough that they gave me and my husband our own room to hang out in for the day on the day that she was born. We kept Baby Girl in the room with us (Anne was having quite a bit of pain at this point and wanted to try to get some sleep), and Anne would call over to us when she wanted us to come back in the room with her for us to all spend some time together.
   Until the TPR papers were signed at 48 hours, any medical decisions were legally Anne's call. She had the right to make any decision she wanted to when it came to blood tests, vaccinations, etc. She had told the doctors and nurses that she wanted everything to be up to me, so they would ask the question to her, she would turn and ask it to me, I would answer, and she would repeat my answer. There was only one nurse who seemed slightly awkward about the whole adoption thing, but for the most part I was amazed at how smoothly everything went.
  After Anne signed TPR at just over 48 hours, they began to prepare her for discharge. She went home later that afternoon, they cleaned out her room, and I was allowed to stay in the room for a couple of days since the baby still needed to be in the hospital for a minimum of 72 more hours. At that point, we were considered her legal guardians with complete power of attorney, so there was no problem with the doctors and nurses being allowed to communicate directly with us about her health and care.
    Since Baby Girl didn't have any NAS symptoms that were serious enough to warrant medical intervention, she was released yesterday after 5 full days of monitoring. There was a bit more paperwork involved than in a normal hospital discharge, mostly things related to the fact that the baby was being released into the care of someone other than the biological mother. I also had a short list of items that the adoption agency needed faxed over to finalize our ICPC clearance packet. Anne and her mom came back a couple of hours before Baby Girl's discharge to say goodbye (for now) and for us to have a last bit of time together. We all prayed together, hugged, and then parted ways.

    I honestly couldn't have imagined that everything would be as peaceful as it was. There was a sense of calm throughout the entire week, which you wouldn't think would be possible in such a situation. Anne never seemed to be in turmoil or distress, but confident that she was doing the right thing for her specific situation and her family. There was sadness at points, but it was a serene sadness. As we were parting ways, she told me that she would never doubt how much her daughter would be loved, and that she would always love us for giving her that.


  1. Congratulations! I have been reading your story, and wish y'all the best with your new baby girl.

  2. I know this is late, but congratulations! I'm catching up on your blog now!