A 4th degree tear. I didn’t even know what that meant but it must have been bad because I had a crowd of midwives and doctors staring at my women’s bits trying to determine what they were going to do. All I knew was that this tiny little wrinkly baby that I had just given birth to had caused the injury by coming out with her little hand beside her face.
The doctor then explained to me that I had torn my entire perinium and inside the rectum… or as my partner elegantly puts it, ‘from asshole to breakfast’. Because of the extent of the injury there wasn’t a surgeon qualified to do the job at my local hospital so I was set to go to another hospital in the nearby town.
It was 4 o’clock in the morning when the ambulance arrived for me and both my partner and I hadn’t slept since midnight the night before. For some ridiculous reason my baby wasn’t able to ride in the same ambulance as me, so instead, I went up in the ambulance by myself, leaving my brand new baby with my partner that had never held a baby in his life, let alone looked after one. Then the ambulance turned around and went back for the 2 hour round trip yet again to bring me my baby girl.
I did get one good thing out of the trip though – I slept. The paramedic in the ambulance and the nurses at the hospital were checking my blood pressure and pulse every 20minutes so my sleep was brief but I was happily drifting off at every chance I got. At 7 o’clock in the morning my sleeping little angel arrived in a clear plastic capsule. My poor partner had looked after her at the hospital until the ambulance arrived and was so knackered that he went home to get some rest himself. I later found out he changed her very first nappy which was a lovely shade of newborn black meconium. I was definately happy that I didn’t get the pleasure of dealing with this tar poo.
After an hour with my new baby, they wisked her away yet again and I was prepped for surgery. I don’t even remember getting the drip put in my arm to get put under, I swear I fell asleep before I was even knocked out. Before I knew it I was waking up an hour later.
I was looking forward to getting some rest when I got back to my hospital room but then reality hit when they wheeled in the little baby capsule with my own little human waiting to be cared for.
I was shocked that they left me alone with the baby. I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily the nurses at my local hospital had quickly chucked her onto my boob to feed before I got into the ambulance so I had a rough idea on how to feed her… a VERY rough idea… After the third feed I soon worked out how easy it was to have a bad latch and how quickly it was to then get cracked nipples.
The nurses at this hospital didn’t seem to give a shit about me or my nipples. I asked every midwife that came in and I they would all say they would come back and help in a bit… and then their shifts would end. I soon worked out no one was coming to help me. Finally one midwife told me to stop breastfeeding and gave me a syringe. She told me to hand express milk and feed my baby from the syringe so that’s what I continued to do.
A few hours into my new motherhood my baby stopped breathing. She started turning blue and looked as though she was choking. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t get out of bed so I pushed my nurses emergency button over and over again and continued yelling and screaming for help from my bed. I held my blue baby in my arms, trying to hold her in different positions to stop her choking. No one came to help. Finally after what felt like forever, my baby started breathing again. By that stage tears were running down my face.
20 minutes later there was still no one at my bedside. Finally a midwife popped her head in ‘all good?’ she said. I was furious, ‘my baby stopped breathing but I think she’s ok now’. Thinking she would come and check her out, she just nodded and walked off. I was so angry and upset. The doctors told me I would be able to go back to my local hospital that afternoon and I couldn’t wait.
My partner came up that afternoon expecting to be able to take me back. The doctor then came in to give me the bad news – I would have to stay another night. This hospital didn’t let my partner stay with me. I was so exhausted and mentally drained I just needed him with me, but he couldn’t. It was bullshit.
That afternoon my baby girl stopped breathing for the second time. This time my partner was with me. I pressed my button over and over and when no one came, my partner ran out to the hallway and yelled out for help. 2 nurses stood 5 meters away from him and said ‘did you press the button?’ when he screamed back yes and that his baby wasn’t breathing the nurse responded with rolling of the eyes and ‘I’ll be there in a minute’.
She never came.
Luckily for us, our baby was ok. But we were ropeable. I was ready to yank the drip and catheter from my body and storm out with my baby in my arms. The only thing stopping me was the fact that I could barely walk from the pain.
The next day came and we got ready to leave. A nurse came in to remove my catheter. She started filling out the discharge paperwork when she spotted my catheter was still in. ‘Why have you still got that in?’ She snapped at me as if it were my choice for having a tube stuck up my pee hole. She then barked out that she would have to remove the tube and I would have to wait around until I could do a decent pee before I could leave. I was devastated.
After the tube was removed I sculled water and quickly ran to pee into the little dish they had left me. The same nurse came in to check, looked at the little dish and scoffed a laugh as she said ‘that’s not enough! Try again!’
It was then that I finally lost my shit.
I broke down in tears from anger and spat out how terrible the hospital was here and how nobody even bothered to look at my baby the entire time I was there and that I would be putting a complaint in about the horrible experience I had encountered at this hospital. After that, I sculled 3 liters of water, held that pee in for a good hour or so and filled that goddam pee dish to the brim! The nurse who I had previously abused collected my impressive pee and gave us the nod that we could leave.
We sat in the hospital room expecting someone to come back with papers or to at least escort us out or something. It wasn’t until the orderly came to the room and said ‘oh your still here’ that we realized no one was coming. So we walked out with our 2 day old baby, which no one battered an eyelid at, and headed back to our local hospital.
When we got to my local hospital it was like the heaven gates had opened. We were so confused as to why the hospital staff were so nice to us. Is this what we were missing? Our baby and I were checked on every couple of hours. The nurses checked out every little nook and cranny of my baby to make sure she was ok. They put me and my partner in a double room and made sure we were comfortable. When my baby was crying someone would pop their head in to make sure I was coping. If I needed something I would press my button and someone would be there immediately. We felt like we were in a 5 star luxury resort compared to our previous experience.
They wondered what on earth I was doing trying to squeeze milk from my boobs into a syringe and squeezing it into my baby’s little mouth. They helped me express with an actual breast pump and showed me how to finger feed so my baby’s sucking reflex would work. Then they helped me latch her back onto my breast when I was ready.
When we were having a bad night and couldn’t cope, the midwife on duty kindly took my baby to the nursery so I could get a couple of hours sleep.
I was given any type of drug I wanted. If I had any feeling left in my little toe, they would help me numb it if I wanted.
My partner stayed with me over night. In the mornings he would say he needed to go home to feed the dog and would always manage to get a nap in before he returned. One midwife came in to see he had gone. She laughed and said ‘all the dad’s in the ward had gone home to feed the dog’
I stayed in hospital for 5 nights and then we left our little resort to bring our little munchkin home. It felt so strange that someone would allow us to take this tiny little human home with us. We had no idea what we were doing and I didn’t know how I would cope to not have a lovely midwife to help me soothe my baby in the middle of the night.
This was the beginning of an entirely different life.