The days in the hospital pass slowly and feverishly. I am wondering between the maternity ward, the nursery, nursing room and my little one's tests and examinations.
We chose this fairly remote hospital because we wanted to start our life together as a family in its maternity motel with full domestication, so that entering this new, challenging and exciting period would be as gradual and intimate as possible.
The surgery and fetal distress were not taken as an option and the dream vanished.
Roi had to drive home and settle for few hours he could spend with us each day since he had to get back to work, and in addition to being wounded and bleeding, with hormonal dizziness, I had to find the strength not to fall apart and continue functioning in order to give my baby everything that I had during my rationed time with him.
He, on his part, a magnificent little hero of mine, struggled bravely.
On Friday I was informed that I'm being released from the hospital but my child's hospitalization continues because of tachycardia caused by the amniotic fluid he inhaled in his small lungs (later I realized that this was a common phenomenon in CS). While I was sure we were going home together. The thought that they assumed I would part without my baby for such a long time and leave him in the hands of strangers made me very angry and tired of other discouraging news ... I asked to nurse him on demand! how was I suppose to do it when our house was more than half an hour away in each direction?
Being a Sabbath-keeper in addition, it made no sense.
As if that wasn't enough, one of the times I came to nurse him I was told my little boy bilirubin had risen to almost 14 during the night and his eyes were covered with a blindfold lying under a phototherapy lamp. The nurse explained that it is important to pump enough milk and breastfeed frequently to help him get rid of excess bilirubin in his body.
I took the cradle from the nursery and refused to return it when I was sobbing and unable to understand this opacity. 'I'm not going anywhere without my baby !!!' I shouted at the staff who had given me the release document. And I refused anyone touching my child until I was allowed to stay with him.
After a while, one of the doctors approached me and said that they would allow me to stay in the ward until the end of the Sabbath.
As the Sabbath approached, I went to the nurse in the nursery and explained that I was keeping Shabbat. I asked they call me whenever my baby wakes up so I 'd come breastfeeding him and stay with him as much as possible. I stressed that I would arrive at every call even though I would not answer the calls and they should not hesitate to call me even if I had been there a minute earlier. And I was told they will and that he needs to feed at least every 3 hours.
At midnight I went with him to breastfeed in my room and when I saw that he had fallen asleep, I put the baby back in the cradle so that he could be connected again to antibiotics.
I went back to the room and fell asleep not before I made sure that the mobile phone was working so I could hear the ring.
Toward 4 AM, I awoke from a dream about my baby being hungry and crying, my shirt was wet with milk that was starting to drip ... I looked at the mobile and saw that it was 4 o'clock! That is, my child did not eat for more than 3 hours and there was no sign of a conversation I might have missed!
I was frightened, I put on my shoes and ran to the nursery crying from the thought that he might have stayed hungry and cried or something happened to him - I froze in the doorway when I could not find the cradle with my child. I could not breathe! The tears misted my vision and all I could think of was 'Where is he ???' 'What happened to my child ???'
I felt my legs betraying me and I almost collapsed on the floor as a nurse standing there looks at me when I manage to get out of the mouth, 'Where is he? Why did not you call me? '
And she answers with a certain indifference, "Calm down! He was transferred to the premature babies department. ' 'seat down!' she pulls a chair behind me. I am shocked by the answer that really does not help me relax and say 'What do you mean, transferred to the premature babies department? for whatever reason? And what the hell did you think when you moved him without informing me ??? He has a mother he isn't an orphan!!! ' 'And it's written to you that I'm breastfeeding - he should have been feed more than an hour ago!' Pointing to the milk stain on the nightgown. And she replies: 'The doctor said not to feed him because he has trouble breathing and cannot digest anyway, so we did not wake you up so that you will rest'
'I did not ask to rest! Where is that department? ' I'm alresdy really nervous.
I go up to the next floor, at the entrance of the department I bump into another nurse who sees me agitated and tearful. ''What happened??? Come here! Everything is fine??' And I begin to crying again sharing with her what I've just been through and explain that I do not want to sit just to see my child! She embraces me and reassures me that he is fine and in the room under her supervision. She leads me to the disinfection stand than to the entrance of the premature babies department where the door only opens from the inside or with a special chip. Still crying she sits me next to an incubator and explains that my baby is there for more close supervision and dry the excess fluid in his lungs by filling the incubator with enriched warm oxygen. She emphasizes that she is sure that I wasn't informed by mistake and that it is definitely shouldn't have happened and promised to inform her superiors, allowing me to hold my child's hand through the opening of the incubator.
'Let me take him out for you so you can hold him.' can I try nursing him?' I asked. 'he gets venous nourishment, but you can definitely let him nurse for the warm feeling' and she put him in my arms. Behind me, she pulls out a nursing pillow and explains that in order to maintain milk production I should also start pumping for him because he is trying hard to breathe and cannot waste a lot of energy on nursing which is an action that requires effort.
After a while, when I calmed down and saw that he was tired and fell asleep, I asked her where can I pump milk and she showed me the sterile pumping room. There I meet more women and got familiar with the enormous effort of taking care of premature babies.
Exhausted, I finish pumping a small amount of milk into the bottle I was given there and marked name, date and time. I handed it to the nurse responsible for storage in the refrigerator. I tell the kind nurse that I am going back to my room to rest but they can call me whenever he is awake / crying even if it means every minute. She promises to update the girls and the staff that will replace them.
In the morning I get organized again to return to his department. I do not have a way to update Roi when he arrives and I ask the partner of one of my roommates to tell him that I am upstairs if they happen to meet.
Roi arrives a short while later and comes into the premature babies department where I share with him the situation. He asks if I have eaten and I say that I did not get to it because some of the testing and nursing times fall on the hour of breakfast in the ward. After the baby falls asleep again, we turn back to the ward and eat something at last.
Most of the time is spent inside the department or in the kitchenette with the sitting area next to it, where the parents also meet during the doctors' round in which we are asked to leave the room.
Every once in a while, the families come to visit. My parents come together with my little brother from the army and go in turn to see the baby because not many people are allowed in the room together for fear of infection.
Shabbat exits, we stay at the premature babies department until very late and finally Roi goes back home to feed the parrots and rest a little before another working day and a new week. I go back to the room and fall asleep exhausted without even remembering that they asked me to clear the bed.
On Sunday morning I get the release letter and try to find out why the baby is not released yet. The doctor says that it is impossible to transfer him to a hospital near our house, and so again I am in a situation that I'm actually expected to leave him and I am absolutely not willing to do that. I tell one of the nurses at the nursery about it and she takes out an electronic chip and shares with me that there is a side room for nursing moms next to them and that I should ask the manager of the premature babies department to ask for me to stay there until we are released.
Roi asks for another free day from work and arrives. I let him know what the nurse told me and we go to the office and ask to speak to the doctor in charge.
'We want to know we are being released' I tell him, explaining the difficulty with nursing when I have to travel and return. How am I expected to continue breastfeed when I have to go home and back - they must find me a solution to stay with my child. In response, we were told that the situation is improving, but it will take several more days - maybe until Wednesday. I am already mentally and physically exhausted, and the thought of remaining for three more days is killing me, but the alternative is to leave my baby and go is out of the question. He replies that he will check with the manager of the nursery, that he knows they have a nursing room, but he wants us not to talk about it with other couples because it does not belong to his ward and he is asking a favor for us and since it is not for a long time like in cases of the premature babies in the department, he believes something can be done.
A few hours later, he approaches me and directs me to the nursery manager for a conversation. She is not enthusiastic about the idea but approves and at last, I breathe a sigh of relief.
Roi, who went out to get us some stuff from home, is back in the meantime helping me move my bags into the side room outside the nursery. The room is empty, with only two folding beds and a small bedside table. The nursery manager emphasizes that there is a prohibition that men will stay there because it is intended for nursing mothers only. So we spent the rest of the time in the department or the wards' dining room until all men are asked to leave. Again I am left alone. But it did not matter to me-I could stay close to my child and any discomfort was dwarfed by that.
Thus, another day passed and the next day I was told that the baby had to undergo an echocardiogram and get good results of bilirubin, if normal, we will be released. I informed Roi and waited to be informed when our turn was due. In the meantime, I spent most of the day in the department or the pumping room. From time to time I managed to steal a few minutes of rest or eat something small from what the family brought me and wash to disinfect the surgery scar in the ward showers because the room is external and had no toilet or shower. Another day was over and they did not call us for an inspection.
Tuesday morning I begin to try to find out why the test is delayed. The doctor was called to reserve duty I was told, and will probably return today. Another day passes.
On Wednesday morning, I go back to the doctor in charge, asking if we will be released. She replies that they have not yet received the bilirubin results and that we are in line for Echo. I say that we have been waiting for two days for this check and I would like to know when is our turn. As we talk, a technician comes in with an Echo device and starts checking one of the premature babies. She asks the name of one of the next inpatients and I want to know when she will check us. She replies that we are not on the list for today at all but only for tomorrow.
I get angry and tell the two of them that the department manager told us that we are being released today and that I demand that they finish with our tests and if they do not we will take the child and leave because we can be delayed for no reason.
They ask a few things and the technician agrees and checks my child. Everything in looks good and we are only waiting for the results of the blood test.
Toward 4 PM they can finally confirm that everything is normal and at 7 PM we load our baggage and take the baby in a car seat ... leaving behind the difficulty and frustration and drive exhausted back home.
When our apartment door closes behind me with a silent slap, I kiss my little baby sleeping peacefully wrapped in a blanket and whispering to him with tears of relief, fatigue and joy 'We're home my precious - finally! welcome home! I love you!'