Lesgourgues Twins Birth: PART III Hospital Stay
Updated: Feb 12
The hospital stay...
SATURDAY NIGHT…Per my request the boys would ONLY be fed breastmilk and no
formula, which meant every 2 hours we'd be making the trip for Liam. Looking back I'm not sure why we didn't advocate to feed Aidan as well but we were told he couldn't be fed by me yet because he had to stabilize. And so began the cycle of alarms, hallway walks and breastfeeding adventures that would repeat for the next three days...
The first night was long, just when we settled into the recovery room a nurse came by to take my temperature, blood pressure and check my back side for hemorrhaging. The first time I went into the bathroom the nurse insisted on being there; I can laugh at it now as it was a foresight of what little privacy existed from that point on as a Mom. Because the epidural was so strong it took a while to wear off so walking wasn't an option, heck shuffling wasn't even an option at that point. Every two hours my husband would order a wheel chair and we would make the trek to the nursery/NICU. The route: Down the long recovery unit hallway, hit the automatic door button, enter the elevator, go up a floor, down the NICU hallway to hit the "request entry" button to announce we were there to see the Lesgourgues twins.
Once through the first door we would put the scrubs on and scrub our hands so hard we almost washed the fingerprints off just to hold my own babies (Yes, i know its required for the health of everyone in the unit too just hard to process...). Sleep was a mirage for the rest of our stay so you better believe every wink we could get we would grab it!
SUNDAY-MONDAY EVENING...Like sleep, we would grab food wherever we could, if you
know us than you know nutrition is a priority; we had to advocate for what meals would be served with little healthy options that were available. To our excitement and relief, Liam was released into the recovery room with us, but that meant one of us had to stay with him at all times. So the new pattern included feeding Liam in the room and each hour shuffling my way up to the NICU to hold & eventually feed Aidan. If you have breast-fed before (which I hadn't) you would know that the first couple days after birth you're only producing colostrum which is THICK but comes in small amounts. Which is all fine and dandy except when the lactation consultant insists that you pump 8+ times a day while you're providing two new babies enough nutrients through your breast. Luckily, the hospital assigned a donor milk to Aidan so we could start "bulking him up". In the hospital they were running things by numbers - he needed to be consuming "X" amount, his heart-rate needed to be "X" bpm etc. I remember the next time I went up to see Aidan they still weren't allowing me to breast-feed him; but enter our first nurse-angel. I asked if I could feed him since I was feeding his brother, her response, "I'm going over here for a minute and if he happens to slip onto your nipple then whoops?!" Well my little nugget latched on in seconds and it felt so natural, I finally felt that connection I had already established with Liam.
My body felt in shock like it's engines were on full throttle all of the time; as much as I would love to say it was adrenaline that kept me going, I'm pretty sure it was love and determination for the boys. I had little to wear - while it may be a moot point, I had a saggy belly and an empty core that made me long for comfortable clothes - and on top of it my swollen feet wouldn't fit into the sandals I had brought. Yoga pants, a pregnancy shirt and the stylish hospital sock/slipper combo would have to do for my delirious strolls to the NICU.
I used to play rugby, I used to lift over 200lbs yet here I was barely able to shuffle those hallways without stopping to stabilize against a wall just to reach Aidan. That epidural and ya know the whole birthing two humans-thing really F-d me up!
This cycle continued until Monday, when we got the news they would not be releasing Aidan until at least Tuesday because he wasn't hitting his numbers. If you've ever dealt with this type of scenario you know that insurance rules the ropes - Liam, Daddy and I were released and wouldn't be covered for another night stay at the hospital. There was no way in hell we were leaving Aidan alone and thanks to our final "nurse angel", Tina, walked into our world. She recognized our determination to do everything in our power to get Aidan healthy to the numbers standards and set us up in the "secret" room adjacent to the NICU for our last night stay at the hospital.
MONDAY NIGHT... We thought we were in the home stretch and were feeling so grateful to leave the recovery room to spend our first night together as a family of four. WE.WERE.NAIVE.
Our time on cloud-9 lasted all but 2 hours. The night-shift nurse, who I'm sure did things
with good intention & was only following protocol, made that night hell on earth. She took them both away to test them and came back to tell me I needed to produce more milk in order to take LIAM home the next day. Let me point out that while both boys had been discharged from the NICU, LIAM was the babe that had been discharged on SUNDAY. No matter how much I massaged my breast, pumped it dry, summoned every deep breath and positive thought for the breast, I physically could not produce ANY MORE. Defeated, exhausted and full of hormones I was out of options. The next words that came out of her mouth, "You're going to have to supplement with formula otherwise you can't bring your son home tomorrow," ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! Was the reaction in my head but it came out a lot kinder than that. We were against it and we had been confident in our choice but now we were told that choice wasn't ours in this scenario.
I was an emotional mess, we were beyond exhausted and now the threat of not leaving the hospital was thrown on our laps. See I'm a rule follower but luckily for me my hubby "defies" rules and once she left he started feeding Liam some of the donor milk assigned to Aidan. She came back and the threat came again, so the hubby stormed into the NICU and said, "give us the FUCKING formula if thats what its going to take to bring our son home." They handed it over and we kept it in the room with no desire to use it, only to satisfy the hospital. The ingredients of the formula aren't even listed on the bottle and when we asked the nurses they didn't know themselves.
TUESDAY...Fast forward EARLY - like 5am - they wheeled out both Aidan and Liam to do all the tests in order to clear both babes (hearing etc.) This two-hour window would be the only sleep we got that last night so we held each other tight and crashed hard. We were awoken by Tina as she wheeled the boys back in, "I'm so sorry to wake you but your son is so hungry and I couldn't hold him off anymore!"
She took one look at me barely opening my eyes and mustering strength to sit up, "Oh honey you are sooo exhausted, how was the night?!" We told her of our experience and before we could even finish the story she exclaimed, "HELL NO, they should not have been pressuring the formula at all you have a choice here!" storming out the door to discuss it with the NICU team. We were relieved to hear it was not an encouraged practice that had occurred with us since our delirium made it hard to decipher what was right vs wrong. We were finally ready to go HOME..
Except one small detail, they were not going to let us leave unless they had proof of our first pediatrician appt within the same week. We didn't have one made because we didn't know when the twins would arrive - they insisted we just make an appointment with the doctor there. Remember, this place was 2 hours away from our home and we were ready to never step foot there again. When we politely refused I was on the phone with our pediatrician office trying to make an appointment, but the nurse still attempted to take the babes back into the NICU. I went full hormone-charged Momma-Bear mode with my breasts still out and arm extended just stepped in front of the nurse yelling "Please STOP for a second," I'm pretty sure she hadn't seen anything like that yet - whoops! Needless to say it was effective and a reflection of the accumulated frustrations we had over the past four days.
Appointment was made, Aidan & Liam were discharged officially so we packed up the babes, got in the car as quick as we could and headed the FUCK home...Daddy of course driving overly safe with our precious cargo!
Once home, that first night was MAGICAL, we were fortunate enough to have an incredible meal dropped off from one of our clients. We had a spread of wild-caught salmon, warm veggies, salad and a healthy dessert laid out on our bed while the nuggets both slept peacefully together next to our bed.
We are so grateful for everyone that helped us through the saga of the Lesgourgues Twins labor and cared for them in the days following. Our little nuggets were two determined beings that had quite an adventurous welcome into this earth, their story is unique to them and us - to that we are grateful for as well.
Thanks for reading! Hope you can share your birth & labor story and know whatever you experienced is unique to you. I would highly recommend writing about your experience - it helps IMMENSELY in accepting how your birthing experience played out & process what went the way you wanted while also the things that didnt. After all...
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain