Twenty minutes after delivering Max, I was wheeled back into my beautiful room in labour and delivery.
My family was there and they gave me the most beautiful gifts (Mom/Dad – two necklaces. One says “Max” and the other says “Mama” that they had made at a local jewelry store). J and her husband – a bunch of Lush products with a lavender scent to help with sleep.
They each took a turn holding Max and it was so beautiful. They *may* have even celebrated with champagne.
“So we need you to go to the washroom and for Max to latch for breastfeeding and then you can go up to your room” said Nurse Olivia.
“Can I just stay here?” I asked. “I love it here.”
The whole time I was in labour, everyone was checking in on me. They made sure that I had everything I needed. All of a sudden there was a shift from caring about me to really being focused on caring about Max.
I found myself only caring about Max as well – my health didn’t matter to me. All I cared about was that my baby was okay.
“They are ready for you on the floor above us” said Nurse Olivia.
I was wheeled into my room and greeted by Nurse Alex.
“So are you going to change him?” Nurse Alex asked.
“Sorry….what?” I asked.
I don’t know what I expected. Maybe something like I had seen on sitcoms? The baby goes to a room and is cared for by the nurses until the baby leaves. Instead, I was now responsible for my baby (which I should be) but I just felt entirely unprepared to do anything.
I was so exhausted that everything that I knew about newborns no longer registered. I started worrying. How does one change a diaper? How do I breastfeed? How do I move around my room while still on a pitocin drip and while Max has an IV?
Nurse Alex was there but she had so many other patients. I had sent home my family members (as it was 3:00 a.m.) and I was alone with Max for the first time.
Every fifteen minutes someone was coming in and out of my hospital room to either run tests on Maxwell or myself. They were constantly checking our sugars because they wanted to make sure I no longer had diabetes and that Max didn’t have diabetes as well.
I had been up a full 24 hours when my sister J came to visit in the morning.
“How are you doing?”
“Good” I said. I immediately got up and started cleaning and organizing things. Because there was another person there, I was able to unpack things.
“Are you sure you are okay?” asked my sister watching as I was in serious pain but rushing through my room trying to get everything done before I was alone again.
“I just need to get everything done” I said.
We now laugh about this moment because I was so frantic. I could no longer hide that I was stressed, my hormones were completely messed up, I was running on no sleep, and I was terrified that I may not be able to do this on my own after all.
“You will be staying another night” said Nurse Alex. “You didn’t really stay a full night here so you get another night in the hospital.”
“Thank God” I said.
The thought of bringing home a newborn so soon was making me so anxious.
There was also another layer of anxiety. As soon as Max was discharged, I would be leaving Toronto and driving two hours (with my parents) to move into my parents house.
There were so many changes.
It felt like way too much.
Mom and Dad came to visit later in the day and I had mellowed out a bit. I was sent to a breastfeeding class and I had my parents watch Max.
Before I left for the class, I looked in the mirror and laughed. I looked hideous. I still hadn’t had a chance to shower, was running on zero sleep, and was looking like a beast in a hospital gown.
After class, I went back to my room and enjoyed my time with my parents and Max. It was a great day but I feared the night when I would be alone again.
That was when Nurse Sylvia appeared and she was an angel.
“I have an idea” said Nurse Sylvia. “You have not slept for 36 hours. Can you put some colostrum in this cup and I will take him to the nurses station and watch him for the night. You need to sleep and need some support.”
“For real?” I asked. “You would do that? If I had a million dollars right now, I would give it to you. Thank you!”
That night I was finally able to get some sleep and was a little less manic.
In the morning I thanked Nurse Sylvia by providing her an Ubereats menu and having anything she wanted delivered for breakfast, She had Starbucks for the first time and was so cute. Ubereats actually delivered right to my hospital room.
“I am done with my shift” said Nurse Sylvia. “Tori will be here to take my place.”
“Please don’t leave me” I said. With tears in my eyes I thanked Nurse Sylvia for helping me out so much.
Nurse Tori came in and helped me get ready to go home. She helped me bathe Max, get more breastfeeding tips, and helped me put Max in the car seat.
As I checked out of Mount Sinai, I was probably the most stressed I had ever been in my life.
As we walked to the car, a woman fainted beside us, the door to Sinai became locked and nobody could get out, it was absolutely freezing and Max was shaking, and we had a bit of a walk to the car.
I started crying. It all seemed too much.
I honestly don’t know what I was thinking leaving the hospital and moving directly two hours away.
As my Dad drove us, I couldn’t help but look at all of the sights of Toronto and feel so overwhelmed and sad. I knew I was doing the right thing for Max and myself by leaving Toronto but it didn’t make it any easier.
On the way home we stopped at my sister L’s place and introduced Max to her family.. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever had. It was incredible to watch my four year old nephew and two year old niece become so excited that “Aunt Sarah had ‘Baby Max’”.
After our visit, we headed to my parents house. It felt so wonderful to sleep at my parents house that night. Yes I was up every 1-2 hours but it felt amazing sleeping in a familiar bed.
The next morning, my Mom, Max and I all got into a car to drive to the doctor’s in my hometown.
Things were starting to feel better and I finally felt like I could handle things.
That is when everything took a drastic turn.
Little did I know, Max and I would not be returning to my parents place. Instead, we had to go somewhere else – straight to the hospital.
Next Week: The Second Hospital Stay