My baby is in NICU

From the previous post about me giving birth. it’s getting too “dinding perkataan” so I am breaking the stories into two parts.

Cause and Effect

Every action has its cause and effect, as I mentioned earlier.

I spent my hospital days from Sept 15 with no baby beside me.

Dr. S*H blamed it on my refusal on no episiotomy to hasten the process, which was why my baby inhaled meconium (baby’s poop) inside her.

“Thick, thick, thick,” she said to other nurse as my baby was cleaned outside the labour room.

I was unable to move as the anaesthetic paralyses me still but I was told by the nurses to move by myself.

Both of them just looked and did nothing, even after I explained I could not move my feet.

I asked for help because the maternity pad they made me wear are fully heavy from the blood that it stained a big chunk of the mattress. Like a normal expected tv script, I was told by the nurses to be patient while she continued talking to her colleague.

I was left alone by myself again. I was asked if I wanted to drink, but the nurse put the glass out of my reach.

ಠ_ಠ!

I had two types of IV dripped inside me, one was saline and the other was pitocin (to shrink my uterus due to the excessive bleeding).

I found out that I was haemorrhaging with 600ml+ of blood out of me.

No blood was being given to replace that. And I was not sure if I should get one either. No one to explain.

I was being treated like I have a mental problem, the morning after. After I cried non-stop listening to other baby cries around me.

As if crying is a sin frowned upon and everyone is normal, prim and proper, except you.

A doctor named Iqbal came to me, wanted to take 2ml of my blood. I asked what for. And I believed he was taken aback by that.

Collecting whatever small amount of patience I have left, I then calmly explained to him my situation, and he in turn was not being defensive.

I told him how alone I felt. He assured me that I could go and see my baby in Newborn/NeoNatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in a while.

That was early morning. And for a moment I felt a bit relieved that someone finally wanted to understand me, or at least showed a decency standing beside me long enough trying to understand me.

Close to noon, someone woke me up. It was Dr. S*H and her entourage.

“Do you feel this anxiety often? Do you panic often?” Dr. S*H asked me during her morning round.

“When I am stressed, of course I am. Easily”, I told her.

That’s the truth. I am not depressed. I am stressed. Because THEY treat me as if they were pushing me into a tight corner and all I could afford to do was fight back or risk being squashed in the wall.

“I’ll set up a psychiatrist to see you,” she said, without looking at me, and speaking to me as if I can’t understand normal spoken Bahasa Malaysia.

I kept quiet. Refusing it after all that ruckus the day before will give her the advantage of confirming their easy way out of describing me that I was sick in the head.

I wonder if THEY can tell me if I am not depressed since they were easily and freely diagnosed me as such by one incident, one psych review and one counselling, which has one sided POV written all over it.

I just told her the catheter was more painful from my stitch down there, and asked them to take it off, which Dr. S*H told them to take it off.

And that was the last time I saw her. And I hope it stay that way.

But one thing I didn’t expect was my baby in the NICU and their adamant on she being admitted there and not sent to me played a part.

Previous meltdown, current worries

When I was strong enough to walk, I asked the nurse for help if I could see my baby in NICU. They told me to sit on the wheelchair and off we went to the NICU.

The nurse had small chat with me. Nothing too important, but enough to make me feel at ease. I was still weak from the blood loss but I was excited to see my baby.

My baby girl is in the red zone, that is a critical area.

If I can see the amount of rushed blood on my face, I almost cried seeing her with all the wires, feeding tube and oxygen tube. But I kept telling myself that I would not let her see me cry. I don’t want her to see me in a bad state.

I want her to see her Mak is delighted to hold her tiny fingers, stroking her head, tickling her little feet.

Dr. V*A , the paed who was on call came to me and explained to me about my baby. She said to me baby could not breathe properly, which was why her chest was big. I wanted to tell her that is not true, it was BECAUSE of the oxygen tube that her chest was that way and it would sink down once she can breathe on her own, but I bit my lips and just nodded in agreement.

I was sad because my baby’s first milk is not from me, but from a milk formula instead, fed directly to her stomach.

She cried, but no voice came out because of the oxygen tube. My tears started to fall down and I quickly wipe ’em off and massage her little chest and hum her songs I always sang to her when she was inside me.

I wasn’t sure how long I was there but then a nurse told me it was time for me to go back to the Level 6 ward because a doctor wanted to see me.

Does that make me crazy? Possibly, said Gnarls

Lo and behold, a psychiatrist, named Dr. V (can’t remember her name because I kept thinking about my baby). Asked me series of normal questions I have being asked before.

(Backstory: I told a doctor during my clinic morning visit during fasting month about how I felt. Ended up she revealed she is a psychiatrist MO and under additional symptoms of pre-eclampsia, was put in the ambulance to HSB. Was diagnosed a possible PE but I was discharged after an OK from the psy. Extremely hungry and tired, they delayed my hospital discharge and my husband told me to leave the hospital and left the pink book. and pick it up later. Got a call while on the way back. Doc Siti Fatimah threatened us to get the book back or risk being detained by the police. We went back. Insisted I have to be admitted, husband said no to her. Signed AOR (some kind of discharged by our own responsibility) and we left.

A doctor -let’s call him XY- who witnessed my meltdown will in a way play a part)

Told me that I am close minded because I don’t think for others and all I could think about was being there with no baby beside me. That “there are other mothers in the world with their kid in NICU”. That I should think positive as if positiveness is like a roadside stone I can collect and keep easily.

I just played along because never once they really want to know the reasons of my screaming, my stubbornness, my harsh words.

It was so easy to mark new mothers with potential post natal depression after one conversation, when those who didn’t show any symptoms ended up harming the baby. For real.

They wouldn’t know the amount of love and protection I could give to my loved ones, and I don’t intend to share with them about that.

Like during Thanksgiving or any festival days, I want to salute and bow down to you if you say it with utmost level of certainty that “everyone is soooo lovely, we have drama free celebration although surrounded by 30 of them!” and smiled.

Impossible? Possible? Your call, obviously, right? It is not normal to feel inadequate, ever during festive celebration, right?

Tsk.

We love you, baby

Husband came during the visiting hours a bit early so we went again to NICU. Docs and nurses warned us not to take any picture of our baby. But yeah, someone who doesn’t care about her baby must have REALLY doesn’t give a shit that she ignore that warning, right? (yes, me attempting to be sarcastic again here).

What now, try to hold me down for putting pics?

ಠ_ಠ

Baby cried because she was cold. I know. She has my genes. I told Dr. V*A that baby might get a little jaundice due to sudden yellowing of the skin. She said it might not be or maybe it was just the meconium that made it that way. But baby would be observed for few more days.

Since I have no medical degree and no knowledge other than hearsays on the net because I believe in every single thing and the fact i am THAT gullible and nice me is a passive me, I kept quiet.

We went back up and my Busu and cousins were waiting for me. Then my family came. I didn’t know how to explain to them that it was no point meeting me because the baby is not there. I wanted to cry so bad but I tried to smile and cracked jokes anyway. So they could see that I looked fine.

After the visiting hours ended for the first half, we went again to NICU to see her. We only went out after I saw my tired husband was tired from standing. Told him to go back home. He didn’t want to. I assured him that I would be okay.

I cried again early the next morning, when I realised that I was still alone with an empty crib.

Jaundice and XY

I tried to express my milk, without no one bothered to help me the next day. I need to give my baby my own milk rather than having the baby formula. I succeeded even though it was not much.

That same morning at 5.30am, I have that bad feelings so I told the nurses I NEEDED to see my baby in NICU. With a disgusting smirk on her face, a nurse questioned my motive wanting to go to NICU.

“Just a feeling that I have to be there”, I told her. She lazily averted my neediness and asked another nurse to wheel me off there.

She was still naked and was on phototherapy due to the mild jaundice. A trace of blood on her right hand made me talked in a bit higher voice when I asked the doctor. It was the doctor XY who witnessed my meltdown back in fasting month.

He told me a bit blood had to be drawn to see how much level of bilirubin my baby has. He apologised for the spatter of blood. But I saw baby’s hand a bit swollen from all this needle poking.

I spent an hour there and went back up to the ward to catch some sleep.

Good news eins

I was awoken up by the soft voice calling my name by one of the nurses. No, not the one that smirked earlier. She finished her shift, maybe.

A Dr named Yusrina checked my vagina, and sat down and talked to me. Better than Dr. S*H who kept looking me as if I am stupid or delusional (her favourite sentence was “awak kan BANYAK baca).

I told Dr Yus more than I told that psych dr. I voiced out my concern and arrange my words nicely and carefully because she was nice to me. She told her side of the story without me feeling like I was ignored. She then brought me to the ultrasound room to see if I have any membranes left in my uterus. I had none so that was a good news.

I remembered nurses named Zulaikha and Wahidah who was ever accommodating and nice to me. And some other senior nurses in the ward who I could not get their name.

Good news zwei

“Sayang, guess what?!”, my husband called me to wake me during visiting hours. Half shrieking. If you know him, how his voice sounds like, this might hard to imagine. But he did shriek. A bit.

“Baby finally out from red zone, and she is now in the green zone. She skipped the yellow zone!”, he told me.

And my feelings turned out for the better when baby was finally off the oxygen tube but not the feeding tube. At least she could cry now. All that fucked up feelings washes away as I suddenly got strength to wake up and had my first shower.

I wanted to look pretty for my baby and smelled nice because there is a possibility I could hold her.

My dad, bro and husband’s siblings came to visit and I told them the good news.

I was eager to see baby afterwards and she noticed our presence and cried. Maybe to tell us “Mak, Abah, I have my voice now!”.

One of the nurses told me to try breastfeed my baby.

I finally could hold her in my arms, and my heart leaps with joy!

But she couldn’t suck and couldn’t even swallow. Even when I try to put my pinky finger around her mouth.

Coaxing her softly, I finally had the chance to let her to have skin-to-skin contact with me, something my baby lack of since her first contact to the world.

We cut the visit short that afternoon so baby could get some rest.

Hey, baby!

After I was discharged from the hospital, I went back to have another shower. FINALLY, a warm water to wash my tired body but I was still lethargic, that same feelings you have when you just donated blood. I ate only a little during my stay, so my sister cooked me food and made me some warm Milo.

We made another visit that night as parents of NICU babies are allowed to visit a bit longer.

I was told that I could be rooming-in with her the same night if I want. I was eager to say yes, but unfortunately there was no beds available.

I said it’s okay. And while the nurses and doc were busy , husband took another quick picture of the baby, without all the wires and tubes and other things.

IMG-20130918-WA0004

Hi, mak and abah! I am off the tube!

And in the same night, after we went back, I could express my milk fully because I could be rest assured that my baby is finally okay.

Social workers wants you!

The next day, Dr XY insisted that we need to see social workers due to my ‘mental problem’ and the fact I did have a meltdown in front of him months before. The social workers will pay a visit to my house to make sure I won’t harm my baby.

My husband told him that he already met the social worker and which was why I got full discharged from the hospital the day before. XY seemed hesitant to allow me to be roomed-in with our daughter but finally complied.

“You need to wait for the any available bed, though. Would that be okay?”, he asked. We said no problem.

We waited while I hold baby in my arms and saw her falling asleep, all finally bundled up in hospital blanket and wore a shirt. Told you she was cold, which was why she was crying.

I talked to one mother who had a premature baby at week 32 that her baby was in only because the little one has low birth weight. She wanted to be roomed-in as well as her baby has no problems latching for milk.

After few hours, another nurse told another that since my baby couldn’t latch, there is no need for me to be allowed to stay there. WHat?

There we were, all packed up solely because the night before we were told we could be roomed-in, and now not allowed to?

“Give priority for the NNJ babies who can suck,” she said. (NNJ = neo natal jaundice).

I gritted my teeth but I didn’t say anything.

How can our baby learn how to suck if it’s not given a chance to latch on my breasts in the first place?

Dr XY told me that if I could get the bed, the baby would not off the feeding tube until tomorrow.

A bit frustrated, I cut their conversation with each other short by telling them that I could come back later. I don’t need for them to treat me as if I am invisible and I don’t want my baby to have that feeding tube again.

Today, Sept 19, we would visit her again, and as the cause of not letting me rooming-in with my baby, I hope, really really hope they can face the effect.

Update Sept 21: TLDR version, baby low sodium, being held for 2 more days, Dr Yusrina came to visit, and I fucking really need that ortho appointment but it seemed they concerned more about my mental health than possibility prolonged tail-bone pain.

Next: Hospital SB child friendly policy.

2 thoughts on “My baby is in NICU

  1. Pingback: They Say | dubistwasdubist

  2. Pingback: Hospital Sungai Buloh’s child, mum friendly policy | dubistwasdubist

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