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Majandra's Namecard [Majandra's stay in the Neo-Natal Unit]

This BabyBlog is about our daughter, Majandra, born 23/06/10.

This BabyBlog attempts to describe everything right from the beginning of Briony's very smooth pregnancy, through to what turned out to be a bit of a surprise 3-week-early birth and extended hospital stay for Majandra.

[Post-Natal Care 24/06/10]

Woken up by the nurse at 0730. Briony's breakfast brought in. No breakfast for Callan though. Briony's wheelchair has a flat tyre. Midwife (or was she a nurse?) tells us that the hospital is so badly under-funded that they had to get rid of the wheelchair maintenance man, however the staff in the ward "aren't allowed to" use a tyre pump themselves. Apparently they also got rid of the all the light-bulb-replacement men except one - so now there's just one person in charge of light bulbs for the entire place. I'm going to have to see how we can help out with a donation or something.

While Briony was eating breakfast, we got a call from the Neo-Natal Unit (nursery) asking where we were, as we were supposed to be down there for a breast feed. We quickly got dressed and headed to Neo-Natal on level 3.

The rest of the day was spent making 3-hour visits to Neo-Natal to feed Majandra.

[Post-Natal Care 25/06/10]

Nothing really to report here ... just more of the same, heading down to the Neo-Natal unit every three hours for Majandra's feed. Still not breast feeding properly. The midwives are also helping Briony to express milk - a whole lot of breast squeezing for 20 minutes and all we get is three-quarters of a millilitre in a small syringe.

[Post-Natal Care 26/06/10]

Briony was discharged from hospital today, but Majandra has to stay a bit longer. We're not sure how long though, we don't really get much information or de-briefing, about the only good information we get is when we happen to be with Majandra when the doctor does the daily rounds at 9am-ish.

We had to have a bit of a chuckle at the discharge process, as one of the topics they brought up was sex and contraception, and about using the Pill versus condoms etc. Funny.

[Post-Natal Care 27/06/10]

Majandra had her first proper breast feed today. She's previously only done a few sucks before falling asleep, but today's effort was a monster one, sucking away for almost 10 minutes. That's brilliant news, because not only is she actually feeding properly but it also indictes she's getting more energy which means we're closer to taking her home.

Majandra had her first bath today, which also served as the hospital's "how to bath your baby" lesson for Briony and I. She screamed a lot when put in the bath, but once she realised it was warm and she could float, she was so happy.

Briony's continuing to express her milk with a machine. I'm writing this blog a full week after the actual event, so I may be wrong but from memory she was getting about 30ml per session.

[Post-Natal Care 28/06/10 to 06/07/10]

Majandra's tube-feed increased a lot in a very short space of time. It started on 28th June as 40ml, then went to 50ml and then 65ml on 30th June. It takes ages to get this amount of fluid into her, particularly if it's breast milk. Also we feel like she's having more than necessary ... I'm, sure the amount is right for her, but after each feed she has this big pot belly and looks like she may burst!

We've seen a couple of doctors doing the rounds, and one of them is called Scott and he's really nice. He actually talked with us in a lovely manner, and gave us some excellent information. It was a little funny that he went looking at Majandra, prodding around looking for a "reason" she was small (even though she was delivered 3 weeks early, she's still small even for that). He concluded that there were no problems to be found, and perhaps she was just small for genetic reasons (a nice way of saying that her mother and father are also short).

In the last few days Majandra's been breastfeeding really well. I still remember when she was only a few days old she would get three or four sucks on the breast and then would just fall asleep. I guess this may be because she was so small that she didn't have the energy reserves to suck properly. She's now feeding for around 10 minutes each time, and we're giving her the tube-feed as a top-up. The tube-feed is now up to 75ml which takes AGES to go down into her stomach. So after the breastfeed we're stuck at the hospital for another hour at minimum in order to get the top-up done. While I'm doing the top-up, Briony's on the breast pump - she's getting 60-80ml now, certainly no supply problems here!

In the last few days I've also had two "spray shit" surprises. The first one literally went up in the air and almost got me, the second was more of a gush of poo the moment the nappy came off. Stinky daughter!

I started work again today (05/07/10) and it was nice to go to the hospital for the 8pm feed so I could see Majandra. We started the evening with a small surprise in the nappy, and the moment I took the nappy off she made some more surprises for me. How nice. Following the nappy change was a bath, at which I completely failed. Well, not completely, I suppose complete failure would have been drowning the baby? Anyway, she survived the bath but not without a LOT of crying. After the bath she tried for a feed, with the midwife throwing her around and slamming her face against Briony's breast. Once we gave her a burp, changed sides and the midwife kept her hands off, things went a lot better. Following the feed we did the 75ml top-up which obviously was far too much, because the moment Briony picked Majandra up, there was milk being thrown up all over Briony's clean jacket. Oh well, better to spill it on Briony than on me!

The final event for this week is a crying session from Briony. The poor girl, she doesn't like driving at the best of times, and now that I'm back at work she's having to do the 4-hourly trek to hospital herself. This involves all of driving, reversing and parallel parking all in a manual transmission. I won't go into gory detail as I really do sympathise with her, but I'll finish off by saying that I got a phone call in the afternoon with Briony in tears and telling me "I'm about to hit a car". Turns out she was half way into a parking spot, had to reverse uphill but couldn't get the clutch right and the car kept rolling forward. Poor girl, she got there in the end!

Oh, the nurses in Neo-Natal also have Briony trying a nipple shield. For all those that don't know, think of it like a condom for a woman's nipple, made of silicon or latex or something. Basically it's a fake nipple that's BIG and LONG, which supposedly makes it easier to get into baby's mouth. Results so far are good, but it's not advisable to use these things too much as it can make the baby lazy.

[Post-Natal Care 07/07/10 to 14/07/10]

This week's been a nasty one for Briony so far, with the whole parking thing, and also one particular nurse that's a bit rough and has got Briony all stressed and upset. But there's always good news - Majandra had a 15 minute feed this morning, and a 25 minute feed this afternoon - without the nipple shield. What a good girl. Briony's now feeling a lot better about everything too!

Oh, Briony got spray shit on, finally! Apparently it was absolutely everywhere.

We've moved to another ward in the hospital, this time it's a Neo-Natal overflow ward within the 4S Maternity & Gynaecology ward. There's quite a few babies in there, but it's nice and modern and well-lit so at least photos turn out a bit better than before!

This week we've also started bottle feeding, but only due to a strange situation. Briony was in for the morning feed, and happened to be there when the doctors did their daily rounds. The doctors started talking about Briony and I "rooming in" with Majandra ready to go home. But then they noticed Majandra wasn't taking bottles (we'd requested no bottle feeding), and suddenly things changed and we had to stay in hospital for longer. We'd only requested no bottle feeding because bottles can make the baby lazy to breast feed. Nobody had actually reviewed this with us, and told us that if we do breast feed and then top up with bottles, we can probably get out of hospital quicker. Everyone was just happy to let us breast feed and then get the tube as a top up. It's a little disturbing that we only find out these things by the chance that we're present when the doctors do their rounds.

We had Kerrie down from Melbourne for the weekend - she'd already booked flights as this weekend was supposed to be the weekend that Majandra was due (or almost due anyway). Kerrie still had the tickets so she came for a visit and this time she was able to see Majandra in the hospital. We had Gail & Jack (my parents) down aswell - they're right here in town but things have been so hectic that we have't had them to the hospital apart from that one brief moment a few days after birth. It was nice to have them down and to let them have a hold of Majandra. Also the scab on Majandra's head (from the Ventouse delivery) has either fallen off, of been picked off by a bored night nurse. Either way, she looks better for it!

The bottle feeding is going well, Majandra's taking the bottles during the night just fine. We are new using the "Nuk" bottles which have a better teat than the hospital standard issue. I used one of these after my parents' visit, and she took the whole bottle without too much fuss, whereas the standard teat was a lot harder and there was a lot more spilled milk.

And some good news - one of the more senior nurses spoke with Briony yesterday, saying the bottle feeding is going well, and we should prepare ourselves to "room in and then go home" in about a week's time. Awesome!

Update 14/07/10 - Majandra's Nasogastric (feeding) tube has been removed ... it was coming loose and needed to be replaced, and given she's feeding a lot better now the nurses pulled it out and left it out. This morning Briony was told that we're "rooming in" tomorrow night, ready to take Majandra home on the weekend. I'm thrilled!

[Rooming-in 15/07/10 - 17/07/10]

With Majandra's Nasogastric (feeding) tube out, her breast feeding well and also taking the bottle, plus also now being officially "term", the doctors and midwives were happy to let Briony and I room in. Basically this means we stay in the hospital overnight, with Majandra, and we have to look after her all by ourselves. Once they see we can actually do it, and do a final weight and size check, we can go home.

Some people we know only roomed-in for one night, but we've been asked to room in for two nights. No problem of course, as the room is nice and really when you're looking after a newborn and squeezing in a sleep whenever possible, what's the difference between a bed at home and bed at hospital?

16/07/10 - did a check-up with the doctors, they are quite happy with Majandra's progress and weight, and are happy with our report of feeding times & durations from overnight. At 2pm we dropped Majandra into the nursery and did a quick course on baby safety with one of the nurses. They covered things like car safety, water safety, poisons, choking and emergency recussitation.

All this time at hospital has meant a lot of take-away food for us. The food from the volunteer cafe and also Theo's cafe is all excellent. The volunteer shop is more of a lunch bar, whereas Theo's is open until 7:30 and serves pastas, baguettes and more for dinner. So the food's all pretty good, however I reckon we've spent easily $250 on take-away food in the last three-and-a-half weeks.

17/07/10 - The previous night was fine - up a few times to feed as expected, but nothing particularly exciting to report. We had to report to the Neo-Natal unit for Majandra to be checked and weighed. My favourite nurse had called the night before and asked what times our feeds were. She suggested we come in just before our 3am feed. So at 2:50am we got up, threw some clothes on, and went to the Unit for a checkup. Majandra kindly wee'd all over the weighing scales, and the good news is that everything looked great.

The following morning we hung around the Neo-Natal unit for a final visit with Dr Liza, the same pediatrician we saw right after Majandra's birth. She suggested Majandra was still a bit yellow, so she wanted to take some blood (which was fine) and also get a urine sample. The urine is collected by a bag inside the nappy - but of course if the urine is 'contaminated' by the other stuff you find in nappies, they can't use this for testing. So we had to put the bag on, go for a coffee, return in an hour and hope for the best. This happened 3 times, and finally at about 2pm we got our sample, packed up all our stuff, thanked all the nurses and midwives, and at long last we went home with our daughter!

This is the end of Majandra's BabyBlog.
Majandra's future adventures will be found on My Blog, along with all our other stories.

Next: Go to My Blog
or, back to Majandra Index

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