Thankfully, since the babies were so, um, healthy at birth (read 'healthy' as fat little wotsits) they didnt need to spend any time in special care and were able to come with me up to the ward straight after birth. P came with us too, to see us settled into our private room (there was a perk to having a caesarian after all!) but had to leave in the early hours of saturday morning. The babies were sealed inside their first nappies (such a proud moment) and given back to me for their first feed. Everyone says that breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, well I beg to differ! Especially when you are trying to feed two babies at the same time, after being awake and in labour for two days, at 1am and just after being sliced and diced. Its amazing how much you really dont care about how you look or how much of your person is on display to perfect strangers when you've just had a sprog or two; one midwife passed the babies to me while another whipped out my boobs to attach said babies to. Did I care? At the time, no. Looking back, possibly. Lets just keep the fingers crossed that I never bump into anyone from the ward in Tesco's. Once their appetite was sated I think I had about 30mins until it needed sating again. Considering how teeny they were they didnt half have good appetites! They were feeding every 2hrs or so for an hour or more at a time. Im not sure why I bothered taking them off the breast in between feeds really. *insert eye-rolling smilie in here*
Aunties, Grandmas, Grandads and Great-grandmas arrived on saturday afternoon. The babies were about 16 hours old and very well behaved, no obvious pooping or puking :-) Good babies! Everybody had a cuddle (with the sprogs, not each other) and marvelled over how much hair the babies had between them, especially Edward. Much posing for many cameras was had, and then it was dinner time again. P returned from the last singsong before paternity leave kicked in just in time to help heave me off the bed and very very slowly crawl to the shower. Goodness me it was painful, but a necessary painful as from then on I was able to get out of bed, albeit slowly, and move around.
During a routine weigh in for the babies it was noticed that they were losing a lot of weight. Its normal for newborns to lose a little of their birthweight in the few days following birth, but these two were losing a little too much. Harriet lost 11 ounces and Edward about 8 ounces. This suggested that although they were being fed every 2 hours or so they were not getting enough food so a breast feeding support councillor was sent to see me to assess my technique. Now we return to the 'breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world'. Everyone had an opinion on what was happening and they all went along the lines of me not attaching them correctly. 'Just try again', 'just try it this way', 'try putting baby in this position', dont do that, do this' was how many conversations started. Cue a mini breakdown which resulted in the babies spending 4 hours with a midwife while I attempted to sleep. A little dramatic perhaps but it did prompt one midwife to mention the dreaded 'f' word: formula. Did I want to give them formula? YES!!! If it meant they were getting food instead of getting increasingly frustrated and hungry then yes, give them as much formula as they will consume. All of a sudden the babies were content, with bellies full of milk which meant they were sleeping better, and in turn meant I was too. Nobody had mentioned any other ways of feeding, it was all 'breast is best' which Im sure fundamentally it is, but it doesn't work for everyone. A midwife told me they were not allowed (??) to ask mothers if they wanted to use formula as they had to promote breastfeeding which in my humble opinion is ridiculous. Surely if baby and/or mum is having problems then any other method which improves the situation is good? Apparently not. When I said I wanted to use formula all the time someone mentioned expressing. Why wasnt that mentioned before? I also found out that a caesarian section can delay milk production by several days as the body goes into some sort of shock after surgery, no-one told me that when I was struggling to feed and ended up producing more blood than milk. I felt so guilty for not breastfeeding, that somehow I was letting the babies down by not doing the best for them. I managed to express for 10 days so they did get the colostrum and first milk, and therefore all the antibodies and other goodies they should have had but I still felt awful.
In total we spent 4 days on the ward, and were released together on the tuesday evening. The babies were starting to put weight on again after losing so much, I was healing nicely so they couldnt keep us in any longer!