It’s all a bit of a blurred whirlwind now, but on the day baby Kaia was born, I couldn’t believe how relieved and happy I was — so relieved that she was born happy and healthy, that she could breathe completely fine on her own and that her heart had no issues. Potential heart issues had been in the back of my mind since I was admitted into the hospital in November for a night of continuous fetal monitoring, so I was hoping that wouldn’t be an issue again during laboring in the hospital as well as after she was out of my uterus. In later videos that Tina had recorded of us post birth, I could hear the hospital staff noting her time of birth, that she was a Well Baby newborn and not a NICU newborn, and the number she would be tracked by and have on her little hand and ankles until hospital discharge. Her little tag read: Wong, GIRL Yvonne; age: 00 days.
After we had some immediate skin to skin time once she was born, I was excited to see her immediately latch onto my right nipple and suckle quite a bit. Thank god, I thought. We don’t have issues latching, as a proper latch was something that was emphasized in all my breastfeeding research and the course I took. It wasn’t painful at all, as it just felt like a like suckle on my breasts. Just the feeling of her teeny tiny mouth suckling my nipple and her warm little body against my bare chest was likely sending oxytocin through me.
On the day of her birth, she went through many tests, a few immunizations, and we had a number of blissful moments of cuddling and breastfeeding. The first day out of the womb, babies tend to want to sleep A LOT, so parents could erroneously assume their babies are total angels. I knew not to think this. The amazing nursing staff at Lenox Hill helped with positioning the baby around my chest and nipples, ensuring comfort for both me and the baby and making sure she was sucking, swallowing, and latching properly. Another nurse helped show me how to change her diaper for the very first time, and it was as expected: full of black, sticky, slimy meconium, which is baby’s first poop based on food she “ate” through the placenta while still in the womb. It was the first time I’d ever changed a diaper in my life.
There were some concerns about her jaundice level after she was examined by a pediatrician, but after some further blood tests, they concluded her jaundice level would not prevent her from being discharged on time, so on Saturday afternoon. But because she still had not peed, they strongly suggested we give her some formula and take some home to supplement her to get her more hydrated. I wasn’t thrilled with this, as my goal was to exclusively breast feed her, but I relented; this wasn’t about me. This was about the health and well being of my child. This also made me worried; I wasn’t sure how much colostrum my breasts were producing, as when I squeezed my breasts and the lactation consultant at the hospital squeezed, we couldn’t see anything come out. The LC did say she knew my right breast was producing it because she could see some glistening, so at least that made me feel better. In addition, we had to wait until my milk came in before we’d know for sure that she was getting enough from my breasts. That would take anywhere from 2-14 days, so I was hoping the milk would come in sooner rather than later.
And we took her home on the afternoon of the 11th as originally planned. I’m not sure how we were trusted to take our baby home, never having taken care of any babies or children ever before, but hey, here we were on our way with no choice. At least we had the help of our night nurse, who would be with us our first two nights home with baby Kaia.