Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Recently my sister in law gave birth to a baby boy. Of course we were all over joyed for her and planned a trip to Walnut Creek Kaiser to see her. And that's when the memories came flooding back of when I had to take my new baby boy to Walnut Creek Kaiser. Only they weren't happy memories. A wave of emotions swept over me from sadness to anger to resentment. That's when I realized just how traumatized I had been from the experience.
Back track ten years ago, I had my son at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. There were a few complications with my delivery but nothing that bad. After the normal stay, I brought my son home and thought everything would be fine. The next day we were visited by a nurse and learned that he had jaundice. Unfortunately it got worse as the days went by and I had to bring him to Walnut Creek Kaiser.
I went there thinking it would just be another Dr. visit but instead found out that my son would have to stay at the hospital. I had to stay there too. I was completely unprepared for this. I hadn't packed any bags. I was assured by the Dr. that they had a room for me and that my husband would be able to say with me. When I arrived there, that was far from the case. I was stuffed in a room that was obviously being used as a storage closet for medical equipment. And worst, I was told my husband would not be able to stay with me. I can just remember crying. I knew I was going to be alone.
A very rude nurse checked us in which was a foreshadowing for what was to come. The nurse began to fill out the paperwork for my sons charts as asked what ethnicity he was. I explained that he was Caucasian and Japanese. Her reply, "so he's a half breed". At any other time I would not have accepted this answer but I was sleep deprived and had no fight in me.
I remember it was around evening when I entered my son's hospital room. I was forced to say goodbye to my husband and left alone in the room with my son. He was placed in a container for light treatment. In that little box he had to wear an eye mask to protect his eyes. He was to stay in there at all times and I could only take him out to feed him and change his diapers. I couldn't just hold him.
Later in the night when I woke up to feed him, I realized the eye mask slid down covering his nose and mouth. It completely scared me and I decided I would have to stay up all night and watch him to make sure it didn't happen again.
The next morning I told the nurses about the eye mask but they brushed it off like it was no big deal. Throughout the day nurses would come in to check on my son. They would just ask me if I was nursing him. One nurse came in and told me he was not getting enough milk and brought in a breast pump for me to use. A couple hours later a second nurse came in yelling at me that I had enough milk and questioned why I said I didn't have enough milk. I had no idea why she was saying this too me. I was too tired to even try and explain that I never said that.
The whole day things like this went on. All day I was rudely treated by nurses. In the room I sat alone with my baby. I had no immediate family close by. No family or friends came to visit me. All I did was feed my son and change diapers. I don't think there was even a TV or phone in the room. I was sleep deprived and weak from not eating. Because I was not the patient, no one brought me food. It was not until the evening that I was able to eat when my husband visited me. His stay was too short and once again I would be alone all night and day. It was truly one of the loneliest times in my life.
The next day I was exhausted after not sleeping for two full days in a row. With my short window of time, I took a shower. My next goal was to go down to the cafeteria and get some food. Every time, I had my little 1 1/2 hour window from feeding the baby I tried to get something to eat. Instead I was trapped with a nurse. By lunch time I thought for sure I would finally be able to get something to eat. As I was about to leave for the cafeteria a social worker was sent in to talk to me. Yes, a social worker! To this day, I still do not know why.
In the evening as usual, a nurse was sent up to take a blood sample from son's heel. I remember her clearly. She looked like she dressed to go out to the club. She also was on a personal call while she took the blood sample. I just remember my son crying through the whole process. Thankfully my husband was there this time. There was finally someone to speak up for me on my behalf. But soon he would leave again and I would be alone.
Some things are a blur but I believe by day three my son was ready to go home. He was healthy again. I was happy and thankful for that. And I was thankful to be leaving the Walnut Creek Kaiser.
I'm sharing this story for all those moms who didn't have their "dream" baby story. I also hope that others reading this will see the importance of supporting new mothers. I really felt all alone during this time and I don't believe any of my family members (including my husband) understood the torture and loneliness I went through.
Posted by jessica okui at 8:08 AM