The Hospital Stay: A Birthmother’s Experience

Newborn baby right after delivery

As a continuation of my previous blog, The Delivery Room: A Birthmother’s Experience, this entry expresses my thoughts and feelings about my stay at the hospital after delivery.

My feelings throughout my hospital stay were not as painful as they were during the delivery room experience. In the delivery room, I felt the doctor’s and nurse’s lack of knowledge made the experience more difficult. However, in my recovery room I only had to worry about how A’s parent’s felt about sharing the time with me.

I only spent 24 hours in recovery, so there wasn’t much time for me to say “see you later” to this beautiful child I carried for almost a year. I have photographs of all four of us spending time in my room. In the photos we are laughing and holding this sweet precious girl and I cherish those pictures. I am glad that I had this time with the three of them which helped me find a comfort zone with everything going on around me. During my hospital stay, I had no idea of the coming whirlwind of emotions I would soon cope with.

One part I would change during my time in the hospital would be A’s feedings. This, I feel, goes back to the lack of discussion and knowledge between the hospital staff and me. I never fed A, not once. I have pictures of A’s mom feeding her, and although I cherish the pictures, they still hurt to look at. If I could change anything about the delivery room and the recovery room, it would be getting the opportunity to feed A. I wish I would have said, “I want to hold her; I want to provide food for her.” I do not regret her mom feeding her, it was her right, the right I gave to her, but it saddens me that I didn’t speak up for myself.

To be fair, I did get alone time with A. I remember her mom and dad saying that they were leaving to give me time alone with her. I held her, I cried, and I told her everything. I told her why I had to make this choice and what it meant for me. I told her that I loved her and that I will always love her. I told her my fears, my happy times, and most of all—my dreams for her. I held her so close to my heart like I had for so long and I talked to her the same way I had talked to her for so many months before that time. That is the time I cherish the most, the time that I have no pictures of, the time that is only held in my mind. That time I spent with her is something I would never change.

The last thing I would change during recovery would be who came to see this little miracle. My mom came and met her first granddaughter, but she was the only person that met A. I wish my two sisters and my three brothers would have met her. I wish my stepdad would have had the chance to hold her. I wish I would have known how important that would be to me later on in life. It would be amazing to have a picture of all of them holding such a sweet baby girl.

If I could go back in time, these two things are what I would have changed: feedings and family. I would have fed A, and I would have made sure that my entire family that supported me through it all would have been there to say, “See ya later.”

The importance of the entire hospital visit is huge. Make your plan, and even if your plan changes, that’s okay. Make it fit you and your feelings so you never have to think back and say, “I wish I would have” or “If I knew then what I know now I would have…” You are the only person that can make sure you feel complete. Know and understand your feelings and stand up for what you want. If the adoptive parents want what is best for your baby, then they will want what is best for you too.