Want to freak an emotional, hormonal, postnatal mum out? Tell her that her son has lost 15% of his birth weight and that she should take him in to hospital again and be prepared to spend the night.

On the Sunday after Asher was born, the community midwife came to check-up on us. She checked me and then asked all kinds of questions about how Asher was doing, and based on those questions it seemed he was doing well. Until she weighed him… that was the ‘proof in the pudding’ that he really wasn’t doing well. Asher had lost 15% of his birth weight. Of course, it was because of something with the way he was feeding. The midwife immediately phoned the maternity ward at the hospital to arrange for us to come in.

The midwife left our home; my parents arrived from the US 10 minutes later. They were greeted with somewhat of a “Hello, how are you? Meet your grandson!” and then a “We have to go back to hospital. Want to come along?” I can’t imagine what a shock that was for them… It was for me, as I was in tears by then.

Thankfully, I’d been there the day before with another health question regarding Asher… so I got to see the same midwife. She did a good job calming me down and sorting us out.

However, once we arrived we were soon whisked away by a paediatrician to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU; kind of the equivalent of the NICU in America). WHAT?!? Really? Was my baby’s condition that serious? Evidently. I learned that the amount of blood loss I suffered from Asher’s birth caused a delay and insufficiency in my milk supply. Thus, Asher was dehydrated and losing weight.

At this point I was pretty emotional. My little boy was getting pricked to get bloods drawn. He was being checked for his jaundice levels and dehydration. I was also told that I’d have to breastfeed him, top him up with formula and express what little milk I had left. It was rather overwhelming. I spent a lot of time crying… either on Leon’s shoulder or my mum’s. Was I doing something wrong to cause all of this? Of course not, but it sure felt like it at the time.

Getting good sleep on a full tummy at last

We were then told that Asher would have to spend the night. Cue the postnatal tears again. They have a couple of hotel-type rooms in SCBU for parents to stay in while their baby is under the nurses’ care. Thankfully, they let us keep Asher in the room with us. We spent the night getting up every three hours to breastfeed, top up and express. It was a long night especially since I was already knackered from an emotional day.

That day, I was ever-so-thankful for some friends of ours who came to visit us. They were in Carlisle for the week and came to visit us at hospital when they heard we were there again. It was so nice to chat with them about all that had gone on so far with Asher and myself. They helped us process through things a bit more than we already had done. Plus it was just nice to have good friends’ shoulders to cry on.

The next morning, things looked brighter with a little more sleep. Asher was getting some good feeds in, having dirty nappies and back to his normal happy and contented self. My mum and dad came back to spend some time with us before we got discharged. The nurse in charge of us wanted to weigh Asher and check his bloods again before we were discharged so we had to wait until the late afternoon to go home.

Getting a bottle from Grandpa while still in hospital

Praise the Lord, Asher had gained some weight in the time we were there! He he had also gotten rehydrated, and his jaundice levels went down, too. It was nice to know that we wouldn’t be spending another day in hospital and could go home at last!

I wish I could say that this is the end of the story… but it’s not entirely. I went on to struggle with breastfeeding for a week or so after we were discharged from hospital. But that is a post I’ll have to write on a later date.

Through all of this struggle, I’m thankful that God is good. I’m thankful I had a beautiful home delivery and we have a healthy, happy baby boy. Our sweet Asher is definitely living up to the meaning of his name!