Let me tell you about trying to leave the hospital to head home with my first baby. A couple hours before our discharge, the lactation consultant swooped into the room and casually mentioned that my baby had lost weight since birth so my milk might not be enough. Then another nurse handed us discharge paperwork and forgot to mention that our daughter had failed the hearing test, so we saw it on the paper as we were preparing to leave. Freaked out and scared out of our minds, we headed toward the elevator only to have a million alarms go off when we stepped inside because the nurses had forgotten to take the security tag off our daughter’s clothes. It was a nightmare.
I cried hysterically all the way home. I thought our daughter was starving to death and couldn’t hear, and I was still shaken by the alarms sounding. Add to that all the postpartum hormones surging through my body, and you had one crazy lady. Luckily I had a great doctor who I talked to over the phone the minute we got home and she assured me of a few things:
1. Babies lose weight after birth. It’s completely normal, and the weight will come back. (It did.)
2. Lots of babies fail the initial hearing test because of liquid from labor still squishing around in their ears, and most babies pass the follow-up hearing test. (She did.)
3. She was going to head over to the hospital and have a talk with the staff to remind them of how to treat new parents: delicately and with kindness. (I sure hope she did.)
The moral of the story is this: Your newborn will endure what seems like a million tests in their first couple of days, and tactless medical staff can make you think it’s the end of the world if something comes up questionable. Try not to panic. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like, “Do most babies lose weight after they’re born?” or “Is it common for babies to fail a hearing test?” If I had thought to ask these questions instead of panicking I would have been much better off.
Postscript: After my second baby was born my doctor called another doctor in to check my son’s eyes because she was afraid there might be something wrong with them. I asked my doctor, “Is this something I need to be concerned about?” She answered, “No, I don’t think so, but I just want to make sure.” Instead of freaking out I just said, “Okay,” and didn’t think much about it until the other doctor showed up, examined my son’s eyes, and said, “He’s fine…nothing wrong here.” That, dear readers, is just what I expected him to say.