Saturday, July 31, 2010

Breastfeeding Woes: Part 2

We finally got to return home on Tuesday, the 27th.  I was very excited to be going home to my own bed and my own shower.  The shower at the hospital was about the size of a postage stamp and the hospital bed was one of the most uncomfortable beds I've ever slept in.  Plus, I missed sleeping in the same bed as Mike.

On the other hand, once we returned home, we would no longer have the safety net of the nurses or the nursery if we really wanted to get some sleep.  Now it was all up to us.  Someone was tossing us in the deep end and telling us to swim.  Of course, my mom was staying with us for the rest of the week so we at least had some floaties to grab onto.

Once we did return home, the first order of business was to orient our dog Nickel to the new addition.  I was not really that worried.  He is a sweet dog and pretty obedient (to me, at least).  But he had also been home several days without us (my mom had been staying at our house to watch him), so he was certain to be extra excited to see us.

My mom had brought one of Elijah's hats home a few days before to let him smell it.  She said that he seemed interested in it, but still calm.  This time I had my mom take Elijah into the nursery while I went out with one of Elijah's shirts to say hello to Nickel.  Mike had managed to make it home for a few hours a couple of the days we were staying in the hospital, but Nickel hadn't seen me since last Thursday when we left for the hospital.  So I wanted to greet him right away to let him know that I had missed him.

He was very interested in smelling Elijah's shirt and I petted him and praised him for being calm while sniffing the shirt.  Then Mike took him for a walk to tire him out.  When they got back, we finally introduced Elijah and Nickel.  Nickel was very sweet and calm and Elijah didn't seem to mind being sniffed in the least.  I was extremely glad that something, at least, was going according to plan.

Soon, however, it was time to try nursing again.  The same problems continued, only this time there was no nurse I could call to my room to help me figure out what I was doing wrong.  So instead, the pumping and feeding by bottle was still on.

Then things seemed to get even worse.  Elijah found the bottle so easy to eat from that eventually when I tried to put him to the breast at all, he would just fight and fight until I gave up and gave him a bottle.  I really wasn't sure what else to do.  Now he would no longer even latch on at all.  I was really starting to contemplate the possibility that I would just have to pump out my milk for six months and give it to him by bottle.  That was such a detestable scenario to me.

For one thing, it took SO much longer to feed him.  With the bottle you had to get up, retrieve the milk from the fridge, possibly transfer it from its container to the bottle, and then heat up the bottle.  Then you could feed him.  And of course most of the time, we still tried to get him to nurse at my breast, so that fight took a few minutes.  Then Mike or someone else would feed him while I pumped for fifteen minutes at least.  And once Mike went back to work in a few weeks, it would take even longer because I'd have to feed and burp him and get him content enough to lie down by himself before I could even start pumping.  And if we returned the pump we rented, it would tag on an extra fifteen minutes because I could only pump one breast at a time.  If he would simply nurse, it would cut the time it took to feed him into like a fourth.

But the worst thing about it in my opinion was that this was supposed to be the one thing that only I could do for him and it was supposed to be our special way to bond as mommy and son.  Now if I pumped when he was fed, I couldn't even be the one to bottle feed him.  And even when I did get to feed him, feeding him by bottle just couldn't be the same.  I already felt like I had missed out on so much not getting to birth him vaginally, now I was losing this, too.

Finally, one day I was talking online to some friends on facebook and one of them suggested I try a nipple shield.  One of the lactation nurses had also mentioned this tool in passing, but hadn't really explained it thoroughly because it was pretty much right before I was leaving the hospital.

So my mom and I went to the store at the birthing center where you could buy all sorts of new mommy items, like slings, pumps, girdle-type things to help get your belly back into shape, etc.  We didn't see the nipple shields anywhere on display, but the saleswoman asked us what we were looking for and we told her.  She apparently had them behind the counter because you had to pick a size.

The saleswoman was very helpful.  She related how her daughter had problems latching when she was born and she had to use a nipple shield for awhile to encourage her to latch.  She said that she felt terrible because she felt like her daughter preferred the nipple shield to her, but that she went to a support group and 90% of the women in the group had been forced to use the shield at some point, but that of all those who had used it, none of them still were.  She said that everyone in the support group indicated that at four weeks, babies turn a corner in breastfeeding.

She then showed us the various sizes of the shields and helped us pick the one most likely to fit on me.  And she gave us instructions on how to use it.  While we were there and she was telling us her story, another man had walked in behind us.  I didn't want him to have to wait on us, so I said she could go ahead and help him if she wanted.  But he was there to rent a pump and had to fill out some paperwork first, so she gave him the paperwork to fill out while she finished with us.  He also said that he was listening to our stories because apparently he and his wife were having some of the same problems.

On the drive home I mentioned to my mom that even though this breastfeeding problem is very frustrating, I was very grateful to live in a time and a country where there are all these tools available to help feed my baby my milk.  My mom said she had been thinking the same thing recently and we wondered what on earth women in third world countries or back in older times did.  Perhaps hand express?  Perhaps give the baby to a wet nurse?  Who knows.  The alternative is just too horrible to think about.

We returned home and at Elijah's next feeding, it was time to give the nipple shield a try.  Even though the saleswoman had explained how to put it on, I guess I didn't fully understand because it took me a few minutes and a few tries to get it on.  I finally did, though, and sat down to see if our last ditch effort was to be successful.

I pulled Elijah up onto the boppy pillow and close to my breast and offered him the nipple with the shield protruding from it.

He latched immediately and began sucking.

It was like on some TV show where the thing everyone has been waiting for finally occurs and the hallelujah chorus starts playing in the background.  I was so relieved and my mom and Mike were excitedly praising God for answering our prayers.  I was praising him, too, just silently because I didn't want to disturb Elijah.

Over the next few feedings I learned that the first feeding with the nipple shield wasn't a fluke as Elijah continued to latch and feed directly from my breasts--albeit with the shield in place.  I didn't even need to pump anymore as he was keeping my milk up just fine.  His cries even started making me feel the let down in my breasts.

The best thing was when on Thursday I left the house for a few hours to go to my uncle's fiftieth birthday party and Mike stayed home to watch the baby.  His mother and sister came over to help him and at one point he texted me that Elijah was getting fussy and rooting around.  Should he give him a bottle?

I didn't think we'd be much longer, but I didn't want my baby to be hungry so I suggested he just give him a small bottle to tide him over until I could get home.  We didn't stay much longer and when I did get home, Mike's mom informed me that they had tried to give him the bottle and he had started fighting it.  But when I sat down and pulled him to my breast, he latched on again right away and began feeding.  Apparently he now preferred me to the bottle.  Whether that was because my milk was warmer than the bottle milk or it was just more comforting to be close to mommy while he fed, I'll never know.  But that's okay.  There are some things I am okay with just accepting.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Breastfeeding Woes: Part 1

Mike and I stayed in the hospital five days.  I knew we were going to stay an extra day because of the c section, but had it not been for Elijah's problems, we would have left earlier than we did.

First, Elijah had some low temperature issues.  Apparently they want a baby's temp to be at least 97 degrees and he was coming up a little short of that.  I felt a little robbed because I think if he had been delivered vaginally and placed immediately on my chest after he was born, this might not have been an issue.  But que sera sera, so several times they had to take him and put him under the warmers to get his temperature back up.

But then once he finally got his temperature up, they said he had lost too much weight.  He weighed 7 lbs, 8 oz when he was born and most babies lose about 5% of their body weight after birth, but Elijah had lost about 9%.  Evidently, that was too much.

The problem was simply that Elijah was such a sleepy baby and he didn't want to breastfeed.  I could hold him against me and get him to latch, but then he would take two sucks and fall asleep.  Or sometimes I would do everything I could to get him to latch and he would just squirm and fuss until he wore himself out and then he would fall asleep.  And I didn't know what else to do about it.

I had read every book I could get my hands on about breastfeeding and had taken breastfeeding classes, but I still couldn't get him to feed from the breast.  Of course, I had also read everything there was to read about natural birth and that didn't end up happening either.

A few days into our stay there, Elijah's pediatrician came by to talk to us about how he'd lost too much weight.  She said that we needed to supplement with some formula and I needed to start using the breast pump for fifteen minutes every time he would eat so that my milk would come in.  I was feeling devastated and like a terrible mother who had let her baby lose so much weight that the doctor was now scolding her (even though in reality, the doctor was by no means scolding us).

She said there were three ways we could do the supplementation.  We could put the formula in a syringe and push it through a tube that would be near my nipple so he could associate getting the food with my nipple.  We could also do the tube and syringe thing but feed him with the tube next to a finger.  Or we could do a bottle.

Mike, being as exhausted as he was, said that he'd rather just try the bottle since it was the simplest way of doing things.  Well, that was the last straw for me.

Up until then I had been doing everything I possibly could to keep my determination to get this kid to feed from the breast and keep my patience with him when he wouldn't do it, but Mike's suggestion to me sounded like he was ready to give up and didn't think we would ever be able to feed Elijah from the breast.

Now before everyone goes and hates my sweet husband for this, remember this is just what it felt like to me.  This was, in no way, what Mike actually meant.  He just thought we could do the supplementing from the bottle and keep working on the breastfeeding.  But, of course, I was already fighting the urge to feel like a royal failure and riding the hormone wave, so that wasn't what I heard.

I insisted that I wanted to try the feeding through the tube next to my nipple and after the doctor left I got very angry with Mike.  At that point he insisted that he hadn't meant that he wanted to give up on the breastfeeding.  But like I said, there was no explaining it to me right then.  I was too mad.  I started to cry.

"I want my mom!" I shouted at him.  At which point he promptly picked up the phone and called her to come on out here.

My mom showed up about twenty minutes later.  She was at church with her brother and his family when Mike called her, so it took her awhile to get out of there and get over to the hospital.  I was still bawling my eyes out when she showed up.

I was trying to stop crying, mostly because it was making my nose stopped up and I couldn't breathe except through my mouth, which was getting very dry.  But I just couldn't stop.  The weight of the past few days was just overwhelming me finally and hormones bouncing around my body were making it much worse.

The lactation nurse insisted that I was doing everything right and that it was Elijah that was not doing what he needed to do.  But how could I blame him?  He's a baby; he's not supposed to know what to do.  I'm supposed to be able to coax him or help him and take care of him.  I'm his mother.

I felt like I was royally failing at being a mother already.  First, I couldn't birth him like I was supposed to be able to.  Then now I was letting him starve to death because I couldn't feed him.  I was getting sick and tired of my useless body letting me down.

It took several hours before I was finally able to stop the tears.  Our regular nurse brought in the equipment to feed him through the tube next to my nipple.  Once again, I tried to get him to latch--with the lactation nurse watching and assisting--but to no avail.  Instead he thrashed around and fought me until the lactation nurse put a glove on her finger and used the tube to feed him with her finger.  She told me I was doing what I was supposed to do, but that he was confused and didn't know what he was supposed to do.  What she couldn't tell me was how to explain to him what he was supposed to do.

After that we mostly stuck to the finger feeding.  Mike would feed him with the tube and his finger while I pumped with the hospital's breastpump.  We would also always try to get him to latch on to my breast and feed there, but the nurse admonished us not to try for too long because he would burn more calories fighting us than he was taking in, thus nullifying any feeding we were able to do.  In addition, I was wearing breast shells to pull my nipples out farther to help him pull the nipple all the way back to the back of his mouth where it needed to be.

After a few days of this, I started to produce more colostrum.  Eventually I was producing enough colostrum that we were able to feed him just the pumped out colostrum and didn't have to add any formula to it.  And a few days later, my milk was starting to come in.  I was producing more and more milk, which was still being fed to him, but unfortunately it was still being fed through a tube rather than through my breast.  He was still not interested in latching and drinking from the breast, even when I would hand express some milk into his mouth.

As the time grew closer for us to go home, my breasts were starting to get engorged and sore.  Even though this made me uncomfortable, at least it meant that I had the milk for him to eat, even if he wouldn't eat it directly from my breast.

The good news was that his weight was finally moving back up the scale, rather than down.  By the time they did send us home, he was back up to seven pounds.

Unfortunately, finger feeding with the tube was not really feasible at home, particularly if we were going to have to continue this long-term.  If we had to go somewhere public, people would probably be pretty confused by us using a tube and a bunch of syringes filled with milk to feed our baby.  Not to mention that it would be much more difficult for us than using a bottle.

So reluctantly, I agreed we had to start giving him the expressed milk through a bottle.  This also was contrary to my plans with him.  I had intended for him to have no bottles or pacifiers until breastfeeding was well-established.  But silly me, nothing ever goes according to the plan with babies, I guess.

In addition, this meant we needed to rent the hospital's breastpump to use at home.  I had a breastpump that I had intended to use eventually as a way to allow other people to feed him if I wanted to go out for the evening--after he was firmly established at the breast--but it was only a single pump.  The hospital's pump was a double pump and I would need that if I had to pump for fifteen minutes every 2-3 hours.  It would take twice as long with my pump.

I was afraid, though, that we would never be able to quit renting the pump.  We initially rented it for a week, and could easily change the rental to a month rental without incurring any extra fees.  But what if he still refused to nurse at the breast after a month?  Did we rent it for another month and continue trying to nurse him even if it wasn't working?  Or did we simply give up on the idea that he would ever nurse and just buy a double pump (thus negating the single pump we did buy--which is a non-returnable item, by the way, for obvious reasons) and decide he would just get all my milk through a bottle forever?

Would I never have the experience of actually nursing my sweet baby at my breast?

Elijah's Birth Story: July 23, 2010

First of all, let me introduce myself.  My name is Bonnie and my husband Mike and I just had our first baby boy on July 23, 2010.  His name is Elijah and he is just the sweetest baby I have ever seen.  I started this blog so that I could write about being his mommy since I enjoy writing and I believe that being a mom will be the most interesting job I'll ever perform.  So to start off, here is the story of Elijah's birth.

I was five days past my due date and I had had some contractions, but they were mostly Braxton Hicks contractions and were obviously not going to produce a baby.  I went to my doctor's office on Thursday, the 22nd, to do a non-stress test and have an ultrasound to check my amniotic fluid levels.  The NST came back fine.  His heartrate was fine and the nurse seemed to think there was nothing to worry about.  However, when the ultrasound tech did the ultrasound, she noted that my fluid level was a four.  Apparently an ideal level is somewhere between a seven and a ten and the lowest they let you go and continue the pregnancy is a five.  So she paged my doctor, who said she wanted to get me into the hospital that evening and induce me.

I made several phonecalls, including one to my husband and one to my doula, Ashley, and headed home.  My husband was just getting back from a two hour trip out of town for work.  Fortunately, he was pretty much all the way back to Kansas City.  He had to drop off the government car, though, before he came home. (He works for the US Department of Labor.)  So it took him awhile to get back home and then I wanted to eat before we went to the hospital since I assumed they don't let you eat once you're there.  So we got to the hospital about an hour later than we said we would.

Around 5:30 we did arrive at the hospital and they got me set up in a room and placed cervadil to encourage my cervix to efface.  I was already dilated a centimeter and effaced about 50% prior to that, so I was hoping the cervadil would push me into labor on my own.  Otherwise, they were going to start a round of pitocin in the morning.

I had decided that I wanted to have a natural birth if possible.  For that reason I had attended birthing classes and hired a doula to help manage my pain.  The main reason I had made this decision was because I was trying to avoid a c section since I did not want to have to be recovering from major surgery while attempting to care for a newborn.  And I had read plenty of things that indicated to me that the more medical interventions you have, the more likely the baby is to go into distress and, therefore, the more likely it is that they will order a c section.

Anyway, I slept most of the night at the hospital with the cervadil in that night, although I did have to get up several times to use the bathroom (those of you who are or have been pregnant will understand).  I was having contractions most of this time; most of them were slightly worse than the contractions I'd been having at home.  Around 5:00 a.m. I woke up again to more contractions.  These were strong enough that I could no longer sleep through them.

Mike woke up shortly after me and my nurse came back in the room around 7:00 a.m.  I was due to start a round of pitocin sometime that morning, but I asked her if it would be possible for me not to have pitocin since I was clearly starting to labor already.  She offered to check my cervix and then page my doctor and ask her if I could avoid the pitocin.  I had heard and read that contractions induced by pitocin were much much worse than contractions that occurred naturally and since I didn't intend to use pain medication if I could avoid it, I was also really hoping to avoid pitocin.

The nurse checked me and said I was dilated to 4 centimeters and about 60% effaced.  She went to page my doctor.  I was really starting to hurt so I asked Mike to call Ashley, my doula, and ask her to come to the hospital.

By the time Ashley got there I was obviously in serious active labor.  We never did time the contractions, mostly because I was on the monitors the whole time so there was no need to do so.  So I don't know how far apart the contractions were, I just knew that they hurt and they were mainly in my back.

My doctor approved us not using pitocin since I was already laboring and had progressed to 4 centimeters.  Ashley and Mike took turns pressing down on the small of my back to help relieve the pain.  Ashley was much better at the back pressure than Mike was, but later on that evening, he was starting to get the hang of it and do a better job.

This pressure did help, but back labor is the worst pain I have ever felt.  In fact, if I had only felt my contractions in my abdomen, I would say I would have been in about half as much pain.  The only other things that relieved the pain slightly were bending over at the waist and getting in the tub.  In fact, I could barely stand a contraction if I wasn't bending over at least somewhat to relieve the pain in my back.

They checked me again after a few hours and I was up to six centimeters.  By that time I was no longer simply breathing through my contractions, I was moaning and wailing somewhat.  I was trying to concentrate on my breathing, but it's difficult to do when you feel like your insides are on fire.  Ashley and our wonderful nurse, Jayne, were having to remind me to breathe in rhythm with them so I didn't start to hyperventilate.

My doctor came by not long after that and asked how I was.  Even though I was progressing, she suggested breaking my water to get the progress to step up.  I agreed since I really just wanted to get to a ten and get this baby out.  So she broke my water and I got back in the tub to relieve contractions that were getting much worse.

Finally when the contractions were coming one on top of the other, I was dilated to an eight.  By that time I was starting to scream through some of the contractions, especially the terrible ones that would tease me and make me think they were tapering off, only to come back up again.

I got dilated to a 9--almost a 10--and finally was saying "I can't do this anymore, I can't do this anymore" and asking for an epidural.  Ashley consoled me and told me that every mommy she helps gets to the point where they're saying they can't do it anymore and that usually it means they're about to start pushing.  So I agreed to have my cervix checked one more time.

I was still not totally a 10 yet.  Jayne said that there was just a tiny bit of cervix left and suggested that she put her finger on it and I push against her finger when I had a contraction.  It seemed like a sensible plan to me, but I hurt way too much to try it.

My doctor came back not long after that and checked my cervix herself.  She seemed to think I could go ahead and start pushing.  And I was starting to feel the urge to push.  So finally I got to start trying to push my baby out.

The pushing relieved the pain of the contractions somewhat.  However, even though Ashley and Jayne both said I was pushing properly, the baby was not moving down.  So we started trying everything we could think of.  I pushed lying on my side in the bed with one leg up.  I pushed on my back playing tug of war with Mike for a hospital sheet.  I pushed squatting on the toilet.  I even finally agreed to try pushing on my hands and knees, even though that position made the pain worse.

Still my baby would not move down.  My doctor told me later that Jayne had said she did not think the baby would come out vaginally, but mercifully, she did not tell me that until after he was born.  Ashley thought that my baby had been posterior (facing up instead of down), hence all the back labor, and that he was trying to turn and ended up transverse, or facing the side, which was making it near impossible for him to move past my cervix.

I pushed for an hour and a half with no meds and he hadn't moved at all.  At that point I was so exhausted that my pushing was not correct anymore.  I just didn't have the energy to push correctly any longer.  It had been all day that I had been laboring actively.  It was about 6:00 p.m. by that time.

So finally, even though I had really hoped to avoid it, I asked for an epidural.  Ashley spoke with me again to make sure this was my choice and I didn't feel like I was being coerced to do it.  I insisted that if I had to continue pushing for an hour or two or three, I had to be able to rest a little, which I could not do with the labor pains.  I think if the baby had made some progress prior to that time, I could have finished it without the epidural.

The anesthesiologist came in shortly thereafter and began the process of giving me the epidural.  I had two contractions while she was doing it and it was very very hard not to move, but I told myself that these were the last ones I would have to feel and that made it possible to stay still.  I thanked the anesthesiologist woman for working so quickly.

After that, Ashley asked me if I needed her to stay, or if I'd like her to come back when I started pushing again.  But I told her to go on home and have dinner with her family.

At first, I could still feel the contractions slightly in my upper abdomen and asked them to fix it.  After all, if I was going to go completely numb and not be able to feel my legs or feet, I might as well have no pain at all.  The epidural kicked in finally and I was able to rest.  I wasn't able to sleep because I was shaking.  The nurse said they were hormonal shakes, since I wasn't really cold.  And there was pretty much nothing anyone could do about them.

My mom and some of Mike's family came in for a few minutes to visit me, but left shortly thereafter to go to dinner and get some dinner to bring back for Mike.  Prior to that I'd been wandering around the room in the nude and so I hadn't wanted anyone else in the room.  But now that I could lie down and rest--although not sleep--I was able to cover up in the bed and could let people in for a few minutes.

I was hooked up to all sorts of tubes and such.  I had a catheter.  They placed an internal fetal monitor (mostly because the belt monitor was not working properly and I no longer needed to be able to move around).  And, of course, I had an IV.

Now that I had an epidural, my doctor suggested they start a pitocin drip in my IV to see if that would encourage the contractions to move the baby down.  So they started that after my visitors left.  I could see on the monitors how the contraction would shoot straight up and then come back down, rather than increase and decrease gradually.

A few hours later, after the nurses' shift had changed and we got a new nurse, it was time for me to start pushing again.  This time they threw my feet up in stirrups and the new nurse Lacey pushed back on one of my legs while Mike pushed on the other.  I pushed for about another hour and a half like that and once again was told that I was pushing correctly, despite the fact that I could no longer feel anything.

My doctor came in and checked again and still the baby had not moved down at all.

I wanted to cry, but I think I was too exhausted at that point to do any crying.  I knew I was really too exhausted to cry or care about almost anything when my doctor reluctantly suggested a c section.  She said the baby's heartrate was fine and I could keep pushing as long as I wanted to as long as his heartrate remained high.  But she said she really did not think that he was going to come out vaginally.

I was very angry.  Not at anyone in particular, but just at the situation.  Here I had labored so hard for more than ten hours and pushed for an hour and a half without meds, and then another hour and a half with meds, and still I was not going to get the vaginal birth I wanted.

But, as I said, I was so exhausted that I no longer could get that upset.  I asked my doctor if this would mean that I had to have any children by c section and she said no, that she did many VBACs.  That reassured me somewhat and so I agreed to the c section.

My mom came back in and hung out with me for the hour it took to get an operating room.  But then it was finally time to move.  They wheeled me into the operating room and refreshed my epidural with even stronger meds this time so I couldn't feel a thing.  It took longer to get me prepped for the birth than it actually did for my doctor to get him out.  I threw up the acid reflux preventative they gave me to drink and I was getting the shakes again.

Finally, around 10:00 I heard the beautiful sound of my baby's first cry.  My doctor held him up so that I could see him over the curtain, although it was hard to see him through the tears in my eyes.  I watched as they took him to the side of the room and cleaned him off.  Mike got to touch him and talk to him while they did this.  After that he picked him up and brought him to me.

He was all gross but the sweetest thing I'd ever seen.  Even though he was a c section baby, he ended up with that conehead that vaginal babies get because his head had already been engaged in my cervix and I had pushed on it for so long.

After I got to see him and hold him for a few minutes, he and Mike went with the nurses to the nursery to get washed up.  The doctors and nurses finished removing my placenta and then closing me up.  I was then moved to a recovery room where I had to wait for about 10-15 minutes before anyone came in to see me.

It was my mom who came.  Mike was still in the nursery with Elijah.  I had asked him to stay with Elijah the whole time so that at least one of his parents would be with him at all times.

A nurse came in shortly thereafter and told me that Elijah's temperature was too low and so they were keeping him under the warmers and as soon as his temperature came up enough they would bring him in to me.  A part of me was upset since I think that if he had been immediately placed on my chest after birth he would have warmed up a lot more.  In fact, if I hadn't been so excited that he was finally here, I probably could have gotten very upset that I didn't get my initial bonding time with him just after his birth.  This was another reason I had really hoped to avoid a c section.

It was about another twenty or thirty minutes before they finally brought him in and let me hold him.  He was just the perfect little baby boy.  I tried to nurse him, but had a lot of trouble.  He finally did latch on and nurse at the left breast for about ten minutes.

It was past midnight when they finally moved us to our postpartum room.  Mike set up his cot next to my hospital bed and lay down.  He was exhausted and I knew I should be exhausted, too, but I think I was riding on hormones and adrenaline.

The nurse came in and checked his temperature again and said it was low again.  I suggested that I take my top off and hold him against my chest and put blankets on top of us.  I was feeling a little hot anyway.  The nurse said that was a good idea so she gave him to me to hold for an hour or so to try to get his temperature up.

That was the obvious medical goal, but I was actually thinking of something else.  I hadn't gotten to have my time holding him just after his birth like I wanted, so even though I was doing nothing besides holding my sweet baby boy against my chest and watching him sleep, that hour passed much too quickly.  I hadn't gotten to hold and bond with him immediately after his birth, but this time kind of made up for that.