When I gave birth to my daughter, I had been up for 48 hours solid. I had PIH and had been vomiting for hours upon hours - and then pushed for three hours until she was born. My husband had been by my side, awake, for the entire time.
I had wonderful Labor/Delivery nurses. They got me through the labor from hell. However, once we got to the PP room, and my beauftiful, wonderfully alert and crying-her-heart-out baby girl was placed with us, the nightmare began. I don't blame the nurses per se, but it was a scary situation. I was NOT alert at all - had a pounding headache, crying at intervals for no real reason (maybe the mag sulfate I'd been given combined with sleep depriation?) I was breastfeeding, so I was frequently trying to put her to the breast, but she was not interested in latching. When the nurse came to check on us, I was crying and told her I was afraid I wasn't doing a good job of caring for my baby, because I felt so exhausted and sick. She told me, "I can sympathize with you, but being that you had a vaginal birth, and birth is a natural process, it's up to you guys to provide your daughter's care".
I understood what she was saying, and proceeded to hand her over to my husband, who walked with her for an hour or so in the room, and then I slipped into a fitful sleep despite her whimpering. I awakened at 3 am, and saw my husband asleep in the chair with the baby in his lap. I was concerned about the safety of this so I put her back in the bassinet (trailing blood as I got up) and rang for the nurse the one and only time I was there. She was friendly, but said unless I had changed my mind about breastfeeding, the baby had to stay with me.
Needless to say, I had a harrowing night. my Husband tried to help, but he was absolutely exhausted and truthfully handles sleepnessness much worse than I did. I remember pinching myself to try to stay awake so I could comfort the baby.
When the doctor rounded the next morning, I begged to go home. I knew I would get more help at home (because other non-sleep deprived family would be there to help me). He agreed and sent me home.
I'm just wondering what the policy is on this type situation in other institutions. I was breastfeeding, and went on to breastfeed for a long, long time - but honestly, my baby was in jeopardy that first night that she was in our room. Certainly I'm not the only mother who has delivered after days of being awake. I just wondered how other places handle this, or if it's the same.
I wasn't angry with anybody - the situation just really sucked and I wish I could have come up with a better plan.