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Please help me escape from hospital quickly

(19 Posts)
bigbutton Fri 29-Jul-11 11:10:30

I'm expecting my first baby soon and have started to think about leaving hospital after the birth. I have to admit at this point that yes, I've read the thread on postnatal care, and stupidly allowed myself to be slightly freaked out. But even without that, I really don't like hospitals and would like to spend as little time there as I can.

Because of a suspected heart problem, I have to have an epidural. As the doctor put it: "You might be just fine but, if you aren't, labour would be a bad time to find out".

OK, that's logical. I would have liked to at least try for an active birth but I can see the sense in what they're saying. My concern is really that I want to go home as soon as humanly possible after the baby's born. Other than said possible heart problem (which I don't really think I have), I'm healthy and the baby appears to be healthy, too.

I know it may not be but, assuming the birth is relatively straightforward, what normally needs to be checked before I can leave? I've heard that you should go to the toilet (not looking forward to that) and feed the baby, all of which I am planning to do anyway. Can anyone tell me what other sorts of boxes generally have to be ticked before a woman and baby are normally discharged?

TheOriginalFAB Fri 29-Jul-11 11:12:19

I think 6 hours after the birth is the earliest you can go home but the baby would have to have been seen my a paediatrician first and they wouldn't let you go in the middle of the night, I wouldn't have thought.

bigbutton Fri 29-Jul-11 11:13:13

I've just realised that my title makes it sound like I'm trapped in a hospital now grin I'm not, I just don't want to be!

nickschick Fri 29-Jul-11 11:17:33

Its not really 'trapped' I think you can only adopt a wait and see approach and get yourself into the best health before you go in,they dont hold you against your will grin-you go home as soon as you are able.

I had a c.s on a Thursday and was home Sat lunchtime shock it was too early I did too much and became v ill (they didnt help by leaving some placenta behind angrythat became infected and i haemorraged) so take it steady.

Its quite nice spending time with your baby and concentrating on just you and her/him.

Good Luck.

worldgonecrazy Fri 29-Jul-11 11:20:25

The biggest issue will be catheter removal, which probably won't be done until at least 8 hours afterwards. You will also need to have a wee and bowel movement, you will probably be starving so neither of these should present a problem if you're fit and healthy to go home.

Get support for breastfeeding, go to some classes or workshops if you can. The NHS might say 'breast is best' and spend a fortune on posters, but the actual support for breastfeeding post-birth is rubbish. Don't be surprised to find several midwives looking for any excuse to shove formula into your baby's tummy.

Flisspaps Fri 29-Jul-11 11:44:37

Get up and about as soon as you feel able.

Can you have a low-dose epidural so that you are still mobile to some degree (able to stand and lean over the bed sort of thing)? Once the catheter is out then drink a fair bit of water and get to the loo!

Why would an epidural help if you have a heart condition (genuine question that I would be happy to know the answer to!)?

Isthreetoomany Fri 29-Jul-11 12:02:58

I had an epidural with DC2 and was able to leave 6 hours after her birth (but the epi didn't work all that well, so I was more mobile than expected after the birth). My baby didn't have to see the paediatrician before we left (left hospital in the evening) but we did take her back to see them the next morning.

Am now pregnant with DC3, and I don't want to leave the hospital before this baby has been checked out by the doctor (purely because, since having my second child, a friend had a baby who would not have made it if they had taken the baby home, as there was an underlying condition that needed emergency surgery). Obviously my friend's situation is rare, but I don't think I would take a chance now I know what happened to her.

Best to leave when you are sure you are ready, and maybe don't plan too much in advance, just see how you feel at the time. I could not have left hospital after 6 hrs with my first child, as I ended up finding breastfeeding tricky and their was a bf counsellor at the hospital who was really helpful.

pinkpeony Fri 29-Jul-11 12:05:53

I had an epidural with both DCs and no catheter with either, so it won't necessarily prevent you from being discharged quickly. My epidurals were both mobile and had pretty much worn off soon after the delivery, so was able to stand up and walk quite soon after. They will wait until you pass water, and check your blood pressure is back to normal, and things like that. They also do some checks on the baby (do the Apgar score), give him/her vitamin K injection (or drops if you prefer), weigh baby and wait until baby latches on and you breastfeed (not necessarily in that order). Also a paediatrician checks the baby before you are discharged. Don't worry about the epidural, I had 2, no bad side effects, no intervention, tiny tear with DC1 and none with DC2, so you can have a very easy and straightforward birth with an epidural too. And it's great not feeling pain.

PorkChopSter Fri 29-Jul-11 12:13:25

Have they provided you with data to show why they think an epidural is necessary?

Given that it is likely to lead to intervention, e.g instrumental delivery/CS - isn't that going to be more of an issue with your heart condition?

bigbutton Fri 29-Jul-11 13:27:48

Thanks for the reassurance smile If there are any medical reasons to stay then I will, although I will probably whinge very unreasonably at dh about it.

I'm not sure why but I was under the impression that I'd be checked and discharged fairly promptly. At my last antenatal appointment, they dropped the bombshell that they normally only discharge once a day and dh will have to leave outside of visiting hours (even if I manage to get a private room). I have severe food allergies, so I won't be able to eat or drink anything the hospital might provide other than water. All in all, the idea of being there longer than absolutely necessary is not appealing.

With my total lack of any medical knowledge, I've understood the reasoning behind the epidural to be the following: epidural lowers blood pressure so less strain on heart. Also, because general anaesthetics can cause allergic reactions, in case the phantom heart problem shows up, they would like to have anaesthesia already in place so they can do an emcs if needs be without having to work out which anaesthetics are safe to give me in a hurry.

Given that I've never actually had any trouble with my heart, it all seems very over-complicated but what they're saying does make sense. I don't want to take any more risks than I have to on behalf of the baby, just because I don't like being in hospitals. But then once its over, I am very keen to leave.

They've told me they have breastfeeding trained midwives but didn't seem to know how many, or if they'll be available. I think I'd rather keep the numbers of LLL etc on hand and not expect too much useful help from the hopsital.

worldgonecrazy Fri 29-Jul-11 13:38:14

You should be able to take your own food in - snacks and things to keep you going during labour. The first stage of labour is quite long and you need to keep your energy levels high.

It may be worth finding out if there are any breastfeeding support groups locally too - they were an absolute godsend for me when I was starting my bf journey.

DaisySteiner Fri 29-Jul-11 13:49:12

A bit OT, but I'm a bit shock that they want you to have an epidural so they don't have to waste time working out which kind of general anaesthetic to give you. Given that the epidural might not work any way, surely the sensible thing to do would be work this out in advance and put it in your notes hmm? Have you actually had an anaesthetic review because the bit about them not wanting to work out what kind to give you in a hurry also makes me a bit hmm for a few reasons.

Also, have you had input from a cardiologist? They may suggest the epidural also, but it never hurts to get a second opinion.

PorkChopSter - it's very unlikely that there will be 'data' comparing outcomes with and without the use of epidural for exactly the kind of heart condition the OP has. Much of the time clinicians have to use their judgement based on experience rather than having a nice clear set of research data to give them the answer.

worldgonecrazy Fri 29-Jul-11 13:54:54

daisy makes a really good point, epidurals don't work for some women and it takes a while to find out. I had a spinal block as I knew that there was a good chance of epidural not working due to spinal surgery. Can you request a meeting with the anaesthetist? I had a meeting at about 34/35 weeks and we had a chat about which pain relief method would be best in the event of me needing it, even though I was planning a waterbirth at the time - I wanted to have all my options mapped out clearly.

ShowOfHands Fri 29-Jul-11 13:59:01

You could go to the hospital I went to. I was discharged 12hrs post emcs. Catheter was still in situ as they signed the papers, hadn't been anywhere near a toilet (obviously) and dd hadn't fed at all. They needed the bed though. Bloody place.

<grizzle grizzle>

Agree with others though, you need to get them to review your care properly before you labour.

pinkpeony Fri 29-Jul-11 14:18:17

You really should see anaesthetist before you go into labour so they can figure out what anaesthetics, if any, you would need. However epidural is NOT likely to lead to interventions/instrumental delivery/CS, so if that is what your consultants recommend for you, the likelihood is that all will go fine and you will have a straightforward birth. You just need to make sure the epidural is inserted properly and not too early before labour is fully established.

bigbutton Fri 29-Jul-11 14:56:58

Thanks Daisy that's a good point. And I would definitely prefer to avoid anything like your experience Show - that sounds awful.

No input from a cardiologist, other than having an ecg and echo done. As far as I'm aware, these were just looked at by an obstetrician, an anaesthetist and my GP, not a cardiologist.

I did have an anaesthetic review a couple of weeks ago, which was the first time an epidural was mentioned. I'm seeing the anaethetist again to discuss my (apparently totally normal) ecg result fairly soon.

Honestly I'm totally bamboozled by the whole thing. I have geneticists telling me I have a rare condition which is usually associated with heart problems, even though I have no signs of heart problems that have been picked up, my genes appear to be normal, and the only other symptom is not presenting "typically". Then I have obstetricians telling me the baby seems to be fine (thankfully) but an epidural will reduce the strain on my heart. Anaethetists saying that I might have allergies to anaesthetics so an epidural is the way to go. Allergists not actually involved yet, but I have an appointment coming up. Finally, at my last appointment, the midwife threw in "Well, you don't HAVE to have an epidural". Which is true, but I just don't know what to do for the best now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful they appear to be taking any potential problems seriously. And I know they're not doing this just for the pleasure of my company, although I'm sure i'll make a fascinating paper. But until 2 weeks ago, I had a very simple plan: get in, have baby, make sure baby's ok, get out. Now I have total information overload, and I'm trying to stick to my plan without totally defying all medical advice and putting myself and the baby at risk.

I can see that after all the messing around, if none of these problems show up, and then I still have to battle my way out of the hospital, it'll be too much to get my head round at the last minute. If I have some idea of what I need to have checked/ do so that I can leave, I hope it'll give me some peace of mind.

bigbutton Fri 29-Jul-11 14:58:29

And thank you for the reassurance pink. I do need to talk this all through with someone and get it all straight. Just not sure who.

PaddingtonBearLondon Sun 16-Oct-11 22:29:09

I know this is an old thread and I'm too late for bigbutton but for anyone else who stumbles across this thread.... don't assume that rushing home is best.

My hospital has a policy of allowing newborns home as soon as 2 hours if the birth is straightforward. After having DD1 at night we went home and came back in the morning for the paediatric check-up. At which point we were told our DD had a low temperature and breathing problems.

We were whisked off to A & E and then the (noisy) children's ward where my DD was put on a drip and kept in for 4 days. (And I wasn't even allowed a paracetamol as I "wasn't the patient" despite having just given birth and stitches).

All this because they'd encouraged us to go before she'd fed. If I'd just stayed the night, we'd have been in the maternity ward rather than the children's ward and I reckon that they'd have picked up on the lack of feeding and/or temperature problem much earlier.

Our next baby is due this week and obviously I won't be going anywhere until baby's fed properly and been checked by a paediatrician!

TerrysNo2 Tue 18-Oct-11 09:54:31

Sorry not read whole thread but wanted to let you know what I did with my DS (also first baby). I wanted to get out of hospital asap (was meant to be born at home but he didn't play ball) - he was born at 5.30am and I spent the next few hours recovering from the epidural so I first asked at 9am when I could leave, they said I needed to be seen feeding DS 3 times, get checked over by a doctor and DS checked over by a paediatrician before we could go. From then on I just kept asking and asking for them to do these things - and kept making DS feed! I managed to get myself out by 7pm so I didn't have to spend the night. Considering I had an epidural and ventouse delivery I think this was quite good.

HTH and good luck!

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