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Friday, May 16, 2014

London's Hospital Stay (Jaundice)

We chose to do our birth at a birth center for many reasons, one of which was that I did not want to stay in a hospital. I really DO NOT like hospitals. I am not comfortable in hospitals. 
Regardless of my near perfect birth center birth, and my want/need to avoid the hospital we managed to end up in the hospital a few days later anyways. 
We were home from the birth center like 6 hours after I had London! It was so nice! But that was short lived because she started showing signs of jaundice. 
Here is how it all went down...

We got home Saturday around noon from having London. We had the siblings filter in there after for visits and to meet our new babe. We spent the day Saturday and everything was just great. I was feeling great, and we were just soaking up having our new baby finally here!
Sunday came and I noticed she looked a little yellow, but nothing too serious. That evening I asked Krissie (as well as the midwives at her 2 day check up on Monday) if she thought she looked a little yellow (I was second guessing my judgement because of all the hours I spent just staring at her =) maybe I was just making this up!) They all thought she looked a bit yellow as well so I watched her that night and the next day to see if it got any worse. 
It did. 
We kept her in the sun to see if that would help.

I was feeling like it was getting worse, but again was second guessing my judgement. I was having a hard time separating the thoughts of "im just a paranoid new mom" from "trust your instincts." It was a stressful day (monday) battling those two thoughts so on Tues I ended up calling her Dr. Who happened to be out of town at the time.
They told me that I could get into the on call Dr. on Wed but my gut was telling me not to wait so we started calling around to different insta cares and found that they do not do billi checks there.
We ended up at primary childrens emergency room. 
Definitely not the place I thought I would be spending the day with my 3 day old baby!
They started the standard procedures with her and checked her blood pressure, blood count and billi.

Her billi was high and she was also pretty dehydrated (from nursing struggles, that will be a post all in itself). 
So they let us know that we would be spending the night there. They said that her levels were at 16.7 and that they don't allow you to leave if it is over 14. 
Finally I felt justified in my feelings and bringing her to the ER. I was happy to feel that my instincts were right on and that she was in some need of medical care. It's hard when you have a brand new baby and trying to figure out what she needs and how to take care of her, but this just goes to show that we have mothers instinct from day one. 

She was a little trooper. Hardly even crying through all the pokes and prods and getting an IV. I think that is what kept me calm through all this, is that she didn't seem too distressed at all. 
Thank heavens. I can't imagine how it would have been sitting in there with my newborn baby screaming in pain or discomfort!

They moved us over to another unit and got her all hooked up to a a heart monitor and oxygen monitor and put her in a billi bed. 
It was so sad to see her all hooked up and her little eyes covered by the protective little glasses she had to wear.

And here is how we spent the night. Brock stayed on the floor and I got the awesome tiny pleather couch.

It was a rough night. I woke up to nurse her every 2 hours and each time would have to call in a nurse to come un hook her and hook her back up. In between that and the nurse coming in to check on her and the worry of having my baby in the hospital (and the cost we would face), there wasn't much sleeping going on on my end.
A little about the nursing sitch....The morning we were admitted into the hospital my milk had come in. By that night in the hospital, it was effected drastically. The stress reduced my supply dramatically which made for even more nursing struggles than I was already having up to that point. 
By the time the morning came I was pumping after each nursing session to try and get more milk and had more than one person/nurse offer up formula (which was devastating to me at the time). This made the situation even harder because I was NOT about to give my baby formula.
(more on that in a future post)
By 10 the next morning her billi had finally lowered to 13 with the help of the billi lights so they discharged us.
I left the hospital feeling uneasy, but relived to be heading home. While we were in the hospital the stress on London effected her bowl movements. She stopped pooing after feedings and didn't have one the whole time we were in the hospital. Up to then, they were regular and fine and she was getting all the meconium out of her system. With high billirubin it is important that she was pooping because that is how the system gets rid of it, so leaving knowing that she wasn't getting rid of it, just told me that the only reason why her levels were lowered was from the lights, which they did not send home with us. 
They sent us home with the instruction to get her into her Dr the next day to get her billi checked again.
We did as instructed and after we got home from the (oncall) Dr visit we got a call back with the results. Her billi had shot up to 20 and the Dr told me that when it reaches 24 they are admitted directly into the NICU so she wanted us to get back to the ER asap. She called primarys and rather than going through the ER again they told us to just go straight back into the unit that we had just been released from the morning before!
This is when the panic and frustration for me set in. Hearing the word NICU sent me into full fledged worry and panic. We rushed her back and went through round number 2 in the hospital. 
Night 2 went the same as night 1. They got her all hooked back up and we spent the night there.

 We were discharged again the next day because her billi had gone back down to 14 around noon and again, I left feeling uneasy because she was still not pooping. 
Again, we were instructed to see the Dr. the next day to have her billi checked again to make sure it hadn't gone back up.
Her results came back and her billi had gone back up but this time rather than admitting us, they sent home heath care to our house with a billi light which you can see glowing in the pic below.
She also started sleeping with her hands above her head which was freaking adorable!
This was hard because we had to keep her on the lights 24 hours a day for a few days except for feedings. 

After many many trips to the Dr, many pokes (i should have kept count, but during this time I'm sure she was poked well over 20 times, poor thing) and alot of stress later, her billi finally went down and stayed down. 

We spent some extra nakey time in the sun tho juuuuust in case =)

Here pooping never really normalized, she pooped just a couple times a week if i remember right for the first couple months. The Dr wasn't too concerned about that now that her billi was staying down and just said that some babies don't poop alot. When her poop finally did normalize, it was always fairly hard (like playdough consistancy) and still is.

I think this face sums up how we all felt by the end of this whole ordeal.

Poor baby was such a trooper!


  1. So sad! I had no idea you guys went through all that, I'm so sorry. It's the worst to see your baby like that! Cassidy was in the NICU for 3 weeks and we couldn't stay with her, my heart broke to come home every night without my baby, and to see her hooked up to ventilators, IV's in her head, pokes in her hands and feet, all the jaundice stuff, feeding tubes, oxygen tubes etc. And how hard that was I am truly grateful for all of it because with out all of that she wouldn't be here with us today, and after all the complications I had afterward I probably wouldn't be either. Oh and you mentioned all the costs, the NICU bill alone was $70,000, I think once everything else came through it was over $100,000, thank goodness for insurance! Anyway I'm so glad you guys are past that, she's a pretty cute little baby, and babies are pretty tough, glad she handled it all well!

  2. Ashlee I had no idea. I am so sorry you and your little family had to go through that. Glad she was so good about it. Breastfeeding is wonderful and so rewarding but so stressful.