Monday, June 28, 2010
Kanga & Little Roo, part 2
What kind of mom am I??? I didn't include a picture of my newborn baby boy in my last post! So here you go…
Can I just tell you… I loved having a tiny little baby. FOUR POUNDS—he was like holding air! (He's still only about 8 pounds, so it's not like he's huge now, but it's just not the same as when he was a teeny tiny newborn.) Within minutes of coming in to see him and visit us, our moms got this excited look on their faces: We would need new clothes!!!! Preemies were definitely in order for this little guy. J
At the same time, my midwife was busy trying to figure out why he was so tiny. She said that the umbilical cord was very small in diameter, and that he likely wasn't getting the nutrition he needed. She also said that the placenta was covered in calcifications—she said it looked like one they see on heavy smokers. (I have never even been tempted to smoke, let alone actually stuck a cigarette in my mouth.) There was also meconium in the fluid when he was born… it was just a whole mess in there, apparently! My midwife said multiple times that he was obviously in distress in there and we just didn't realize it. If she had known all this was going on, we would have induced. Thank you, Lord, for knowing he needed out. But the bottom line was, he was out now and healthy. No need to worry too much about what was going on inside. So we just continued with life as normal.
I really enjoy getting visits from people in the hospital when we have a new baby. I know that opinions vary on that—some people prefer not to even call friends and family until they're back home, some like to just have certain "visiting hours" or to have people call first, but not me. Come anytime, stay as long as you like, as long as you dote on my baby and tell me how beautiful he is. J Of course, when you have a four-pounder, you do have people who are afraid to hold him—but that's OK, more snuggle time for me. J We had lots of visits from friends and family over the next couple of days.
The day after Roo was born his bilirubin was elevated. This did not concern me one little bit, as both of my other kids had the same issue and it just worked itself out. That afternoon, though, a nurse came in and told us we were going to have to put our little guy under the special lights. I still didn't fully understand. Thank God for my husband, who will ask every question possible until he understands the situation down to the last detail. I'll admit, about halfway through the conversation I wanted him to JUST STOP TALKING because I don't always want to know all of the details… but I have come to be very thankful for this quality in him, especially over the last couple of months.
So my precious little boy was taken away from me and put into an isolette. He was stripped down to his diaper, his eyes were covered, and the lights went on. Not only were two banks of lights shining down on him, he was also laying on a pad of lights, to try to get maximum exposure. We were allowed to take him out for 15 minutes every three hours, but that was it. Looking back from a less hormonal state, it wasn't that big of a deal. At the time, though, it was heart-wrenching. (Forgive the picture. For some reason all of the pics from my camera are on a different computer…)
The hospital staff had informed us that we would be there at least two more days with him under the lights. By the next morning, though, I was certain we would be headed home that day. I mentioned it to a couple of the nurses, and they gently told me not to get my hopes up. Around lunchtime, though, our nurse came in and said, "We're turning off the lights!" YAY! We still couldn't be discharged—they wanted to do another blood test 6 hours after he was out from under the lights to be sure that his bilirubin didn't shoot back up. So we waited, watched TV, visited with family, and counted the minutes.
In the meantime, because he was so tiny they had to do a special test to make sure it was safe to take him home in the car seat. Apparently some preemies have trouble with infant seats because their lungs get too compressed, so we had to set him in the seat for an hour and hook up monitor to make sure his pulse and oxygen levels were OK. Luckily he passed, so we didn't need a special "car bed" to take him home.
His bilirubin was tested one more time… and it was great! We were free to go! We packed up all of our stuff—which was no small task between baby gifts, hospital freebies, stuff our big kids had left behind when they had visited, etc, etc, etc—and headed HOME. We were instructed to have his bilirubin checked again the next morning. Unfortunately, it was going to be a Saturday. Our pediatrician's practice does offer Saturday hours, but it is only same-day appointments—we couldn't schedule ahead of time. But that was just fine by us, as long as we got to go home!
I feel like I should stop here and mention that this was Easter weekend. We didn't have the slightest inkling that Roo was going to be born at 37 weeks, so we had made Easter plans with my parents and mother-in-law. My poor mom, who was hosting/cooking, didn't know what to do about Easter dinner, since we were just getting home from the hospital on Good Friday. I assured her, though, that we intended to be there. Heck, I even planned to go to church that morning—it was Easter Sunday, after all. I didn't want to miss it!
So on Saturday morning we left our big kids with Gram (my mother-in-law) and drove 30 minutes to the office that had Saturday hours. We enjoyed our time together, just the three of us. We got the blood drawn, then went to Babies R Us… and even made a quick stop to Chipotle so that we could eat lunch while the kiddos were napping. We headed home to see our big kids and to start getting Easter baskets ready. (Hey, I didn't want my kids to miss out on Easter, either!)
Shortly after we got home, though, we got a call from the doctor we'd seen that morning. Roo's bilirubin had shot back up again, and she instructed us to take him straight to Children's Hospital and get him back under the lights. She had already called and told them we were coming, and they'd have a room ready for us. So much for enjoying my Chipotle burrito.