If you read Annie’s birth story, you know that she was kept in the hospital longer than we expected. We were planning on being released Wednesday morning. We were planning on being released together but that did not happen. For the first time as a parent, I experienced how heartbreaking it is to be released from the hospital without your baby.
I was released Wednesday morning, as expected. Although I stayed with Annie I was still pretty upset that she wasn’t released with me. We weren’t going home. She wasn’t going to meet her siblings yet. During her newborn screening Annie’s jaundice levels were three times what they were supposed to be. After learning this, we also learned that she was coombs positive which led to the hyperbilirubinemia. All of my kids have been jaundice a bit, but not this bad. We found out Tuesday night that this issue existed and they wasted no time in getting her into phototherapy. We were moved to another room to accommodate her needs and she was put into an incubator under lights. I was only allowed to take her out to nurse her. This was my view for the next three days:
I am thankful that something more serious wasn’t wrong with her, but to us this was a big worry. If the levels don’t go down they can cause brain damage or hearing loss. Any parent worries about even the smallest things and for our newborn to have to stay in the hospital we were beyond worried and stressed. Monday and Tuesday my in-laws kept LA and Addy. My husband had to go get them Tuesday evening before we got the news. Well, he didn’t HAVE to, but his parents are older and we feel bad leaving the toddlers with them too long because we know it takes a lot out of them to watch two busy toddlers.
When I found out about Annie’s issues my husband was at home with the toddlers. It was tough being separated during this time but it was something we had to do. I wanted him there more than anything though. My hopes were that she would be in phototherapy for the night and then we could go home in the morning.
Morning came and her blood was tested again. The levels went up. 🙁 Not only that, but I was informed that Annie lost 5% of her body weight in her first 24 hours. Her urine was concentrated (very dark brown), which worried them because no one wanted to her dehydrate on top of everything else. The pediatrician at the hospital wanted to give her formula, which I was very upset about because I had never given any of my babies formula (nothing against those who chose formula though). The more baby eats and poops the better it is for their bilirubin levels. The nurses brought me a hospital pump so I could try to get my milk in faster. I felt forced to give her formula, although I nursed her every chance I could and before giving her any formula. I instructed all nurses that she was NOT to have a bottle/nipple. It’s amazing that newborns can actually “drink” from a cup. Really! She did. It was a tiny medicine cup and we put a small amount of formula in and she drank from the cup. Luckily I only had to give her a very small amount of formula a handful of times before my milk was in.
I sat with Annie all day Wednesday waiting for 5pm to come as that was when she would be tested again. Once the results came back we finally had some good news! Her bilirubin was down to 12.6! It was still high but it was coming down in my mind! They still wanted to keep her overnight under the lights and she would be tested again at 6am Thursday. At this time I was happy but also getting pretty down because I was missing our other children so much. I was missing my husband so much. I wanted us to all be together and I spent some time crying about the whole situation. I had to remind myself that this was all for the best for Annie and it was only temporary because she would be going home soon.
Thursday morning it went down a bit more but still not enough to go home. I ended up paging our pediatrician because of everything going on and I needed reassurance that the right things were being done from the doctor we trusted with our kids. She told me that she would be doing the same things that were being done. My mom came into town Thursday, which was a wonderful thing! She was able to stay with the toddlers while my husband came to the hospital to be with Annie and I. Thursday night her levels rose again. I was so discouraged because I was really hoping to take her home. We got the news that she wouldn’t be released Thursday night so my husband talked me into leaving the hospital for a few hours to go home and see the kids. It was so hard to leave the hospital without Annie. I never in my entire pregnancy imagined that I would have to do that with her. I pumped and left enough milk for her to drink from a cup while I was gone. It was great seeing the kids but hearing them ask where the baby was when we walked in was heartbreaking. We had to tell them again that she was still sick and in the hospital.
We went back to the hospital and stayed with Annie for the night. Friday morning she was tested again and the levels went down. Again, it was only a bit and she was still in the high risk zone. We spent the day in the hospital with her Friday and talked to our pediatrician again, who called and talked to the hospital pediatrician. Friday evening the levels went down a bit more and we were finally able to take Annie home. It was the best news I had in many days! Her levels were still high but they were coming down so we were allowed to take her home!! The next day we did have to return to the hospital for another test. The level went down again.
Since we brought her home, we’ve been to the doctors office many, many times for her to be tested and watched. Last week her levels were down to 10 and she was tested again yesterday. The doctor believes she’s in the safe now but is continuing to check weekly for Annie’s safety.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for sure. Annie’s been quite the trooper through it all. This poor baby has had her foot poked so many times. My husband and I couldn’t be more thankful for her health and her improving levels. She loves to be held and doesn’t seem to sleep nearly as long if she’s in her bassinet. I’m happy to cuddle her. Knowing this is our last baby, I want to treasure and hold on to these moments forever! <3