Saturday, March 10, 2007

I'm looking out for the two of us

So, now ... the rest of the story.

My recovery was a breeze. All of my recoveries have been good - even after my first (emergency section with epi) - but especially the others. I get Astromorph, (lurve, lurve, LURVE this stuff! Considered naming one of the kids Astro Morph Thrifty-Evil Genius. Seriously.) so I fairly leap out of bed on day two and have a nice hot shower. I tidy my room and generally feel as if I'm 16.

The problem, of course, is that (like being 16) it wears off.

So day three (Wednesday for me) is the day I need to start my oral meds. They always have a go at Tylenol w/ codine, which does bugger-all, and we quickly switch to Motrin 800 and Percocet. Lovely.

The first night (Monday night) I always let the nursery keep my babe (gasps from all the romantic FTM and AP ladies*) after holding, loving on, and nursing from momma. Sorry, but they need to do their tests, baby and I both need our rest, and I know all my sweet bubs are in good and attentive hands.

So Tuesday I get up, ring for my boy, ring for my breakfast ("clear liquid" yuk), take a shower, read some more Stephen King **. Feeling good, not yet bored.

Wednesday I get regular food (the food at my hospital is pretty damned good, BTW, especially breakfast. There's some hefty, middle-aged, Southern woman running that kitchen, I just know it. The cheese grits have loads of cheese, the biscuits melt in your mouth, the sausage is satisfyingly greasy. Mmmm!)

I'm not so quick out of bed now, being on the oral meds that wear off. I keep having to ask for them. I was sure they'd always had me on a schedule. I do my typical thing and wait until I'm in eye-watering pain (which for me is pretty bloody bad) before I think to ask, then the perky nurse says: "You can have some now! Are you ready?"

*mute nod*

I did notice two things about Fiver. Oh, and some stuff about one of the nursery nurses.

I noticed that Fiver has what appears to be liquid meconium poo. Now, the meconium (the greenish-black first poo) should be about out of his system. He should also not be having liquid poo. V. loose, cottage-cheesy / yellow is the norm for boobie babies.

I also noticed that he seems to sleep a LOT and that his colour is odd compared to my skin-tone. He seems more florid than I, sort of dark orange-y. I chalk this last up to the horrid fluorescent hospital lights and the fact that Evil Genius Husband has that ruddy skin.

I'm slightly peeved at one of the nursery nurses because I specifically asked to be called when Fiver was hungry (because I breastfeed). I do NOT have a problem with them giving my bubs a sip of formula if they're fussing and I'm asleep at 2am or in the shower. All of mine have done this in the hospital and gone right back on my breast next feeding without turning a hair.

But I rang the nursery Tuesday morning at 5am, was told that they were doing some tests plus the pediatricians would be by soon. I said, no prob, bring him to me as soon as he's done. The girl specifically asked me about the formula and I said: "Feel free to give him a swallow or two to tide him over."

Well, a different nurse brings him to me at 7:00 and when I ask to hold him so I can feed him she says: "He ate at six."

"He ate ...?"
"At six. I gave him a bottle."
"Oh. Oops! I'm breastfeeding!"
"Oh! You're going to try that?" (she actually looks at my boobs)

I literally didn't know what to say. My hospital has always been very pro-breastfeeding, has lovely lactation consultants, and generally supports you quietly whichever way you choose to go. This is no newbie, she's about my age, generally well spoken, intelligent-seeming nurse type person.

Now, I understand that each nurse is allowed to have her own views of breastfeeding (or circing, or whatever) and that most women don't really give breastfeeding a good shot (most who even attempt it just 'try'. And we all know what Yoda says: "No. Do, or do not. There is no try.")

And all of that is cool. To each her own. But your job is to take care of my baby. My breastfed baby.

Well, in my book it's irritating but no harm done, so I cheerfully go on. Fast forward to later in the day when I change a nappy and remember to ask about the poo. The same nurse looks at the nappy, shrugs, and says: "I think we just consider it a breastfeeding thing"

Yeah? Well, I don't. I've breastfed five babies under almost identical circumstances and none has had this.

I just keep quiet and bide my time.

Thus, lo and behold, Wednesday dawns and one of the pediatricians from my practice comes in bright and early to announce that Fiver's bilirubin count is up. Ah-hah. He's jaundiced. That explains the colour and the poo. The bilirubins that normally are shed as waste (and make baby poo that lovely yellow colour - ick) aren't being processed by Fiver's liver.

So out comes the Bili-bed, this thing that looks for all the world like a flat-bed scanner. There's a cover for it that you fit baby into and he lies on said bed - which has a light in it - and the bilirubens are whipped into submission via photo oxidation. Cool huh?

Problem was that Thursday morning, when I was jonesing to leave, Fiver's bili levels had risen. After much deliberation, it was decided to send us home with a Bili-bed. Here's Fiver at home:

(Notice the orange complexion. Also notice the paci which I never use. Nurse You-Know-Who gave it to him in the nursery "because he was fussing and SO hungry" and now he loves it. Le sigh.)

We had to drive back into town every morning (an hour's drive) to get his levels checked. Friday they were up some more and he'd lost weight.

Saturday - during emergency hours and when we could NOT see our own pediatrician - they were higher still and his weight was dropping significantly.

I was strung out by this time - pretty much driving and crying. We were getting up at the arse-crack O' dawn so we could dash out the door, leaving EGH to get the other sibs up and fed. My milk had just come in and I was nursing on demand but Fiver was lethargic and sleeping most of the time.

The doctor on call Saturday didn't help one bloody bit. He kept asking me if I was using the Bili-bed correctly (or at all). Well, yeah, it's a no-brainer. I keep him on it 24/7 unless he's nursing or getting his nappy changed. I keep telling you that. Do you think I'm either and idiot or doing something intentionally to hinder his getting well?

He demanded suggested strongly that I, 1) wake Fiver to nurse every 2 hours, and 2) supplement with formula. What he really wanted was for me to switch him over to formula entirely because Fiver obviously "needs a little more, here". He also said that formula had "more proteins for the bilirubin to bind with". WTF?

I agreed to the nursing schedule: I hate nursing schedules but needs must when the devil drives, eh? I also didn't bother to belabour the notion that my milk had just come in the day before and -at that point, about 12 hours later - Fiver had enough milk available for himself and several friends. A bottle of formula would be an embarrassment of riches.

So I headed home, grim but determined, and woke Fiver every two hours to nurse. We slogged back Sunday morning, pretty much dangerously sleep deprived. Fiver's little heels were both a mess from repeated sticks for the bloodwork and I was fully expecting the doc to tell me that he wanted him re-admitted to the hospital.

But we weighed him and his weight was up. Huzzah!

They took his blood sample and, while we got ready for the several-minute-long wait for the results, I had this odd convo with the pediatrician's nurse:

Me: "I'm going to feed him while we wait."
Her: "OK"
Me: (realizing that she didn't understand) "Will the doctor be OK with that? My breastfeeding?"
Her: (with a startled look) "Uh ... depends on who it is. Dr Formula might not mind, but Dr Unknown definitely wouldn't want to see something like that."

See something like that? The man's a pediatrician for Eff's sake! I'm not proposing dropping my ample drawers and flashing my cootch at him. I'm just wanting to feed my kid. You know, the kid who benefits from being fed often to clear out the excess bilirubins? That kid?

I can only hope that nurse twinkie was just totally off base and that, in reality, all of the doctors in the practice are totally cool with whatever healthy choice a mother makes for her child - even if it means doing it briefly in the actual office. I know that my baby's own doc, Dr Clemson, has walked in on me breastfeeding in the exam rooms and doesn't even blink.

So I digest this bit of weirdness while awaiting the blood results. A few minutes later, Dr Formula comes in. Now, on Saturday, he quickly took on the slightly manic attitude of someone who feels as if he's dealing with a psycho. He could tell then that I was stressed, sleep-deprived, and generally grumpy. This morning he didn't get too close and eyed me warily while opening the chart.

Dr F: (exclaims over Fiver's new weight) "What did you do?!"
Me: "What?"
Dr F: "His weight is up ... what happened?"
Me: "Erm, I fed him every 2 hours like you said."
Dr F: (incredulous) "Breastmilk?"
Me: "Yeah. I ... eh ... didn't get a chance to pick up any formula yesterday."

Turns out his bilirubins were down half a point as well. Go Blue's boobs!

So I have strict instructions to discontinue the Bili-bed and bring Fiver in Tuesday. Honestly, I feel like this whole thing was over-dramatized. Jaundice in the newborn is common, especially in big babies. It's also seen in breastfed babies. I'm not a doctor, but I feel like the whole thing just took it's natural course: big baby, jaundice appeared on day 2-3, mom's milk didn't come in until day 5, bilirubins peaked on day 6, etc, etc.

I also feel like I would have been MUCH less worried if Dr Clemson had been there every day. If I could have seen him in the hospital and over the week-end my anxiety levels would have been much lower.


Here's a pic of Fiver on Sunday. Yes, that vast orb of flesh in the lower part of the pic is my actual boob. A breast! On the internets! Providing sustenance for an infant! Shriek in horror! MySpace folks, quick, cover your eyes!

And here's a gratuitous cute pic to cleanse your brain of that horrible, horrible pornographic pic above:

He looks slightly more pink and less orange, don't you think?


And just for giggles, here's a silly pic that he provided last night. Just in case you were worried there was a switch at the hospital:

Yep. He is One Of Us.


PS: Sorry ... the last post title and this one are from Foreigner's Long Long Way From Home. Meant to put that on here last time.

*First Time Moms and Attachment Parenting ladies (no offense, I'm just pickin')

** Lisey's Story, BTW. Pretty good, I thought. Not exactly scary, but creepy and interesting in a bored-in-the-hospital-and-need-something-to-read kinda way.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 7:12 am   8 comments


At 12:13 pm, Blogger Miss Hope said...

God Bless, that's one gorgeous baby you got there, Blue. Score one of the Blue Team on getting Fiver better. Ack, I hate know it all nurses.

There is nothing sweeter than a juicy baby. Nothing.

At 12:23 pm, Anonymous moonduster said...

I'm glad the breastfeeding is doing the trick for him. My second-born was jaundiced too, but they didn't consider it bad enough to put her under the lights. I guess it all depends on the hospital/doctor at the time.

He is so adorable! I love those pudgy little baby rolls, and due to him being born so big, it looks like he's going to have those early! :)

By the way, something I thought of because of something you said in his birth story, my first born was 16 days late and my biggest too. :)


At 1:17 pm, Blogger Zach & Brie's Mom said...

He looks great (read: pink, and not like he got into a bottle of cheap 80's self-tanner), and glad you are doing better!

Also, love the cameo by the snake!


At 2:40 pm, Blogger Michele said...

I am floored that the nurse even had to think about whether it was OK for you to be nursing when the DR came in. WTFIT???

Glad he is doing so well. He is so very. very sweet. That little velvet head.

At 7:42 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go Blue's Boobs! That Pediatrician really needs a good ole fashioned smackdown. My Fiver was a tad preemie (36 1/2 weeks) dropped from 7 lb 3 oz to 6 lb 8 oz. (At Monday's discharge after Sat night birth) and my awesome WOMAN pediatrician suggested adding a bit of Pedialyte to the breastfeeding (So I could get a little break from the every 2 hours routine and that Dad could help.) I guess Pedialyte really helps to bind to those bilis. He was up by Friday (Day 6) to 7 lbs. 2 oz. By 2 months he was up to 14 lbs 13 oz (Exclusively BF'd) and my Ped called my milk "Powerful Stuff!" Of course my guys are half your plump ones size at birth (WOW!) but they grow fast. My 14 year old is 6'5" and still. growing!

Glad to see you're doing well! Here's a new shirt saying for you, "Breastmilk - It's what's for dinner!" LOL

Enjoy the chaos and try and get some rest!


At 11:20 am, Blogger macboudica said...

Congrats on the beautiful baby and let me just say Yay for Boobs!

At 4:15 pm, Anonymous queenmommy911 said...

Congrats on another gorgeous babe, Blue!

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has 2 month sized newborns. ;-)

Good to hear the jaundice threat is done, too. I think it's a fifth baby thing. All 6 of mine have been accused of having it, but #5 is the only one who truly did - all the others just "suffer" from their daddy's complexion. Ah, to be stricken with that...< sigh >

Enjoy the chubster!

At 9:07 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fellow march mommy, frequent lurker, occasional poster...we've just been through this exact situation for the second time. luckily, i noticed the symptoms creeping in on baby #2 and pointed them out to the staff, even though they'd just done a test the day before that was normal.

with our oldest, we just had the 2 hour schedule and were asked to supplement with either breast milk or formula after each feeding to make sure she was getting all she could.

this time, we had a doctor formula who gave us the same song and dance about proteins binding with bili, etc. i told them i would nurse her and they could supplement with formula after i finished. she never took much formula at all, the bili dropped, and we're home.

i wish i'd had the option of going home with that cool bed, though. i stayed in the hospital with her as her wet nurse, and i was beyond ready to go home.

congrats on your big baby and i'm glad that you're all home and healthy. i'm also very jealous that your big baby's head is still eclipsed by breast. my photo would look exactly the opposite.


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