|Our newest little nugget!|
According to the World Health Organization, "Rooming-In" is better for the babies, and supposedly better for the mothers - I strongly disagree with the second part of that statement. When I gave birth to Baby L, I lost over a liter of blood, my hemoglobin was below 5g/DL, and what I needed more than anything was uninterrupted rest. So the nurses at BrightPoint took my baby to the nursery for 2 hours until she needed to eat so I could sleep.
Fortunately, with Baby H, I still lost a liter of blood, but I had boosted my iron ahead of time, so my hemoglobin was around 7.5 g/DL. I was also in labor a lot less time, so even though the labor was harder, I was "less tired" - but I still could have used some uninterrupted sleep, which Baby H was not having at all. She fussed all night, to the point where I had to start "tuning her out" because she wasn't hungry, her diaper wasn't poopy, she was just making fussing sounds because she didn't like being out of the womb (sorry, kid). Between that and the nurses coming in and out to take our vital signs all night, I got maybe 3 or 4 hours of sleep in the wee hours of the morning. I'm pretty sure that this is how post-partum depression starts, by sleep-depriving a new mother immediately after giving birth to her child. I'll come back to this later, but I'll hop off rant for now.
After our rough night where neither of us got much sleep (G reports that the pull out sofa bed was extraordinarily uncomfortable), G went home to pick up Baby L and Miss J and bring them to the hospital to meet Baby H.
|Baby L is a little apprehensive of Baby H. We're sure she'll get over it, it's just going to take some time.|
she sent me a sneak peak so I could share with friends and family. I just love the way that Jo captures naturally happy moments in our family - even when she poses us, it doesn't feel horribly staged, we're just having good time being ourselves.
|Our beautiful Baby H, bright eyed and bushy tailed even though Mommy was exhausted|
|Making sure Baby L still gets some love from Mommy!|
|First family photo|
|I think Baby L was actually playing peek-a-boo with Jo and her camera!|
|Super Dad with his new baby girl|
After Jo left, we got the bad news that Baby H's blood type came back, and she had ABO incompatibility jaundice. Essentially, she inherited G's blood type which was incompatible with my blood type, and my immune system created antibodies that would break down Baby H's red blood cells faster than her liver could process. This is apparently very, very common, and the most typical treatment for newborn jaundice is light therapy, so Baby H was going to have to spend 24 hours in this special light box, with only breaks for feeding and diaper changes - I was crushed because it meant I would only have very limited cuddles with my little one.
|Baby H in her light box|
It was a struggle from the start - Baby H wanted to eat all. the. time. And getting her to settle back down on the table without crying was really difficult. By around 10pm, I finally had my first crying breakdown, and I called the nurses to help me with the babe - the nurse took the baby from me, telling me to calm down since my being upset would also make the baby upset. She advised that formula might help her sleep, and reassured me that all babies struggle with phototherapy. Intellectually, I knew this was the right answer - I had even just listened to a podcast and posted a NY Times Article on Facebook from economist Emily Oster that discussed this very thing, that there is no conclusive data that formula is bad for your baby or that "nipple confusion" is actually a real thing. Emotionally, it was hard to say yes - Baby L had 100% breastmilk until she was 6 months old, and I wanted to the same for Baby H - but I also really really wanted to sleep, so I signed the formula consent, and the nurse fed the baby and put her down. And I got 3 glorious hours of sleep.
At 2am, Baby H woke up and I changed her diaper...and after an hour of unsuccessfully trying to put her down, I called the nurses again. More formula, and they settled her, and I got 3 more hours of much sleep. It was amazing. The nurses were somewhat shocked at how much Baby H could eat -she finished all 60 mls of formula both times, and that was after draining the colostrum in both my breasts. She was a big baby! And at this point I realized, that "rooming-in" doesn't mean you have to go it alone as a new mom - it just means you need to ask for help. I still don't like the 100% rooming-in policy because I don't think most moms KNOW that you can ask for help - so I wish that new moms were told after being wheeled to the maternity ward postpartum to call for help. Not just that the call button is on the hospital bed, but please use it and actually call for help.
The next morning, we got Baby H's initial results at 10am. We could take her off the light table, but we had to wait until 4pm to confirm her bilirubin levels wouldn't rebound. So I finally got the cuddles I was hoping for, and we hung out and took some passport photos. This one was my favorite, but the passport photo people said we should probably use one of the more neutral-looking ones.
|Baby H, looking super duper Asian|
|Baby H ready for her first car ride!|
It was, indeed, amazing to sleep in my own bed again. But alas, as I'm sure you can from above, we ended up back in the hospital for another round of photo therapy, from 3pm until 11am the next day. Her skin had yellowed, and her bilirubin levels were just into the therapeutic range. She was only 3 days old, bilirubin levels peak around day 5-7, so while the doc was on the fence about re-admitting her, and I told him I wanted to do it just to be sure. Day 2 was even harder, because now Baby H knew when the eye protection went on, she would be on the light table. And unfortunately, my night nurse this time around was not has helpful as the previous nurses - she was unwilling to feed the baby for me, or really even hold the baby to help me settle her, she just sort of stood next to me watching me and advising me to try things that I had already shown her didn't work. I finally asked her to just leave. I was on my own - but at least this time around I had the tools (and the previous good night's sleep) to help me get through the night.
|Round 2 of phototherapy|
Even after the nurses took Baby L's blood for testing, I kept her on the light table as much as I could just to be sure. Her levels were back down, and we would be discharged in a few hours once things were sorted out with billing. We were scheduled to return in 1 week for a check-up - So Baby H will have that in common with Baby L, both of them spent their first 5 days of life in the hospital for some sort of treatment!
We got all packed up, and I came home to deliveries from my wonderful co-workers of flowers, more flowers, and chocolates! More on our first days at home in our next post!