Precious weighed in at 7 lb 6 oz on Thursday night. We were released from the hospital on Friday. She was looking a bit jaundiced, but not horribly so. This isn't unusual for newborns--Baby Girl was too. The doctor wanted to see her early the next week, so we made an appointment for Monday but said to call sooner if she started to look more yellow, particularly in the whites of her eyes.
Precious seemed to do fairly well over the weekend. She didn't nurse great, though it was clear to me that my milk was in. Even in the hospital she made a 'clucking' sound when she tried to nurse. I could tell that her latch wasn't great; I nursed Baby Girl for 15 months--I knew a good latch. We tried with a nipple shield and without and it didn't seem to make much difference. But she wasn't getting enough--I knew--she wasn't peeing or pooping as much as she should. She was getting some--I could tell by how my breasts felt.
Monday morning we went to the doctor and she was down to 7 lbs. Babies all lose some of birth weight but this amount was on the low edge of normal. Doctor wasn't too concerned about that--but Precious was definitely jaundiced. We had to go to a lab for a blood test to find out the level. (Aside--do you know how they draw blood from babies? They stick their heel and then bend their foot and squeeze numerous times to fill a vial. It's sometimes hard to watch as they scream the whole time--except this time Precious was a trooper and didn't cry at all after the first stick!) We drove our 40 minutes back home. She really was mellow--hardly cried at all--ever.
The lab results indicated a high level and so she needed to use a bilirubin blanket--a special therapy device. Which no one in our town has. Hubby thought he'd have to drive back, but the doctor found a way to get this device to us. A bilrubin blanket has a machine that kind of looks like a slide or LCD projector with a bright light bulb. The light shines into a hose that attaches to a flexible flat thing and projects blue light. This flat thing is to be wrapped around the baby's torso (unclothed). The light therapy helps break down the bilirubin in the blood so that it can be excreted. A baby's liver can't keep up with that level at that age. Also, the doctor said to supplement with formula (1 oz, 3 times daily). I really hated to use the Supplemental Nursing System that I used with Baby Girl because it's a pain, but we did. Sometimes we used bottles too--but that also took forever. Precious just wouldn't latch right--to me or a bottle. And we wrapped her in this blanket which made her glow blue in the night. Hubby started calling her the Blue Bandit.
In theory, when wearing the blanket, you can do everything with the baby except bathe them. In reality, with the hose attached that is nearly impossible. For the most part, we left her laying down except to feed her. That broke my heart, not to be able to hold her and snuggle her--or give her the food she needed to beat the jaundice. I would cry and cry when I did hold her and try to feed her. Once I looked at her laying there all alone wrapped up and her eyes were heavy and she just looked sad to me. Hubby tried to make me feel better, but he couldn't. I was so worried about her.
I just wanted to snuggle with her, to hold her close and protect her, to feed her, to take care of her and love her. But I knew keeping her wrapped in the blanket was best. We were supposed to leave it on and then have her blood tested again on Wednesday afternoon.
We were able to have her blood tested in our town. Those results were fine! She was no longer in the danger area for jaundice. But the doctor still wanted to see her the following Monday.