After giving birth to Lilyian on Monday, my doctors discharged us Tuesday night. I’d been there for nearly a week and Lily was extremely healthy so they let us go. YAAAAAAAAAAAASS! We bundled baby girl up, I walked slower than a turtle to the car (my pelvis did all of its opening in one fell swoop, I hurt. Add in the lack of feeling in my arms from the pushing and yeah- go on ahead, Eric, I’ll catch up eventually).
We got home and my mom was practically bouncing with joy. My pets were overly excited that I was finally home and… what the hell is in your arms, mom???????? is what immediately followed. My dog tried to inhale her with all of the sniffing. My cat was curious but middle fingers up because MOM’S HOME. My husband’s cat was instantly pissed off and not happy whatsoever.
Wednesday and Thursday are pretty much a blur of trying to get her to feed, changing diapers, holding her, rocking her.. basically a blur of baby. Christmas had open presents, focus on Lily, make dinner, focus on Lily. The real trauma began on Friday. I had noticed over the last few days that she was a bit jaundice, especially in the eyes. I could tell her eyes were yellow but my mom and Eric really couldn’t see it at all. But I knew she was. We took her in Friday morning for her 2 day check up and the doctor sent us to get blood drawn for a bilirubin count as she looked jaundice. It came back at a 13.9 which isn’t a concerning number but I was to return with her on Monday for another blood drawn and so she could see my primary doctor (who was on leave until then). We went home and Lily was being a badass at latching! She ate at 2:30pm and I laid her down for a nap.
I came out at 4:30pm to feed her, no interest. She was zonked out. Fine, sleep some more. Tried again 30 minutes later, still asleep. Girl! Wake up! Tried again 30 minutes later.. still asleep… okay, well it’s been 3 hours now so we started actively trying to wake her up. She’d open her eyes, I’d get her to the breast.. and she’d be asleep again. My mom would bounce her and talk to her.. eyes for a moment.. then back out. This is an overly tired baby and I was starting to get concerned. My mom wasn’t concerned though and we kept at it. At some point she stopped even opening her eyes and slept through literally every wake up trick in the book. Cold cloth to the face, blowing in her face, bouncing her, rubbing her back, skin to skin.. nothing would wake this child up. So my mom ran to the store to buy bottles. While she was gone, I hand expressed some milk, grabbed the eye dropper, and went to feed her that way.. except she wouldn’t even take milk from the eye dropper. Red alert instantly went off in my mind and I threw on clothes to take my baby to the emergency room. It was now 9pm, she hadn’t eaten in nearly 7 hours and she was 4 days old. We have a problem. My mom had showed up before we left and said the worst possible thing she could have said. “Keep her alive.” My heart instantly broke and I lost my mind. My baby might die. My daughter might die and she’s barely been here. Eric drove us because I was barely able to breath anymore.
We arrived at the ER and let me set the scene for you. Not only is it the day after Christmas but it is also a Friday night. The ER was jam packed and there were even a few infant car seat carriers beside some worried looking mothers. I braced myself for a long wait and went to the front desk. The nurse asked me why we were there- 4 day old has stopped waking up and won’t eat. Her eyes widened and she immediately began getting things ready for us to go straight to the back. Eric took Lily back while I stayed to fill out paperwork. While the lady was processing everything, I turned around and looked at the room. Some of the people were glaring at me for being taken before them but mostly I got a lot of concerned faces as.. our newborn was being taking before anyone else and that’s serious. The nurse told me they usually only allow one parent in the back but this isn’t going to be one of those times so she opened the door and took me to my baby. The doctor came in, looked at her, nodded, then told me she would be admitted as soon as they had a room open up. Baby girl immediately drank the sucrose they offered her while doing vitals then we were moved to the admitted ER room.
Lilyian was attached to the monitors and one of the resident doctors came in to evaluate her. I told him everything that had happened and he told me that they’d be worried about an infection but she wasn’t running a fever so they’d get an IV in her to start running fluids while he spoke with the attending. Two nurses came in and asked what happened. I explained and they both told me that you have to wake a baby up to feed even if the baby doesn’t want to wake up. I tried explaining to them that she WILL NOT wake up and I got the “uh huh sure, new mom” look. I was frustrated but also worried that maybe I did mess up and did this to my girl. The nurses began the effort to place an IV but they could not for the life of them get a vein. Both hands and feet were pricked twice each but my poor daughter was so dehydrated at this point (it was nearly midnight now) that her veins were either not cooperating or blowing. The dehydration was also stopping them from getting any blood out of her for tests. Each hand and foot were covered in tape before they put in a request for a NICU nurse to come down to try. One of the nurses, Ruta, stayed behind and told me she’d help get Lily to latch since she’d breastfed 5 babies for two years each. We tried everything and Lily either wouldn’t wake up or fought the breast, kicking and pushing away from it. I was devastated and the nurse finally understood what I was talking about.
They decided to start a “million dollar work up” aka test for everything. My baby was going to get a lumbar puncture since she may have been too young to show a fever yet but first she needed the IV. The NICU nurse came down and, after checking all of her veins, decided to try one of the spots on the back of Lily’s hand that the original nurses had went for. After some jiggling around, she finally got the vein and taped Lily’s arm down so it wouldn’t come out. They then asked me if they could give her a bottle of formula because she NEEDED to eat. I readily agreed and Lily took the bottle immediately. My guilt of thinking I caused this skyrocketed. Ruta told me that if I wanted my mom to come, she would let her come on back with us so I texted my mom to come to the ER. About this time the doctor came back and had us sign the consent form for the lumbar puncture. I had to listen to him tell us that if Lily has an infection, there is a good possibility of her dying as he will be breaking the barrier keeping the infection from getting to her brain. I can’t even begin to explain how it feels to have someone look you in the eye and tell you there is a chance the procedure they have to perform on her might kill her. I couldn’t sit in the room. I simply couldn’t. Eric stayed with our baby girl while I sat in the family room during it, dreading when someone came around the corner because I wasn’t sure Lily was going to be alive. Finally, Ruta came and told me Lily did amazingly well then took me back to the room after scolding me for not taking care of myself as my feet had started to swell to painful levels. Eric was in the bed with her, holding our sleepy sweetheart and giving her a bottle of formula. Eric told me that she was awesome, only jumped at the lidocaine (I feel ya, bro) then was chill for the rest of it. The spinal fluid is supposed to be clear but her’s had a yellow tint to it. The attending doctor was 90% positive it was due to her jaundice though and no one seemed concerned. She was started on antibiotics and we were told our hospital’s NICU was full, we were being sent to another hospital about 30 minutes away.
When the ambulance finally arrived around 6am, I opted to ride with her and we strapped her down tight in her car seat before tying the car seat down to the stretcher. Eric followed in his car and my mom followed in mine (she was driving my car to get on the military base we are stationed at). My little badass was amazing in the ambulance.. her mother, not so much. A mom for four (now five since it was technically Saturday) days and I was already seeing my child in an ambulance. Not the best memory. We arrived at the children’s hospital around 6:30am, got situated then spoke with the doctors who said that her levels of bilirubin weren’t high enough to justify going under the lights so her stay was simply monitoring. However, they had to keep us there for at least 48 hours in order for the lumbar puncture results to come back so she was going to be kept on her antibiotics until the results came back. 8am, my mom headed back to the house and Eric and I settled down for some very uncomfortable sleep.. because neither one of us were leaving our baby in a hospital even if the other was there.
Fairly uneventful two days. She was mostly on formula with some breast milk, she refused to latch anymore (gotta love bottles) but I really didn’t care as long as she was eating. She did fantastic for the nurses and Eric only messed up 5 diaper changes total (aka 5 sheet changes). And look at this little ham!
Monday finally rolled around… her results were negative! My baby was cleared and my baby was COMING HOME!!! Happy birthday to me, I couldn’t have asked for anything else. We were given some formula to hold us over until we were able to buy more/pump enough milk to feed her and she was gradually weaned from the formula over the next two weeks. It is now 1/14/15 and she hasn’t had formula in over a week! I pumped for two weeks straight before we finally saw the LC and we are currently exclusively breastfeeding with a nipple shield (with insurance pumping to make sure I don’t have any issues) before we move onto weaning her from the shield. Actually, I just had a whole 6 minutes on the left side without the shield before she started fighting it so YAY! Life is much better all around!