Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I wasn't going to cry this time...

At Connor's first visit with his pediatrician, I left the office in tears. In fact, a little girl in the waiting room asked me why I was crying when my baby was not. I told her "because the baby is fine, and I am not". Basically, I was having a whole load of nursing troubles and my hormones were clearly out of whack. This time, though, it was going to be different.

I showered and put on lip gloss. I put on my post-maternity jeans (not the regular size, mind you, but only one size up) rather than wearing sweats. I put on my favorite nursing shirt and I thought I really looked like I had it all together. But I still walked out in tears.

You see, my pediatrician only works on Thursdays and Fridays - which is fine for routine care. But I have to see her partner if I need to bring one of my children in any other day. So on Monday, we went to see her partner. He was concerned about Helen's bilirubin levels (she's certainly on the yellow side) and sent us to the lab. But when he sent us there, he told us to be prepared for a hospital stay. He thought Helen was too yellow, she had lost too much weight since birth, and the only treatment option he offered us was hospitalizing Helen. There are no words that could possibly express how devastating putting my 3 day old daughter into the hospital would be.

Thankfully, my husband got his MD on google Monday afternoon while Connor napped and I was at that lab. Ed learned that there are blankets that can be used to treat jaundiced babies at home. When the news came in that Helen was a 17.9, the pediatrician told me we needed to hospitalize Helen. Ed had learned that while 17.9 is certainly high, it's not so dangerous that it can't be treated at home, so I told the pediatrician I wanted to talk to someone else before I agreed to hospitalize Helen. I called Ed with the news, and luckily Connor had just awakened from his nap so Ed and Connor came to pick me and Helen up. I called my midwife and she said she'd start looking for a blanket. There was apparently a run on "bili blankets" and the first one she could find would be available on Friday - which was too late for us. But...another midwife in the practice knew of another pediatrician who she thought had a blanket - but we'd have to be a client to get it. So, I called there to see if I could get a second opinion. I begged to see the doctor that afternoon, but it just wasn't possible. The best they could do would be Tuesday, late morning. But, I did get to talk to a nurse there and she knew a few more places to try and get a blanket from and she gave me their phone numbers. I passed these along to my midwife and a blanket was located. I called back to order it and learned that we'd need the pediatrician's order to get it. Crap.

The pediatrician was not in favor of any type of treatment other than the hospital, so Ed and I played hardball. And after a serious show-down, he ultimately agreed to give the order, in exchange for us promising to get Helen's bili levels tested this morning and coming back in to get her weighed again. This bought us the time we needed to get into the other office.

This morning, the numbers were worse - 19.5 - but that was to be expected because she should peak this morning. The numbers were actually better than the ped thought they would be, but he said we needed to hospitalize her. So, we told him we were getting a second opinion and the ped actually helped us get in a few hours earlier and was super nice about going over the case history with the doctor. The happy ending is that this doctor took another blood sample, the number was down to 18.3, and he's happy to manage her care at home.

So, at the end of probably the most stressful 24 hours of my life, my baby girl is at home and I have a new pediatrician.

She's eating formula for 24 hours because there is a chemical in breast milk that slows down the process of the liver breaking down excess red blood cells, so we don't want Helen to have any of that. I would've agreed to feed her just about anything to keep her out of the hospital. Connor totally loved helping feed Helen.

If we'd been in the hospital, Connor never could've tortured his sister with a bath tonight!

Helen wears this little light thing on her back which is connected to a machine about the size of a slide projector (and sounds about the same with a fan going) whenever she is not being bathed, so we won't be out and about town for a while. We are so grateful to this new pediatrician. Tomorrow, we're hoping for some lower numbers.


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