Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ryan's [second, and hopefully last] Hospital Stay...

On Tuesday, February 21st, we had a check up at the clinic to check on how Ryan was doing and to make sure he was recovering from the jaundice. Over the weekend, we had noticed that he wasn't eating as well and that he was looking a bit more yellow again. Jake was unable to come with me this time, so it was just me and Ryan. We saw Dr. Engstrom again for this visit. She was surprised to see how yellow that he looked and sent an order for the lab to come draw some blood for a billi check. I waited for what seemed to be forever and a day... finally she came back and told me that his number was even higher than it was the previous time that he had been re-admitted to the hospital. This time, she said, she wanted him to go to Children's Hospital. She really didn't give me any other option which made me think that this was more serious than the previous time. She was also really concerned because he had not gained any weight in the last ten days [since he was discharged from the SCU] and was [obviously] still below his birth weight. She wondered if he had something "internal" going on and wanted him to see a GI doctor in addition to being under the lights. So she sent me over to Children's Hospital.

I, of course, got lost on the way there, and that added stress upon stress... having to go through this AGAIN, having a crying, hungry baby in the back seat, not knowing where I am... ugh, it was not fun and I broke down in the library parking lot where I called Jake for help.

When I got to Children's, I went to the ER as I was told to do. After checking in and waiting for 20 minutes, the triage nurse checked him out and asked me a bunch of questions. She took us back to a small room and told me to undress Ryan. She got a billi blanket and we laid him on it on his back and wrapped him in a blanket. I was then able to nurse him and hold him.

By then it was about 4pm. Jake was finally able to come, after getting off of work and going home to get some things. The next 4 hours were absolute torture. Every nurse or doctor that came into our room was a different person. I understand how an ER works, and that it is a "team" system, consisting of several doctors, residents, medical students, etc... but all I wanted, all I NEEDED, was some stability and it felt like I wasn't able to fully understand what was going on because everyone was saying something different when they came into the room. The doctor ordered a full set of labs to be drawn... that equals out to be a "lot" of blood. They also decided to try and start an IV to keep him from getting dehydrated. 8 words: WORST day of my life as a mother. They tried for about 3 hours to get an IV into him... I don't know how many times he was poked, or how many different nurses tried. It was so hard. I could not leave, but it broke my heart to stay and hear the sobs coming from his little body. I had never heard him scream so much.

They finally gave up and sent us upstairs to the NICU. They also tried to start an IV on him, but were unable to. They said, "If we can't do it, nobody can, because this is what 'we do.'" They told us that we could just supplement him with formula instead of giving him an IV to make sure he wasn't getting dehydrated... I was thinking, "Gee, thanks for not telling me this 4 hours ago... I think we would have chosen the formula rather than him getting poked a million times." I was already dreading the treatment we were getting there... the first nurse we had in the NICU was rather short with us. As time went on, though, either my attitude towards the hospital changed, or we got nicer nurses... I think it was both. We were able to "room in" with him in the NICU... he was in an isolette in our room, and we were able to sleep there on a small, pull out couch.

They let me nurse him every three hours for half an hour... but they "watched the clock" a little less than the nurses as his previous hospital stay. After discussing what was going on with the doctors, the lactation consultant and the nurses... they came to the conclusion that he was jaundiced again because he was being a "lazy eater." He nursed well... but he was satisfied with such a little amount of breast milk that my milk never really fully "came in." He was giving us all the "right" signals, though, that he was getting enough... pooping, peeing, being content after feedings, waking to eat when he was supposed to, etc. I also felt physically like he was getting enough to eat, because I was full before and felt empty after he nursed. I felt absolutely awful when they told me this... I felt like I had failed as a mother because I couldn't even read my baby.

Tuesday went, and Wednesday came. The hours dragged on. Like last time, I anxiously awaited the time I was able to have with Ryan... but I was very thankful we were able to room in with him, because I was able to do more of his cares than I had been able to do at the previous hospital. They let me take his temperature and do some of his vitals, change his diaper, etc... all things they would have done themselves had we not been able to stay in the room with him.

Two of my friends, Sage and Tina, came [at different times] to visit on Wednesday. I really appreciated them coming... it was so nice to have a friend to talk to. Tina was really able to help take my mind off of things and I don't remember having laughed so much in a long time. Sage brought me a Vanilla Iced Nirvana [my favorite coffee drink at Dunn Bro's]... she was my hero that day. :]

Jake was, again, such a huge support... I think the hospital stay made him "enjoy himself" more as a dad, if that makes any sense... at home, the night time feedings were "all me" because I was exclusively breastfeeding. I felt like I could handle it, so I just let him sleep. But in the hospital, and now here at home, I have to nurse Ryan, bottle feed him some formula or previously pumped breast milk, put him to sleep, and then pump... every three hours... so Jake has been helping me, taking over the bottle feeding aspect, and that frees me up a little bit more. Being more involved has really helped him bond... I've obviously wanted him to bond more with Ryan, but there's only so much a dad can do when the mother is breastfeeding. Anyways...

Thursday came; his number was still too high for them to be comfortable sending him home, but they were thinking probably the next day. My mom brought us Chipotle for lunch, and we had a surprise visitor from church; the children's pastor came and talked with us for a while, and prayed for us before he left.

Thursday night, the doctor decided that we could take him out from under the lights for a "test run" to see how he did. Then they would check his billirubin in the morning to see if it had rebounded. It was SO AWESOME to be able to hold him whenever we wanted, and nurse whenever he wanted to... he wasn't on their 3 hour "schedule" anymore.

On Friday, his billirubin was down significantly... below ten, what the doctor wanted it to be at before they sent us home. He also weighed 8lbs 3oz, one ounce more than birth weight... and 3 ounces more than when he was admitted to Children's. After filling out all the paperwork, we finally were able to go. It was so exciting, but yet surreal again... here we were, taking our baby home from the hospital for the third time... can it be the last time, please? I was happy to be going home, happy to have 'normalcy' again... but I was scared... and I still am a little scared... because Ryan had seemed fine before, but really wasn't... I'm just afraid of that happening again.

Our first night back at home was fine... except for the fact that my pump wasn't working the way it should be. I had been using the hospital grade one in the hospital, and this one didn't seem to be working as effectively. After talking to the Breastfeeding Resource Center at the hospital, Jake finally figured it out... the 'face plate' on the front of the pump hadn't been snapped on tightly [because you-know-who *cough* Jake *cough* was playing around with it the day before...]. It seems to work fine now, and although I'm still not able to get a lot of milk, it's some. It's better than nothing.

My goal is to pump enough so that my supply increases and that I can exclusively breast feed again. I don't think formula is "evil," but I have always wanted to breastfeed my children because it's the best thing for them... the benefits are endless. Plus, the bonding time is absolutely precious. Now that he is back up to his birth weight, hopefully we can increase the amount of breast milk he is given as a supplement, and decrease the amount of formula.

[food coma! It's pretty dark, but his content, sleeping face after nursing is so precious... I, on the other hand, look like a mess... but hey, it was 2am!]

[toasty and warm underneath the therapy lights... he likes to sleep all sprawled out.]


Jill said...

Glad you got to take your precious baby home, Laura! Praying that he STAYS home with you.

Side note: one of my friends said that eating lots of oatmeal helped increase her milk supply. I'm sure you've gotten zillions of advice, so feel free to disregard :)

Kate said...

I'm sorry you had to experience the hospital trials. I'm far too familiar with them and know how hard it is. At least you got to stay at the hospital and spend that time with him.
I'm sorry you are having problems with breast feeding too. Don't feel like a bad mom or a failure or anything like that. I did, and it doesn't help your supply. Stress and emotional stress can hinder your supply further. And pumping isn't so bad. I've been doing it for 6 months now and it's how we do it. I don't get much sleep between feeding and pumping during the night, but it's worth it for Keely. I'll pray you don't have to do it forever, but trust God and don't give up. It will get better, even if you have to pump. I promise.

My Infertile Confessions said...

Poor lil guy! Praying he gets better soon!