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April 20th, 2010

The Week After, Part 1: Photo Therapy

The trying, exhausting week after Baby Mark was born …

Day 1. Saturday

Baby screenings and circumcision. All went well!

I amazed myself by being able to walk around at Day 1 after labor and delivery, but then, I was drugged with hospital grade painkillers.

Day 2. Sunday

More baby screenings! Everything seems to be doing well with Baby Mark, as he was brought in and out of the nursery and my postpartum room.

Still under the ‘magic’ of painkillers, since early that morning I have showered and got dressed anxiously awaiting to be discharged. But by hospital policy, the baby has to be observed for 48 hours.

Hubby picked up Matthew from friends, who happily babysat for Matthew, for him to meet his baby brother Mark for the first time. It’s amazing to see Matthew mesmerized and just excited. He always wanted to show off his baby brother.

Brothers MeetBrothers MeetBrothers Meet

Later that day, we were discharged from the hospital and so happy to be home.

I am so happy to home! Thanks to hubby, we came home to a clean and well-arranged house. My heart just swells for him.

Day 3. Monday

I haven’t picked up my prescription yet and somehow because of my several plight up and down the stairs, I woke up so sore! I felt so sore in my chest from breastfeeding, and my pelvic area was still contracting, that I felt I needed another round of epidural just to get up. I’ve learned to take it easy since then.

At that time, we were bragging to friends and family that we have a good baby. Baby Mark slept through the night on his first night at home and he slept 7-8 hours earlier that day. Little did we know that he was already showing signs of lethargy – being too weak to wake up even for feeding.

Day 4. Tuesday

We have tried to set up an appointment to a pediatrician for Baby Mark’s Day-4 Check-up. We tried getting an appointment at Matthew’s pediatrician but he doesn’t see newborns. Mainly due to lack of know-who-and-where, we were about to blow off going to the doctor but it was suggested to bring him to Maxwell Air Force Base Pediatric Clinic. It was a long drive but it has walk-in hours, no need to set up an appointment.

We got there late that day, at about 2 pm. I was too sore to get up early.

At the clinic, Baby Mark’s blood was drawn for testing and vital stats were taken. He lost a few more ounces. We were meeting up with the Pediatric Nurse when we all found out his Bilirubin levels jumped 11 levels up! The Pediatric Nurse acted so concerned. She called the doctor.

Jaundice is a condition that makes a newborn’s skin and the white part of the eyes look yellow. It happens because there is too much bilirubin in the baby’s blood (hyperbilirubinemia). Bilirubin is a substance that is made when the body breaks down old red blood cells.

Jaundice usually is not a problem. But in rare cases, too much bilirubin in the blood can cause brain damage (kernicterus). This can lead to hearing loss, mental retardation, and behavior problems. [Read more about Jaundice in Newborn in WebMD]

Baby Mark under Photo Therapy

Baby Mark under Photo Therapy

Later on, Baby Mark was admitted for Home Care for Photo therapy. He had Jaundice. I felt so bad. I didn’t even notice the yellow spots on his belly, which is one of the symptoms of jaundice aside from lethargy.

We thank Kristine, Spenser and Keshaun, for giving us the comfort of their home. They let us stay in their home during the duration of the therapy. We couldn’t go home for the baby’s therapy because the hospital who admitted the baby for home care can only go so far.

We were so unprepared for this that we didn’t even have toothbrushes for this stay-over.

Day 5. Wednesday

Hubby planned to come back to work that day but he can’t. Thank God, the people he works with and for understood, … well if they didn’t, oh well!

Baby Mark was strapped to the Photo Therapy machine. It’s constricting and must be very uncomfortable. I struggled to breastfeed him on a 2-3 hours interval.

His blood was drawn and we waited for the results. It’s the waiting that kills when there’s nothing else to do. His levels this time was at all time high, jumped 2 more levels up. He wasn’t going to be discharged just yet.

Also, he lost another few more ounces.

Day 6. Thursday

It’s Day 2 for the photo therapy. At this time, I was getting worried that he might not be getting enough milk from breastfeeding. We got a breast-pump, and since then, he was breastfed and bottle-fed with breast milk, just so I can see his actual milk intake.

Later that day, his blood was drawn again. Poor baby at his 6th day, he had 6 cuts on his heel to draw blood from. His Bilirubin level went down, but the nurse didn’t discharge him just yet. He was taken off the photo therapy machine but it was to be made sure that his level were going down on his own. So, he needs to be checked again the following day.

Day 7. Friday

Still worried and this time so anxious!

I brought him outside early that morning for some sunlight to his skin. We waited. Then the nurse came by to draw his blood for testing. And he was weighted. He gained back his lost ounces. And we waited again for the results.

At this time we are hoping that all the toxic Bilirubin are off his system on his own. Of course, I was still making sure he is well fed.

We got the numbers and his Bilirubin level was confirmed to be going down. He was discharged.

We headed back home in the afternoon.

Baby Mark is doing much better. Feeding well and may I say, pooping well! He’s looking much better, getting some color aside from yellow . He’s acting like a baby should – feeding, peeing, pooping, sleeping and waking up every 2 or so hours.

If I had written this earlier, there will be more emotions involved for it was a long trying, exhausting week! Also, while all this was going on with the baby, we have a toddler who is having a hard time adjusting to our divided attention …

Again, I’ve felt that being a parent is so difficult and so humbling! Feeling ordinary and helpless, asking for help and receiving favors. But we are so blessed to have family and friends who care.

To Lori and Ed, Rachel and Kimberly too, Thank you for taking care of Matthew; and for all the fun he had while he was with you.

To Kristine, Spenser and Keshaun, Thanks for opening your doors to us! For the 3 days we stayed in your home, I wonder what you will miss or not miss – the bothersome toddler or the crying baby?

To the people who hubby works with and for, Thank your for your concern! Most especially, thank you for your patience, understanding and consideration.

To my in-laws, Mom and Dad, Thank you! Your visit gave us an easier transition!

To Mama, How I wish you were here.

To Everyone who prayed for Baby Mark and our family, Thank you!

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8 Comments to 'The Week After, Part 1: Photo Therapy'

  • April 20, 2010

    it’s good to know that baby mark is now doing very well. it must have been an ordeal for you and hubby. glad that it’s over.
    take care. =)

  • April 20, 2010
    jessica

    i felt like crying when i read your blog…is everything really okay na with baby mark? i mean, no more complications?

  • April 21, 2010

    Oh my gosh, I am so glad little Mark is doing better! My nephew had jaundice after he was born, so I know how scary it can be!

    Please take care of yourself, and I will be praying for you all!!

  • April 21, 2010

    It is so good to learn that Baby Mark is improving. You all are so blessed. I can really relate to your experience. All four(4)of our girls had the same problem. Just viewing the photos, I can tell that medical treatment has certainly improved over the past 37 years. Your family continues in my prayers.
    T.Reed-LWMA

  • April 21, 2010
    Lori Tierney

    Oh such good news! First of all don’t worry about that light machine being contricting, newborn babies like being swaddled (wrapped snugly) so to him it’s probably comforting having something securely wrapped around him. So now that you are home you don’t need it anyhow right? just keep taking him outdoors for about 20 minutes at a time so he continues to get some natural sunlight… but not too long, our southern sun is so strong you dont’ want to get sunburn. If you need us to take Matthew again let us know. We are here! Maybe having to stay with friends helped in some ways if you think about it… you didn’t have to get used to caring for baby alone while Michael would otherwise be at work.. So it gave you extra time together to adjust. I KNOW it’s not the way you’d have planned! but I always try to see the silver lining in every situation… so in your case. maye that was it. Everyone needs help now & then. I know all too well how difficult it is accepting it but I also know how much you appreciate being able to do on your own after going thru such an experience. So take your baby steps & take your time healing, as for stairs! yikes! Maybe sleeping on the couch for a week or two is in order for you & baby!!!! That couch looks so comfy! Well don’t hesitate to call if you need us. Hugs & welcome back!!!
    Lori

  • April 23, 2010

    It must have been tough for you. But I am glad your baby boy is now ok. Pristine was tested for jaundice several times while in the hospital too and I always felt so bad with the prick marks on her little feet. :-(

    “Feeling ordinary and helpless, asking for help and receiving favors”

    So so true. Without the help, support and love of the people around us, how can we (new parents) ever make it. They are angels among us!

  • April 24, 2010

    Congrats on your new baby! I’m so glad he’s doing well!!!

  • April 29, 2010

    I am glad everything went well Ate Cha :) Congratulations!!!!

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