March 15th & 16th
Zoe was under the lights off and on (feeding, soothing, diaper changes) for about 36 hours. She really hated the light bed. Really. Hated. The. Light. Bed. The poor thing got next to no rest (and subsequently neither did we). She was frustrated and incredibly fussy having to be in that thing with the goofy eye cover. She very quickly figured out how to constantly pull that thing off. She needed to be soothed nearly constantly to not be crying, and rarely got more than a short bit of sleep before she woke up and became frustrated again.
Despite all that, she originally took to the breast very well, fed very well the first time. But as the next day and a half wore on, her frustration and lack of rest made her take less effectively and feed less effectively. My nipples were getting pretty torn up from her, and it was extremely painful after the first couple feedings. By the time she was one day old, her weight had dropped 11%. The general threshold that the doctors will tolerate is 10%. So, since she was above that, they discussed supplementing the breastfeeding in order to be sure she was able to get her weight back up. Thankfully, the SNS was a system that could be used while breastfeeding so as to not interrupt the actual breastfeeding and cause confusion. Since I was using a shield due to the damage my nipples took early on, the SNS tube was simply just placed in the shield as I put it on so that a slow drip of formula was being introduced as I was breastfeeding. This also allowed my breast milk to continue to come in uninterrupted.
This was all during her 36 hours spent in the bili light box. Needless to say, the entire thing was extremely frustrating for her, for me, and for James. The rest of this particular day was spent basically attempting to soothe her so that she could handle the light box. Not very successful. I was also given compression socks at some point this day because of the intense swelling my body was going through because of the massive amount of IV fluids I’d been given since being admitted. Once I was actually coherent enough to really take a look at my legs without distraction, I realized I had gained a pair of tree trunks. I had never experienced this kind of swelling in my life, and it was certainly disconcerting considering that I hadn’t experienced any swelling at all during my pregnancy.
So here’s where things get even more frustrating. We were told that on day three (March 15th) another biliruben test was supposed to be done at 9pm. The shift change happened at 8pm, and despite being recommended and scheduled from the midday shift, the night shift doctor decided not to do it. They wanted to wait until morning to do another test. *Grumble grumble.*
Somewhere in the wee hours, about 2-3am, we still couldn’t soothe her, and feeding her wasn’t soothing her either…I broke down into tears. We decided to get the nurse and talk to her about the inability to soothe her, to get her to rest, to get her to latch well enough or long enough to feed well, and well….both of us were extremely over-exhausted and needed a little rest ourselves to better deal with things. We also asked her if she could get the test to be done at this point, since it was supposed to be done earlier. Again, the doctor turned us down. But she managed to get the collection of blood scheduled for as early as possible at 5am. So we just had to hang on for a few more hours to get the test done.
She also offered to have herself and the rest of the nursing staff soothe and look after Zoe until then so that James and I could get some sleep. Which was incredibly nice of her. We got some sleep, but I had a very hard time of it anyway. I did get some sleep, as far as I can recall, but did wake easily with her fussing and having to talk to a nurse or doctor from time to time. There really is no rest at all to be had when in the hospital. The came and collected and did all the other tests and measurements they wanted to do at 5am. We kept her out of the box from that point on, trying to feed her and eventually found out that the test came back looking very good. They took her off the order for the light bed. I’m a bit miffed that the doctor on at that point seemed surprised that she was on it for around 36 hours.
At this point, we were told we would be able to go home that day. So, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we had smiles on our faces as we got cleaned up as best we could, packed up the room and got all ready to go and handled all the paperwork, reading and video watching they wanted us to do. It took a while, but we were finally discharged around 1pm. Boy were we happy about that.
Needless to say, the shoes I showed up in didn’t fit. So off I was wheeled to the car by a very nice corpsman.