Thursday, October 18, 2012

What A Week!

He's here!  After a few "near misses" with possible emergency C-Sections due to my blood pressure on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of October, our little man was brought into this world  by a team of doctors at the hospital as scheduled!

Gabriel Charles was born at 8:54 the morning of the 12th, weighing a scale tipping 9 pounds 7 ounces and he is 22 inches long!  Our OB had guessed (based on ultrasounds) that he was going to be 8 pounds 12 ounces, so he surprised us all when he came out almost a full pound above that!

Friday and Saturday are pretty much a happy blur for took almost two full hours after he was born for the feeling to return to my legs from the spinal, and for us to be brought to our room from recovery.  We spent those days figuring out how to breast feed (the lactation consultants aren't around on the weekends apparently), cuddling our new "reason to be here", and just being "happy".  I also spent the entire time fairly "drugged up" on pain killers to keep the incision from making life completely unbearable.

So many wires on such a tiny body...
We were released from the hospital Sunday afternoon and headed home to start this whole "parenting thing" for real..ya know, out in the real world where you have to make your own food and stuff.  As soon as we got home, I fed Gabriel (since I'm the food source, it falls on me to do that anyway), put him down to sleep in his bassinet and went to test my blood sugar and have lunch.  Around 3 o'clock, I Decided it was high time he got up to eat again.  I had been told (and knew this already, but they treat every new parent like a complete moron...or maybe they figured I was just a moron, ha!) not to let him go more than  hours between meals, so it was time.  Not only did he refuse to eat, he refused to wake up and by 8 pm Sunday night, he still hadn't woken up or eaten anything since around 1pm (finish time, we started around noon...he likes long meal sessions)!  After a call to the after hours pediatrician, we were on our way to take Gabriel to the Emergency Room.  I don't wish this trip on the worst person on the planet...especially when your baby is barely 48 hours old (not that it ever gets any easier)!  By 2am Monday morning, Gabriel and I were being readmitted to the hospital (Well, Gabriel was admitted, I just refused to leave).  He had developed Jaundice and his bilirubin levels were high enough that he required the triple lights only available at the hospital (two sets of lights from a lamp thing above and another set that he had to lay on).  Because the lights irritate their eyes, they have to wear these "sunglasses" while under the lights.  The glasses themselves are soft and they actually Velcro onto your baby!  They basically glued two pieces of Velcro to Gabriel's temples.

Velcro for Sunglasses.
A bad dream...

He spent until about 8pm Monday night laying under the lights, not being able to be held or comforted (truly comforted, you can't really soothe a crying baby without picking them up and holding them).  If I ever have to endure this experience again, I will start by asking for the "parent glasses" and having it set up so I can just sit and hold my baby under the lights rather than watching them and feeling 100% useless in making them feel better.  I jumped every time an alarm went off (which was often) and was only able to get about 20 minutes or so of "sleep" the whole night, although even that was done in the sitting upright position on the "bed" that was really a couch that I could not lay down on because of my c-section and my inability to lay on my side (it's upright or mostly so on a pile of pillows for me...).  Instead of sleeping, I spent the night crying and "facebooking" when Gabriel was sleeping.

One hand was a failed attempt at an IV, the other is from after the IV failed and had to be removed.
During our stay (Monday seems like such a long day...I'm sure it should count as an entire week all on it's own), they also determined that Gabriel was dehydrated because my milk supply had yet to come in.  Since we are/were exclusively breastfeeding, they made me stop breastfeeding and switch to pumping and having someone else feed him.  They went as far as telling me to stay out of the room while he was being fed so that he would still associate me with the "good food" instead of the "easy food".  Monday's "bottles" could only be measured in milliliters...and small amounts at that!  For referrence, there are 30 mL's in 1 ounce.  He was only getting around 10mL every 2 hours as was only able to pump about 5 mL an hour (total from both sides).  No one in the hospital seemed worried, but did say I should top off his meals with formula or Pedialyte if he seemed to still be hungry.
Cuddling Daddy after being told we could take him out from the light while we waited for his last labs!
 So, Monday night we were again sent home with our baby.  I slept better than I had Sunday night (which isn't saying much since it was 2am before he was admitted and I spent 99% of the night standing by his crib getting a "bili light suntan" of my own), but had to get up every two hours to pump and then have Garrick feed it to him while I washed the pump parts.  Unfortunately, I think I had an equipment malfunction with my pump, while not nearly as good as the medical grade pump they had me using in the hospital, it worked "okay" the first time...but, with each pumping session after that, I was getting less and less out of me while at the same time getting more and more uncomfortable as fluids "back logged" in my breasts!  By 7am, I was down to only being able to use one side of my pump at a time (defeating the purpose of a double pump)!  Also, I was only able to get a grand total of 1 mL out!  That was never going to satisfy my child!  So, we ended up breaking down and opening one of the formula bottles they sent us home with to supplement his breakfast with.  Not knowing what he "should" be eating, we went ahead and just started with a full 2 ounce "baby MRE".  He only ate about 10mL and then refused to eat any more.  Of course, not knowing how much he "should" be eating at this time, we assumed he was full (he never acted hungry after eating between 8 and 11mL while we were in the hospital with him) and went about our morning.  Gabriel was awake and alert, he did the "baby stare" thing while I held him in one arm and washed the pump parts with the other (it's a true talent I tell you).  Then, I called his pediatricians office to make his first appointment with them and we were able to get right in an hour later!  So, we rushed to get showers and all of us out of the house and to the appointment (including my Mom, we were able to get three adults and one tiny baby showered, not the baby, dressed, and ready to go in under 20 minutes, leaving us time to stop by McDonald's drive through and even grab a little breakfast before the appointment). 

"Napping" while we wait for a blood draw at the pediatrician's office.
At his appointment, we noted that he was turning yellow again, so his pediatrician ordered another bili level check and in the meantime, got home health care involved and ordered an "at home" bili blanket, which is the simplified version of what he got in the hospital, minus all the stress and "sunglasses".  We also had an appointment with a lactation consultant on Tuesday to help me get back to breastfeeding our little man as soon as possible.  At the lactation appointment, he was diagnosed with tongue tie (which we have to have his pediatrician refer us to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist to be "fixed").  Until then though, we were given a nipple shield so that his short little tongue can reach what he needs to be able to eat properly.  We also rented a medical grade pump (a Medela Symphony 2.0)...way too expensive, but worth every penny for the volume I am now getting!

We heard back from his pediatrician a few hours later and his bili levels had risen again, so he did need the at-home lights.  As soon as we got home from the lactation appointment and a stop by my OB's office for a pain killer refill, we put the light belt on him and went about our evening, making dinner, giving him his bottles, staring at him, etc, etc, etc... 

Gabriel in his arm band and Daddy napping.
Three hours later though, he was completely unresponsive and I believe he stopped breathing for a few seconds.  We rushed back to the Emergency room where Garrick did everything perfectly to get us in the building (they lock the doors in from the garage and you have to be buzzed in by security...or...push past someone as they leave so you don't have to deal with all that), and seen immediately.  Unfortunately, that meant one of us voicing the fact that we had an unresponsive infant with us and we were rushed into the pediatric emergency room and a code was called on the way in, bringing the entire staff in the room.  He needed it and I don't feel that we did it just because we were/are paranoid first time parents.  While they began checking him out, he never moved, flinched, or responded to any stimuli the whole time.  He didn't even react when they began getting basic vitals on him (other than pooping on everyone and everything three times while they tried to get his temperature rectally).  They spent a good 15 minutes on him just trying to get an IV line in and draw blood, they even asked if I would allow them to try for a vein on his head (they couldn't find any that were large enough).  To compound the issue of his being so young, was the fact that he had been in the ER only two days before and in the hospital, so he was already covered in needle sticks, bruises, and enough tape residue to stick him to the wall!  They were finally able to get a line in his elbow, but that also meant an arm board to hold his arm so he couldn't bend his elbow.  After a small bag of fluids, I'm not sure what it was, but I believe it was just a saline solution to help rehydrate him along with maybe a little sugar to help perk him up, he was awake enough to bend his elbow anyway which caused them to add even more tape to his little arm.  Eventually, after we were admitted to the children's hospital, a nurse replaced the board with a Velcro arm band that held his arm stiff.  That worked really well until he figured out how to work it off his fingers the next day!  After that, they swapped it out for a diaper.

Since Gabriel was so dehydrated, they admitted him so he could get IV fluids overnight and await blood work results looking for some sort of infection.  I also think this was partially out of suspicion that we may have been doing something to him at home, but this is only based on questions I was asked only when Garrick was out of the room and how the doctor treated us when he came in to see us.  Luckily for us, my milk finally came in overnight that night too, meaning I was finally able to actually feed my son!  But, before I could feed him, I had to pump off some of the building fluids, so with a manual hand pump, I was able to get 1/2 an ounce off one side and an ounce and a half off the other!  After that, Gabriel had a much easier time nursing (with the nipple shield in place)!  We ended up spending Wednesday night in the hospital as well since the pattern we were seeing was that he would improve overnight and throughout the morning, but by afternoon/evening, he would be impossible to wake up.  Rather than go home and end up back in the same place in a day or two, we opted to stay the night and just make sure he was really improving this time.
Sleeping the day away in our ring sling!
I'm happy to finally report that we were able to make it through the rest of today (Thursday) with Gabriel doing "normal" baby things!  He has been asleep for a good portion of the day (he is only 6 days old after all), but he did wake easily or on his own for nursing, he opened his eyes (something he had rarely done since he was born and was a concern of mine that kept getting blown off), and he has nursed well too.  I've been pumping between nursing to help build my supply for him, as well as wanting the "back up" in case we need it.  For example, he's been extra fussy at the 2am area nursing times and with he and I both being so new to this, we get frustrated easily on so little sleep.  Garrick has been giving him a bottle of breast milk at these feedings so that I can pump and we can all get back to our much needed sleep sooner.  Gabriel can nurse for up to an hour at a time, so sometimes I am losing a ton of sleep during those middle of the night nursing sessions!  Today alone I have pumped over 6 ounces throughout the day, most of which has been pre-portioned out into 35mL tiny bottles (slightly over an ounce each).  We'll get those fed to Gabriel overnight and throughout tomorrow I'm sure, we have several appointments to get to tomorrow and I may not be able to nurse at all of them.

Tomorrow is also Garrick's birthday...I think at this point, the best "gift" is just having Gabriel healthy and out of the hospital!

So, like I said in the has been one heck of a week!  This is really just a glance over how busy this week has been and how stressful it's been on all of us!  I am really thankful that my Mother has been here to help, I'm not sure what I would have done had she not been here.  "New Mom" hormones are a crazy thing, especially when you pour a load of stresses on top of everything.  We won't even get into the missing paperwork from home health (because she didn't give it to us), the missing parts for the pump (because the woman running the rental counter forgot to tell me I was supposed to go get them from someone else...she also called today because she forgot to write down how I paid and when I was planning on bringing the pump back), the sick dog, the empty bank account because of all the unexpected costs due to having a sick baby, you get the gist...  I had a huge breakdown when I discovered very late in the evening when I finally had time to pump, that I didn't have the parts for the pump...all I had was the actual pump!  No air hoses, no nothing! 

I may or not go into some of this in more detail later on, but for now, I think I'm going to stop typing and go snuggle a baby before passing out (I'll feed him too).


  1. I am not sure if Mom got you told this, but Wyatt was tongue tied at birth. The Doctor who was wanting me to force feed him formula was actually able to just snip that little "string" and he was as good as gold! He hasn't had any nursing issues since! Hope Gabriel has any easier go at things! You and Garrick are doing everything right! Good job guys! See you Sunday!

  2. His pediatrician looked at it today and said he was misdiagnosed and is just having difficulty getting used to nursing. Or, since later that night we rushed him to the ER, he was just exhausted and she didn't pick up on that.