Sunday, February 03, 2008
Where to start?
With the baby, I guess. B"H he is doing fine, so far as I can tell. Right now he is hanging out in the carseat next to me, looking around and checking out the shelves of sock yarn. ("I want her to make me something out of that!") The last hour or so has been by far the longest he's been awake and alert--it makes me want to hold him but whenever I pick him up he gets cozy and goes to sleep, and I'd rather have him awake while I am. So, the carseat it is.
We got home last night, a couple of hours after Shabbos. Iyyar was in bed; Barak, who has been having some, ah, potty regression issues in the last week or so, was sitting in the kitchen eating a granola bar as reward for actually doing the right thing in the right place (we've left potty treats far behind, but Abba wisely thought one was in order yesterday). He didn't know we were coming home, and as I came up the back stairs with the carseat I peeked in the kitchen window and knocked. The effect was electric: he leaped out of his seat screaming, "It's Imma! It's Imma! I SEE HER!" By the time I opened the door he was dancing around the kitchen laughing and singing. It was nice to feel welcome.
The hospital was... well, for starters I never want to see another microwaved box of Tuv Taam fettucine ever again. The fact that I could order a diet coke with my meals was pretty nice, though. I didn't get to sleep much in the hospital--does anyone?--but at least I wasn't running around as I would have been at home. Things with the baby were stressful, because his bilirubin did not go down very quickly and then, once it did go down, shot right back up when he came out from under the lights; he also was so sleepy and lethargic that getting him to nurse was really, really difficult, and kept him out from under the lights for far too long. I had to give him bottles, which I hate doing at this stage but was a far preferable alternative to an NG tube. And the floor was full of serious contagious nasties: almost every door had "contact precautions" or "droplet precautions" warnings stuck on the door. Perfect. Just where you want to bring your four-day-old baby: a great big convention of babies with flu and RSV.
Oh, and the med students. The med students! "So, Mrs. Uberimma, do you have any idea how he got the jaundice?" Um. Yes, I do. Do you? And oy, the residents, who mamash looked twelve years old to me. I'm sure you did fine in medical school, but can I please have a doctor who is at least as old as I am? Please?
On Saturday night, when the baby's bilirubin stayed down at a nice comfortable 11.2, we were scheduled to be discharged, but I was mightily freaked by his intense inability to stay awake. When he slept through a heel stick without a whimper, I asked the nurse to call a doctor to take a look at him before we got home. I got the resident, who checked his vital signs and said he looked fine. "Yes, but he has been difficult or impossible to arouse for 24 hours. He's not waking up when he's hungry and even when I squirt milk right into his mouth most of it runs out the other side. It takes me an hour to get anything approaching a normal feed into him and that's with almost no participation from him."
"But his vitals are fine. We could keep him for another night if you want."
Um. Hello. Do you have any idea why he's not waking up?
"He looks fine to me. Babies do sleep a lot." Dr. Howser, clearly, had no idea how not normal this kind of behavior was for a week-old baby. I know most babies sleep more than my babies usually do, but--hello!
The attending on call, apparently, was not actually on call--"I think she's at a wedding," and when I called my own pediatrician, the one doctor in the practice whom I seriously can't stand was on call so I didn't even bother. Instead, I went back to the nurses' station and asked as nicely as I could how it was possible that in the entire hospital there was not a single pediatrician over the age of 25 available to look at my baby or talk to me. Half an hour later, the NICU attending had been paged, and called me back with a reasonable explanation for the sleepiness (baby 3 weeks early, bilirubin still leaving system, normal sleep rhythms totally shot by going in and out of very very bright lights--I should not expect normal sleep from such a baby) and specifics on what to watch out for at home. He said that I should see a decrease in sleepiness that night, and indeed, while I was on the phone, the baby woke up on his own and then proceeded to nurse like a champ. So home we went.
Back to the pediatrician tomorrow for what would ordinarily be the 2-day checkup; I haven't quite figured out how I am going to work this one logistically but I'll figure out something. And yes, I'll get a birth story post up here sooner or later.