Sunday, November 7, 2010

Home again, home again!

We were supposed to go home on Thursday, but they held us another day to keep an eye on Fletcher -- and on me. Little Fletcher's bilirubin numbers continued to go up gradually, but as jaundice can be dangerous if it gets bad enough, and the hospital has access to transcutaneous bilirubin testers (a light shined through the fat on baby's noggin that returns a level of "yellow", so far as I can tell) and didn't need to draw blood unless the numbers got scary. As for me, my blood pressure was a little elevated again and the doc wanted to make sure it didn't continue to climb. Also, my feet are HUGE because of IV fluids and he wanted to watch me for blood clots. All good.

But. They said the words "brain damage or death" about jaundice and then took my blood pressure. Imagine! And then, they rotated in nurses from another department to cover the night shift.

Fletcher still does not like to nurse. I was trying, at 7 p.m. on Thursday night, to nurse him, and we had arrived at a perfect "I will try this and NOT scream like you stabbed me, but we're not good at it yet" situation. And then, the fire alarms in the hospital started making noise. The bulkhead-style hall doors locked themselves down with talking security locks (the closest one about 2 feet from my room door) and started droning canned warnings about fire. SEVEN strangers ran into my room, where I was trying to feed an upset newborn, all nekkid, and one threw a cloth at me: "You might want to cover yourself, we have an emergency."

The fire alarm located in the attic of our room had malfunctioned, automatically shut off the air conditioning to the entire hospital, and closed all the bulkheads, and the only cure was for the lone Operations manager to be on a ladder in my attic for three hours while his phone went off every minute and a half because the laboratory and clean rooms COULD NOT OPERATE without the air conditioning...

The night nurse forgot to give me my pain medication on time THREE TIMES, resulting in a lot of pain. I was also suffering some weird sore/inflamed breast symptoms because the lactation consultant pinched my nipple too hard (I know, right?) and had had me lie on one side to try another "hold" -- which made my incision tender. When she DID finally come in (when I demanded medication) in her street clothes, she waxed horrified and alarmed at how my baby's bilirubin level had "spiked" and WHEN were they considering putting him under bili-lights, because the levels were dangerous? (She's from another department: babies' tolerance for bilirubin exceeds that of adults, but I didn't know that... and neither did she.)

Pat spent hours researching jaundice online. Medical studies of jaundice that he found online were neither comforting nor able to confirm anything scary. All we knew was that we were doing things right and that the baby had multiple risk factors and that his numbers were borderline.

Guess when they elected to take my blood pressure? Right. Plus the nurse's assistant who took the BP did not sanitize her hands, coughed the entire time she was in my room, and grumbled about having been reassigned to mother/baby from pediatrics -- all of this while the room next door had CDC warnings posted on it for "respiratory contagion." Ohmigod.

So I told them that, if my baby was well enough, I was going home no matter what my fucking blood pressure might be, because it would surely be lower at home.

In the morning, my doctor saw no reason to keep me: I look to be healing well, my blood pressure was going down, nothing to especially worry him. He told me what to watch out for.

The pediatrician who stopped in scoffed at the baby's bilirubin level and told us to take him home and continue taking good care of him, and get him to the doctor for a check up on Monday.

We got him dressed, fed, and checked out. We stuffed him into his baby carrier. We brought him home, where, excited by the change of scenery and habits, and the reduced noise level, he could hardly sleep.

It's bliss to be home. Pure bliss. And life with a newborn, although challenging, is wonderful. He is charming, funny, and smart already (a being of pure Id), and can Houdini his way out of any mittens, socks, or swaddles he is put into. (And twice, his diapers along with the swaddling blankets.... oy!)

My mom, now known as "Grandma" despite her sworn oath never to let anyone call her that, is cooking copious and delicious meals for us and is a blessing. My darling friend and doula April, trusty by our sides throughout the hospitalized period, has offered to do any errands or help any way she can. The wonderful ladies at church are offering to make casseroles, come help, and provide sympathetic ears if I need them. The only cloud on my horizon, a very small cloud, is that my hormones are crazy out of whack and I can go hysterical with weeping over something like a bird-rescue call too difficult for us to take in our current situation. (I guess I frustrate easily right now -- and the idea of leaving something helpless without assistance just got to me. But I am still blissful, not depressed.)

More pictures of our little yellow Oompa-Loompa are surely to come, but I'm just catchin' you up, right now. :)

Love you guys. Be good.


Betsy said...

Wow! What a roller coaster ride that must have been. You know a fire alarm went out when I was having my first daughter. It was when my husband had finally gotten away for a break, and a snack, and he couldn't get back to me because they had locked down everything. He was sure he was going to miss the birth. Meanwhile my sister was alone with me, smelling smoke, which turned out to be burning piece of toast in the maternity kitchen, and trying to figure out how she was going to get both of us out the window. It makes me smile now, but it was crazy at the time. Good luck with the hormone swings and crying at anything. If I remember correctly, I felt like the skinless woman for months after having my first. Honestly, I still feel that way a lot. Ah motherhood ...:)

Ducks said...

Oh Betsy, that must have been scary. For us, there wasn't time to be afraid before the situation became merely banal and annoying: we knew what was going on from the get-go because there were instantly people in our room trying to solve the problem of the malfunctioning sensor. (Of course, there was a fire alarm when they were trying to induce me, too, but the nurse told us it happened all the time, so we weren't very serious about it.)

The crying has become a fact of life; although I am not dwelling on sad things and am not depressed, I am prone to weeping jags right now at the slightest provocation -- and to uncharacteristic strength and cheer in the face of serious obstacles, I find. Thank God for letting me vent my strains in small and harmless situations and perform gracefully under pressure!

I continue to adore your blog. Hugs to all your brood, and best wishes. It sounds like such fun to have playing-age children, and I cannot wait! :)