Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Code Orange

We were hoping our jaundice scare would be over after the weekend on the billi-blanket, but instead it all got a lot worse. Maddie's levels went up again Monday morning. Our pediatrician sent us to the Pediatric ER at Johns Hopins, but she called ahead and made sure they had a bed for us and would get us in quickly and away from all of the sick kids.

Once there, they tried to attach an IV and couldn't get it to work in her little veins. I felt like they were piercing my heart with each shriek of my baby. They told us the IV line was just a precaution and that she probably wouldn't need it, so it wasn't a big deal that they couldn't get it in. Basically, they told us she'd be under lights, and if that didn't work they'd add IV fluids, and if that wasn't working she might need a blood transfusion, but they made it pretty clear that those other options were pretty far down the line. 

They rechecked her levels and they'd risen from that morning. Suddenly that unneccesary IV line was being put in by an IV specialist, and my baby was again screaming her little lungs out.

The doctors began talking more seriously about admitting us to the pediatric ICU and starting a blood transfusion. D and I were so frightened for our little girl, and I couldn't stop crying. They rechecked her levels again to see if there was a lab error that made them look high, but again, they came back about the same. They decided to give her a little more time under the lights and check her one more time before deciding if we would be admitted to the pediatrics floor or to the pediatric ICU. Time never seemed to go so slowly.

Finally, we got rechecked and the levels had started to go down. We were so relieved! We were admitted to the pediatrics floor at about 10pm (we'd been there since 2:30). 

We were in a shared room and there was a chair that sort of unfolded into a tiny bed for one parent to stay the night. Dakota went home and I stayed with her so I could feed her. I'd been pumping all day because they wouldn't let me take her out from under the lights to eat. I had this strong desire to pump constantly, only because I felt like it was the only thing I could do to help her. It was a long night.

They rechecked her levels at 4am, and when they came back there was a lot of improvement. We moved her off the lights at 9:30 in the morning and after the levels remained low in the afternoon, we were released to go home about 4pm. 

We're now home, tired, and glad that we no longer have an orange kid.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Last night we were able to get Maddie to sleep in her cosleeper the whole night!  Whooohoo!  Progress!  And, at our 1:30am feeding, she and I didn't even wake Daddy (this is huge...waking usually requires lots of crying).  Plus, it was a successful feeding!  Honestly I was so thrilled with myself and the baby that it was all I could do not to wake Dakota and tell him.

Today we went back to the pediatrician to have blood drawn to check on her jaundice.  I think I cried about as much as Madeleine, but hopefully her levels have gone down and we'll be able to ditch the billi-blanket soon.  

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Madeleine Hope

Madeleine Hope was born on March 24, 2009, at 5:23pm.  She weighed 7.6oz and was 20" long, even though she was born four weeks early!  

Her birth was highly anticipated, and was also the cause of much anxiety.  Due to complications of Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP), it was decided that we should be induced early to avoid the risk of fetal demise.  We went for an amniocentesis on Monday, March 23, and spent a long day awaiting the results to see if her lungs were mature.  At 4:30pm we got a call from the lab that said we were good to go, so we headed to the hospital to be induced.

I was given Cervidil at about 7pm, which started mild cramping, but not enough to interfere with sleep.  At 3:30am I awoke with a start to realize that my water was breaking.  Contractions started soon after, and we were able to walk the halls to try and bring on labor.  By 7am, the contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart and we augmented labor with a low dose of Pitocin.  The contractions intensified quickly and were soon regularly 1-2 minutes apart.  Though we'd learned all sorts of comfort measures, the last thing I wanted was to be touched, so Dakota counted out the contractions for me while I labored in a rocking chair (far superior to either standing or laying in bed).  Throughout the labor, soft classical music played in the background, and a general sense of calm pervaded the room.

By 9:30am, I was pretty sure I wanted an epidural, and it took an hour to get the anesthesiologist to my room.  I do believe I expressed my love for her upon hearing who she was.  Dakota was asked to leave the room while they gave it to me, and sitting still through a contraction was nearly impossible.  I felt it working immediately.  They gave me a button to increase the dose, but I never needed to.

They left us to labor on our own and came in periodically to check my blood pressure.  At 2pm the doctor came in to check me and I was fully dilated!  Sadly, I couldn't feel my legs due to the epidural, so we lowered the dose and waited until I felt like it was time to push.  At 4:30pm it was time.  My contractions had actually slowed at this point and were again 2-3 minutes apart, so my rest time between pushing was increased.   At a certain point, the nurse grabbed her phone and called the NICU team and my doctor and urgently told them to get to my room.  I didn't feel like we were that close, so I was a bit surprised by her tone.  However, the doctor got there and was only present for one contraction when she said, "OK, one more push and we have a baby."  I didn't quite believe her, as that sounded a lot like someone saying "one more time, just one more time, one more time."  She was right, though!  One more time and Madeleine Hope was ushered into this world!  They put her on my stomach, where she immediately peed on me to say hi.  Dakota cut the cord and I cradled our precious little bundle.

She was born with a large hematoma on her head (it looked a little like two heads, honestly), and that was definitely a surprise!  The NICU team took her from me and checked her out.  She got two nines on her APGAR scores (testing well already!) and the NICU team headed out.  She was weighed and measured, then brought back to me to cuddle and breastfeed.  It was amazing.  

An hour later they took her to the nursery, and I didn't want to see her leave.  Daddy went with her while I went through some basic recovery from labor.  Unfortunately, it was hours later before we were reunited with our little girl in the maternal-child unit, but it was well-worth the wait.  She is well-worth everything.