Wednesday, May 27, 2009

our yellow glow-babies

I'm not sure where I got the idea that I'd be able to keep up a blog with two babies, at least at the beginning. I thought this would be the best way to keep up with pictures, but I have fallen far behind. Scott has been SO good about posting pictures to facebook, though. You can see them here (even if you're not a member of facebook):

So instead of pictures, I will focus on updates. I canNOT believe it has already been five days, and ONLY been five days, since the babies were born! Probably because I have been awake during at least part of nearly every hour since. It's a weird sort of time warp, especially when experienced through sleep deprivation. Even though it's been a short while, a lot has happened--even if you don't count the dozens of feedings and diapers.

Most of what has happened, aside from Noah practicing EVERY single funny face imaginable (Lily found herself behind in the face-making department, and gave up), has to do with jaundice. For the babyless crowd, jaundice in babies is where they turn yellow because their liver has to learn to process bilirubin, and their poopers have to learn to get rid of it. Too much bilirubin = yellow baby. Jaundice has levels which are monitored in newborn babies, because if they get too high they can cause problems. When we left the hospital, Lillian was at a 12 and Noah was at a 10. I have no clue what these numbers mean except that 12 is about the highest they like to see, so she was borderline too high. Because of that, they had us go to the pediatrician the day after we were discharged, to have the levels checked again. Instead of going down, both had gone up--Lillian to a 13, and Noah to a 14. So the pediatrician ordered equipment to be brought to the house for phototherapy. (Sunlight helps the body process bilirubin, but because of the danger of sunburn they don't recommend you lay your newborn out by the pool.) Our bili "blankets" are soft, flat little paddles filled with fiber optic lights. They are connected with a hose to a box that makes the light. You have to wrap up the babies with their skin against the paddles, and the light helps them process bilirubin. Then they have a nurse come to the house to take the babies' blood.

So anyway, we got the paddles, and hooked up the kids. The tube that connects them to the machine is only a few feet long, which makes moving babies from place to place a really interesting endeavor. But they slept really well (for newborns!) last night, glowing faintly blue in their bassinets from their lights. Wrapped up in their blankets with their glowing blue lights, they remind me forcibly of the glowworm doll I had when I was little. Scott said it looks like we are raising young vacuum cleaners because of the tubes.

This morning the nurse came and took their blood (babies LOVE that, by the way), and we got the results this afternoon. Lily's level has stayed at a 13, which isn't good, but isn't bad. But Noah's level jumped to a 17.

Now what exactly is the problem with too much bilirubin? I hadn't really known, but my mom told me last night that if the levels get too high they can cause brain damage. So when we got the news, I went into a bit of new mommy freak-out mode. But after some highly scientific internet searching, we have found that the disorder that causes brain damage is extremely rare, and that bilirubin levels have to be a lot higher than Noah's are right now. We have also reasoned that, if they were really worried about his numbers, we'd be back in the hospital right now. They've told us to make sure he gets enough liquids, even to supplement water between feedings. Shockingly, Noah's not a big fan of water. I spent a tearful (my tears, not his) half hour dripping water down his mouth and gagging the poor child, before we talked to someone at the hospital again and they said that supplementing with more frequent feedings is just as effective as water. So as busy I have been with feedings, they are now going to come more often! But I'll gladly sacrifice some more sleep for better baby health.

So now we shall see... A nurse should come again tomorrow, and we should get another result--we're obviously hopeful it's much better. But until then, I'm grateful the doctor has acted so quickly and that every single other aspect of their birth and life so far has been so wonderful and good.

And now, I'm off to nurse a little yellow glow-baby... hope he's hungry!


Anonymous said...

Hang in there on the sleep deprivation! I am sure that gets better with time.

Also, don't worry too much about the jaundice. It is very common. I had jaundice as a baby, and I turned out alright. Well, mostly alright... :-)

Mike and Cymbre said...

Hi Lisa! I work with Vicki and she passed your blog on to me. I am a fellow blogger and have enjoyed reading about the babies! I have to say, the blog about your plan hits close to home! I don't have kids yet but am a HUGE planner and am sure I'll sound a lot like you one day! Although God keeps reminding me that He is in charge of my plans! Congrats on Lillian and Noah and I'll be praying their numbers get better.

Amanda said...

Hey...the boys had jaundice too...and, we came home on lights and the worst part was...the only time I could hold them (during the light time) was when I was nursing. The jaundice thing went on for us for a week and a half and then they had me feed them formula for 24 hours and it broke the jaundice. Something about the milk...It just worked for us.

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