I’ve been having high blood pressure for the last half of my pregnancy and my doctor said that it would need to be closely monitored to ensure it didn’t get too high. At my routine 38 week appointment on Tuesday it was again high and instead of risking any further complications, my doctor decided it was time to induce sometime over the next couple of days. That turned into “how about tonight?” and we were sent home with a few hours to get things in order before returning to the hospital to be induced.
I won’t get into all the details of labor, but overall it went very well. I was supposed to get cervix ripening drugs around 10pm and start Pitocin to start contractions in the morning, but by the time we were checked into the hospital my contractions were too close together for them to need the cervix meds, so I started Pitocin immediately. For the next few hours I had increasing contractions that were manageable until around 2:30am when they started to get overwhelmingly painful. I asked for an epidural and it was the best decision I made, as the rest of my labor and delivery was easy in comparison.
When it was time to push I apparently progressed faster than they anticipated and the doctor was called in and barely had time to get ready before our little bundle was making her entrance. I only had to push for about 20 minutes before Fiona was born at 8:27am on Wednesday morning, December 4th. When her head emerged the doctor found that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice, so tightly he couldn’t remove it until she was fully out. Even after she was out he had a hard time getting it from around her neck. She was in bad shape and wasn’t breathing. She looked so lifeless and everything started to get very scary. The NICU team was called in immediately and about a dozen nurses came rushing into the room. Fiona was taken away to get her to breathe and check her out. It took over 10 minutes before she cried for the first time. Her Apgar scores were low and while she was starting to do a little better, the lower half of her body was still gray. After about a half hour she was finally stable enough to be placed on my chest and to try to feed.
Once they started doing tests they found she had Jaundice and had low blood sugar. She was so sleepy she wouldn’t eat and her not eating was causing her low blood sugar. She had to have blood tests done about once an hour, before and after feedings and we had to supplement her with formula to get her sugars up. Her Jaundice continued to be an issue and by Thursday afternoon they needed to intervene. Instead of going to NICU, she was able to stay in the room with us but had to be on a billy blanket 100% of the time. She loved the little burrito she got to be in and the blanket produced heat so she had great sleeps in that thing. By Friday morning her blood sugar was good but she still had Jaundice. We were cleared to leave the hospital but had a follow up appointment at the hospital Sunday afternoon.
We enjoyed our first day at home on Friday, she had a great night overnight and Saturday we thought we were doing really well with feeding. We were very wrong. At our follow up on Sunday we found she had lost 10% of her birth weight. Some weight loss is expected, but 10% is the threshold of too much by their standards. Her Jaundice level had also significantly increased. We were given a feeding plan, told we had to feed her every 2 hours, I had to pump breast milk and we had to supplement her with formula to try to get enough calories in her to help her recover. It was a very stressful day. We were exhausted, we couldn’t keep Fiona awake enough to get her to eat, our online business was blowing up putting us farther and farther behind, and Scott’s dad was admitted to the hospital. By 9pm we were at our breaking point and she was so sleepy I couldn’t wake her up at all and I was getting concerned. We called the after hours doctor on call to ask what we needed to do. He was concerned not just by how little she was eating and how sleepy she was (that’s normal with Jaundice) but she only had 2 wet diapers that day, which signifies dehydration. Apparently babies that are too dehydrated start to have seizures. We were told to do another feeding and see if she eats better and/or pees and if not, we’d have to take her to the ER for IV fluids. Luckily she had a turn for the better around 1am and she started eating a lot better and we had more and more wet diapers.
We spent all of Monday (my birthday) completely focused on making her better. We fed her every 2 hours, I pumped, she had formula and all the minutes in between feedings were spent preparing for the next feeding. We went to the lab Monday afternoon for yet another blood test to check her Jaundice level. At 9:30pm the doc called with good news. Her numbers had dropped! We were on the way up.
Today (Tuesday) we had a follow up appointment with the pediatrician to check on her weight loss. She was born at 6lbs 6oz and on Sunday she was down to 5lbs 12oz. Today she weighted in at a whopping 6lbs 4oz. She gained 8oz in 48 hours. The doctor was amazed as 1-2oz a day is normal. So we went from one extreme to the other, not getting enough food to getting a ton. Her jaundice isn’t a concern anymore, her weight is doing great and the doctor is happy with her overall.
We have another follow up appointment tomorrow at the hospital to recheck her Jaundice levels and her weight and consult on breast feeding so I’m hoping for more good news tomorrow. I’m hoping we are finally out of the woods as this poor baby has had a rough first week of life. It was heart breaking to see that she was so sick all she could do was sleep and all of this after she almost didn’t survive her entrance into life to begin with.
I’m very grateful to have such a supportive husband through all of this, I wouldn’t have been able to survive this long with all the craziness we’ve had this past week. I’m excited to see she’s doing so much better and hope that over the next few days we get to enjoy more baby time that isn’t feeding or sleeping. Scott’s dad is being released from the hospital tomorrow and our friend Kim from Michigan is flying out on Friday to stay with us for a week and help out. She’ll be here to help us dig out of the giant hole we are in with business orders right now and get things in order for us. It’ll be great to have her around to help for a whole week and then we may actually get to enjoy the holidays with our new beautiful baby girl.
And now, your reward for reading all of this…..lots of photos!!