It's hard to believe that we've been home from the hospital with Miss Catherine for 4.5 days already - and that she'll be a week old tomorrow! Whoa - time definitely flies!
Our little girl wasn't satisfied to merely become the love of our lives and the center of our universe - she wanted to become a cheesy 1980s toy as well!
When we had our first doctor's appointment yesterday, we found out that the little one had lost a total of 12% of her birth weight (versus 8-10% as the norm) and, more alarmingly, that her bilirubin numbers were very high based on her age measured in hours. On a scale of 1 to 20, she registered in at 19.2. The scale actually extends above 20, but anything above 20 is considered pretty dangerous...could lead to lots of nasty outcomes like brain damage and mental retardation and so on and so forth.
We were at home when the doctor called to let us know her bilirubin level, which the lab turned around just 3 hours. Needless to say, I was quite, ah, upset. The prescribed therapy included feeding the baby at exact two hour intervals and keeping the baby under lights at every time she wasn't feeding or being changed.
Before we were even called, the doctor's office had already called a home health provider and ordered two phototherapy units to be delivered to our house. These blue light units are designed to flush bilirubin from the system. In addition to the more frequent feeding times, which also acts as a flush, the problem could be corrected.
Once the units were finally delivered - 6 hours after they were ordered as "stat" - we got Miss Catherine trussed up in a baby bag with one unit under her back and one wrapped around her torso. In order to block the blue lights from hitting her eyes, we used clothes pins to keep her in! She totally looks like a Glo Worm!
We'd started the 2-hour feeding schedule earlier in the afternoon and so then combining with getting her into and out of her lights for each feeding, it's come down to spending 40-50 minutes per each 2 hour cycle taking care of the baby. Bring on the sleep deprivation!
We went back to the doctor today to get her weight and bilirubin rechecked and already have good results to report. In a 24-hour span of time, she gained 5 ounces! The nursed asked me what I was using to supplement for the baby and when I told her that we weren't using any supplement - whether formula or donated breast milk - she was shocked. Yay for me! In the same period of time, her bilirubin level went down from 19.2 to 17.6.
We still have a ways to go. Until her weight is back up to what her birth weight was (7 lbs 7 oz) and until her bilirubin is down to at least 11, we'll be going to the doctor once a day for checkups. So we have 10 more ounces to gain and 6.6 more measures of bilirubin to come down. Hopefully this will go quickly! The average amount of time for phototherapy is 3 days - I imagine we'll be zombies by the weekend, but we'll do anything to get her back into tip top shape!
I'll post more updates as they come!