Friday, December 14, 2012

Newborn GV

So in the last post I think I got the point across that despite all the concerns that labor and delivery itself went well and that as of 10:12 AM on November 27 HB and I have a daughter.  Yes? Okay then, moving on!

Once she was out, the nurses began their typical new born checks and double checks and successfully reported that GV scored highly on her APGAR and has ten fingers and ten toes (which after 21 sonograms was redundant, but still good news).  But seeing as I am not a normal mother, they had to run atypical checks on her as well to make sure she was healthy diabetes impact wise.  Course I knew that was coming and had worked hard to mitigate the worst case scenario with tight glucose regulation during labor (see my "Induction Begins Tonight" blog post for an explanation), but checking her blood sugar regardless of my control was just the responsible medical thing to do.

Pricking her little heel, the nurse applied the Accucheck test strip to the blood and reported a bg reading of 41 mg/dL for newborn GV.  While I would consider that number dangerously low for me, any number above 40 mg/dL is considered to be normal for newborn babies; in other words, she was borderline and verging on hypoglycemic despite my efforts to ensure her glucose would be in a safe range.  Hoping her sugars would go up on their own, the nurse handed her back to me for skin-to-skin time, immediate nursing and explained they'd need to check her sugars again in 30 minutes.


Holding that little baby and keeping her safe in my arms after so many months of worrying felt phenomenal... but in what felt like mere seconds after handing her to me the nurse was back to check GV's sugars again.   With HB supervising and being my emotional proxy, the nurse started the whole process again and pricked her heel.  The meter read 32 mg/dL.

Shit.  (Pardon my french).

Asking the pediatrician for a call on whether she needed to go directly to the NICU, the nurse reported back that GV's hypoglycemia wasn't "bad enough" to warrant a trip to the second floor but that we'd need to get her on formula right away.  Because a new mother's breast milk doesn't come in for two to three days after delivery and colostrum doesn't contain much in the way of glucose, we grabbed our Nutramigen formula and I tried to get at least an ounce into her before the next bg check in 45 minutes.  Warning that if her bg wasn't up by then we'd need to take "alternative measures" (aka the NICU), the nurse wished us luck and left us to it.

Fortunately, if there is one thing this kid does well, it's eat!  By the time the next check came around she'd gone up to 53 mg/dL!!  Unfortunately, they had to have a minimum of three readings over 70 mg/dL so even though her sugars were in the right range, the nurses on the "Family Centered Care" floor had to prick her several more times over the next 12 hours for record purposes -- all of which, thank the Lord, were in the perfect range.

But would that be the end of it?  Heck no -- that would be far too easy of an ending to an otherwise medically stressful pregnancy.

So we get up to the 7th floor recovery unit and we learn that GV's bilirubin levels are excessively high for a few hour old baby at 6.8.   The pediatrician initially said that they'd just keep an eye on it and see how she responded to simply being fed, but if the levels weren't better the following morning that they'd need to put her under the ultra violet lights for 24 or more hours.  I tried my darnedest to feed her  and combat the onset of jaundice (at 38 weeks, really?!), but the next morning her bilirubin levels had risen to 8.4 and the pediatrician made the call to get her under the lights.



I know even "normal mothers" have to put their babies in the grow box sometimes - heck even my husband had to go in it when he was born - but after everything this complication was simply one I hadn't emotionally prepared myself for.  I braced myself for all the plausible diabetes and abruption complications, but jaundice? It hadn't even crossed my mind.

Only able to take her out every three hours for a brief feeding, we sat up the entire night on Wednesday watching her tiny little chest rise and fall with each breath.  Feeling helpless to fix the problem, we waited for five o'clock Thursday evening to roll around and the defining bilirubin levels check to be completed.  If the labs showed that her levels were still high, I'd be discharged and sent home while she'd remain hospitalized in that incubator, but if her levels were low "enough" we'd be able to bring her home with us.  Needless to say we were praying and risking to hope for the second of those outcomes.

So with bated breath, we watched the clock until 6:00 PM on Thursday, November 29 when the nurse finally came in and gave us the verdict... GV could go home!!  Her bilirubin levels were still elevated higher than they ought to be, but not so high that at two days old she'd be in any risk by going home.

Thank God.

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