Another long post. Skim read if you want. But, again, I wanted to document the experience.
We took all of this information in and tried to settle back in for a little more sleep as it was still very early. However, with Baby gone, this was very difficult for me to do. A little after 8 am, another pediatrician came to give us an update. The x-ray had shown a couple of cloudy spots in her lungs, but this is often normal in newborns, so they would just need to repeat the x-ray the next day to see if the spots cleared. They had also gotten a lot of stuff out of her little tummy and it was looking much better. However, they wanted to wait 12 hours before trying to feed her anything. She also said they would be starting her on antibiotics as a precaution a little later and she would need to be on them for at least 24 hours, so the earliest she could go home would be Monday. I was supposed to be released Sunday morning. This was a disappointment to us, but we thought Monday, it's just one day, it will be fine. And, all in all, it was good news. We then discussed our two names again and decided to go with Stella. After that we decided to head to the nursery to see our little one. After a long walk to the nursery (because I had to take it very slow), we walked in and saw our poor little Stella all hooked up to the monitors. So sad!
We couldn't hold her what with all the wires attached to her and they didn't want me to try feeding her yet, so Saturday consisted of several trips to the nursery to just see her. Saturday night they decided I could try feeding her. She did well, so then we got to go to the nursery every few hours through the night to feed her. The next morning, the pediatrician on duty briefly informed us that they had x-rayed Stella again and the spots had cleared up so everything looked good. That was all she said. The midwife on duty checked me and said that, although I was doing well, she would see if she could come up with a reason to keep me another day since Stella wouldn't be able to go home that day.
The midwife came back and informed me that, although I wasn't showing any symptoms, I was pretty anemic and for that reason, they would keep me until Monday morning so we could stay with little Stella. We were very excited about that and the rest of the day was spent with trips to the nursery every few hours to feed the wee one. One of the benefits of feeding her was that I got to hold her. Poor Mr. Frisby couldn't. Her feedings were off and on. Sometimes she ate well and sometimes she didn't. After good feedings, they would turn down her IV, slowly weaning her off it. I was convinced that she wasn't always eating well because of the IV. I found it very frustrating, because I thought if they just took her off the IV, she would eat better because she would then need the nourishment. During one of the feedings either late Sunday night or early Monday morning, one of the nurses decided to give us an update. And, that's when things went downhill. She was a different nurse that we hadn't worked with before and I don't think she was looking at the most up-to-date info. She told us that Stella's x-ray looked questionable and they would have to repeat it and that it was going to take a little while to wean her off the IV, so she wouldn't be able to go home until at least Tuesday. We informed her that they had done another x-ray which the pediatrician told us was normal. She checked the computer again and then saw the other x-ray. She then told us the weaning schedule for the IV. Stella needed to have two good feedings before they would turn it down. And they had to turn it down several more times before taking her off it. We took all of this information in and left the nursery disappointed since that particular feeding hadn't gone well.
As we walked back to our room, I voiced my frustrations to Mr. Frisby. He agreed. We couldn't understand why Stella was still on antibiotics and an IV when she was supposedly doing well and they hadn't even found anything wrong with her. We also didn't like that we were getting different info from different nurses and yet the pediatricians weren't giving us any info. When we got back to our room, Mr. Frisby went down the hall to use the restroom and my nurse came in to give me my medication and take my vitals. She casually asked how the baby was doing. I was already very frustrated with the situation and with postpartum blues setting in fast, it was all I could do to keep it together. I responded that I didn't really know how the baby was doing because everyone was giving us different information but nobody could say what was wrong with her and yet, they kept pushing back her release date. I don't think my nurse expected to open such a can of worms with her simple question, but as I was on the verge of tears, she could tell I was frustrated. She made a quick call to the nursery to find out what was going on, but the problem was that she spoke with the nurse who had updated us just a few minutes before. So, no new information. Mr. Frisby came back sometime in that time and as the nurse left, I completely broke down. She must have heard my sobs as she left the room and informed the nursery staff of my frustrations because when we went back in the morning to feed Stella, it was a complete change. The nurses were all very nice and helpful (they really had been the whole time, they were just more so that morning) and the pediatrician who was very short with us about the x-ray the previous morning was very nice and informed us that Stella was doing well and they would be taking her off the IV and antibiotics that morning since she didn't really see a need for her to be on them. We were thrilled! Maybe she would be able to go home that morning after all. She then informed us that Stella was looking a little yellow, so she needed to check for Jaundice. If she did have Jaundice, she would have to stay the night under the lights and go home the next morning. If not, we could take her home that day. As I had also noticed Stella's yellowness and worried about Jaundice in the back of my mind, I had a sinking feeling that we would be going home without her that day.
When we got back to our room, the midwife checked me and asked what was going on with the baby. We told her what the pediatrician said and that we had to wait for her blood test to find out if she would be staying or not. The midwife said that they wouldn't be able to keep me past 6 pm that evening, so if Stella was able to go home, we could leave with her that day. Otherwise, we would be discharged at 6 pm and would have to leave without the baby while she stayed for her little tanning session. Later that morning, we got a little surprise. They had taken Stella off the monitors, IV, and antibiotics, so we were allowed to bring her to our room for her feedings. It was so exciting to have our little baby with us again and not all attached to machines. My sister just happened to be visiting us when we got to bring her to our room, so we had her help us take some photos. Unfortunately, the family photos didn't turn out. We had the wrong lens on the camera for it and Mr. Frisby blinked, but we got some other good photos.
After our little photo shoot, the lab came to draw her blood. We got the results a little while later. Stella had Jaundice. I balled again when I knew we would have to leave her for the night. We enjoyed our last little bit of time with her, did one more feeding right around 6 pm (incidentally, Stella started eating much better as soon as she was off the IV - just as I thought), and then we were discharged. I balled again as we drove away from the hospital. Mr. Frisby did his best to console me, but it was a very difficult thing leaving without her. They told us before we left that they would do another blood test in the morning and as long as her bilirubin numbers went down, she could go home as soon as she was checked out by the pediatrician.
We tried to get a good night's rest that night since it would likely be our last. But, that was easier said than done. The next morning, we called the nursery. They said her bilirubin count was down and she looked really good. She would be able to go home, but she had to be checked out by the pediatrician first. They said the pediatrician should be done checking in the next half hour, so we could call back then. When we called back, the pediatrician had been called into a delivery and hadn't finished checking Stella out yet. So, we had to wait yet a little longer. When we called back a little while later, they said Stella had been examined and she was all ready to be discharged. We headed to the hospital, super excited to finally bring our little one home. When we got there, all of the nurses were so excited for us. They got all the paperwork ready and got everything taken care of and then they told me I could dress Stella to go home. All of a sudden, I was very nervous. I think it took awhile, but I finally got her in her little outfit and we were ready to go.
I was all smiles as we made our way to the car. And, as was the case throughout our hospital stay, everyone on the way commented on all of Stella's beautiful hair. We got to the car, strapped her into her car seat, and finally headed home!