PrincessIce was born on Wednesday 2 January 2013. As I had a natural delivery we were due to be discharged on the Friday. My gynae came to do rounds and said we can head home as soon as the pediatrician gives us the green light. A couple of hours later the nurse came around to tell me that they noticed that PrincessIce’s bili levels are high, indicating she has jaundice and the paed had requested a blood test for an accurate reading. I asked when we could go home and they said we would have to wait for the results. They put her into an incubator under UV lights in the interim to try and help for the jaundice. Luckily I remembered from our antenatal classes when I was pregnant with Babyice that jaundice is extremely common in newborns and isn’t serious. I didn’t panic. I shed a small tear, but was fine after that. The first test results showed she was borderline for receiving treatment, so they would keep her under the lights and test again later in the evening. At this point they indicated there was a possibility she may not be permitted to go home with me. I was distraught. I was breastfeeding and also most certainly did not want to leave the hospital without my little girl who I was falling in love with. I was left uniformed and uncertain all day. At 18:00 they drew blood again and we had to wait 2 hours for the results. I knew the medical aid would not cover my stay if I needed to stay with her and because she was not in the pediatric ward I could not stay with her unless I extended my stay in the ward. In other words, I would have to carry the cost. Bear in mind I was in a semi-private room as the general wards were full. Eventually after 20:00 I ran out of patience and went for a shower to pass the time while we waited to hear. After my shower Rudi told me we could all go home! I was elated. We were instructed to bring PrincessIce back to the hospital for blood tests the next morning. Finally around 22:00 we went home.
The first night at home was blissful in comparison to Babyice’s first night. My babymoon was in full swing. The next morning we headed back to the hospital and had blood taken. She barely cried. Themba at Pathcare in Louis Leipoldt Mediclinic was amazing
after Rudi had threatened to find out where he lives. We had barely arrived home when the phone rang and we were told to bring her back on Sunday for another test. The standby paed uses different pathologists and they really churn out the results fast. We headed back on Sunday and I received a call from the pediatrician to say her levels were rising and that we should administer 30 – 40 ml of sugar water (1tsp sugar to 100 ml of water) 3 times a day and retest the next day. I asked him if I should sit with her in the sunlight and he stated that he doesn’t really think that helps. I was quite confused by this. It is common knowledge that sunlight helps to clear up jaundice. They put the babies under UV lights for crying out loud! We followed his advice, even though I was hesitant to give her anything but breastmilk. I noticed that she had a lot more wet nappies once we started with the sugar water and the next morning her fontanel was sunken, indicating that she was dehydrated. This concerned me, but I was happy to see it pop right out again after just one feed.
We went to the hospital in the afternoon as the home affairs representative is there on Monday afternoons to assist with registrations and went for the blood test after. They were taking forever to draw her blood and I could hear her crying. After a while I could not stand it any longer and I went into the room to comfort her. The nurses scattered when I came in and Rudi told me they couldn’t find a vein. They resorted to
tracking down Themba who had worked the weekend and successfully taken her blood on Saturday and Sunday with little fuss. Thankfully they found him and he swooped in and he found the vein first time, despite the immense pressure.
We headed over to Milla and Dennis for dinner. We planned to make pizza. The doctor was taking forever to call back. I hoped that meant that everything was fine. Eventually my phone rang. Not good news. The paed wanted to admit PrincessIce again for phototherapy. I requested to be admitted to a hospital closer to home where our own paed is based. He agreed and made the call. I had a small cry. I was upset that she hadn’t improved and nobody wants to hear that their child has to be admitted into hospital. I received a call from our paed’s partner who I am familiar with as he was on standby. We discussed how she was doing and he was horrified to hear the other paed had told is to give PrincessIce sugar water. He said they preferred a temporary switch to formula. I told him I only wanted to do that as a last resort. He advised he would notify the ward that we were on our way. We were already on our way home for me to pack a bag. I knew I would have to stay with PrincessIce and would need a few things. I had done this before with Babyice when he was 7 months old.
Booking in at hospital was a bit difficult. PrincessIce was only 5 days old and I had not yet had a chance to register her on the medical aid. The admissions guy took everything in his stride and soon we were on our way to the ward. It was already almost 22:00. They let me feed her and put her under the lights. Milla came around to bring me some pizza as we had rushed off before it was made. Milla and Dennis looked after Babyice while all this was happening. Bless them.
We stayed in hospital till the Wednesday. They did regular blood tests and once they found her bili levels to be on the downward trend they approved our release. There was another incident with nurses that couldn’t find a vein. Luckily they took PrincessIce very far away from me. I went to investigate at one point as they were taking very long, but turned away when I heard her screaming as tears welled up in my eyes. When I stayed at the hospital before they provided a chair that folds out for a parent to sleep on. It was basically a wooden crate. I was not looking forward to that. I was happy to discover that they now provide a mattress to go on top of the crates. It wasn’t a particularly thick mattress, but it was MUCH more comfortable! The hospital also provides subsidised food vouchers for parents. I paid R16 per meal and chose my meals as if I was a patient. We had our own room in the hospital. One of those glass isolation rooms. I had the curtains drawn around the room most of the time so I could breastfeed in private. Rudi came to relieve me while I rushed home to take a shower. There is a shower over a bath available in the ward, but we live really close to the hospital and showering at home is always nicer.
I was really happy to be able to work with our own paed (or at least his partner who I know). I have never liked the paeds at Louis Leipoldt. Even the paed that was assigned to Babyice when he was born rubbed me up the wrong way. We had seen our paed’s partner (Dr. Bruwer) with Babyice, but after accidentally working with our paed (Dr. Christie) as he was on standby when Babyice was admitted to hospital, we decided to switch. Dr. Christie is a gentle kind hearted man who has his own children. He is very sweet. Dr. Bruwer lacks a certain kind of bedside manner which I like to have in a doctor. I was disappointed to catch him on standby when PrincessIce was admitted, but had a good experience with him this time. I realized that he wasn’t so bad afterall. Maybe as a first time parent to Babyice I required some TLC that he didn’t provide. We will still take PrincessIce to Dr. Christie for her 6 week check up though.
Since we’ve been home PrincessIce has lost a lot of the yellow colouring and is doing well. She left hospital with an eye infection. According to the paed this is common in babies who come into the world via natural delivery and not in a sterile theater. He prescribed drops for her eyes, but the pharmacist tipped me off about using breastmilk in her eyes and after a few days of using the drops with seemingly little success, using breastmilk cleared them up nicely. I was pleasantly surprised and annoyed at having spent over R100 on drops we didn’t need. Somehow I managed to stay quite calm through all of the post birth drama and it didn’t ruin my babymoon at all 🙂