When Oren was just six days old, he was admitted to the NICU due to severe jaundice. I took him to his pediatrician that morning because I thought he looked yellow. Jokes were made about him being our pumpkin baby, but no one was concerned because he was responsive, easily aroused, eating and pooping. Oren was born a good sleeper (and at six weeks still sleeps 19 out of 24 hours), so I didn't notice him sleeping more than usual. I was told to take him to the hospital for a blood draw to check his bilirubin level.
When I got home from the hospital, I was happier than I had been in a long time. Maeve and Finn were delighted to see me and I was looking forward to be alone for the first time with my three kids. That's when I got the call. Oren's bilirubin level was 26 and we were to head to the hospital immediately.
The ER pediatrician thought that the blood draw was not taken properly because Oren showed no signs of severe jaundice, other than being yellow. Another blood draw was done and his bilirubin level was 30. At 30 babies are usually comatose. Anything above 25 can result in brain damage and requires a blood transfusion. I had gone from being completely elated to absolutely devastated.
IV fluids were started and we were taken to the NICU where the doctor and nurses immediately started prepping for a blood transfusion. We signed some papers and were sent out of the room so that the lines for the transfusion could be put in his belly button. Fortunately, his cord was too old and the doctor couldn't get the lines in. They had done another bilirubin check and is was down to 25 so he was able to avoid a transfusion. Oren was blindfolded, put in a crib under four lights and was not able to breastfed.
Everything I was as a mother was taken away and I ached to hold my other two children. I am a mother who sleeps with my children, loves breastfeeding and wears my babies during the day. In the blink of an eye, all of that was gone. My six day old child could exist without me. It was heart breaking and I still tear up thinking about it.
Almost two days after being admitted, a nurse was changing Oren's bedding and asked me if I wanted to see him. She was the first nurse who used Oren's name and treated me like a mother. She turned off his lights and took off his blindfold. It was such a gift to be able to see my baby again. Several hours later, I was able to start breastfeeding and I can't even begin to describe the joy I felt holding him in my arms. His smell, his touch, his breath...
Oren was given a urinary tract infection by the hospital when they inserted a catheter into his penis. Because of that, we were forced to stay seven days until all of antibiotics were finished. The days and nights were long and I was alone most of the time. I was grateful for good nurses, phone calls and visitors. Mathew brought the kids up every night so that we could eat dinner together. I went home a few times, but toward the end of the week, it got harder to leave Oren because he was breastfeeding again and just wanted to be held.
The day before we left it was discovered that a cyst on Oren's adrenal glad had hemorrhaged. The cyst was one of many factors that contributed to his high bilirubin level. Oren's level was at nine at the time of discharge.
Life is normal now and I am thankful to have all three of my babies together again.