Thursday, May 1, 2014

Only a Mom of Seven...

Since day One, Eva has been a challenge to nurse.  She wasn't interested in nursing right after delivery and all throughout our hospital stay, she was difficult to wake up to nurse. I would have the nurses come and do theirs cares and assessments of her before feedings hoping they would wake her up. Eva might complain a little but then she would just fall back asleep. Even two heel pokes to test her PKU and bilirubin did not upset her enough to keep her awake.  When we were all ready to leave the hospital, I looked at the clock and realized that I should really feed her before we went home. I could not get her to wake up and decided to just try again when we got home.  It certainly was not any easier to try to wake her up and get her to latch on with eight more little hands poking, pulling, grabbing, touching.

Within a few days, I was very sore and had a woman from the La Leche League come and help me assess Eva's latch.  She was not opening her mouth wide enough and sucking her lips inward. Every feeding was a challenge to pull her lips open and her chin down. I found it best to just hide out in my room.  All the girls were quite sick by Friday and so we kept them all out of the room.

I continued to need to wake Eva up to get her fed and she would only nurse slowly for a short time before falling back asleep. I would change her diaper and do whatever I could to get her to wake up and nurse some more.  She never cried, never spit up, never fussed about burps, hiccups or dirty diapers. Eva never had messy blow out diapers. She was like a wet noodle even when she was all undressed and I was posing her for photos.

On Monday, I brought her into the clinic to have her weight checked. The OB nurse wanted me to bring her back to the nursery so they could use the same scale they had used when she was born and therefore get a better idea of what her birth weight had been.  However, they said they would have to admit her as an outpatient just to weigh her. So they just sent me to the clinic.  She was 8 lbs 13 oz which meant she had gained 9 oz since her discharge from the hospital.  I asked the nurse if Eva looked jaundiced and whether or not I should be concerned. Her response was that she wasn't an expert and that I should talk to my doctor about that at our appointment the following week.

On Wednesday, we had a really rough day.  Eva was so difficult to wake up and it seemed like she never nursed very long all day. She also had fewer wet and dirty diapers and she looked a little yellow. Not any more yellow than any of my other kids but they were all eating and pooping well at this point and so I wasn't concerned.  After the rest of the girls went to bed, I finally had a chance to do some reading about jaundice.  Of course, extreme sleepiness and poor nursing were symptoms. I called the OB nurses and they said it should be fine to wait until morning to have her levels checked unless something changed.  Well, at 3 am, she spit up (projectile vomited) her entire feeding and I couldn't get her to wake up and eat again.  Now spitting an entire feeding is not uncommon for my babies but it usually happens after 3 hours of evening fussiness and constant nursing.  Because of her poor nursing during the day, fewer wet and dirty diapers and losing that 3 am feeding, I was worried she was getting dehydrated, so I brought her into the ER.

I was comforted to see that she had gained more weight. She was up to 9 lbs.  She didn't have a fever and her oxygen stats were fine. The doctor came in right away and listened while the nurse did her assessment so I wouldn't have to go through all the information again. So nice! The doctor said she looked good. Her color was fine and by this time she was alert, looking around and had nursed. She wanted to test her bilirubin, her blood sugar and  do a few tests to rule out infection. When the lab tech arrived, he looked at Eva and then looked at the sheet of stickers for all the tests that had been ordered for her. He said he'd be lucky to draw enough blood for one of the blood cultures. It's pretty horrible to watch your 9 day old baby have a blood draw and to feel like it's unnecessary.  Of course, they hardly got any blood and needed to do a heal stick as well.  And then another heal stick because the machine was plugged and had used up the first sample before they figured that out.

Her blood sugar was 104, her bilirubin was 11.9, and her initial tests for infection came back negative. Her bilirubin was high but not high enough to treat at her age.  This was all good news, of course. I'm glad they didn't find anything wrong but I hate to think I put her through all that for nothing.  The ER doctor recommended following up with my doctor on Friday. It was Thursday morning at this point.

I spent Thursday hiding out in my room again just resting and working on waking her up every three hours to nurse.  On Thursday night, she wretched another entire feeding all over Julia who was holding her. Turned out to be a burping issue. I need to make sure she's well burped before she's laid down.  Nursing had been getting better but now I was starting to feel sore again.  Friday morning, I called to set up an appointment with the lactation consultant at the hospital.  The OB nurses usually schedule an appointment with the LC for new moms for the week after birth but the nurse asked me and said she assumed I didn't need it since I had nursed some many kids already. I agreed but now I know better. I may have nursed other babies but this baby had never nursed before. I also checked with my doctor and she said if Eva seemed to be nursing and voiding better, it was ok to wait until our two week appointment to bring her in.

The lactation consultant was very helpful.  She weighed her and she had gained another 1.5 oz since our ER visit early the previous morning. She then had me nurse Eva until she slowed down and dozed off and weighed her again. Eva had taken in 1.6 oz which is a good feeding for a baby her age.  Usually, I would work hard to wake her up and get her to take more milk because she had nursed very slowly for less than 15 mins.  The LC said that she probably wasn't waking up after three hours because she was probably still full and not hungry.  She said it was ok to let her sleep for longer stretches and let her wake up on her own.

She talked to me about mastitis and said that if I had any flu-like symptoms along with soreness, it could be mastitis. I told her that I was feeling a bit feverish, achy and was more sore in one breast. She took a look and since I didn't have any redness, she didn't think it was mastitis but told me what to look for.

Well, by Saturday, I felt like death.  Chills, fever, achy, headache, couldn't move off the couch.  Nursing was so painful.  I started to see a little bit of redness on part of my sore side. But my only option for medical care was the ER. And I really didn't want to go on antibiotics unnecessarily.  The good thing was that ibprofen kept the discomfort under control and I was ok between doses. I did what I could to boost my immune system with lots of Vitamin C, Viracillin and small doses of colloidal silver.  I also rested as much as I could and used massage with Emu oil and pumping to keeping things flowing.

Sunday, I felt a little better and we had Eva's baptism.  I would normally have waited until she was older but it was the anniversary of Grammie's heavenly birthday and so it was a special day.  Eva had been nursing better at home but the whole time we were at the church, I could not get her to wake up and nurse. It was well over 4 hours before we got home and I could get her to wake up to nurse again.

Monday I wasn't feeling great but I could go longer between medicine and didn't seem to be getting worse so I decided to wait to talk to the doctor until Eva's 2 week appointment on Tuesday.  My doctor said that I did probably have mastitis but it wasn't bad enough to treat with antibiotics and I was able to fight it off. She gave me some suggestions for preventing plugged ducts which can lead to infection. One of the recommendations is consuming soy lecithin which is found in chocolate. :) She said a supplement would probably be a better option though.

At the clinic on Tuesday, Eva weighed 9 lbs 9 oz with a diaper. The other times she had been weighed without a diaper.  The doctor checked her muscle tone and behavior and all that stuff and said she was perfectly normal.  The doctor said that she just has a quiet and calm temperament and she's more efficient at eating because she doesn't spit up half of every feeding. So different than my other babies.  Only a mom of seven would bring her baby to the ER because "She's just so good! Something must be wrong with her."


andrea said...

I know you shared the story with me briefly already, but I still enjoyed reading the whole thing again. Funny, isn't it, how even an "experienced" mother can be totally brand new each time it comes around again! Every time before Baby is born I think, "I totally know what I'm doing - this will be a breeze" (Yes, I'm generally an optimist!) and then Baby comes, and everything I ever knew is out the window, and all the questions come back - how did I ever teach the others to sleep? How do you change such a tiny diaper? When will I remember to pack diapers for her in the diaper bag?? ;)

So delighted that your little Eva is such an easy sweetheart. ;) And that your mastitis didn't turn out to be worse than it was - keep up the chocolate intake just in case, I'd say!

Party of 5 said...

Katie I'm glad you got it all figured out...I had the same situation but was totally clueless, luckily we had a great paediatrician. She's too lovely for words...

Tammy Taylor said...

I'm sorry it's been a hard transition. The sick kids alone throw me for a loop then to add in a little bit of the up and down hormones after delivery and a little one that you hope is getting enough to eat would be hard on a mom. Praying for smooth sailing from here on out and a baby that will continue through adulthood to have a easy going and sweet personality.

Home Instead said...

What!!!! I missed something!! Congratulations! Oh my she is a clone of your other girls. So precious. Glad you're feeling some better, keep taking it easy.