I was exhausted, but couldn't rest. It was strange not having Hilton in the hospital room with us, like we did with SK, and I couldn't help but be worried about him. The NICU doctor, Dr. Randal, called us a couple hours later and said that the chest x ray was good. There wasn't any fluid in his lungs, it was only in his stomach from swallowing it during delivery. He also said that the blood test revealed that Hilton has a different blood type than me. I'm O positive and he is A positive. The mismatch caused antibodies in his bloodstream and that caused high bilirubin levels giving him jaundice. They had already suspected jaundice because his face got really bruised during delivery. He never looked yellow to me, just bruised and red.
Then the doctor started explaining the dangers of high bilirubin levels (hearing loss, brain damage, etc) and said that worst case scenario they would have to give Hilton a blood transfusion to help fight off the antibodies. He would have to start phototherapy if the levels got any higher, they were borderline for now. If he did have to do phototherapy, then it would mean he would have to stay in the NICU longer. They didn't want me to breastfeed because he was still having trouble breathing. They tried a feeding tube and that only made his breathing worse. So they gave Hilton IV fluids to keep him hydrated for the first day.
First time getting to hold Hilton in the NICU.
Tuesday morning at a more descent time, first time to see Hilton in the daylight! The bed is tilted to help with his breathing.
Getting to see SK for the first time since leaving to go to the hospital. She wasn't allowed in the NICU, so we met in the waiting room.
We sat with Hilton a lot on Tuesday and I was given permission to do skin to skin with him that night. It was so nice to just get to cuddle with him. He was so tiny!
Wednesday - after finally getting a shower! And I finally got some sleep with the help of some medicine :) It had been almost 2 days of no sleep, so I was getting delirious. Hilton's bilirubin levels continued to be borderline each time they checked it today, but at least he was avoiding the phototherapy and we hoped this meant he would get to go home on Thursday. I started pumping since the nurses were going to try and feed Hilton a bottle today. He needed to be able to nurse before getting released. They let me try breastfeeding that morning, but he wasn't ready. Apparently, he was going to have to be taught to nurse. He didn't automatically know how to do it since he wasn't full term. Amazing how much 2 weeks difference really makes. I kept trying and he made huge improvements by that night.
Then my schedule got a little crazy because I would nurse Hilton for 20-30 minutes. He was weighed before and after so that we could see how many ounces of milk he was getting. Then one of us would give him a bottle of formula to help get in the remaining ounces he needed. Then I would go back to my room and pump and start all over again when it had been three hours since he started nursing. During the night I had to factor in how long it took to walk over to the NICU and I probably looked like a zombie for a few of those walks :)
Hilton meeting Aunt Sally and all the grandparents
SK visiting me in the hospital on Wednesday and sporting her first pony tail!
Thursday morning - this was the first time I saw Hilton under the phototherapy lights. It really took me by surprise and I was obviously disappointed. I knew this meant that Hilton wasn't going to be going home today. His level had been too high when his blood was checked that morning. He was only wearing a diaper and black goggles over his eyes. Up until this point, Hilton had been swaddled everyday so now that he wasn't wrapped up his poor little arms and legs flung around constantly when he wasn't sleeping. I can imagine that it would have been hard to rest laying flat on my back under a very bright light with no blanket :( The worst part of having Hilton on phototherapy meant that we weren't allowed to hold him. I was only allowed to hold him while nursing, so I was very thankful for those feeding times. We had a new rule today, that we had to make sure he was getting at least 45ml of milk or they would immediately put in a feeding tube. Yikes! Luckily, we never had to.
The good news is that he was no longer having any trouble breathing and they were able to lay his bed down flat. He also didn't require the IV fluids anymore. Dr. Randal told us that morning that he was considering letting Hilton move to the Special Care Nursery depending on how he did that day. The bad news was that I was getting released today and I couldn't bear the thought of going home and leaving Hilton in the hospital. Since I was breastfeeding, it made sense for me to spend the night in the NICU. I maximized my time in my room since founding out that I didn't have to be out until midnight. I took a shower and napped while Hunter watched March Madness. Hunter helped me get all my stuff over to the NICU where they had graciously set up a cot for me in an employee room. I had expected to sleep in a chair, so a cot was very exciting! It was actually pretty comfortable and I was in a room right next to Hilton. It was a very long night with that crazy schedule again, but at least I didn't have very far to walk this time - finding the positives!
Hilton got his first bath in the wee hours of Friday morning. I don't think he liked it.
And I finally got to see his precious hand and foot prints