Friday, March 8, 2013

Jaundice - the 8 letter word Asians despise

I remember my two nieces, Zoe and Emma, both had jaundice.  Emma had the worst case - she had to go in the blue bread basket and had her heel pricked everyday.  So yes, I understand that there are much more severe cases of jaundice than what Max had.

Stupid mom, though.  She really thought that with the cocktail mix that his White Dad contributed, this HALF Asian might bypass the most popular condition diagnosed in Asian babies.  Three days after leaving the hospital, Max was sleeping 22 out of 24 hours a day.  It freaked me out that this 1 week old was sleeping 5 hours straight at night without wanting any food. 
This was Max during one of those hours.  So frail, his clothes were just hanging off of him and he was completely content sleeping all day long.  My motherly instincts kicked in.  Something was wrong and I had a terrible sinking feeling in my belly.  Because he was sleeping...
...and sleeping...
...and sleeping...
Finally, during one of the rare opportunities when he was awake, Todd noticed that the whites of his eyes were discolored.  Jaundice!  It was Friday afternoon (all our medically emergencies seem to happen on a Friday afternoon, by the way.) and the doctor took one look at him and told us to the hospital and get some blood work done.  "Some blood work" turned out to be a lab tech pricking his poor heel and squeezing the life out of the little foot until she compiled the drips of blood into blood samples enough for a small vile.
The poor baby.  I think this was the first time my heart started to break for him.  We got the bilirubin results and they were a little high.  We had 24 hours to feed the heck out of the baby, get him to gain some weight and get his level down.  The next 24 hours, my diligent motherly mode kicked in for the first time.  I threw out the stupid philosophies of my lactation nurse (check out my post on breastfeeding) and started supplementing him with formula every other hour.  Whether he liked it or not, Max was going to eat.  I also took a blanket and when the sun started going down, I sat outside so he could get some indirect sunlight.  There, sitting in my backyard, holding my frail little baby, I started praying.  I asked God to give me the wisdom to raise this child and for me to always trust my motherly instincts.

Saturday morning, we went back to repeat the painful process of heel pricking.  Ugh Max, so sorry.

Two hours later, we get the call - his level was down and the jaundice was under control.  Thank GOD!

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