Thursday, March 28, 2013

Open wound care and a jaundiced baby

I was sent home from the ER with very clear instructions: take a shower every day, and redress your wound right after. Call us if you see or feel any sign of an infection. 

That first shower felt really great – I had not been able to shower properly before this due to the catheter – but when I attempted to redress my wound, the whole situation became too much – I might have just realized that I was stuffing an inch and a half-deep hole in my abdomen with wet gauze - and I just about passed out. My husband, not much more confident, had to step in.

Please keep in mind that this whole time – from a few hours after surgery – all I ever wanted was to rest with my baby. But first I was in the hospital with all that this entailed, and then once home, there was a constant interruption for paperwork and check-ups. But things were about to get even more complicated. 

At our baby’s first check-up, four days after we got home from the hospital, the pediatrician noted how yellow he looked, and ordered a blood test. She called back an hour or so later with the results: his bilirubin level was 17.2 mg, and she wanted us to go to the hospital immediately to get him admitted for 2-3 days of light therapy. 

Now, I was a bit concerned too about our baby’s color, however not overly so, since all signs told us it was normal physiological jaundice that could be managed with frequent breastfeeding and some sun. His bilirubin level was high but I felt like I was just getting the breastfeeding going properly, and that if we could just have some rest and peace, everything else would follow. 2-3 days in the hospital would not only be very hard on me physically (the last place a person with an open wound should be in is a hospital, and I would not be able to get my much needed rest there), but would completely disrupt our breastfeeding progress, and hence have a negative effect on our baby’s health. 

Too tired to argue, I had Courtney take this discussion as well: “Yes, I’m afraid we are going to go against your medical advice here, doctor.” We did have to agree to come back the next day though to retest, and if his level had gone up further, that we would consider admitting him for light therapy. 

Followed 24 hours of marathon nursing – every 45 minutes to one and a half hours – accompanied by some naked time in the sun. It was tiring, but I figured that it would be worth it, not having to go to the hospital. 

The blood test the next day showed a bilirubin level of 13.4 – my effort had paid off. The doctor called back with the results and advised us to “just keep doing whatever it is that you are doing.” (That's sound medical advice, right there!) Taking care of our baby, that’s what. 

And that’s what we are going to spend Easter weekend doing, at home, in peace.

1 comment:

  1. Glad your plan for the jaundice worked! Wishing you a speedy recovery on this Easter day!