As hinted at in earlier posts, the arrival of our second child was not exactly the calm, orderly event we anticipated. Yes, Tristan’s birth was slightly more of a roller coaster than we might have imagined, but the real drama did not begin until we arrived home.
My incredible mother had kindly (and wisely) pressed us to send Griffin to stay with her for a while so that we could focus on the new baby. Wrenching as it was for both of us, Scott and I managed — tearfully — to pack Griffin off to Nee’s house on Sunday, the night before our induction was scheduled.
After two pleasant and quiet days at the hospital, Scott, Tristan and I arrive home at about 2:00 PM on Wednesday. A thunderstorm was expected in the area late that afternoon and we wanted to be sure to beat it home.
About two hours after getting home, the storm hits. It’s not too bad until — WHAM!
What was it? Oh, just this:
The tree in our backyard came crashing down on our yard, our air conditioner, the very edge of the roof, our neighbor’s fence and — most importantly — the power line to the house. Knocking out the power. Of course. So we sit in the dark. Drat.
Luckily, breastfeeding takes no electricity and our precious neighbor, in spite of her fence, ran an extension cord to her house so we could operate the fridge and save our food. Unluckily, we were the only ones without power in our area so AEP was in no rush to get out and fix it. Even so, it only took about 24 hours.
Thursday comes, the power returns late in the day. Still without cable for the TV but the lights work, so no complaints, right? Meanwhile, I’m thinking: Thank God, I’m not stuck in the house with a two-year-old and no power! Mother (again, wisely) had persuaded us to wait until at least Friday for the return of Griffin; we’ll need the time, she assures us.
A call to Mom uncovers the news that Griffin woke up in the wee hours throwing up everything but the furniture. Mom asks if we’d rather he stay until she’s sure he won’t get the baby sick. Scott and I discuss the symptoms (no fever) and decide we’d rather have him home.
On Friday, Mom brings Griffin, stays just long enough to cuddle Tristan and we’re alone again. Griffin seems fine and convinces us, after a week of heinous diarrhea, that it was just too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.
Friday also brings Tristan’s first check-up where we find out that the medium jaundice we had upon leaving the hospital has blossomed into full-blown jaundice. We’re told to return on Saturday for a follow-up.
On Saturday, he’s worse and the doctor prescribes phototherapy. A few hours later, the home health folks deliver the “bili-bed” and Tristan gets his very own tanning salon in the living room.
I’d certainly have rather had him at home that in the hospital being treated, but I must confess that this was a royal pain! We were supposed to keep him in the bed as much as possible, so except when feeding or being changed, he was baking at all hours, including at night.
Problem is, what do you want to do with your new baby? Hold him. What does your new baby want? To be held. So naturally, this arrangement pleased no one and we were all drained, annoyed and exhausted within two days.
The next two weeks are a blur, but I estimate we made about eight or ten trips to the doctor to have Tristan’s bilirubin level checked (with a heel-stick each time), usually with Griffin in tow.
At about week three, when the levels were still not down to an acceptable level, the doctor told me that we were dealing with “breastmilk jaundice,” meaning that a hormone in the milk was preventing Tristan from eliminating the bilirubin. Huh? (I swear, I almost told him it sounded made up but I managed to refrain.)
Anyway, he prescribed formula-feeding for 48 hours to confirm the diagnosis. So I made bottles and pumped for two days. (Anyone who knows how much trouble we had nursing Griffin will understand that these two days were anxious ones for me. I was convinced this would derail breast-feeding completely.) Two days later: diagnosis confirmed. Treatment: oh, we’ll just wait it out. Great.
Well, yada, yada, yada, and Tristan is now six weeks old. His bilirubin is way down (praise the Lord!) and he looks barely yellow at all. In the meantime, God has given me ample opportunities to count my blessings. So many people offered their helping hands during this time to keep things from abject chaos — or just to lift my spirits, which were, at times, really in need of lifting. I also have the best husband in the world. But needless to say, there is a reason birth announcements have yet to be mailed!