I remember that we had quite a few visitors on Wednesday, though I can’t be sure exactly who. I know my mom came again, probably Dad too. My brother and sister-in-law came, and got in trouble for bringing their youngest with them (no non-sibling kids under 12 are allowed on that floor). Grandma came up either Wednesday or Thursday morning. My cousin came on Thursday, I think – I know she was there when we filled out the birth certificate.
Starting Tuesday night, we basically lost all sense of time. We lived in approximately two hour cycles, feeding and changing Ben when he needed it, and either cuddling him or trying to sleep the rest of the time. Nurses were in and out at all hours. I know there were some tears, and some troubling with the early feedings, as well as some successes. I remember being completely exhausted, and very sore. Mostly I remember being so grateful that Dan was there with me, helping me get in and out of bed, and changing all of the diapers.
Thursday, though. Oh, Thursday. On Thursday, we found out that Ben was too jaundiced.
He was so jaundiced that he had to be in a light box for eight hours. It was torture on all of us. All he wanted in the world was to be held, or at least wrapped up tight in his blanket. But instead, he was totally exposed and alone inside that box, with his eyes covered (to protect them, of course) so that he couldn’t even see what was happening to him.
We tried to soothe him with a pacifier, and by putting our hands into the box to hold his hand or rub his belly or stroke his hair. None of it helped, though. He cried and cried. I cried and cried. He couldn’t settle down enough to nurse, so I had to pump what I could, then give him some formula as well. It was devastating. We were breaking all of the rules for establishing breastfeeding, of course, which was very difficult to handle, but mostly I just couldn’t stand that he was so upset and I had no way of telling him that it was going to be okay. It was only his second day out in the world, and it was miserable for him. I am grateful, though, that he was allowed to stay in our room with us. He didn’t have to go to the NICU or anything like that.
Again, a lot of details are blurry, and I have no good sense of the actual timeline, but we made it through the day somehow and were discharged sometime after 10:00 on Thursday night. Even though the jaundice was far from gone, he was allowed to leave. We had an appointment scheduled for Saturday.
We scrambled around, gathering up all of our belongings. We also ended up calling my mom and asking her to help us get home. I needed a little bit of extra support, plus I figured an extra pair of hands couldn’t hurt.
By the time we got home it was after 11. But we were home!