When you're pregnant and people tell you to enjoy every minute once the baby comes because it goes by fast, I never would have been able to comprehend just how fast time does go by. I am already 2/3s of the way through my maternity leave, Christmas is nearly here and my precious little peanut will be 2 months old tomorrow! Crazy!
So much has happened over the past 2 months, I don't even know where to begin... I suppose it could be summed up by saying, our little one has had a bit of a rough start. She has been starved, confined to strange contraptions, poked with needles, knocked out and cut open. Sounds scary and it has been, probably more so for me than her. Let me explain....
Shortly after bringing Brynlee home from the hospital I started to notice she was taking on a slightly yellowish hue. Sure enough, at her first appointment with the pediatrician she was jaundiced. So common but still not something you want to hear as a new mom. You don't want to hear that anything is wrong with your baby. After another trip to the hospital to have more blood drawn, it was determined she would need to be put in a bili-blanket until her bilirubin levels started to falling. Thankfully, they were able to deliver the crazy contraption to our home so we wouldn't have to be admitted to the hospital. 24hours a day she had to be wrapped in this light. Not fun for her, for us or for anyone who came to visit her. However, it worked like a charm. Just a short 36 hours after it was delivered, we were given the ok to discontinue using it, her bilirubin levels were dropping. Again, jaundice is so common, I had it and so many of our friends and family have had it or have had children that have had it. We were just so thankful to get past it....
At our 2 week appointment, she still had a hint of yellow in her eyes and slightly in her skin but they said it could take some time for it to completely fade. Everything else seemed to be going ok, she was a little fussy but some babies just are. We were brought back to an exam room and told to strip her down to her diaper and bring her in to get weighed. My heart sank when I saw 7lbs 2oz register on the scale. She was 7lbs 8oz at birth and 7lbs 1oz at her 48 hour appointment and I knew she was expected to have gained her birth weight back and then some. Clearly, that hadn't happened. Dr. C suggested that I begin pumping and bottle feeding, so we were able to quantify the amount she was taking in. If I wasn't able to pump at least 2oz every 2 hours were instructed to begin supplementing formula. We would return in 3 days to have her weighed again. We went home, I pumped and was only getting 1/2oz every 2 hours. I was starving my baby!!! We began supplementing formula and by Monday she had gained 13oz! I began taking a supplement called Fenugreek to increase my milk supply which worked within a few days. She has been strictly breastmilk fed and is continuing to gain weight since, thankfully.
As you can imagine, once she was past the jaundice and no longer starving she was a much happier baby. We were out of the weeds and finally able to enjoy or HEALTHY baby.... Or so we thought...
At about 3-4 weeks I began to notice that often after I fed Brunlee, her belly would get really full and firm. By the end of the day, she would have a big ole Buddha belly but by morning it would be back to normal. I assumed (TIP: never assume as a new parent) that this was just gas andas soon as she would pass it, was when the distention would reduce. The pattern continued for a little over a week until I began to notice she would wake in the morning and her belly was still full. By the 2nd day her belly was so big and hard you could see her veins and she was becoming obviously more uncomfortable. While changing her diaper that evening I noticed a bulge on the left side of her pelvis. I knew, right away, that this was likely a hernia.
First thing the next morning, we brought her to the doctor. She confirmed it was in fact a hernia which was easily fixable, usually with an outpatient surgical procedure. Her real concern was not the hernia but the distended tummy. The doctor asked us to take her immediately to the children's hospital ER. She called to let them know we were coming and also had a surgeon on standby to fix the hernia. Needless to say, this triggered panic for me. So many things were racing through my mind but mostly was what a horrible Mom I was for not bringing her in as soon as her belly got a little big.
After several hours in the ER, 2 X-rays, a dye contrast enema, 3 attempts at getting an IV started, no eating allowed for her, it was determined that the blockage could possibly be caused by something called Hirschsprung's Disease. Basically it's when the nerves in a portion of the intestine, colon or rectum have not developed. It was also determined that she didn't have just 1 hernia but 3, 2 inguinal (in her pelvis) and 1 umbilical. Surgery for repair was scheduled for the following morning. They would also be doing a biopsy to test for Hirschsrung's at that time.
We spent the rest of the day in the hospital with a much more comfortable baby due to the passing of much, if not ALL, of what was causing her belly to be so big. Thank goodness the hospital supplies you with diapers, a change if sheets and blankies and a shower for Mommy!!
Surgery was scheduled for 8:30am so, just like if you or I were having surgery, she wasn't to eat anything after midnight. Unlike you or I, Brynlee normally eats 3 times between midnight and 8:30am. I was envisioning a night from hell but, much to my surprise and relief, she slept the majority of the night and didn't start to get fussy until right before we were taken down for surgery.
The procedure took less than an hour and went very well. At this point the surgeon wasn't very confident the blockage was caused by Hirschsprung's but did the biopsy anyway. My concern was, if it wasn't Hirschsprung's and it wasn't caused by the hernias, what was causing it? He told us we'd cross that bridge when we came to it but we would probably be referred to a GI doc.
We had to spend the next 24 hours in the hospital to be sure she didn't have any apnea episodes. She had 2 but both very minor and only lasted a few seconds.
The next morning we were cleared for discharge and Brynlee seemed to be doing very well. Especially after being able to eat! We were so happy to be going home!!!
That Thursday we went back to the surgeon to get the biopsy results and so he could check the incisions. The biopsy was negative for Hirschsprung's and she was given a clean bill of health. Praise God we were out of the weeds... Or were we??
The next week and a half we great! She was happier, her belly looked normal, she was pooping, her incisions looked almost healed, all was well... Until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving...
Wednesday morning I begun to notice her tummy was a bit more grumbly than normal. It sounded much like it did pre-surgery. By the time she got up from her nap at 1pm she was exhibiting clear signs of discomfort. By 2pm she started crying and didn't stop until 6pm. Her tummy was, again, very distended and she was very " burpy". Back to the doctor we went... Thankfully she slept the whole way there and had pooped by the time we got to the pediatrician's after hours office. The nurse practitioner examined her and massaged her belly and she pooped again. After the 2nd diaper change she was all smiles. There wasn't a doctor at the after hours office so the nurse practitioner got one on the phone. Cozart spoke to him about the surgery, what the surgeon said he thought after repairing the hernias and told us to keep an eye on her and sent us home. Clearly something was causing her to have difficulties passing gas/stool. But what could it be?
It's been a week and a half, and with a little massaging of her belly periodically, we have been able to avoid another distended belly issue. We still don't know what is causing the issue but we have an appointment this Wednesday to discuss it with one of our pediatricians. It could be something as simple as gas or an allergy to something I'm eating which is really what makes the most sense but we will see.
It has been a bit of a rocky road the past 2 months but there have been a TON of fun moments as well. Brynlee is smiling and cooing and seems to get bigger every day! She absolutely loves her playmat, going for walks in the stroller, watching the fan in any and every room of the house, and bubble baths. She's not too fond of, having her clothes changed, getting out of the bath tub, her swing and she would rather lay on her playmat or the bed then be held for an extended period of time. Kind of a little miss independent already!
I am so incredibly excited for Christmas and to finally have my family here and meet our little Sweet Pea! I am also very much looking forward to healthier days ahead for her and many more milestones to blog about!!!