Captain Blackbird vs Billy Rubin Part III

28 11 2007

Elijah looks like he’s in the clear of this ordeal. The jaundice seems to be out of his system, and his bilirubin level is down to 10 and a half. The hospital will check one more time on Friday, but for now he seems like he’ll be staying home with us.

I’ve been driving Dana batty during this time. Honestly, I wasn’t concerned so much about the jaundice, since this is a common ailment among newborns. I’m told the fact that Elijah was sucked out was probably a big factor regarding his inability to get rid of the bile in his system. And everybody I know has been telling me that their child (or they themselves when they were newborns) had to be kept under the lights.


No, what I ended up being really neurotic about was Elijah’s breastfeeding schedule. This little time out in the hospital was probably a boon to my poor wife, who was physically having a tough time getting adjusted to the demands of a hungry baby learning to take food for the first time. The time of transition from producing colostrum to actual milk is a bear, apparently, and Elijah kept latching onto her improperly, which is painful. She still stayed nearly all the time at the hospital to continue feeding Elijah when she could and also to pump breastmilk for him when she was away.

I kept worrying on and on, however, about how Elijah was constantly being supplemented with Enfamil (formula), which he was taking to like a fish. And the staff — wonderful caretakers all, by the way — used a pacifier to keep him, well, pacified. I was freaking out Dana possibly losing her chance to breastfeed Elijah. Yeah, I know I was being paranoid, but hey.

I calmed down when I considered all the other infants in the ICN unit there along with Elijah. Most of them seemed half his size or smaller. Some mothers had come in every day for 2, 3, 4 months. It broke my heart to see them in their quietly desperate dedication.

We are truly truly blessed. Elijah came home a little bigger, both eyes open, and a little less blond to two parents who were by now loopy to be with him. We all had a nap and listened to music and ate. Life doesn’t get better.



Captain Blackbird vs Billy Rubin Pt. II

26 11 2007

So Elijah gave another blood sample this morning at the hospital. At around 1:30 pm we got a call saying that his bilirubin level was at a critical 20 (beyond that level he’s in danger of brain damage) and that we needed to admit him into the newborn intensive care unit stat.

So Elijah’s going to stay in NICU under the bilirubin lights for a couple of days. Dana will stay there as well to keep pumping breastmilk for him. I’ll be in and out to deliver food and provide moral support. We talked to another lactation consultant today, who was very reassuring and supportive — she made it clear to us that neither of us were to blame for the bilirubin count. One can’t help but want to take the blame, though.

Dana and I have been on edge for the last few days now and even occasionally have been snippy with each other. There’s still a lot of things to be thankful for, though, and we’re trying to keep everything in perspective. Elijah looks a little bit like baby Kal-El in his little incubator. I don’t know if NICU will let me take a picture of him, but I hope to at least sneak one.

Captain Blackbird vs Billy Rubin

25 11 2007


Went back to the hospital twice today so that Elijah could get pricked for blood samples to track his bilirubin levels. We almost had to keep him there overnight to be kept under lights, but his levels went down just a bit so they let us take him back home. He’ll have to go back in the morning, though, for another blood prick. He’s going to run out of spots on his feet for them to prick at this rate. At least the poor guy doesn’t have the ability to stand yet.

Home at Last

24 11 2007

We’re finally out of the hospital and in our home. We were all set to get dispatched at noon when we got stopped at the door because Elijah’s bloodwork came back with high levels of bilirubin, which leads to infant jaundice. Elijah apparently wasn’t running his food through his digestive tract fast enough, which was retaining his bilirubin, and so the nurses recommended Dana supplement her colostrum breastfeeding with a little Enfamil.

We had to wait for another test at 6 pm, which wiped us out. I think we’re both really exhausted but know we need to gear up for Elijah’s nighttime demands. It’s going to be a marathon night for both of us — Dana with her feedings and me as her wingman (who’ll be sneaking away when I can to get my grading done).

Elijah Jae-Duk Kim

23 11 2007

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

23 11 2007

At 6 lbs 14 oz and 19 and 3/4 inches, a healthy bouncing baby boy was born to Dana and Tom Kim at 9:00 pm, November 22, 2007.

Things were a little touch and go for a while. The kid kept having variable declension in heart rate during contractions, which led the midwife to predict that he had a cord wrapped around his neck. Dana had to sign off on a possible C-section while she was shaking uncontrollably from the contractions. In the end though, Dana kept pushing like a mother, and we ended up with a vaginal birth with a little help from suction. Dana constantly surprised everyone with her strength and determination, and we were told the delivery with suction was textbook. The little guy came out (not wrapped in his umbilical cord — just ornery I guess) with a full matted head of curly hair.

Name and pictures forthcoming.

The C-Word

22 11 2007

For the first time, a cesarean section was mentioned as a possibility. The baby’s head is at the cervix, but Dana’s only 6 cm dilated. More worrisome is that the baby’s heartrate occasionally dips down during contractions. Dana hasn’t been induced with pitocin yet, but she’s been given an oxygen mask, a catheter for her bladder, and an instrument that measures the strength of her contractions. Oh yeah — her water was manually broken, and she’s been hooked up with sodium chloride to give some more fluid around the baby.

More than anything, Dana and child is being carefully monitored. The epidural is preventing any real discomfort right now. It’s a little disconcerting for me to do nothing but sit by and watch all these kind people leave all these tubes slithering from her body.