So Baby Watch 2010 ™ has come and gone, the little one arrived on Thursday night May 20, 2010 at 9:05 pm. Thank you all for your well wishes, anecdotes, and compliments on the overall comeliness of my offspring – you’re absolutely right, she’s gorgeous. I’m writing this on day 5 of her short life, and overall, the Magster and I are feeling good. We went to the first doctor visit yesterday, which assuaged many of our worst fears.
Some of these fears were minor (she has red blotches all over her little body!), and some were less minor (her mild jaundice has turned to severe jaundice which is causing irreprable brain damage!), but after the doctor visit, we’ve been assured that our worrying has been for naught, she’s healthy and acting like a 5 day old human should.
This jaundice business has turned pretty serious. Back when I had jaundice in the late 1970s they had your mom plop you outside to get a nice tan in the sun and look at how little my brain was damaged! What was I talking about? Oh yeah, poop.
So, in technical terms, a babies poop causes jaundice.
The muconium poop that’s inside the baby as they are marinating has to come out once the baby has hit the outside, if it comes out too slowly, it causes jaundice. This muconium is driven out by the mother’s breast milk cycling through the babies body. So there are 2 major issues that happen when a woman has trouble breastfeeding initially. 1) You are killing your baby because you are not able to feed them enough milk, and 2) You are irreparably damaging your babies brain because you are incapable of driving the muconium out of them.
- Luckily and thankfully, the Magster didn’t have too much trouble breastfeeding. Sure it took every single second of the first 2 days of lil’ Andie’s life, but she was doing it, and neither mother nor child seemed to have much trouble (aside from Andie’s propensity for chomping down on the nipple at various points). This didn’t stop the Magster from obsessing over it obsessively, but she was reassured by the midwife and nurses that she was doing a great job.
- That was until the day we were checking out and the very nice nurse/lactation-expert decided she need to dump all potential information (see hazards/warning signs/impending death) that we may want to look out for before our first doctor visit in a couple of days. Andie had a mild case of jaundice, and she wanted us to know that if it looked worse (eg. yellowing of the lower body), that we should probably completely freak out (or at least that’s how we took it).
- We arrived home on Saturday and were thankful to be out of the hospital. Ballard Swedish has great facilities and a very helpful, attentive and knowledgable staff – but it was nice to be in our own home. As the father, in the first couple of days, there isn’t much you can do besides reassure your wife that she’s not killing your baby by not breastfeeding her enough, and diaper duty. I actually enjoy diaper duty, and as we became more and more convinced that the jaundice had gotten worse, I relished every single one of Andie’s dirty diapers.
- By Sunday, when she had not had a bm in almost 24 hours (frequent urination, but no bm’s) – we were working ourselves into a poop-watch frenzy. A watched pot never boils, and I’ve recently learned, a watched diaper never fills.
- The first 3-5 days before the woman’s “milk comes in” involves feeding the baby a potent pre-milk substance called colostrum. This is the danky milk that is super potent and allows a miniscule amount to nourish the baby. Their stomach’s are the size of a cherry, so it doesn’t take that much (although, it did take Andie a long time to get her fill). Finally the milk came in on Sunday which avalanches into many happy bms and the realization that we had not and would not be causing major brain damage – because of jaundice at the very least.
- Seeing as my only real use to my family currently is changing little Andie’s underoos in a timely manner, it is my life. For now I’m content, if not mildly obsessed with it.