Thursday, May 4, 2017

Finn's First Few Days

Did you make it through the novella that is Finn's birth story?  Major applause if you did. It's a long one.

Friday, Finn's birth day, was a blur of pure bliss and exhaustion.  We all took naps and Mike and I relished in the moment, trying to soak up and remember every movement and grunt that Finn made.I passed the post-epidural "can-you-walk-to-the-bathroom?" test and was allowed to get out of bed on my own.  I still didn't feel strong enough to shower though, which was a bummer because I was looking and feeling rough.  Mike eventually went home and Finn and I spent the night sleeping. He woke up every two to three hours, but for the most part, he slept and ate well.  He was pretty sleepy, which the nurses reassured us was normal for the first day.  Birth is exhausting for a newborn (and his parents!).

Saturday morning, Mike returned to the hospital and I was finally feeling strong enough to shower.  I had heard wonderful things about the first post-labor shower and it was everything everyone says it is. Absolutely incredible. Add in the nap I took afterwards and I was feeling like a whole new woman. Mike and I spent the day soaking up lots of newborn snuggles, I became more comfortable with nursing, and Finn started to wake up (as much as a newborn does).

Saturday evening, the nurses came around and did their evening checkup and noticed that Finn's bilirubin level was high (around a 10).  Nothing too concerning, but definitely worth keeping an eye on and check the following day. On Sunday (Easter!), they checked his bilirubin level again and had risen to a 14.  They still weren't too concerned because they said at this point, it should be below a 18, but they still didn't want us to leave since it had risen.  By Monday, it had risen again to a 17 and they let us know that he would probably need to have the light therapy because it didn't seem to want to go down by itself.

I wish I had advocated a little more and asked if we could start the light therapy then because on Tuesday, his bilirubin levels had risen to 21.  Mike walked into our room that morning to see them setting up the incubator and me close to tears. The only good thing about this whole situation was that, since our room didn't have the oxygen hookup for the incubator, we got upgraded to a huge room!

At this point, I had been cleared medically to go home, but since Finn still needed to stay, I had to stay because Finn wasn't allowed to stay without me.  The hospital is pretty small and they don't have a NICU or even a nursery.  All of the babies stay in the room with their moms and the nurses come in once at night and once during the day to check on them (unless they require more attention like our guy).  If there was a true need for a newborn to have extra attention, they would be moved to the children's hospital or at least another hospital that had a NICU.  Luckily, we didn't have that need.

Once the incubator was all set up, Finn began his 18 hour stay in the sauna.  We were able to open the side and put our hands in, but they really discouraged us from taking him out unless we needed to change his diaper because every minute out of the incubator had to be added on at the end (We ended up learning how to change his diaper in the incubator so he only needed an extra fifteen minutes added on.  If we're anything, we're efficient!).

Soaking up some rays in the sauna

It's hard to see, but he got to wear a sweet mask.  If he had to stay any longer, Mike and I were debating decorating it to look more super hero-esque.

After 18 hours in the incubator, Finn came out and then the waiting began.  They measured his bilirubin levels after 4 hours out and they were at a 12! Hallelujah!! I pumped and bottle fed him while he was in the sauna and ended up needing to supplement with a little bit of formula.  I had always said that I wanted to breast feed, but that I would do whatever was best and worked for Finn, so we supplemented with formula and bottle fed for a few days.  Luckily, it didn't seem to cause any issues with breast feeding and I was able to go back to exclusively breast feeding once we got home.

We still had to wait 24 hours and get measured again, but all day, the nurses and pediatrician kept saying they thought we'd be going home the next day (Thursday).  That afternoon, the pediatrician came and did the checkup she needed to do in order for us to leave, which was a good sign that we'd be leaving the next day. We spent the day snuggling with our favorite guy.  We could definitely tell that he was feeling better because he was looking around the room and staying awake for longer.   

Mike went home on Wednesday night, hopeful that he'd be coming back for the last time on Thursday.  Sure enough, at 8:00am on Thursday, they measured his bilirubin levels at a 14 (anything under 20 would be an okay) and cleared us to go home.  I called Mike with the good news and he headed over, anxious to bring us home.  

All dressed and ready to go home.  Also, this is the only picture where I think he looks like a Russo.  Usually, I think he's all Mike. 

We thanked the nurses and asked what we needed to do before heading home.  We figured there would be some paper work we needed to fill out or a car seat check* that needed to be done.  Nope! They waved goodbye and we thanked them once again for all of their help and care before we headed out.  Welcome to Germany!  And so, with the snow falling outside (!!!!) on April 20th, 2017, we loaded up the car and headed home, over a week after our arrival.

Can't you tell Finn is excited to be heading home?

Just hanging out checking their social media accounts. 

We made it home and the real adventure begin!!

*Since we live in the city, we had heard that car seat checks aren't really a thing since a lot of people don't own a car.  In fact, as we were leaving, we saw a family waiting for the bus with their newborn.  I never really thought about it, but it would be silly to buy a car seat if you don't own a car.

**I think about how emotional having Finn in incubator was and then I remember there are so many babies who are born with much more severe health issues and that we are truly blessed that this was something so minor.  Jimmy Kimmel's son being one of them (interesting fact: his son had the same heart defect my brother did! Modern medicine is an amazing thing).   We are so thankful that this was a minor issue in the grand scheme of things and are so thankful that the nurses and doctors took care of our little guy so well.