Thursday, February 4, 2016

Our time at BB

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After Chester was born we spent a few more hours in the labor & delivery room. Then we got moved to a room in the BB department, which is where you stay for the remainder of your time at the hospital. Chester was doing really great after he was born and would have been ready to go home fairly fast, but they had decided I should stay for three days for my own recovery. During those days I hardly even got out of bed. And Greg changed every single dirty diaper. Greg also fixed all of my meals for me (which the hospital provided). We also had a call button at the ready, for summoning nurses or midwives whenever we pleased. One of the most beneficial parts was that each new person who came to check on us had their own bit of advice for us. One showed us how to clean Chester's belly button with a cotton swab. A few had different thoughts or ideas about breastfeeding. Greg and I both learned a lot during that time.

That first stay (foreshadowing) at BB was such a cozy time, where we were almost in our own little Chester-centered world. I had a book and knitting along but never touched either one.

So Chester was born on a Friday, and we left BB the following Tuesday. Then on Wednesday we had a home visit from a midwife through a service that (translated) is called BB On The Road. One thing she checked was his bilirubin levels, which were too high and required us to go for a blood test at the hospital the following day. So on Thursday we went back to the hospital. Chester got checked out by a doctor and got his blood test. They told us that we could go home and they would call us back with the results in an hour. And when they called back, his levels were too high and we were told to go right back to the hospital to the BB department.

So, even though we knew that he might need to go back for the UV light treatment, I hadn't realized what kind of timeline we were talking about. I thought they would have us back the next day, since they had told us to go home. We travel by bus, so we are not particularly fast about getting around town. And because of this misunderstanding, we had just started doing laundry when they called and told us to go back. I got pretty stressed out about my failure to ask the appropriate questions and let myself get surprised with information. Due to the shared laundry situation, we waited for the washers to finish and then hung wet clothes all around our apartment (well Greg did… I was still in bed quite a lot at that point).

And back to BB we went.

We got put into a little temporary room where he could do his light treatment. They used a thing called a bili-blanket, which was a sort of flexible, plastic-y blanket thing that glowed blue that Chester had to lie on. And when he was eating I also had to hold the blanket wrapped around his back.

It was well into the evening by that point. I was feeling stressed and miserable since I hadn't brought any painkillers with me (of course simply asking for some was a solution for that). And they moved us to a permanent room. And I got a dinner (unfortunately for Greg, meals are not provided for the partner). And that was when we realized they intended to keep us overnight. Somehow I thought the light treatment was a more short-term thing. But no.

I've already forgotten the timeline, but he was getting regular blood tests to check his bilirubin levels. At some point he got an additional light, which was a lamp placed above him to shine on his belly. That one also required that he wear little sunglasses, which he did not like. We had one of my favorite nurses at that time, and she managed to get him to wear his sunglasses.

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By Friday night they were happy with his bilirubin levels, but they wanted to take him out of the lights and make sure the levels kept going down without them. So we spent a second night there, but at least Chester got a break from the sunglasses and also got to be held by me or Greg all the time. Saturday morning at 6am he got his follow-up blood test. It took several hours until a doctor was able to give us the okay for going home. We were super-ready to be out of there. I'm guessing they don't often see a room evacuated quite so quickly.

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Luckily for us, we got to leave right as my mom was arriving in Uppsala, and they even came to meet us at the hospital!

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