So later in the day yesterday we got the results of Emilia’s head ultrasound. We were told all-in-all it was “unremarkable” and there was nothing to cause concern. The NNP Tara did mention that there were two bright spots, or cysts, located inside her brain; however, they were not anything to be worried about. “Nothing to be worried about” has become a code phrase for me, it activates the google sleeper agents inside of me for better or worse.
I did a little bit (okay, a lot) of research and came to the conclusion that outside of obvious bleeding there isn’t much known about the impacts of various cysts, bright spots, or just plain normal head scans on whether a premature baby develops cerebral palsy later in life. As a creature of logic and firm answers this frustrated me but, like the old adage, ill have to learn to accept the things I cannot control.
Today I stayed home in the morning for cleaning duty (we have guests coming tonight) while Lauren went in to the hospital to be with Emilia. I was wrist deep in dirty dishwater when she told me Emilia had lost 60 grams, just a little over 2 ounces, overnight. I sat on my worry for a while as the doctors hadn’t yet come along to speak with Lauren. Loosing weight? Isn’t that the wrong way? An hour or two later I had good news. The doctors were not worried about the weight loss. Emilia hadn’t had any regurgitation so she was digesting her food, it was just a matter of bumping up her intake possibly if the weight loss continued. I felt reassured by their lack of concern.
On the milk front Lauren is doing well. She graduated from the tiny cannisters a few days ago and today it looks like shes jumping up again! Lauren appreciates being able to provide something of benefit to Emilia, although the nighttime wake ups don’t seem fun, and it looks like her body is cooperating for future breastfeeding. Prior to Emilia’s birth there was some worry about this as a lot of people we know have had lots of trouble in this department.
Lets talk jaundice for a minute. Premature babies are more likely than their full-term counterparts to develop jaundice. Jaundice is a result of the liver, basically the body’s faucet filter, not being able to clean up all of the bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin, despite its pokemonesque name, is a natural product from the once again nature breakdown of red blood cells. Left unchecked it results in a yellowish tint to the skin and eventually brain damage.
Emilia, not one to be left behind by her peers, developed a nice case of jaundice which had to be treated as of her fourth day of life. The nurses showed me how they checked for bilirubin using a cool gadget which is placed on Emilia’s skin (there is also a blood test which can be used). As a premature baby gets older they can tolerate higher and higher levels of bilirubin; however, in Emilia’s case she needed some therapy.
You know all those warnings against tanning beds? Get ready to watch your newborn bask in their glow. Phototherapy is the treatment for jaundice in premature babies. Emilia was given a nice eye mask (with a dab of eye gel underneath on each eye to keep them moist) and a light was placed over her isolette. For the next forty-eight hours she was turned like a slow-roast chicken from side to side to ensure an even treatment. During this time we were still able to hold her, but only for short periods of time (about an hour each).
On the second day of Emilia’s treatment she was placed back onto the CPAP (it was removed after the first day as they felt she was doing well). The doctor during rounds noticed that her little chest was working harder than it should, and diverting important calories away from growing to power it, so he ordered the CPAP for an additional day.
After two days Emilia was tested and we were told her bilirubin levels were within a normal range for her age. I was thankful we could hold her for as long as we wanted now and I think my eyes were a little thankful not to be living inside of a disco anymore.
That’s all for now! Hopefully she grows a little bit tonight!
PS – Bonus pic of Emilia with mom today!