I have been nursing Everett every 3 hours since yesterday. I sat out for the 5am feeding as it took us an hour to finish the 2am session and I was just totally exhausted. As it turns out, he'd had enough after nursing for so long and didn't want anything else at 5am. So, when I returned at 8am, he was ready to go once more and nursed almost an hour before taking an extra 10mls of breast milk from a bottle and konking out for a nice nap.
My milk has come in and I have been able to keep up with Everett's demands by coming back to the hospital room and pumping after he eats. Thank goodness I am producing enough to cover his eating plus extra for the nurses to keep on hand for supplementing as needed. I have had great support from friends, family and breastfeeding mothers offering to help us with donor milk as necessary. I know this is a taboo subject for some, but I really want to thank these mothers for their selfless generosity and empathy for our situation. To breast feed in the NICU is, at best, stressful. There are no bedside sessions, wires, tubes and tape must be moved, monitors go off constantly, stickers come unstuck, and babies are often unable to cooperate at all due to medical circumstances. The mother's milk doesn't always come in on time - or at all - despite best efforts. I feel very lucky that I can even create this opportunity for Everett and myself. To have other mothers offer their wonderful nourishment in an effort to provide the best possible nutrition for our baby is absolutely humbling. Thank you to those who have offered. I will keep your offers in mind, but for now, our little one is doing very very well drinking "straight from the tap" so I'll keep things as simple as possible in hopes that his great eating continues.
Having said that, his billirubin levels are elevated as of this morning. Yesterday, they were at a 9 and today, a 15. None of this is at all surprising. Breast fed babies often have elevated billirubin for a few days - and even up to a week post birth. Add to that the trauma Everett faced and his aspiration followed by 48 hours of nothing at all to eat and it's absolutely understandable that jaundice has come to visit. (understandable does not mean it's not concerning or a little frustrating - this set back could easily cost us a few more days...). At the time I left this morning, Everett was still just swaddled in a blanket. However, the NP hadn't finished her rounds just yet so he may be under a billi light when I return. I am hoping that I will still be allowed to nurse though as his levels are not critical but we'll see. As I've said before, whatever it takes (within reason of course) to get us all under the same roof again...With him eating so well, he may just be able to process the extra billirubin and get through this quickly...or, if his levels continue to rise, it could easily interfere with his eagerness to feed and set us back there as well...
I think I am doing well under the circumstances. Obviously, this caught me off guard. I had about a 1% chance of rupture should I have push to full labor...wow. 1%. That's a bit mind blowing to even think about. Many l/d nurses never see a uterine rupture at all - many physicians see only 1 or 2 in their life time. I had an awful lot of pain during the first 2 days but am feeling a little better all the time now. Comparatively speaking, the pain of the section is peanuts compared to the pain of the rupture so I think that, along with the fact that I have a HUGE incentive to get up and go with Everett in the NICU and Mary Louise and David needing their Momma back asap has helped my recovery along nicely.
I haven't had any major swelling, my blood pressure is surprisingly stable and my belly is going down a little more each day. I am walking to and from the NICU as well as ambulating around the hospital and room as necessary so I am certainly able to do much for myself already.
Brent has been here most of the days and each night to help me as well. Tonight, Mommon is coming to stay with me and Brent is going to spend some time with ML and D who, I think need a little parental attention after a few days of separation.
Of course I have lots of questions about all that has happened and am starting a list to go over for my follow up appointment with my regular OB. Right now, I am just focused on making sure our sweet Sugs is getting what he needs to continue his wonderful progress.
Must run - feeding time!