As easy as Anna’s birth was, managing to get her home was a completely different story. We informed the nurses that we wanted to leave after lunch on Sunday. We had our bags packed, baby ready and by 3pm we were STILL waiting for the doctor to check her out. As it turns out, they were worried about her bilirubin levels because she was starting to look jaundiced. 80% of premature babies develop jaundice because the liver isn’t quite ready to break it down. After hours of waiting, they informed us that Anna would have to go home with a “bili bed” and stay on it at all times except for eating and diaper changes. After more waiting for the bili bed to arrive and even more waiting for the stupid wheel chair that I didn’t need, we were finally on our way home close to 6pm. Anna was so small, the car seat simply swallowed her.
I was looking forward to a nice, quiet welcome home. When we brought Audrey home, we introduced her to the animals, gave her
a tour of the house and fussed over her like only first-time parents can do (all embarrassingly on video tape, of course). With Anna, we came home to chaos and my high strung postpartum hormones in over drive. My mom was home with Audrey and two of my sisters had gone to pick up my cousin from college for Thanksgiving vacation. As chance would have it, we all arrived at our house at the same time, including my cousin’s young puppy.
Imagine the scene… our dog going crazy because there’s another dog in the house, a completely frazzled, exhausted mom (me) bringing her premature, jaundiced baby home after 5 stressful hours of waiting in the hospital, not knowing if they were going to let us take her home with us, a two-year-old taking a late nap after being totally out of her schedule for 3 days, a stressed-out dad trying to put hook up a bili bed that looks like a straightjacket for his 2-day-old little girl. It was a disaster. I couldn’t take it. Audrey woke up with all the racket going on and she was so tired that she couldn’t stop crying. Anna started crying because she was hungry. I had to feed her, but Audrey wouldn’t let me put her down. Jack was going crazy over this other dog and I felt like I had a party going on in my house. Then, to top it off, the drawer had broken on the changing table, so I couldn’t get anything out that I needed and I when I put Anna in that stupid bili bed, I just lost it completely. Poor Justin probably thought his life was over 🙂 Thankfully, my mom, sisters and cousin realized that we needed to be alone to figure all this out and they quickly excused themselves from the chaos.
I slept on the floor in Anna’s room that night because I couldn’t leave her all alone in that awful looking thing. Intellectually, I knew it was good for her, but it just seemed so awful to have her confined to it and not being able to snuggle with her was a killer. I must confess that I made her “feedings” last longer than necessary just so I could hold her for a few more precious minutes. Thankfully, when the nurse came the next day to take her blood, the bilirubin levels had gone down and they came to take away that silly bed. Through it all, Anna was the sweetest, most laid back baby I’ve ever seen (and still is to this day). She slept in that contraption and never fussed at all. If she had a motto, it would definitely be “go with the flow.” Her high strung mother is forever thankful!