When we brought Tate home from the hospital the doctors were worried about a few things. He hadn’t gone poo that day and his bilirubin levels were at an 11, meaning that he was at a high risk of developing jaundice. The doctor said if we just kept breastfeeding him things would be fine.
The next day, we had a checkup to evaluate Tate’s biluribun levels and to talk about his lack of bowel movements. Our eccentric little doctor said his levels were improving and to keep breast feeding often to help him with his bowel. He said to call if he hadn’t pooped in 24 hours.
We were watching our son like hawks; at any gurgle of the tummy or whiff of gas we were just sure he had finally gone. In fact, it got to the point that both my husband and I had our noses down by his diaper frequently in hopes of poop. Saturday afternoon rolled around with no poop. We called our doctor and he didn’t seem too overly concerned. “Just keep feeding and it will come”, he said. On top of that, we were also noticing that he was getting more yellow and we were getting more worried. We tried stimulating his rectum with a thermometer (yeah, you read that right) and even moving his legs in a bicycle motion. We supplemented breast feedings with formula, fearing he wasn’t getting enough to eat. And we waited.
The doctor said if he went another 24 hours without going we should call in. Sunday rolled around and our sweet little babe still hadn’t gone. His skin was as yellow as I had seen it and he was so tired I could barely get him to feed. We had been trying to get him exposed to natural sunlight, but of course it had rained for 3 days straight.
We called the doctor on Sunday, and because Monday was a holiday he was concerned enough he thought we should hit the weekend children’s clinic. We called ahead of time and they said they couldn’t do the bilirubin testing and generally didn’t treat babies as young as ours. They suggested the children’s hospital ER. Fear ran through my heart. The ER is where the sick babies go. The ER is for emergencies, was this an emergency? The ER is notoriously expensive. I cried. A lot. And then we went.
Read Part 2 of our story here.
Understanding Baby Cries: What the tears really mean, and how to soothe them!