Tessa writes: The first 12 days with Elin

After a 14-hour delivery we could finally close our little girl in our arms. Elin was born on 5 December at 10.07, after a gestation period of 36 weeks and 5 days.
We already took into account the fact that we would stay in the hospital for a few days and we thought, and hoped, that we would be allowed to go home on Thursday. Otherwise probably on Friday. That was slightly different.


Elin developed after her birth jaundice, as a result of a too high bilirubin content. This is an increased risk in, among other things, premature babies and babies that have been brought into the world by means of the vacuum pump. This was the case with both of them. We had to stay in the hospital until the liver breaks down the bilirubin itself. Elin was helped a little by phototherapy where she is lying on a light mat.

This light converts the bilirubin into a water-soluble variant which then leaves her body via urine and feces. On this mat she had 1 session of 24 hours but hereafter, the bilirubin was still too high and she had to undergo another 12 hours of phototherapy. After this, the doctor looks at whether she would break down the bilirubin herself without phototherapy and indeed, the value in her blood without the light mat was lower. Well done!

Her weight

Her weight dropped after the birth from 3025 grams to 2690 grams, a decrease of 10% is allowed and this was just on the edge. What to do? Feed only as often as possible and that means breastfeeding every 2-3 hours, possibly afterwards a bottle of milk. In the hospital they were very helpful in this and I could always breastfeed or ask for help from the nurses or midwives in the ward. The weight went up slowly after intensive feeding.

Finally home with Elin

We were finally allowed to go home Monday evening, after almost a week in the hospital. Broken nights and still tired of the delivery I was very relieved and happy. Finally fresh air, together with Elin home, to my husband, the dogs and a familiar environment.

The introduction to our two huskies went very well! We first let them sniff at a cloth that Elin used to care about in the hospital. Our bitch Pepper clearly cared less than our male Nomad, who thought it was very exciting and strange and stayed with me and the baby in the neighborhood. But after a few days they have found their turn and they only occasionally lick Elin's hands.

The nights are short and I am happy when I can sleep for 3 hours in a row. If there is to be fed, we are a real team. I breastfeed and my husband goes out for a clean diaper and possibly a bottle of extra food. And fortunately there is also my mother who cares for our dogs when we have to go to the hospital and help us in the house.

The jaundice gets worse

On Wednesday we had to go back to the hospital, 1.5 hours drive, for control of bilirubin and weight. Elin had gained 60 grams but her bilirubin now had a value of more than 300, higher than she had ever had. When I saw that I had to cry and we both thought:

"How can it suddenly rise and it has become increasingly lower?"

According to the pediatrician, this is possible and he did not seem to be worried about it. We were also allowed to go home and had to lower the bilirubin by letting her drink as much as possible. This causes the bilirubin to be excreted in the small intestine instead of being absorbed into the blood again. This we have done, at every awake moment tried if they wanted to drink something and after the breastfeeding always given a bottle.

Even more complications

This proved effective because on Friday we were back in hospital and the bilirubin had dropped again. But unfortunately that was not all there were perhaps more complications after the birth of Elin. The pediatrician listened to her heart and thought to hear a sound that could be linked to an open duct. This is a vein that connects the pulmonary artery to the aorta and grows close after birth. However, it is possible that it remains open and this is especially possible in preterm infants, such as Elin.

We were quite startled by this news and the pediatrician said that to check whether his suspicions were correct we had to make an ultrasound of her heart. After 10 minutes he came back and arranged for us that we would be ready in an hour so that we did not have to come back again. In the waiting room I was looking for some information about this open ductus and it did not seem very serious to me at first. We were called in and Elin was examined with the echo for about 15-20 minutes and the conclusion was: no heart defect. However, she gets another check if she is 2 months old.

Besides all hospital visits, everything goes perfectly with us. She is a sweet, lively child and we enjoy it to the fullest.

We are already walking with her being and she has already had her first bath. The stump of the umbilical cord has been released and her yellow color has become less visible since today.

How happy we are, but also very proud of our beautiful girl!

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