Later that same day, I got a call from the pedi's nurse, saying that Ben's bilirubin levels were "really high", and they were sending someone over with bililights for home phototherapy. So for the next 36 hours, this is where Ben spent his time...
We called it the "baby tanning bed". The tube coming out the end there is connected to a paddle, which emits the same light that the bed does - that way he got maximum skin coverage. When I fed him, I had to hold this paddle up against his back. Oh, and I was ordered to make sure he ate every 2 hours, because that also helped to break up and secrete the bilirubin. The night he spent in the tanning bed was rough (for me, anyway) - I stayed up with him, feeding him 30 minutes out of every 2 hours, and napping on the recliner in between. That has to be the worst night I've had, out of them all!
Fortunately, he responded really well to the treatment, and he was finished with that after a day and a half - and that included breaks in between to go to the pediatrician each day (days 7 & 8) - and, since our pedi was on vacation, we had to go to the hospital both those days as well, to get his heel stuck again.
Day 9 - Our 10-day follow-up at the Birth Center. Fairly routine, everything checked out well. We told the midwife our jaundice story, and bragged about how well he did with the phototherapy. He got his footprints put on the wall of the Birth Center (those are his at the top):
Day 10 - Newborn hearing screening at local hearing/speech therapy clinic. Normally, this is done in the hospital, but we didn't have a hospital birth, so we had to get it done elsewhere. He failed, we scheduled a retest for a few weeks later.
Day 12 - Routine 2-week visit to pediatrician. Ben finally makes it back to birth weight.
Day 33 - Follow-up hearing screening. Failed again. Told to go on to a more thorough Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test. That test is scheduled for early May.
Day 36 - Routine 1-month visit. Still looking good.
Day 38 - Six-week post-partum check-up. This one's for me, though Ben did tag along. Everything checked out nicely, released to resume normal activity.
Day 55 - Ben goes to pediatrician for a persistant and unusual-sounding cough. Another heel stick for bloodwork. I get a call that evening that he has a "highly contagious viral infection" in his chest. Told to come in first thing the next morning.
Day 56 - Back to pediatrician - diagnosis: RSV. Sent home with a nebulizer and a prescription for albuterol to use with it. Told to give breathing treatments every 6 hours and come back in two days.
Day 56, part 2 - Right after visiting the pedi, we head to the hearing clinic to get the ABR test. Results: inconclusive, but mostly good. He's not deaf, there are just some slight hearing difficiences showing, probably due to fluid still lingering. Could've been from the RSV, could've been from something else. Repeat ABR scheduled for late June. If he still doesn't pass that one, it will be on to an ENT for more testing.
Day 58 - Back to pedi again. Not sure the point of this visit, except that the pedi listened to his lungs and said his breathing was getting better. Told to continue treatments "as needed." (We did, for a couple of days, and then sort of petered out...he hated that oxygen mask!)
Day 67 - Routine 2-month pedi visit. No more RSV, and Ben had gained a pound since the last visit, 10 days prior! What a growth spurt! He also did quite well with his vaccinations - 3 shots and 1 oral. He slept most of the afternoon, but the two doses of (generic, due to the recall) children's Tylenol I gave him seemed to keep the fever at bay.
So as you can see, we've had quite enough of medical visits over the past couple of months! Fortunately, as I mentioned earlier, everything has been fairly minor, and today we have a very healthy and very happy baby! Speaking of which, he just woke up from his nap, and it's going to be time to feed soon! I'd better be going. I'll be back for more soon!