By: Kerrie Olejarz
Saturday we had to take Cailyn in for her Day Three pediatrician visit. Dr Tandon, the senior pediatrician, was such a lovely man and shared as much info with us as possible. He did a thorough exam on Cailyn, reviewed her birth blood test results, told us her blood type, etc. Then he told us, as we suspected he would, that she was jaundiced. He wanted to run a Bilirubin test and admit her for some UV therapy to clear it up. He took a lot of time detailing to us what causes jaundice, when it normally spikes, and the consequences of not treating it appropriately. As awful as it was, his advice was taken seriously by both Mark and me and we headed right away to admitting to get it all started. We were shown a room pricing schedule, and of course the only rooms available were the Delux and VIP –the most expensive on the list!
We asked to see the rooms first before choosing. Deluxe was a private room with a small washroom, nothing too horrible. As we headed to the third floor to see the VIP room, we bumped into our surrogate, Sumita. Well, what a scene in the hallway, outside the elevators! I reached out to hug her, and the tears started. I was bawling out of control. Here in front of me stood the amazing woman who sacrificed her emotions to give me a baby. All of the guilt I had piled up inside me flowed out in the hallway! Sumita was teared up and very anxious to see Cailyn. As she wiped her eyes with her beautiful Sari she opened the bassinet to see Cailyn. Once she did, we could see relief in Sumita’s eyes through the tears. One woman with her spoke English and took the time to translate for us, telling us Sumita was so very happy to see that the baby is healthy and we are happy. I think Sumita needed this for closure. She was just now being discharged from the c-section, so I am sure her emotions were high, and her hormones a mess. We were beyond thrilled to have this chance meeting with her. We had hoped to make arrangements through the clinic to meet up with her over the next week or so, but this chance meeting and all the emotions were beyond wonderful! I could not stop crying –bawling, to be exact. I was an emotional wreck!! Sumita was leaving the hospital and we gave her hugs, and words of thanks and love.
As this all happened the poor security guard showing us around probably wondered what the hell had just gone down!
The VIP room was right there and as we entered it, I could not get a grip on my emotions. I sat on the couch in the room, almost hyperventilating! The security guard said he would give me some time and left the room. Mark and I sat on the couch and he took very good care to hold on to me and help me through this overwhelming moment. All the while Cailyn slept in her bassinet, oblivious to what had just happened. I managed to collect myself a bit and we decided on the VIP room. Once I felt I was under control, we headed back down to admissions to let them know our room selection.
Soon after, a nurse brought in the UV bed for Cailyn, and Dr Tandon explained the requirements of Cailyn receiving the UV therapy for the next 24 hours. Before starting the therapy, Cailyn had to get some blood work in the ever-familiar nursery. The nurse drew Cailyn’s blood from the top of her hand, and Cailyn barely cried. We then returned her to our room to start the UV treatment. We had to strip Cailyn down to her diaper and put an eye mask on her. As soon as the nurse plugged in and turned on the UV bed, the room glowed bright blue. We placed Cailyn in the bed, on the hard plexi-glass base. It was heartbreaking to see her there, and we imagined she was probably quite uncomfortable. Dr T had said that most babies tolerate it well until about the 12-hour point where they then start to express the desire to get the heck out of this contraption. We were only allowed to take her out for feeding and changing.
And so it began…we had 24 hours of this, in a room that felt like a sauna, with our hearts breaking for our baby as she lay there taking her treatment.
After a few hours we decided to take turns going back to the B&B for a shower and to pick up a few things. I went first, grabbed a rickshaw, and headed back. When I got back to the B&B I had another meltdown over seeing Sumita, and agonizing over our poor baby lying in such an uncomfortable bed. I managed to still get a shower, pack up some stuff for Cailyn and myself, touch base with the boys at the B&B who were worried about the baby, and then head back to the hospital. When I returned, Cailyn was hungry, so I unpacked the kettle and formula and got a bottle ready. Mark made sure we were settled into the feed then left to go for his shower and grab food for us. Poor little lamb was all warm from the UV lamp and the intense heat in the room, and of course…hungry!
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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