Now that The Conception Diaries have come to an end, and following the arrival of our longed-for baby, I have decided that I would like to track his progress for at least the first year in my new series ‘Raising Rex’. The first month has not been easy and I believe that any one with a newborn would agree with me! But the amazing thing about a new baby is how they make up for this in just how wonderfully cute they are. This is coupled with the fact that I want to remember every single moment of his early days.
The first 24 hours
After getting a bed on the maternity ward, the morning passed quickly and then at 2pm – visiting hours – my mum and stepdad arrived closely followed by Ross and Grace. Mum had originally come down on the Friday and was only going to stay the night as she was supposed to have an eye operation on the Monday. However, when I got admitted she decided to stay longer and postpone the operation so as not to miss the arrival of her eighth grandchild.
Mum and Ian came to visit bearing gifts before they made their way home. They were closely followed by Ross’ parents who brought the most gorgeous balloon with them – one for Rex’s keepsake box – together with a beautiful blanket which Ross’ mum had made.
The paediatrician came round that afternoon to do all of Rex’s checks and take some bloods. They would normally check him over the following day but, because of concerns over his raspy breathing, she came earlier. Thankfully all was fine with this. She commented that he looked a little yellow but nothing to be concerned about.
Ross and Grace stayed for longer as partners and children were allowed on the ward up until 10pm. They held Rex whilst I ate my dinner.
Once they had gone I knew that first night was going to be a test – and I wasn’t wrong! Basically Rex cried all night. The midwives were really helpful and took him off me a couple of times. I realised that he had bad wind and between us we tried our best to ease this.
As morning arrived, the support nurse came round to help me express some colostrum to help Rex with his feeding. I had forgotten how tricky the early days of breastfeeding were.
Ross and Grace came to see us the next morning – and they were very welcome visitors as they both took it in turns to hold Rex in both the morning and afternoon as I caught up on my sleep. We had allowed Grace both the Monday and Tuesday off school. It is not every day your baby brother makes his way into the world!
Being discharged from hospital
After being checked over by the midwife and providing me with my Clexane injections – a 10 day dose – the hospital confirmed that we were able to go home on the Wednesday. Clexane were the injections I had in the early days following the IVF and now I had to take them again to prevent the risk of clotting. The midwife did comment again on Rex’s yellow tinge and felt that there was a hint of jaundice but not so much as to not allow us to go home.
Ross and Grace turned up at 6pm to pick us up but it took far longer than anticipated. The midwife who came to remove Rex’s security tag (to prevent someone taking him out of the hospital) also voiced her concern about jaundice and started to advise us what to look out for. All I really heard was ‘brain damage’. It was pretty scary but, as they were happy to let us go, I tried to put it to the back of my mind.
The first night at home
We got home and I have to admit that I felt slightly out of sorts. I know that this is normal as I can remember feeling similar when I came home with Grace.
After having dinner and getting Grace off to bed, Ross and I prepared ourselves. I have to admit that I had forgotten just how difficult it was. Ross and I spent the whole night passing Rex backwards and forwards to each other as he cried. It was a nightmare. The following day I told Ross that I had forgotten that this is what happened! Looking at Rex though we both knew it was all worth it.
Monitoring the jaundice
The next morning two midwives came to pay us a home visit. I dissolved into tears on one of them due to being totally overwhelmed, tired and concerned. They were so supportive and told me that I was doing a great job.
They checked Rex and looked at his skin. They asked us to make sure we gave him some sunlight to disperse the jaundice and keep making sure that he fed.
The following day we visited the midwife at the children’s centre in Crewkerne, then saw another midwife again on the Saturday and Sunday.
The midwife we saw at the weekend – Sue – said on the Saturday that if Rex hadn’t put on any weight the following day then she would test his bilirubin levels. He had put on weight so she wasn’t worried but asked us to come back on the Tuesday for checking over again.
When we arrived at the drop in clinic on Tuesday, we were seen by midwife Michelle. She seemed very concerned by his colour and, because he hadn’t gained or lost any weight, she decided to take bloods to test the bilirubin levels for jaundice. She told us that we could go home and that they would call if there were any issues.
Re-admitted to hospital
We got home just before Grace arrived back from school. Ross decided to go for a sleep and, just after he did, the phone rang 3 separate times. The first was the Health Visitor making an appointment. The second was Michelle, the midwife. She told me that we were to bring Rex back to hospital. They were re-admitting him but this time to the SCBU and I was to bring an overnight bag as I was staying.
After I put the phone down I was shaking. It rang again and I had to cut Grace’s piano teacher short. By this time, due to all the phone calls, Ross had gotten up again! I told him what had happened and went to re-pack my bag which thankfully still had most things in it from coming home the previous week.
Ross, Grace and I drove back to the hospital with Rex all in a bit of a state of shock. I messaged the grandparents to let them all know and, we pulled up outside the hospital. As I went to get Rex’s car seat out I caught my foot on the kerb and fell over with him in the car seat. I made sure I protected him. Ross and Grace helped me up. I was so upset and was finding everything really difficult.
Under the UV light
A difficult and scary afternoon as our gorgeous Rex is admitted to hospital for concerns over his jaundice following a blood test. He is currently receiving phototherapy and IV fluids. There was talk initially of possibly moving him to Bristol hospital for a blood transfusion but thankfully this is looking less likely as his bilirubin levels have decreased. Further blood tests are going to be done overnight and we hope the levels will continue to go down. Rex and I will be in hospital for at least a few days as our strong little lad does his best to fight this off.
We arrived back on the maternity ward. We were shown to a private room where I was to stay – complete with it’s own bathroom and TV and right next to the SCBU – and waited for the nurse to come and fetch us.
We took Rex through to SCBU and went to a room right at the end of the corridor. The machines in that room were rather overwhelming and scary. They took Rex, removed his clothes and put a special mask on him to protect his eyes and then placed him under the UV lights. There were 3 different units focusing on him. They then proceeded to put a cannula in his hand and put him on a drip. I found this really upsetting but not as much as when they started talking about blood transfusions and the possible transfer to Bristol Hospital.
I can remember Ross looking so worried and upset, We kept offering words of support to each other. I was trying hard not to cry and Grace, bless her, just kept holding my hand and stroking my back telling me that it would be OK.
The next few days
The next 24 hours were some of the scariest of my life. The results came back from Rex’s first round of blood tests. Thankfully the bilirubin levels were not high enough to worry about a transfer. Once things had settled and we knew Rex was out of any initial danger, Ross and Grace went home. I went back to my room and felt a bit helpless but used the chance to at least rest.
Thank you so much to everyone for all their messages of support. Rex is doing really well. His bilirubin levels are down to nearly half of what they were yesterday, they have reduced the UV lights and IV fluids and he is feeding well. His colour has really improved too. They will be testing him again this evening and we are going to be in hospital for at least another night. This is his thinking pose after a feed this morning! 😍
I went through to feed Rex regularly as well as express where I could. The nurses came to wake me during the night when Rex needed me and I found it comforting to be able to feed our boy. It was tricky as he had the drip in his hand and I was worried about dislodging anything.
Regular blood tests were taken and, as his bilirubin levels came down, the UV lights were gradually removed. Finally, that night, they took Rex off his drip and, on the Thursday morning, they wheeled his crib back to my room and kept us another night for monitoring. Ross and Grace came to visit on the Wednesday, Ross’ parents came on the Thursday and, finally, on the Friday Rex and I were allowed to go home once again.
Lost weight and increasing the feeds
The following day a midwife was supposed to visit but had to cancel due to lack of staff. I was worried that I wasn’t producing enough milk to help Rex to gain weight so Ross and I took a trip into town, whilst Grace was out, to pick up some formula just in case.
The following day a midwife did come to visit and I was pleased that we had bought some formula as she agreed that we would need to top up Rex’s feeds and help him gain back all the weight he had lost. So Ross and I started to add in extra to help him to get bigger. We started off with Aptamil but then changed to Hipp Organic as this is what I used with Grace and found better.
Discharged from the midwives
Each day, the week after we had been discharged, a midwife either rang or visited. The Health Visitor, Debbie also came to see us and, as well as weighing him, she checked his hearing which was absolutely fine. Gradually Rex was getting there and the following Sunday – 16th July – when Rex was almost back at his birth weight and I was continually showing signs of improving with regards to my health, we were discharged from the midwives care. I did have to have one of the doctors come and check me over as I felt like someone had been blowing a balloon up inside my ovaries. Thankfully they found nothing serious and it appeared that I was just suffering from a bit of constipation and wind. I have to say that I felt like we had made quite a lot of progress, even though I was still finding the feeding hard.
The weight gain moment
The following day we had our second appointment with the Health Visitor, I went to meet her at the children’s centre in Crewkerne and another health visitor, already there, weighed Rex. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried when they told me that he weighed 7lb 13oz. 4 oz over his birth weight. They were really understanding as to why I was so emotional.
I was waiting a while but due to a misunderstanding, Debbie, our health visitor, turned up at our house. I rang Ross who confirmed that she was there and I came back to chat with her and also had Rex measured.
The first month was a real challenge but I was so glad that we ended it on a high.