27 September 2008

Rocket's First Week

It's hard to believe that the first week of life for Anders Rocket is now over! He spent that first week in Seattle, and in many ways it was lucky that he arrived when and where he did. We had so many people around to help us, which became even more important when we left the hospital.

Sunday night we took him home from the hospital to his grandmother's house. But shortly before we left, one of the last things that the hospital did was to draw more blood from his heel in order to continue to monitor his risk for jaundice. After having spent the previous 36 hours in the hospital with minimal sleep, we were exhausted, and this final bilirubin draw was hard to bear. The nurses drew his blood in our recovery room, and he screamed bloody murder the whole time. We could do nothing but sit and listen. I'm not sure who of the three of us was more uncomfortable.

The next challenge in getting him home was the car seat. We had bought one for ourselves and even did a trial run installing it in both of our cars, but of course it was at home. Thankfully Malinda and Jean lent us their infant car seat; it even happened to be the same model as ours, so my trial run paid off after all. They were also loaning us some of their unisex infant clothes and a bassinet, but we would have to pick up the bassinet later in the week.

Once home we needed to continue to feed him every 2-3 hours, whether he woke up or not. Thankfully, we all ended up comfortable with the 3 hour interval. We also needed to continue to supplement his breastfeeding with formula, as he wouldn't be able to get enough just yet. After a few days we had it down to a pretty good system, but feeding time was definitely a two person endeavor at this point. Since we didn't have anything lined up as a bed for him, our Mom's improvised for us. Yes, that is a suitcase. We were pretty sure he wouldn't know the difference.

Come Monday morning, we had a flurry of followup appointments: post partum checkup, pediatrician (another random selection, given that we had already selected one in Hood River), lactation consultation, blood work at the lab. The initial jaundice tests put him in a high risk category, and the results of Monday's draw showed that his levels were still rising. It was at this point that delivering in a "big city" paid off the most.

The pediatrician ordered treatment via an in-home service called "Infant Home Phototherapy." Treatment for jaundice involves exposing the skin to certain frequencies of light that help breakdown the bilirubin molecule into a water soluble form, to reduce the work that the still-developing liver has to do. This service brings a light bed into your home along with a visit from a nurse every morning to draw blood for the bilirubin test. He then sleeps on the bed - which looks very much like a flatbed scanner - with bare skin, getting the most light exposure possible. We liked to call it his "Space Bed." By mid-week when his levels still rising, the nurses brought an additional light paddle to place on his stomach. We were a little concerned that he would have problems sleeping, but they were all unfounded.

Our nurses were also trained lactation specialists and could do many of the things for which we would otherwise have needed to go to a doctor's office. As a result, after Monday we had no additional checkups outside of the house - nice! We're sure that if we had delivered in Hood River, Anders Rocket would have had to remain in the hospital for the week until the jaundice disappeared.  Not only that, these nurses were so skilled that they could do the bilirubin blood draw with no crying from Rocket!

Once we had given him a name, we told our nurse Camille on her next visit. When she came back the next day she said that she had liked the name so much that she relayed it to her 12 year old son. His response was "That's so cool - why didn't you name me Rocket?"

We ended up in Seattle for much longer than we had hoped; we were anxious to get home to Trout Lake, but we wouldn't get that opportunity until his last blood test on Sunday showed that his levels were continuing to go down even after being taken off of the bed. Being in Seattle did allow us to be waited on by Corinne's mother and all of the other visitors who stopped by to get a first glimpse at the new guy, though. So it certainly wasn't all bad. ;)

Once we got the good word on Sunday, we started to make plans for the drive home on Monday. Rocket's first road trip!

- Mike (& Corinne & Anders Rocket)


  1. Congrats on Anders Rocket! The pictures of him are really cute. I love the face he's making while Corinne kisses him. I'm sure Max and him will get along well. Max can litterbox train him :)

    - Diane

  2. I'm so happy for you guys, and excited to meet little Rocket. Simon, of course, is stoked about the choice of name, and I agree--it's a good one. Yay for new baby!

  3. Adorable newborn baby pictures - I just want to eat him up! Bah to living on the east coast when there is such a cute baby to be munched on!

    Oh and I LOVE the suitcase - they can so sleep anywhere for like the first 4 months. It's so great.

  4. cool name kids, and welcome back. i'm on my way OUT of town, but Amy and I will have to come over with our boyifiedish gift when i get back in early Nov. You guys will probably be more into visitors then anyway.