That's right folks, she didn't come home today. Her bilirubin was a bit lower this morning, down to 10.9 from 11.6, but not low enough to get off the bililights. I went in at 9 and fed her, and my did that feel good. The milk that had come in yesterday but not come HARD in, meaning it was still at pretty low levels all day and night (which was kinda a blessing in disguise last night, I only had to express a few drops once for comfort, so I only have to suffer one real night of engorgement), suddenly let down and soaked through my nightgown at 7:30 in the morning. All of a sudden engorgement came on hard and fast, and I was harassing everyone to get ready NOW because I could not stand much more of this and Maggie REALLY needed to eat!
We went to the hospital, kids' breakfast in hand, and they set us up in LDR 1, which is the labor/delivery/recovery room right next to the nursery. Since it's down a hallway and away from the other rooms it is the last LDR room they fill, for the nurses' convenience, and it also happens to be slightly bigger and nicer than the rest! Since Sunday is a slow day for LDR rooms, it was a convenient empty space, and it was designated "our" room for the day as long as no one else needed it. We weren't allowed to touch the bed or use the bathroom, which have to be kept ready in case a patient needs to use it, but we were allowed to use the chairs and such, and of course since Maggie is still not discharged we could ask at the nursery for anything we needed for her-- they are still providing the diapers, wipes, any formula she needs (now that my milk had come in we'd switched from supplementing every other feeding to offering formula if she is still hungry after emptying both breasts, just to make sure she gets as much fluid to clear that bilirubin as possible.) It's nice not to have to worry about that.
We moved chairs from the table that sits in LDR 1, sat the kids down with cartoons in front of the tv, and that kept them occupied for a while, but they were just way wound up. We decided that staying in the room with Maggie with the kids running wild while patients were trying to rest(and me fretting about what her level would be) was counter-productive, and once I'd seen and held her for a while (she ate for almost an hour-- good baby-holding time) I felt better, not so clingy and anxious, so we told them we were going to take the kids out for a walk and would be back, since all Maggie would be doing was sleeping anyway. They told us that the doctor would be in in about an hour at that point and to call then to find out what was going on. So we went down to the Farmer's Market/Family Fun Fair they hold on Sundays down in Montrose, just a few blocks from the hospital, which normally we would never ever do on Sunday-- but we really needed occupation for the sake of all our sanity while Jeff and I worried about Maggie, and the activity was good for the kids, who were hyper as all get-out. We walked around, and Emma requested "When the Saints Go Marching In" from the Dixieland band that was playing (they are probably heartily sick of that song but I didn't think they would mind a request from a four-year-old-- they didn't-- and she really loves that song, she danced and looked so thrilled to hear it that it made them all grin and smile.)
When that was done we got some drinks and sat in the shade (it was HOT), and Jeff called the hospital just in time to catch the doctor. He explained that her bilirubin was too high still, and that it was still in the high risk zone-- BUT that it was down a bit, not rising, and so that was a good thing. He also explained that even if she had the exact same level tomorrow, she would be out of the high risk zone, and able to go home, because of the older age! So I was almost crying that she would stay another night-- but happy that we were pretty much guaranteed to take her home the next day.
Then we went back, got settled, and I fed her again. Jeff took the kids home for a nap, which they took, and I stayed all day in LDR 1, just nursing Maggie. In between nursing she was able to be in the room with me, in the bilibed (which, btw, is a Medela Bilibed, complete with little sleeper-type cover featuring a duck-- pictures have been taken, of course, and you will see her in it eventually; sorry, not up to that quite yet, probably tomorrow) and I laid back on the recliner (the same type that Jeff napped in while I was in labor, the one intended for the support person, so pretty cushy and comfortable.) I actually got several hours of sleep between feedings that way-- which really, really helped, I have to say. Lack of sleep and food due to anxiety was part of my problem last night, I think. After naps Jeff took the kids over to my mom's, then came to see us at the hospital. I fed Maggie one more time before dinner, and then we went to my mom's house for dinner. She had asked me what I would like and I told her pot roast, so she made me pot roast. I love my mommy. She also made an orange cake because Emma had asked for it, and she made applesauce jell-o (minus apple chunks, with strawberry jell-o and cinnamon applesauce) which we used to bribe Emma to finish ALL of her pot roast, potatoes, carrots, and most of her salad, plus a few bites of biscuit. I was amazed! I had thought she was going to be picky, but the wonders applesauce jell-o will do...
Then all of a sudden my milk came in hard again. Every time that had happened all day it had meant Maggie was about to wake up and be ready to eat. We hustled out but it was ten minutes by the time we left (because the kids unexpectedly wanted to come right then instead of staying with my mom and going home with Jeff after he dropped me), and had been almost half an hour when we got there. Sure enough, she was hungry! Apparently she had NOT been behaving for the nurses, oops! She had cried and cried and only taken 20 ccs of formula despite acting VERY hungry. As soon as I got her in my arms, though, the crying stopped cold! Before I even lifted my shirt she opened her eyes wide and looked contentedly at me! I guess she just wanted her mama-- which made me feel very, very good. I know it's irrational but I had been feeling like a failure because my milk hadn't come in the day before (which had more to do with her being too lethargic from the jaundice to be nursing well than anything I could do) and I think feeling like anyone could take care of her at least as well as I could because she had to be in the nursery all night. It felt really, really good to have that confirmation that I, as her mother, was not only important but ESSENTIAL to her, that she knew me, and that she preferred me to someone else! To make me feel even better, the nurse said that in the last 12 hours she had gained 1/2 an ounce! Yay, all that milk was doing something! And she had just had a VERY green poop (green poop is a good sign in jaundiced babies because it means they're breaking down and passing the bilirubin.) Anyway, she nursed REALLY well, twice in a row, and then settled in. (In the meantime, Jeff and the kids went home after everyone said "goodnight" to Maggie and gave her kisses. I got hugs and kisses, too.) I took one more nap, then nursed her once more (and called my mom), then got her all burped, settled in, and when my mom called to say she was there, I kissed Maggie once more, left her at the nursery, and went down and my mom drove me home. (She also brought us leftovers. Which was nice of her.) And I didn't even cry (although I did a bit later, with Jeff.)
Anyway, the plan is for me to get through tonight as best I can, express some milk as necessary (and maybe get enough to make it worth freezing), hopefully even sleep a couple of hours (although I really don't know if I can manage it without Maggie), and then all get up early, get ready, call the hospital to find out when she ate, and get there in time to give her her next feeding. Then hang around (although again I may stay there and have Jeff take the girls somewhere-- Montrose is right there and the shopping district includes a toy store that allows touching and playing with floor models, and a very cool kids' book store, among other things they might like, or there's even a kids' play area in the ER waiting room they might enjoy), and wait for the doctor to come and tell us it's okay to take our baby home! (It's extremely, extremely unlikely that her level will be even as high as it was today, considering all that green poop, frequent nursing, and the fact that she looks less orange than she did yesterday! But even if it was as high as long as it had not climbed a couple of points we would be good to take her home!) I am just praying that everything works well because we want her with us!