Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jaundice in newborn

I still remember when Ayesha Amani was 5 days old, she was diagnosed for 'jaundice' by the house visiting nurse.  I actually noticed that my baby has turned a little yellowish a few days before, but then my mom's lighting was all yellow so I thought it could be just that.  I took this a little too lightly, yes because I didn't know that jaundice could be severe and that it can have a lifelong effect on my baby. 

What is jaundice?  It is the presence of yellowish tinge on your infant's body and sometimes the eyes.  Amani was yellow all over including her both eyes. 

Hubby and I immediately took my baby to the hospital, they took her blood and her bilirubin reading was 350 which was considered as 'severe jaundice'.  What would be the result if it goes any higher, say up to 400?  My baby would be in for blood transfusion. So what happen if left untreated, I remember asking the doctor- and he said late detection and if left untreated, jaundice may cause brain damage.  I was speechless.  Little did I know that something as 'small' as jaundice will cause such severe damage to a baby.

Amani's skin had burnt terribly under
the phototheraphy light.
Small?  Yes, to me it was small back then.  I grew up knowing that jaundice is a common problem.  I grew up being told that if your baby shows any signs of jaundice, just leave her in the morning sun for a while and it will be okay.  I grew up knowing that if you give her goat's milk or honey, she'll be okay.  But when it happened to Amani I became really really worried and devastated.  When doctor was explaining the lifelong effects, I was in tears.  I wouldn't want my baby to be slow, or stupid or with what they call  kernicterus.  No!  So Amani and I were hospitalized for 5 days to undergo phototheraphy treatment.  Phototheraphy treatment is the process of using light to remove the excess bilirubin in your body.  Doctor said that if all goes well, she wouldn't need the blood transfusion and will be out once her billirubin reaches 200. 

So we waited and waited at the hospital.  Amani went through daily blood check, 3 days of antibiotics, endless water drip and endless crying from both child and mom.  I didn't know what to do.  I didn't know how to deal with this.  While undergoing phototheraphy, I was 'forced' to breastfeed my baby every now and then.  No bottles were allowed at Kuala Lipis Hospital.  If they see bottles, or formulas, you will be yelled at.  It was crazy, everybody knew I had problem with breastfeeding then, which could be the main cause of Amani's jaundice.  This is why I said FORCED.  And my diet which my mom had developed consisting of ONLY and I repeat ONLY black pepper, salt and hot rice wasn't helping either.  I cried and I cried in frustration.  My hubby was only with us every now and then due to the strict rules of visiting hours.  I had only myself to look after both of us. 

Amani's Symptom
After going through what I went through I thought it was useful if I had educated myself a little bit about the situation.  It was useful if I had noticed the symptom.  My baby cried a lot during her first few days, but come the 3rd days she was very quiet.  She wouldn't feed, she won't move and she slept most of the time.  She'd wake up if she was too hungry after 4 to 5 hours.  She didn't wake up for milk at night.  And I thought my baby was being a good girl.  You would notice that if you pressed her skin lightly, it turns yellow and it takes a while to go back to normal. 

What may be the causes
A newborn baby's liver is yet to mature and its inability to break down red blood cells which will lead to increase in bilirubin in its blood.  Bilirubin is an orange or red pigment in the blood.  The common causes are not enough liquid, mother's diet whih influences the breastmilk if the baby is breastfed, blood type.  In Amani's case, I bet it was the low liquid because she just wouldn't breastfed and I had refused to give her formula.  And as mentioned in previous para, it was my diet which includes NOTHING nutrition.  Oh yeah if you had been to where I came from, you'll know what I mean. 

One of the famous is phototherapy where infants are left under the lights with nothin on but diapers.  They will cover her eyes, of course.  I was also informed by the doctor to breastfeed more frequently, and the drip was suppose to help increase her fluid level as well.  It will help more if she pee and pooped the yellow substances, so breastmilk is the best since it is easier to digest.  I had trouble with breastfeeding so I pumped my breastmilk and bottle-fed her quietly.  I dealt with the nipple confusion after we were out of the hospital because my mission at the time was to get us out.  Being in the hospital was too painful for me.  I left Amani under the lights longer than any mothers in the same ward.  I didn't have the heart, of course, but neither do I have the heart to see her grow useless to her own self.  I toughened up and she progressed quickly.  DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT feed your baby anything else the elderly tells you to.  Your baby is too young and her system is pretty much immature to digest anything other than breastmilk.  You do not want to cause further damage!

Alhamdulillah, after the 5th days we were out of the hospitals.  Though Amani's jaundice was prolonged (up to 1 months skin yellowing), I continued treating her at home with some lights, plenty of fluids and love.  She has now passed that 1 year, and I hope she continues to grow healthily.  I am not sure if I am able to cope anymore serious challenges.  I hope Allah listens.  I pray that my dear baby will continue to healthy and happy as she is! 

Some useful readings:
Do google for some more ya.  I hope the above are useful!


f | i | D | a | h said...

hehehe gone through the same after delivering my baby.. had to spend another 5 days at the hospital without my baby rooming in with me..x best sgt... n always felt bad having to let her sleep alone in the incubator.. poor girl.. dh la baru keluar perut kan... but alhamdulillah sume ok dah kan..wish you all the happiness in the world ;-)

Diana Abdul Molok said...

thanks Fidah, motherhood is awesome ;-) loving every moment of it

meriahceria said...

same as witra kan...dia pun consider severe gak..almost nak transer drh suddenly bacaan dia drop..ohoh..tragis ms tuh..tgk ada budak2 yg kene transfer drh,mcm2 komplikasi dia..teringat hasband aku cite dlu ms dia stay kat ospital tuh,ada parent nih,anak dia smpi skrang xelok2 lg,byk komplkiasi

Diana Abdul Molok said...

Julie: memang adelah sangat tragis. Ermm sadly ramai yang pandang ringan jaundice ni sedangkan akibat dia kalau dibiarkan, adalah sangat sangat bahaya...