Journey of having Jaundice in Newborn

Jaundice in Newborn, at NUH Singapore and thereafter at Marine Parade Polyclinic. You can also read my birth story at NUH.

On the morning of discharge (Friday)

We were going home. I was in the bathroom, wiping myself clean, changing out of the hospital gown and putting on my own clothes. My newborn was crying as usual outside. She has been crying off and on incessantly. And so when the cries stopped, my ears felt so relieved.

“Okay, I’m ready to go!” I thought to myself as I opened the toilet door.

Something was amiss. Where’s the baby?

The nurse in the room quickly filled me in. “The PD came in to check on your baby and decided to do further blood tests on her because of suspected high jaundice level. So they pushed her out.” She continued, “No worries, the preliminary check is not high, that’s why the blood test was not done earlier. She should be fine and can be discharged as planned.”

I was praying. Then I called my husband who went to get lunch, but he didn’t pick up. I gave him a few missed calls and texted him to hurry back.

Then, the bad news came. She could not be discharged. My heart broke. Tears uncontrollably welled up in my eyes.

“Why? Why God? While I was pregnant, I prayed Evangeline will be well and whole, she will not have jaundice, not even diaper rash. So why this?”

When my hubby came back, I broke the news to him and I broke down. Tears fell one after another. My parents came soon after to send us home and we told them what happened. I seldom or never in my memory cried in front of my parents. 我报喜不报忧。But there and then, I couldn’t stop myself from sobbing. My mum kept reminding me it’s not good for my eyes to cry just after I gave birth, but my heart was in shreds.

Jaundice In Newborn

I know jaundice is common among Asian babies. Many of my friends’ babies had jaundice too. But it’s the thought that I was going home empty handed. Without my precious baby. I’ve carried her for 9 months and roomed in with her for the past 2 nights. Now she was going to be all alone.

I had wanted to exclusively breastfeed. Hence I could have extended my hospital stay for one more day to breastfeed her on demand. But that’s a waste of money. Otherwise I could sleep in the nursing room outside the phototherapy room.

Or I could go home to pump and bring her the liquid gold in syringes. Or I could rent a bilibed to bring home for phototherapy. If I’m not wrong NTUC Maternity insurance cover this expense partially, still it was an expensive and troublesome option for us.

The last option for me: I could simply go home to rest and let them feed formula all the way.

Photo Credit:

The NUH nurse saw how sad I was and asked the kitchen to deliver a lunch set to me. It’s complimentary because I wasn’t suppose to have the lunch when I checked out. She asked me to eat and take my time to consider my options. I had no appetite.

In the end, I decided to go home and visit her again in the night with my pumped milk.

I cried in the car all the way home. We past through the condo’s guardhouse and I was sure they saw that my pregnancy bump was gone and the “it’s a girl!” balloon floating in the backseat, yet no baby was in sight.

On the night of my discharge (Fri)

I didn’t have much milk yet, but I squeezed out whatever I could. When we visited her at night, I cried on our way to the hospital. I cried when I saw her in a daze because of the phototherapy. And when I saw how she had become thinner and her skin dried and peeling.

I carried her tiny body and tried to feed her, but she didn’t want to wake up. No matter what I did – tickled her ears and cheeks, nudged her body – she still refused to wake up. Phototherapy made her real tired. I tried to control my tears as I was sharing the nursing room with another mother.

We drove home without Evangeline again. And again, I cried all the way home. Hubby was sad throughout too, but he was strong for me. Held on to my hands as I cried my heart out.

Day after my discharge (Sat)

The next morning, we were eagerly waiting for the hospital to call and inform us on whether we could fetch Evangeline home. The nurses said the levels had dropped but the PD would come in for his rounds later in the morning to do another blood test. He would decide if Evangeline could be discharged.

We quickly had our lunch and went to the hospital anyway. We wanted to see her regardless of the results. When we reached, they told us the blood test result was out. Her jaundice level had dropped to 151 because of the phototherapy! The PD has given us the green light to pick her up. We were so overjoyed!

The photo above was taken when we went to fetch our baby darling. Okay, you could see how swollen my eyes were from the crying and sleepless night. Had wanted to take a family shot on the day of our discharge, but totally no mood with the news.

Even though Evangeline was discharged from the hospital, we had to go for a follow up 2 days later because the level was still high.

Days after Discharge

24 June 17 (Sat): Level 151Baby Evangeline was discharged from hospital.

26 June 17 (Mon): We could have gone to a polyclinic, but because it was a public holiday on Monday, we had to go to NUH Children A&E to do the blood test. Our wait was expedited because she’s less than one month old. Anyway, the jaundice level should drop as days go by, but it shot up to 200+! So we had to go for another follow up at the polyclinic the next day (Tuesday).

27 June 17 (Tue): Jaundice level fell a little, but it’s still high at 217. Hubby brought Evangeline down for the morning sun, hoping it would dropped further and faster.

29 June 17 (Thu): Finally dropped below 200…to 175! Polyclinic has stricter guidelines to clear the baby of jaundice as compared to a pediatrician. The jaundice level has to fall below 100 as compared to PD, I think it’s 150. Nevertheless, it’s cheaper to go to a polyclinic and you get express queue for newborn (under 1 month old).

4 July 17: 118! We missed 100 by a bit and was hoping the doctor will close one eye. But the doctor was strict and didn’t discharge Evangeline. 🙁 So got to go for another visit.

7 July 17: 105! 🙁 Oh we have to come back again? Thankfully a different doctor saw us, and he was flexible and put 100 on record. He cleared Evangeline!

It took 5 visits and 5 painful pricks in 12 days for Evangeline to be officially cleared of jaundice! The scene of nurses pricking her for the blood test was heartbreaking. It was a rough procedure and she was always breaking out in cries. Moreover, it was super tiring for me to keep going out during the confinement period.

Anyhow, Evangeline was officially cleared of jaundice by the polyclinic on 7/7/17! Perfect 7, triple 7. We were so so so happy!

Is your baby having jaundice too? Hang on! Feel free to share your concerns below. You can also leave encouraging words for fellow mummies too! 🙂

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