Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stresses of Fatherhood part 2

We FINALLY get released from the hospital with the instructions to follow up with our pediatrician the following day since the bilirubin (cause of jaundice) was a little high for Taisei. At the pediatricians, we are told we have to go to the ER because the bilirubin has continued to rise and is nearing a dangerous level.

What I thought would be an ER visit turned into getting admitted overnight. Then I hit the lowest point of my experience with the health care system. After being admitted so that Taisei could receive UV lamp treatment, the nurse said we should use formula during the stay and that if we really wanted to nurse she would allow 15 min every 2hours maximum. Really?! We are already having trouble starting and they want to limit breastfeeding to 15 min/2 hours. They did not even mention the clear alternative of breast feeding while using the lamp. And then we couldn't comfort Taisei as he cried himself horse while on the lamp. Talk about a miserable experience.

We were released the next day and brought a lamp home with us. The bilirubin continued to drop. Breastfeeding eventually started to work out as normal. I can finally say we have reached some level of normalcy.

I just hope I can hear a cough without thinking of pneumonia, asthma, sepsis, congenital defect, inhaled object, etc. etc.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stresses of Fatherhood part 1

Taisei turned 2 weeks old yesterday. I can assure that fatherhood has its share of stresses, some of which may be more severe as a result of being a medical student. Medical students are known for taking any situation and thinking of all the rare diseases that are possible. It is not the best frame of mind to be in as a new father.

On Thu, March 11th, Keiko thought her water may have broke but did not want to go the clinic. So I spend the next 24 hours thinking of the risks of infection (chorioamnionitis) that can occur.

On Fri, March 12th, I have a presentation at work at the Georgia dept. of health. I have my phone on silent but I hold it in my hand the whole time just in case she calls so I won't miss it. Exactly 15 minutes after my meeting has officially ended, I get a text from Keiko that her water has definitely broke. I had to take a train to get to my car to drive home, so I was in a major rush. The traffic is so bad downtown that the train is definitely quicker than a taxi. Keiko is very calm and collected.

I pick her up and take her to the clinic. They said we had to go the clinic before the hospital since if it was false labor, our insurance will not cover the visit. The clinician confirm that Keiko's water broke. I am in a definite rush to get to the hospital and these are the words from Keiko:
"Do you think we can still go eat ramen and to the baby shower?"
One of our friends in church had planned us a baby shower and we also had plans to meet some friends at a ramen restaurant. While I am nervous as can be, Keiko, who still has no labor pains, is ready to go out to eat.

With a little coaxing, we head to the hospital. A couple more hours pass and there are still no real contractions. My mind is going "infection infection infection." The contractions finally start and Keiko says "this isn't so bad. I probably don't need an epidural." A couple hours of pass and the offer comes for an epidural again.
"How much longer do you think it will be?" Keiko asks.
"8 hours or so" they respond.
"8 hours?!?!? I'll take the epidural.

Keiko was able to take a few hours nap with the epidural but I couldn't rest at all. The midwife came and said it was time to push. Pushing lasted for about 1 hour with no results.
"We'll have to take the epidural away to help with the pushing."
And 15 minutes later, Keiko goes from no pain to the real deal. It was very painful to watch. The news keeps piling on.
"Oh you've spiked a fever so we'll have to give some antibiotics."
"The pushing has to progress or we'll have to go to a c-section."
"The baby had a stool movement (meconium) in the womb so we will want to hurry."
And Keiko is in the biggest pain in her life and I can only hold her hand.

I HATED the labor experience. I found myself thinking: "C'mon, baby. Just work with Keiko and get born already. Use some force." A little illogical but I couldn't help it.

When he was finally born, he wouldn't cry. He was having a little trouble breathing and the pediatricians were calling him "too limp." I could think of about 5-10 reasons for this, and all of them were bad. Of course he ended up being okay but every time I noticed him having a little trouble breathing by grunting a little, the nostrils flaring, etc. it made my heart jump.

Most things went okay after this but hospitals are so terrible about encouraging breastfeeding. They say they want all women to breastfeed but they are absolutely ridiculous about allowing. 3 days after being born, Keiko hadn't got a full supply of milk and Taisei had lost some weight so they were already talking about supplementing. I figured the lactation counselor would be helpful but she saw us once and heard the word pump and was already selling us on the brand the hospital used for pumps. We were told that we may need to pump for 1 day and she said we could rent a pump from the hospital for like $70/month. I felt so much negativity that Keiko should be producing more milk and that we should consider pumping and supplementing.

The result of all this: every time Taisei was nursing, it was a big adrenaline rush. How is he latching? Is it going okay this time? Is there milk this time? Something as natural as breastfeeding becomes this big drama show every 2 hours or so.

The biggest positive of this whole experience is that it will certainly help me as a doctor, particularly if I become a pediatrician. I know many of the symptoms Taisei had like breathing trouble, stool in the womb are quite common and rarely lead to anything bad. However, because it was my child it that much more stressful. You just want everything to go perfect so badly. I know they should have listened to us more about the desire to breastfeed and not pushed supplementing so much or build the atmosphere that you won't be able to breastfeed.

Unfortunately, this sort of thing only continued...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Taisei Linus Jones

Taisei Linus Jones was born at 8:07 am on March 13th, 2010. He was 7lb 8oz, 20 inches.
Keiko and the baby are doing fine but it was a tough week.

For a more detailed bilingual blog of the happenings of the last week: http://ameblo.jp/jkfamily/

For pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/jones.jefferson/TaiseiLinusJones02#

For videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/jonesjefferson

Thanks for all the support!