Uh-oh. Rayna has jaundice. As we are getting ready to leave the hospital, we’re informed that her levels have spiked and she would need what was called ultra-light therapy. “Don’t worry, we’re still letting you go home.” Um, is that a good idea?
Truth be told, we were feeling pretty solid when we left the hospital. Our baby was awesome, we had a sweet little house to go home to, and we had a network of fantastic friends and family supporting us from both near and far. Unfortunately, our bliss only lasted as long as it took for the light box delivery guy to arrive. Most newborns love being swaddled, but in order to allow the therapy to break up the toxins in her blood, Rayna had to hit the light box in nothing but her skivvies. Without her swaddle, she flailed and screamed when on her back, as miserable as any child could be. And did I mention the sweet shades she got to wear whenever she was trapped in there? I was torn between thinking she looked hilarious and ridiculously sad in her little felt goggles. As Rayna screamed, Jeff and I looked at each other in terror. Why did they let us come home from the hospital?!
To make a long story short, the next 24 hours went something like this: I’m near breaking down when a nurse calls and gives us strategies to help Rayna. The one that works is holding her little hands while she’s in the light box, to simulate the swaddle. Thank God, this works, so we spend her first night at home taking shifts beside the light box, making sure our girl felt secure. While it wasn’t easy, I’ve slept on flights that were far more uncomfortable, and it was what our kiddo needed from us. Was this trial by fire? Perhaps. But the biggest take away for me was how incredibly fortunate we were to only have to deal with jaundice. Every parent who has a medically fragile newborn has to adjust to a new baby in addition to the added burden of an illness…what an impossibly difficult way to start out on the road of parenthood.
So while the evil lightbox did lead to my first mama melt down and gave us hard evidence that Rayna had a set of lungs on her, in the end there was much to be thankful for.