Friday, 30 December 2005

Weighty matters

Even Janel ate well over the Christmas period :-)
She was weighed yesterday and now tips the scale at a hefty 2.7kg (5lbs and 15 oz) which is great news, but the midwife was still concerned that her colour hadn’t improved. She discharged Janel from midwife care, but insisted we check with the doctor today about the jaundice. When we saw the doctor, he said that he needed to phone the pediatrician as St Thomas’ and my heart sank – we’d been planning to escape London for a few days over New Year, and the last thing we wanted was to be sent back to hospital. Fortunately, they just said that they’d make an outpatient appointment for her to be seen next week, so that was a massive relief!!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
Lots of Love

Sunday, 25 December 2005

First Christmas

Christmas was a quiet affair – we went down to the cousins in Guildford with Cathy and Ross, and had a lovely, relaxed, happy day.

Reindeer booties that are much too big for her still – but then she kicks off everything we put on her feet at the moment.

Our little Christmas pudding!! :-)

Proud Daddy!!

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

Gaining weight

The good news is that Janel has continued to feed fairly well and gain weight – she is now 2.4 kg (5lbs and 5 oz in old money). The not-so-good news is that she is still a little yellow, so while Nicole has been discharged by the community midwife, they still want to keep an eye on Janel for a little while longer. They will visit again on Friday and if she has gained another 50g by then (2oz) they will discharge her as well (as long as the colour is no worse). Meanwhile, I have stepped up to the plate of the 3am feeds with mixed success – one good feed and one not so good.

In other news, independant witnesses have once again confirmed that Janel is simply gorgeous.

Lastly, we received a gift (a pink baby outfit) from Littlewoods some time ago, but there was no name attached, so we don’t know who to thank for it – if it was you, please drop us a line.
Lots of love, GNJ

Monday, 19 December 2005

Settling in

After all the to-ing and fro-ing, it’s good to be home and settling into some sort of rhythym. Janel’s feeding is reasonable (not great – because she’s still jaundiced, it sometimes takes a Herculean effort to get her to wake up enough to feed), and is somewhere between every 2 and 3 hours. This means that she is putting on weight (finally!), albeit slowly, but also means that I’ve had very little sleep, or rather, the sleep I have been able to get has been very broken. Either way, I am really tired. I have been trying to sleep when Janel does, but am finding it hard to sleep during the day, particularly in the afternoon. I’m hopeful that I’ll learn to do so before too long, because othewise I know I’m going to burn out.
We had planned to split the night-time feeds between us, with me expressing milk, so that I could get some longer undisturbed sleep, but (Murphy’s Law!!) the breast pump we bought was faulty. Fortunately, the manufacturers have been brilliant, and sent us replacement parts, which arrived over the weekend. So, hopefully now I can get on with expressing and then Graeme can take on one of the night shifts. Oddly, although he’s had more sleep than I have, he looks more tired than I do.
I’m looking forward to having Graeme at home with us. He’s got another 2 days and then he’s home for a week. Sadly, he has to work between Christmas and New Year, but then he has another week off to be at home. We haven’t done our Christmas shopping yet, nor put up the tree (which I usually do WELL in advance), so it doesn’t feel like Christmas to me yet. Hopefully all that will change in the next few days, because I’d hate for our first Christmas as a family to be an anti-climax.
Last night Janel made her debut at church. We decided to go to the carol service, and I’m so glad we did because the service was absolutely fantastic. I’m not one for carol services really (over-exposure at school, especially having to sing them in Latin… not really conducive to enjoyment!), but I really loved this one. It was also good to to be able to introduce Janel to all our friends who hadn’t yet visited us. She was a darling and well-behaved (there are some benefits to this jaundice thing!), and also managed her first proper bottle feed. (Good to know she tolerates a bottle… means I have less worries about leaving her with someone.)
Anyway, I need some breakfast and already I hear her stirring for her next feed…
Happy Christmas to you all – may you celebrate the birth of the Saviour with joy and may the peace of Christ rule in your lives this festive season!

Wednesday, 14 December 2005

... and home again

Yes, we’re back at home, the blood cultures were negative, the billirubin levels stayed low and Janel was eating well enough to gain a little weight. All good things, and long may they continue…

Saturday, 10 December 2005

...and back again!

Well, we’re back in hospital – hopefully for just a few days, but it is very frustrating none the less!!
On Friday morning, Janel was not showing much interest in feeding and looked as if she had become much more jaundiced during the night. By happy coincidence, the area midwife paid her first postnatal checkup that morning, and she agreed that she was rather yellow and suggested we follow it up with the hospital, so we took her back to St Thomas’ where she was readmitted pending some blood tests.
The tests appararntly showed a slightly elevated billirubin level, so she was put under lights again at lunchtime on Saturday, in the same sort of box as last Friday – with the same response. It is just too cold for her and she began to scream. We managed to convince one of the midwives that we weren’t going to put her through that and she found us an incubator which worked much better.
We saw a doctor later that afternoon (at last) and she said that while Janel could come off the lights (as the raise in the level was not significant), there was some concern that she might have an infection, and that they were going to put her on a course of antibiotics while the blood cultures that would confirm this were grown – better safe than sorry, but it does mean that she will be in hospital for at least another 48 hours, and Nicole with her…
So here we are again – staring across the river at Westminster Palace, and wishing we were at home. Seriously though, it is best to get these things out of the way, and I would rather be inconvenienced for a few days than run the risk of having a seriously ill baby in a week’s time. Still, I’d rather have her at home…

Thursday, 8 December 2005


We’re home!! We’re home!!
Coming home I was a bit emotional. Having been on the same ward for over a week, and having had complications, I got to know the staff quite well, and found it really hard to say goodbye, knowing that I’ll never see these people who played such a crucial role in Janel’s first hours and days again. It was also rather a reality check coming home – piles of laundry to do, general house cleaning to do, and decisions to make about what to buy and where to put everything, not to mention the awesome responsibility of caring for a (prem) baby on our own.
Our first night was an anxious one, for me anyway! For one thing, it’s a hang of a lot quieter than the ward, so every time Janel whimpered even slightly, I was awake and aware. For another, it was too cold for her. We don’t have the heating on at night because the flat is kept nice and warm by the others around us. However, we realised that after the warmth of her lovely incubator, Janel found it too cold for sleep and consequently spent a lot of the night niggly and whimpery. She was in a less good mood today as a result. (She definitely takes after her mother in this regard!) We don’t want to leave the heating on all night every night, so we#ll have to have a play around over the next week to find the right balance.
Having said that though, she is such a good baby! We went shopping today for all the things we hadn’t yet bought, and were out for about 3 hours. Not once did she whimper or cry or cause a fuss in all that time! What a blessing she is!

She also had her first bath today! She really did not like the water (as you can see), but then I’ve heard that apparently few babies do initially.
Speaking of unhappy – I hear her crying… feeding time!

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Nearly home

Well, the levels *were* down and Janel and Nicole were reunited – although baby needed to stay in her incubator and under lights as often as possible. She needs three blood tests in a row below the treatment level, and then the phototherapy can stop, and then a further test several hours after that to make sure that it has stayed below and she can be discharged. Her second clear test was this morning, and they took the blood for the third at supper time, but the results weren’t in when I came home for the evening. Hopefully that will be clear and Nicole can sleep in the dark tonight :-) and then the final test will be tomorrow morning – all of which means that we could have our baby girl at home with us by tomorrow night!!!

This incubator is “climate controled” and Janel seems to be getting used to being in it, so doesn’t make too much of a fuss – although she has a habit of pushing her mask up off her eyes. She also tends to kick off her hospital tags, which is why she has one on her wrist *and* her ankle, and there is also a third one just out of shot at the end of the bed!! She is feeding well, and has put on some more weight, so all the signs are positive. We measured her this evening, and she’s about 51cm long (almost 20 inches), looks like she’s going to be a tall elegant lady like her mother!!
It will be very cool to finally get her home, although I must say that the thought is also rather scary – a hospital is a safe place to look after a baby, you know that there are experienced professionals just around the corner to call upon if you run into difficulties; at home it is that little bit harder to find help when you need it…
Until the next time.

Monday, 5 December 2005


Some Photographs to keep the wolves from the door… 

Nicole on her bed in the postnatal ward

Daddy and Daughter – not a great photo, I’ll have to take some more!!

Nicole with “Krypton Baby” – this is the light treatment blanket that Janel wore over the weekend.

View from the SCBU – makes it a really relaxing place for parents!!

View from the ward – sunset over the river and Parliment, not quite as nice!!

Saturday, 3 December 2005

What a difference a day makes

Well two days to be exact…
Janel has been in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) over the weekend, receiving light treatment and being fed by a tube down her nose, and has much more energy when it comes to feeding time. She has is improved nicely over the last 48 hours, and for the last few feeds managed to take all the milk she needed directly from Nicole. Her billirubin tests (indicator of jaundice) had steadily decreased and she was taken off the light treatment this morning. Her weight has improved and had gone up to 2.12kg last night.
Although this separation (the SCBU is on the same floor as Nicole’s ward, but on the other side of the building) has been hard for Nix, it has allowed her a little time to herself for sleeping between the feeding and the expressing. Even so, on a ward with four beds there is plenty of coming and going to keep you awake!!
We are waiting for the results of the latest test as I type, but hopefully, if things have not got worse, Janel will be able to leave the SCBU and sleep with her mom tonight. It seems likely that she will be kept in hospital for a few more days to make sure that she continues to gain weight, and that the billirubin stays down.
There are more photos, but I haven’t got around to downloading them from the camera yet!!
Love to all