Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The She-Boo Cometh

A bit more than two weeks has passed since Calliope's birth, and I've finally had a chance to sit down, relax abitandcatchmybreat--- Ok, so not really. Life with two kids leaves with me far less time than than life with one. But I digress...
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As I mentioned in the previous post, Calliope came few days in advance of her scheduled c-section date. With all of the preterm labor I'd been having during the last trimester, I had a feeling that she'd come early, but I was still shocked that the date she chose was her brother's birthday! The night before she was born, I began having regular contractions, but they went away after three hours, and I called it a night. The next morning, my OB checked me out, determined that I was most likely in the early stages of labor, and sent me to the hospital. By the late afternoon, I was contracting like crazy, and by 7 pm...
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... we had a new baby girl!
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The next day was spent in the throes of new parenthood. Vince and I blearily got through the first night with Calliope. I struggled to remember what it was like to breastfeed a newborn and missed my firstborn something awful. Both sets of grandparents came by for a visit. I continued to look six months pregnant. It was wonderfully, blissfully uneventful.
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By the next day, however, Calliope was beginning to look a little yellow. Not quite Lisa Simpson yellow, but more than Asian baby yellow. Blood tests revealed that she had hyperbilirubinemia, AKA jaundice, which is fairly common with newborns. The blood tests also revealed that she had likely inherited spherocytosis, the same red blood cell disorder that Benjamin had inherited from his Dad.
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After a night spent under the bili-lights in the nursery didn't stop her bilirubin from climbing, she was moved to the Neonatal ICU. Benjamin had been a prior tenant of the NICU, but he checked out of the hospital only one day after I did. Calliope, on the other hand, would go on to stay a total of 12 days.
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During her time there, she continued to receive more light therapy as well as intravenous fluids. To combat her falling hematocrit, she also received two separate blood transfusions. They weren't able to find a vein to start the IV in, so they were forced to shave off some of her hair and transfuse her through a vein her forehead.
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It looks like a macabre sort of barrette, doesn't it? It's baby's first hair accessory! Hey, I have to look at the bright side of things.
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Since I wasn't allowed to drive so soon after my c-section, we developed a routine in which Vince would drop me off in the mornings around 7:30, I would stay to nurse her through several feedings, and then my mom would pick me up in the afternoon. In between feedings, I would pump, eat, or walk aimlessly around the nearby shopping mall. Luckily, I was still far (VERY far) from my prepartum weight, so I wasn't tempted to buy much.
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Another lucky thing was that the NICU visiting policy had recently changed. My parents were permitted to take turns coming in with me to Calliope's bedside. Though they weren't able to stay with me the entire time, it was very nice to have their company while they were there.
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To give her the maximum amount of exposure under the bili-lights, we were only allowed to take her out of her isolette for feedings for 20 minutes every three hours. This meant that we spent an awful lot of time just standing there staring at her. In the process of doing so, we determined that she looked like a female version of Benjamin, and this led Vince to give her her nickname: The She-Boo.
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After nearly two weeks of watching her levels - and our hopes - go up and down, the She-Boo was stable enough to bring home. As we drove away from the hospital, we talked excitedly about how Benjamin would react to his baby sister. Would he be jealous? Antagonistic? Indifferent? The reality was better than we could have hoped for:

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Did you see that smile on his face? That's a warm welcome if I ever saw one! In case you're wondering, the two things that you heard his saying over and over were mei mei ("little sister" in Chinese) and ching ching ("kiss kiss" in Chinese).
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It might've helped that she came bearing a gift! Gift or not, the Boo seemed to take to his sister immediately. And as I watched him react to her, it finally hit me - we're now a family of four.
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Welcome home, Calliope!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

AWWW, congrats, Lily!! That video of the meeting of the Boos was so touching! :) I'm very happy for you guys! Love, Nanxie

Yvonne said...

SO BRAIN EXPLODINGLY ADORABLE!!!!! HOORAY!! Congratulations!!!!

lilyliuchan@gmail.com said...

Thanks so much, guys. It's pretty cool being a fam of four. :) Can't wait for you to meet Calliope!

Marquee said...

Absolutely beautiful family. So happy for you all!
Vanessa

Renee said...

Congratulations!!! I'm glad your new baby girl is home now. I love and miss you.... You have a beautiful family.

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