I just gave birth to two babies and I am worried about their well being. I am adjusting to not being pregnant and being a new mother. There is just a lot going on and now one of the twins is jaundiced…
What is jaundice? Why me? Why my baby? Why me, why me and again, why me?
Twin B, Nsuku, was born breach (came out feet first). My OB/GYN prepared my husband and me for this scenario although they were both heads down for most of the pregnancy. I guess things changed during labour. He spent about two hours in an incubator after birth because he got some fluid into his lungs.
Seeing him there not responding, not crying as he should, and being lethargic was scary. Seeing him in that incubator was even harder for me. Thinking about it makes me so emotional because I just gave birth and I have a lot going on. Not forgetting I still needed to give attention and love to another baby.
Infant jaundice is caused by an excess of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a waste product, produced when red blood cells are broken down. It is normally broken down in the liver and removed from the body in the stool. It is not a disease, nor is it caused by orange juice.
We left the hospital on Thursday and I started noticing the change on Friday. On Saturday Nsuku’s eyes looked even more discoloured as I compared them to twin A, Kurhula. I told Mick about it and we called his mother to have a look at him and we decided to wait till Sunday to see if it gets worse and his eyes looked even more discoloured on Sunday.
We went back to the hospital and they decided to test both of the twins. Normal bilirubin has to be under 200. Kurhula was under 100 and Nsuku’s was 270. They called the paediatrician on call and she said it was too low to admit him. Instead, we were advised that we would be doing home phototherapy. The hospital arranged everything for us and we called the sister that was going to treat our little boy.
So dealing with the fact that I just gave birth, having twin newborns, and then jaundice was a lot. It has not been a week since this wonderful thing happened and we already have so much to deal with. With that said it took a little bit to warm up to my babies. What kept me calm was reading about it. Google can scare anyone but it can help as well.
The nurse treating Nsuku was very supportive and informative too. I cried, I was worried, and I wanted it all to be a dream. I asked one of my friends who is like a sister to me about how she dealt with her daughter having jaundice. Having someone that went through it was very helpful so that I knew, as a mother, it was not my fault.
I had to stop breastfeeding until he got better, so we gave him formula. His blood was taken daily to check his bilirubin levels. I could not handle watching that needle poke my baby every day. He was on that light all the time for a week except when we were feeding, changing a diaper, and bath time. Putting him back on that light took a piece of my happiness all the time.
We had to be strong for Nsuku and at the same time, love Kurhula. We had to make sure we divided our attention and love equally.
My name is Elizabeth “Lizz” Ndhambi. I am 28 years old and I live in Pretoria. I am a mother to twin boys who are nine months old. I studied Financial Accounting but my profession now is stay-at-home mom and aspiring mom influencer. I am hoping to reach moms and share my tips on how I deal with finances.