On day 5, my son saw his pediatrician for a routine newborn appointment. The doctor noticed that he had developed jaundice and informed us that he had lost a significant amount of weight. We were told to get his bilirubin tested to determine the severity of jaundice, so we went to the Just for Kids Clinic at St. Joseph’s Health Centre to get tested. It took a few hours for his results to come back, and as soon as they did, my son was admitted for phototherapy. This treatment involves being placed under a set of blue lights to help remove jaundice — a common treatment for a common condition. I wasn’t too worried. He’d be in and out in a day or two, I thought. After an hour under the lights, I was told that they will be transferring my baby to the NICU at SickKids hospital. Now, this freaked me out. The doctor and nurses reassured me that it was nothing serious; they just want Jarvis to “have access to the best resources.” Fine. That’s exactly what I want.
I calmed down a bit, until I walked out to see the transport vehicle. It was an ambulance. And the sirens were on. How serious was this?!?
Turns out Jarvis’s bilirubin levels (jaundice) were close to requiring a transfusion, should the phototherapy not work. Thankfully, it worked. He needed the blue lights for only two days. The remaining two days in NICU were to monitor his sodium levels, as he was dehydrated and they needed to gradually bring back the numbers within a normal range.
My sweet baby recovered quite well and we were transferred back to our home hospital to ensure everything remained stable without any treatments or fluids. After four long days at SickKids, I was happy that we were closer to going home for good and I felt extremely grateful for the treatment both baby and I received by all the doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers. The nurses were always so kind and helpful and never minded my questions, regardless of how silly they were. They also had a lactation consultant work with me every day to make sure I get back on track when the baby’s ready. Plus, I saw some of benefits from the hospital’s many programs run by volunteers that provide comfort to patients and family. During our stay there, Jarvis received a knit hat made by a volunteer and a cloth that’s used to pick up my scent and placed in the baby’s crib for comfort.
On our way out, I put together a necklace of “bravery beads” that patients collect as they undergo different treatments or experience milestones at the hospital. Here’s Jarvis’s. The final bead (yellow with gold sparkles) means discharged. It was so nice to add that last bead.
Under these scary circumstances, I was able to see that SickKids Hospital definitely lives up to its reputation of being a world-class institution. Thank you for taking care of my baby, SickKids.