Saturday, June 5, 2010

Renner Under Lights

So the difficult pregnancy continues. While we were in the hospital there was a minor amount of concern about Renner's jaundice. Jaundice is a common condition in newborns and especially premies. Well after we went home, Renner's bilirubin count climbed to a borderline level the morning after we were released. Our pediatrician asked us to repeat the test the next morning and his levels increased a little more. As a result of this and his severe lethargy and lack of apetite, we were admitted to the hospital for phototherapy.

Interesting fact: When born, babies have excess red blood cells because of the oxygen-poor environment in the womb. After being born, babies must get rid of these extra blood cells (roughly 15%). The liver breaks them down and one of the by-products is bilirubin (a yellow pigment). Often, the liver is incapable of keeping up with the sudden spike in these by-products and they tend to collect in the blood and can be seen in the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Over time, the body will eventually catch up, but if the levels get too high too long, serious side effects can occur. One of the most effective treatments for babies is phototherapy. Because a large amount of the bilirubin collects in the skin, and because it is photo-reactive, ultraviolet light can break down the bilirubin and give the liver a chance to catch up.

Enter sci-fi baby. Renner was put under the "triple lights". A lighted bed with an elevated LED light to deliver a high-intensity UV spectrum of lighting overnight. By the next morning his levels dropped from 19 to 12 and everyone was very encouraged. By that afternoon he was down to 10. The doctor was very happy and Renner became much more active (turns out he has eyes, who knew). His appetite also ramped up a lot and he lost a significant amount of the yellow color. Check out the slide shows for pics from Emma and Renner and then from the phototherapy session at the hospital.


Donna Harris said...

An amazing journey with your son. i remember my son had a high bilirubin too. he went under the "light" at hospital, came home and Dr. told me to put him in the sunshine near a window a short while every day. thirty years ago!

The Hines Family said...

I'm so excited to have found your blog! I'll definitely be following! :-)