(I know this got really long... I'm actually leaving out a whole lot of what happened. There's been a lot of drama over the past few days.)
I think I mentioned in my birth story that Micah's been having trouble with low temperatures. We went for a follow-up visit to the pediatrician on Tuesday. At the appointment his temperature was 96.1. That's technically in the range of moderate hypothermia for an infant. So they had us bundle him super warm for 20 minutes and they rechecked his temperature: 97.01, which was the minimum temperature that the pediatrician was comfortable sending us home with. She told us to dress him in two layers of clothing, raise the thermostat at home to 74 degrees, and to check his temperature a few times a day.
So we did that for a couple of days, and his temperature was doing great with that, closer to 98 most of the time. But on Thursday night, for some reason we haven't determined yet, our thermostat started to hold the house at 62 degrees. We were not aware of this (it was still warm before bed), and so hadn't bundled Micah more than usual ("usual" being a onesie with a footed sleeper on top of that, a long sleeved sleep sack on top, and a hat).
I remember being very surprised at how well he was sleeping and how little he was nursing. Sometime around 2am, I noticed that he was making funny sounds I didn't like from his co-sleeper, so I brought him into bed with me on top of my chest. Sometime later I woke up suddenly in a panic because I didn't think he was breathing. I tried to rouse him, and it took a couple of seconds before I could. I was worried, but of course I knew that babies sometimes do funny things with breathing, so I tried to relax. I undressed him a bit so we could be skin-to-skin, and tried (in vain) to sleep. Being skin-to-skin was great because I could feel his belly move in and out with each breath. I also had my hands spanning his ribcage so I could feel his breathing that way, too. I wasn't really paying attention to time at this point, but it wasn't too long after that when I stopped feeling his breathing. I started having to rub his head and body vigorously to elicit any sort of reaction (a breath, the startle reflex, etc) from him. His body was limp and floppy, and his breaths were coming entirely too slowly for my comfort. I was starting to get really worried. I kept telling DH "something's not right, something's not right with him." About twice I was convinced he was dying right in my arms. And still, for some reason, I didn't notice the temperature in the room...
Anyway, we eventually decided we needed to take him to the hospital, but I wasn't comfortable driving 20+ minutes to the hospital with a 5-day-old baby who was barely breathing. What if he stopped breathing altogether before we got there? So we called an ambulance.
Of course, by the time the ambulance got there he was breathing again. But we decided to go to the hospital anyway. The ambulance crew took us to the nearest children's hospital. He was, of course, fine the whole way there. If he'd been acting like that for those two hours, we never would have gone in. Anyway. Once we got there, they checked his temperature, and it was, I think, 96.1 again. The admitting doctor obviously didn't believe my story that he hadn't been breathing well. She kept asking me how I could be sure he wasn't breathing if the lights had been off. And I kept saying that my hands were around his ribcage and his body was flush against mine. And, anyway, it didn't matter if he'd stopped breathing altogether - his body was limp and floppy and he was completely unresponsive. Plus his low body temperature. At least that she agreed with. She said that with a temperature like that, especially if it had been like that ever since birth, might indicate an infection and just in case I was right about the breathing and unresponsiveness (:rolleyes:), she wanted to admit him for observation.
They did all sorts of horrible tests on him: x-rays, blood draws, lumbar tap, etc. They also pumped him full of antibiotics. Then they hooked him up to a bunch of monitors, bundled him up REALLY warm (two or three receiving blankets straight from the warmer, then one super thick blanket. You could barely see his face, and it seemed like he was bundled at least three times a big as his normal size. It was huge. Anyway, the monitors started up and his pulse oxygen and respiration rate were teetering on the low end of normal. They would set off the alarms every now and then, and they were rising and falling together.
The same thing happened on and off the whole first day. His pulse oxygen was hovering around 89 or 90 and his respiration rate was around 19 or 20 breaths per minute. The normal range for pulse oxygen is 90-100, and the normal range for respiration rate is 30-60 breaths per minute. And, of course, his body temperature was around 96-97 for a good long while that first day. So while he wasn't in any sort of critical condition, he also wasn't the picture of perfect health.
At some point during all of this, DH called to say that the thermostat was mysteriously set to 62F, when it ought to have been at 74F. I brought this up to the doctors. The first doctor we saw (the same one who hadn't believed me that he wasn't breathing or floppy) seemed very skeptical that a house temperature of 62 would make much difference in his condition, but every other doctor we saw after that seemed to think that was the most likely cause of the episodes. Especially after all the cultures started coming back negative.
Starting the first night, I finally figured out how to do skin-to-skin with him while he was attached to the monitors, and it was amazing to me how much better his respiration and pulse oxygen were when he was resting on me vs in the bassinet. The longer he was in the bassinet by himself, the more he set off the alarms. But when I was holding him skin-to-skin, his respiration rate was consistently above 30/min and his pulse oxygen was generally around 98-99.
At one point we had a social worker come in the room and ask if we needed help paying our heating bill. That was a bit of an odd feeling. I mean, I'm glad they check on those things and all. Some people really need that help. But it was just a bit unnerving to have social services asking me a bunch of questions about my home life.
Anyway, finally this morning they let us leave. His numbers had been great for over 24 hours, and all the cultures had come back negative. Final diagnosis: moderate hypothermia. He's perfectly healthy so long as we keep his body temperature up, so we just need to make sure we actually DO that. I do feel bad that my poor baby had to go through all those tests and take all those unnecessary antibiotics. I understand why the doctors felt it was necessary, but I still feel horrible that I made him go through all that when the problem was just a thermostat problem at home.
And now the great news - this morning his weight was 6lbs 8oz. Just Tuesday his weight was 5lbs 12oz, and he was 5 lbs 15oz when we were admitted to the children's hospital. That's 9oz in just two days. I'm thrilled with that - he even has slightly pudgy cheeks now. A few more days with that sort of weight gain, and he might be able to regulate his body temperature a bit better!