Battling Prolonged Jaundice: Part 2

6:59:00 AM

When I thought no more blood sample need to be taken, my little girl had to experience it again when the nurse refused to give her second dose of Hepatitis B during her 1 month check up. At this sudden turn of event, I became very frustrated. Frustration, I told you, is a recurring word that entered my life dictionary ever since prolonged jaundice haunted my princess.

Luckily, her bilirubin level wasn't that high and it was indeed dropping albeit so slowly. My baby got her immunization, and we went home happy. But Allah had other plan for us. Few days later she was down with cold and naturally a paranoid first time mother, I brought her to a private clinic. Just one look at my girl the doctor said, 'doktor tengok macam kuning lagi ni. Ada pi check dak?' My worrying radar goes off again.

Whether I liked it or not, I had to bring her to a government clinic the next day, for another blood test. The doctor was right. Her bilirubin level went up. I placed a call to my husband in Ipoh and off he went to a specialist asking about our daughter's condition. He secured an appointment but that also means the end of stay at my mum's.

The day came. The three of us went to the hospital together.

On the way to the hospital

Another blood drawing session. My baby girl cried so hard when her hand was poked that I couldn't help but cry. When the result came, it showed her bilirubin shoots up to an even higher level she had ever recorded! The doctor asked me the last time I fed my baby before telling me I had to make her fast for 3 hours so that they can do an ultrasound of her bile duct!

Make a 1 month old girl starve? It was so HEART WRENCHING! Imagine I was forced to put her to sleep with an empty stomach!

After 3 hours passed I thought it would be the end of my girl's misery. Unfortunately, we were forced to wait more than 4 hours to finally undergo the ultrasound. My poor little girl! She was crying and crying non stop, so I resorted giving her a pacifier, But she sucked so hard that it gave marks around her lips. Seconds later she just refused the pacifier and cried again, for milk, making me feel as if I failed as her mother.

Thankfully from the ultrasound, it was found that my baby girl did not have any problem on her bile ducts. Her kidneys, pancreas, and everything else were normal. That being said, the specialist still asked us to come 2 days later to have her blood sample taken again, to be sent to Institute of Medical Research (IMR) for very detailed tests. However, he told us that he believed that my baby's jaundice is due to breast milk.

It was then the 'incident' took place. We asked the doctor what should do then? Should we stop breastfeeding for a few days and see if the level dropped? But of course being a pediatrician he was reluctant to resort to such a drastic measure. He was explaining how breast milk is good for the baby's health, and I can see the message he was trying to send through. But then he said, 'However, if it is okay for you giving your little girl formula milk, then we might as well give it a try.' And we tried indeed.

I cried for couple of days, having stopped breastfeeding. I didn't have the heart to feed her the bottle too, knowing it wasn't my milk she was drinking. Every time I tried, I ended up crying. Her eyes, boring into mine as if asking why are you giving me this, not your breast? She also refused the milk for a few feedings too before finally accepting it meekly. It was tough, but for her sake I am willing to try anything.

Every time we went to see the doctor, I would ask if it is okay to start breastfeeding again. I kept on hearing advises about how I should wait until her bilirubin level crashed, only then to start breastfeeding.

A week passed, then another, and another. I pumped diligently in the first week. Found it difficult the 2nd, feeling utterly alone. By 3rd week my milk supply started to go under, but thank God it was the week where the doctor gave me the green light to breastfeed. Nevertheless, with my milk supply going low, I had to top up breastfeeding with formula when it seemed that my milk wasn't enough for my little girl.

I'm sad, to be honest. Very sad. There were times I regretted suggesting breastfeeding to be stopped albeit temporarily. But every time this thought entered my mind, I can't help to wonder. If I continued to breastfeed, will the bilirubin level dropped significantly as it had been after feeding her with formula milk? What if it remained elevated? What will happen to my princess?

Allah had planned this for us. There must be a reason for it and I also believe there will be something good coming out of this. If not now, maybe later.

I tried to be optimistic and I will try my best to relactate. After all, everything narrowed down to what's the best for my baby.

She might not be totally free from jaundice at the time I am writing this post, since there were still yellow tinge in her eyes. But Insyaallah, with Allah will, she will be cured. That is my believe...

Cik Atun: We will survive!

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