What is DAT Positive?
DAT positive is when the baby and mother have incompatible blood types. When the baby is born, the mother’s blood mixes with the baby’s blood which causes antibodies in the baby’s blood that attack the baby’s red blood cells. This increases the bilirubin in their bodies which makes them jaundice.
What this meant for Mason?
Mason was taken to the nursery at midnight the day he was born. He was under the uv lights for phototherapy from midnight Friday until Monday morning. He would only return to me for 30 minute feeding times.
Mason had to be checked every 12 hours to see how his levels were. I do not remember every level while we were in the hospital but I know that it started with an 8 the first day. His levels continued to climb. On Saturday they were 11.7, on Sunday they were 12.5 and back to 11 on Monday.
|Heel sticks to test his blood
What this was like for me?
This was very difficult for both Mason and I. With having one baby, going full term, I was sure this delivery would be different. In my mind I had the delivery and post partum pictured a certain way, a way most mother’s experience. I was supposed to be able to keep my baby in my room with me. I was supposed to be able to hold my baby when I wanted. This time my family was supposed to be able to experience this with me. This time did not go as I had planned. My post partum was not what I had hoped for.
I cried so much during those 3 days. I couldn’t get over the fact that this was happening again. When I say again, I mean that once again I had my new baby taken away from me and I had no control over what happened to him. On top of these emotions, I did not understand why it was taking so long for him to get off the lights.
As the weekend ended I started to face another fear, going home without my baby again. My nightmare from 3 years ago was begining to resurface. On Sunday I was officially discharged from the hospital and was terrified of what that meant for us. As I was told I was officially being discharged, they told me that I would not leave. My status would change from patient to bordermom. This meant I could stay there, closeby. Although I could not have him with me, I was able to stay until he was ready. My anxiety of leaving him was releaved.
I was a bordermom for one day before being released with Mason that Monday. We were finally going home! I was so excited to go home and be a family of five finally. It was so nice being home for a few days but that was short lived.
At home…Still Monitoring
Even though we were home, we had to go to the lab to have his bilirubin levels checked once a day. Each day Joel or I would go to the lab in the morning and wait for the phone call from the doctor to see what his levels were. This is how his levels were the days at home:
Monday 11 (at discharge)
Thursday is when it got too high. The phone call from the doctor brought me to tears. She called to report his levels and to tell me that we had to go back to the hospital for phototherapy.
Admitted to the hospital
Back to the hospital Thursday afternoon. Instead of being safe in the Nursery, we had to go to the pediatric floor because he had left the hospital. This was scary in it’s own way because the children on that floor were children with respiratory infections and I was bringing in a week old baby. At the time of admission the hospital doctor chose to have Mason tested for numerous things. She retested his bilirubin level for an updated level. Then she did a lumbar puncture to check for an infection in his spinal fluid. The next test was a urinanalysis for a bladder infection or urinary tract infection. When all of these tests were done, she put him on iv fluids and antibiotics to start fighting a possible infection. We did not believe he had an infection but at this point I was scared and just wanted to rule anything out that could be keeping his levels high. When the bilirubin test came back at 4 pm, it was a 24. This put Mason in the bottom of the dangerous zone which could cause blindness, deafness, or even brain damage. As you can imagine, Joel and I were freaking out and had no idea what was going to happen to our baby boy.
The doctor checked his bilirubin levels again at 8 pm. The level came back 21, it was already coming down.
Friday morning he was retested at 8 am. His level dropped to 14.9. The net test 12 hours later came back at 11. Mason’s levels had dropped fast enough that he stopped IV fluids adn antibiotics. He remained on the phototherapy so that it would continue to drop.
Saturday morning his level came back at a 9. So we figured they would take him off to watch for a few hours, to see if there was a relapse. The new on call doctor decided he was low enough to go home. He assured me that Mason would not relapse again. So by 11 am Saturday, Mason and I were headed home again.
I followed up with my pediatrician on Monday and was told by her nurse that we just needed to wait until his 2 week appointment. Everyone assumed he would continue to drop on his own.
2 Week Appointment on January 26
We were released on Saturday January 16 adn did not see a doctor until January 26. 10 days without knowing how his levels were.
At the two week appointment, I requested his test to check his levels. Joel had been very concerned and I had tried to follow the medical doctors directions but not knowing that long was too long. Our pediatrician agreed to check it. She called me that afternoon with the news that his levels had climbed once again. This time they went from a 9 to 14.7 in 10 days. The scary part is that we have no idea how high it got during that time and we will never know.
Although 14 is not dangerous in a baby almost 3 weeks old, it stillwent up. Our pediatrician told me that now his jaundice is because he is being breastfed. She did not want me to stop nursing but wanted me to know what they suspected the cause for the climb to be.
A retest was scheduled for Friday morning to see if it came down any. In the mean time, I decided to start my own “phototherapy” by putting Mason in front of the one window that we get direct sunlight. I put him in his bouncer just in his diaper with a space heater behind him to keep him warm, it is January and cold outside. We get direct sunlight for about 2 hours, so during those two hours he sleeps in the sunlight.
The test results came back at 12. At this point his levels are coming down slowly and he is starting to return to a normal color, so the doctor is not going to test his levels again unless he seems to get worse.
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