Hello, Darby!

Well, the last month has been a blur. Sometime in between the holidays, on November 29th to be exact, Betsy gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Darby Rae.

She weighed in at a feisty 6lb. 12oz, almost a full half pound larger than Theo.

Betsy was a complete trooper during labor. It’s a good thing we lived blocks away from the hospital because there was NOT a lot of wiggle room. When Darby was ready, she was ready!

We had a pretty uneventful time at the hospital (a good thing, obviously) and made our way home after a day so she could meet the family.

First, up. Theo. He was very happy to meet his sister, but he didn’t quite get that she was here forever.

Everything was going swell until we hit a small hiccup!

The Clutches of Western Medicine

I am a firm believer in Western medicine, but due to a miscommunication, after being home for 36 hours, we ended up back in the hospital – this time in the NICU, for jaundice.

Quick Story: Theo had bad jaundice and so we thought Darby might as well. The hospital assured us that hers would not be as bad and we would be able to treat it at home, if needed. So we were released!

The next day, our pediatrician then told us that they no longer treat jaundice at home, so when her levels went up a bit, we couldn’t get the treatment promised from the hospital and therefore had to be re-admitted.

When we were admitted to the NICU, the doctors confirmed that yes, we could’ve treated it at home – they do that all the time – and we didn’t need to be there.

And here’s where we entered what Betsy’s mom called THE CLUTCHES OF WESTERN MEDICINE. Even though the doctors and nurses agreed that Darby was much too healthy to be in the NICU, once she was admitted, they couldn’t discharge her until she was completely healthy.

DAD RAGE LEVEL: 3 out of 10.

Well crap.

Once she was under the lights for eight hours, her jaundice levels were good so we were ready to go. Not exactly…

The doctors wanted to check a few more things and they found that her weight was a bit low (DUH – we knew this) and her sodium levels were a bit high (something they had never tested before). So now they wanted to keep her longer.

DAD RAGE LEVEL: 7 out of 10.

You could tell that the nurses knew she didn’t need to be there. I mean, just look at this care instruction next to her bed. I guarantee you the 2 month premature baby in the next room over had very specific instructions.

I got the distinct feeling that they were going to keep running new tests on her, keep finding small things, and keep her there.

Betsy and I were adamantly against this for a number of fairly obvious reasons:

  1. Everybody pretty much agreed she was healthy and would thrive at home.
  2. The NICU is an expensive place with limited resources that should be going to babies that need it.
  3. While I trust doctors, I know accidents and miscommunications can happen at the hospital, so I didn’t feel like we should stay longer than absolutely necessary.

So with my Dad rage reaching upper levels, Betsy and I informed the doctors that they were not allowed to perform any new tests on Darby and that we needed to be discharged as soon as possible. If necessary, I confirmed with our insurance that we could take our out of the hospital against doctor’s recommendations.

And like that… we were discharged a few hours later!

I know that the doctors there were trying to do the right thing, but sometimes I worry that people can get caught up looking at the numbers and stats and forget the bigger picture.

I worry that without some very assertive conversations from me and my very exhausted wife, they would’ve kept Darby there until she could score a 600 on the SAT verbal.

At the end of the day, this whole thing added about $12,000 onto our hospital visit for what was essentially a miscommunication between the hospital and our pediatrician.

Back at Home

Of course, the extra visit to the hospital is an incredibly minor thing in the grand scheme of things. We were soon back at home with a healthy baby girl and Theo got to hold his sister for the first time (with some serious Dad help).

Lap time.

She quickly started growing like crazy and has a nice dark head of hair. I hope she has some of the Italian genes prevalent on my side of the family. We shall see!

Growing!

One of Theo’s favorite activities with her is tummy time. He’s pretty much a pro at it.

For Christmas, Betsy got to fulfill her wish of matching PJs for them.

Note: This lasted for approximately 30 minutes. Theo spilled an entire cup of something on his and Darby had a blow-out on hers immediately following this photo.

Hohoho

But here we are. More than one month into having two kids under two and starting to fall into a nice rhythm.

I feel incredibly lucky to have this beautiful family.

23 comments on “Hello, Darby!

  1. Congratulations! She’s beautiful. And I’m relieved that you were able to get her out of the hospital so you could all rest at home. That sounds incredibly frustrating! Glad you had a quiet, cozy holiday after all :)

  2. Congratulations! What a cutie pie! That was an eventful first week, glad you guys made it home as quickly as possible. Thanks for sharing!

  3. “DAD RAGE LEVEL” should be either:

    (i) a bona fide metric in one of the social sciences;
    (ii) a suburban punk band that focuses on being misunderstood;
    (iii) a suburban band made of dads that feel misunderstood;
    (iv) a factor deciding benefits on an insurance policy.

    Good job, guys.

  4. Congratulations–she’s beautiful! Matching anything for enough time to take a picture counts as a win; can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought matching outfits only to my children conspire against me to have no photographic proof.

    I’m sorry about the unfortunate and stressful first week–I wouldn’t wish the NICU experience on anyone. We had the opposite experience with our third son (PPHN baby). He was so special we got the three NICU tour his first 36 hours ending up at a top children’s hospital. After a month in a medically induced coma on a ventilator and a laundry list of meds, they sent him home as soon as he gained weight two days in a row. We’re taking grams here…I think my husband and I would’ve slept easier if they’d kept us in a few extra days.

    1. Oh my gosh that’s so scary September. It’s crazy how just a few ounces of weight can make all the difference that early on. Glad to hear it all worked out though!

  5. She is so precious and I love her name. Congrats! Sorry about the annoying hiccup…hospitals are the worst, and I work in one! I always tell my patients to be advocates for themselves (because it’s likely no one else will)….glad you guys did just that!

  6. Congratulations!! You are truly blessed to have such a lovely family! Theo is an adorable little guy, and Darby is so precious! Glad you have them all home safe and sound.

  7. Congratulations! But…If you wrote a screenplay about your hospital experience they’d probably call it a fiction! Or a horror story
    I’m glad all is finally well – enjoy the new year!

  8. What a beautiful little girl and your sweet Theo has grown so. I admit I haven’t been following lately and missed all the
    excitement and happiness of a new baby. Best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy life together.

  9. Congratulations, Nick and Betsy! Love this post, Nick, photojournalism at its best. Your two sweet dear ones will be the lights of your life. Hope to see you all in California sometime before the kids have taken their SAT’s. Wishing you a happy, healthy new year.

  10. Yep, hospitals can be scary & intimidating places. Glad Darby is home , safe & sound & were she belongs. You are a lucky Dad . Such a lovely family! Blessings to all.

  11. Congratulations on the new arrival! Glad all is well now and you enjoyed a family of four Christmas…30 minutes of matching Jamie’s is an absolute victory for 2 under 2. You guys are rocking the parent stuff…well done!

  12. What a cutie!! I would go talk to that doctor and ask him in no uncertain terms to keep you up to date on his contact information, so that you can send him the bill for her first college tuition payment. Then, give him an unbreaking stare down with your I mean business Dad eyes and don’t break your glare until he’s good and unsettled.

  13. Such a sweet family! Thank you for giving us a peek into your personal and culinary lives!

  14. Congratulations to you and Betsy! And congrats on dealing with those hospital knuckleheads like a pro. Darby is too precious in her footie pajamas, I can’t stand it. And Theo looks so much like you it’s like a very cute episode of Orphan Black.

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