Matthew's blood test came back "normal" yesterday but we were asked to return to the local hospital today for another bilirubin test. The doctor called and said that the levels have fallen a tad so he thinks that Matthew's jaundice will resolve itself, therefore no phototherapy is needed at this time. I have to keep an eye on him for the next few days to make sure that he doesn't get more yellow.
I did some research and found this information on KidsHealth.Org:
"A common condition in newborns, jaundice refers to the yellow color of the skin and whites of the eyes caused by excess bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells.
Normally bilirubin passes through the liver and is excreted as bile through the intestines. Jaundice occurs when bilirubin builds up faster than a newborn's liver can break it down and pass it from the body. Reasons for this include:
A newborn baby's still-developing liver may not yet be able to remove adequate bilirubin from the blood.
More bilirubin is being made than the infant's liver can handle.
Too large an amount of bilirubin is reabsorbed from the intestines before the baby gets rid of it in the stool.
High levels of bilirubin - usually above 20 mg - can cause deafness, cerebral palsy, or brain damage in some babies. In rare cases, jaundice may indicate the presence of hepatitis. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants should be examined for jaundice within a few days after being born."
Matthew's levels today were around 9 mg. After I read the part about hepatitis, I was thinking, Matthew did get a hepatitis shot before we checked out of the hospital on Wednesday, I wonder if the shot might have had a little to do with all of this. Besides an immature liver, jaundice may also be caused by something in the mother's breastmilk, or blood group incompatibility.
Whatever might have been the cause, I am sure he wll get better. Here are photos of Matthew waiting patiently and very calmly for his bilirubin test. He is a very quiet baby and a good eater and sleeper (so far!). His eyes are dark blue, but you can't really tell in these photos. You can see that his skin is a tad yellow, but I think less so than yesterday.
These photos were taken today and Matthew is 4 days old.