Newborn Jaundice – What I Wish I Knew About Phototherapy

By Carilyn Cannon, Marketing Director at Healthy Babies, Happy Moms and Mom of 4

Carilyn has been the Marketing Director at Healthy Babies, Happy Moms since 2012.  Although you probably haven’t met her in person, if you follow us on social media, you have been seeing her posts for years. Recently, Carilyn gave birth to fraternal twin girls. After her experience being readmitted to the hospital when one of her newborn daughters was jaundiced, she felt compelled to share her story with other moms and moms-to-be.

When I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child, I was thrilled. As an experienced mom with a 4 and 2 year old, I was feeling prepared for what to expect. Famous last words, right? That feeling went right out the window at my 12 week ultrasound when I got the shock of a lifetime – we were having twins! I was happy, and excited, and overwhelmed, and felt so many different emotions. I instantly felt like a first time mom all over again. This was a whole new ball game.


Start to finish it was not an easy pregnancy. But I was incredibly lucky that the 3 of us were healthy and made it to 38 weeks before the girls arrived. Two minutes apart, weighing 7lbs 2oz and 6lbs 9oz, Kate and Keira were born and I was a mom of 4. Just like there is a learning curve when you become a mom, there is another learning curve when you become a twin mom. Some things came naturally, like scooping up 2 newborns to hold in my arms, while others, including breastfeeding twins, took more help and practice. My husband and I were getting the hang of things and were excited to bring our girls home and have our whole family together. We were told at discharge that one of our daughters, Kate,  had a  bilirubin level that was “borderline” but we were sent home with a pediatrician appointment scheduled for the next morning.

The next few days were incredibly tough.  Even with the amazing help and support from my husband, family, and friends, caring for newborn twins, a toddler, and a preschooler while recovering from a tough pregnancy and childbirth was a lot to handle. Getting out of the house to see the pediatrician filled me with anxiety because the girls were eating one after another (we couldn’t quite master breastfeeding at the same time). It was not easy to leave the house when there was always a hungry newborn to feed. And as every mom knows, getting diapers, hats, blankets, and everything packed to go out even for a short trip is quite a process. I was constantly worried about Kate’s jaundice, and for a couple of days her levels were not great but not in the danger zone.  However,  we had to keep getting blood drawn to keep a close eye on it. Four days after coming home, Kate’s bilirubin level spiked and we were readmitted at the hospital so Kate could have phototherapy.   

I was already nervous because I know that jaundice can be extremely dangerous, and felt so helpless as she lay in the incubator alone. I was terrified she would damage her eyes since she kept knocking off the little goggles. Her twin sister came with us to stay in the hospital, but it was heartbreaking to leave my older son and daughter when we had just got home a few days ago. They were worried for their new baby sister and missed their mom. Thankfully, after 24 hours Kate’s bili level was in a safe range and we were able to go home.

Fast forward about 6 months, and I was getting back to work after being on maternity leave. Kathy, the Founder & CEO of Healthy Babies, Happy Moms, and I were updating the company website and other marketing material when for the first time I saw a photo of the Infant Home Phototherapy service - my jaw hit the desk. This was not the scary, goggles, incubator, hospital image I have burned in my brain from my own experience with Kate. Instead I saw a tiny baby sleeping in a little bassinet wearing with what looks like a cute, cozy blanket/sleeper. Plus, the service comes with daily home nurse visits where they provide an assessment, weight check, and bilirubin blood draw that they report to your pediatrician. On top of all that, they can help with breastfeeding while they are there. WHAT? Why, why, why didn’t I do this?

Now I do have to mention that of course while learning how to breastfeed twins I was talking to Kathy frequently, so she knew of Kate’s jaundice and reminded me of the home phototherapy if we were to need it. But when I got that call from the doctor that Kate’s bilirubin had spiked and we needed to get to the hospital I was scared, overwhelmed, and exhausted.  I didn’t stop to consider other options. I wish I had. I wish I had seen the photo and remembered it. Having the level of care Healthy Babies, Happy Moms provides in the convenience of my home would have been so much easier for my entire family. Eliminating all of the trips to the pediatrician’s office for bilirubin checks and instead having a nurse come to us would have been amazing. So yes, I love working for this company and I truly believe in the work done by the amazing team of nurses. But I am sharing my story as a mom. A mom who would have greatly benefited from knowing more about Infant Home Phototherapy, and a mom who wants other moms to know that this incredible service is available.


For more information on Healthy Babies, Happy Moms' Infant Home Phototherapy click here