And She Was All Yellow

“I swam across
I jumped across for you
Oh what a thing to do
‘Cause you were all yellow”
Yellow (Parachutes, Coldplay)

I love Coldplay, and Yellow is one of the best songs that they have ever written. I love the song so much that I made the four-string quartet version of it as my wedding march.

Yellow, however, is not my favorite color, and I particularly disliked it when my 2-day old daughter’s skin literally turned yellow.

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.(…/newborn_care/jaundice.html)

It was my third day recovering in the hospital after undergoing caesarian section when the doctors declared that I could go home that day. I was delighted to hear the news, and even though I was still in pain because of the major operation, we excitedly prepared to leave the hospital.

While we were preparing, a pediatrician came and told us that she was concerned about my daughter’s bilirubin level. My sister has been telling us the previous day that she is worried that my daughter’s skin was turning yellow. Since we were in the hospital and we were being monitored by nurses round-the-clock, I was did not worry too much until the pediatrician finally broke the news.

The third day - her skin is noticeably yellow.

The third day – her skin is noticeably yellow.

After hours of waiting for results, the pediatrician announced that my daughter had jaundice, and that she had to stay for another night in the hospital’s NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for her to go through phototherapy. My heart was crushed.

The phototherapy chamber.

The phototherapy chamber.

Inside the phototherapy chamber.

Inside the phototherapy chamber.

I know that jaundice is a common condition amongst newborns in this part of the world, especially that most people (including myself) prefer to stay indoors to avoid the harsh sunlight which is not only a good “source” of Vitamin D, but also a good “source” of skin cancer. Still, the thought of my newborn daughter spending one night in the hospital with strangers is not an easy pill to swallow.

It was one of the longest nights of my life. There was nothing we could do but to pray and to wait.

Still, it was a blessing in disguise. After 3 difficult nights in the hospital, Luke and I finally had a decent sleep for the first  time. It was like God was preparing and refreshing us for more sleepless nights ahead.

The next day, Luke and I went straight to the hospital to visit Lyra. The nurses gave us the good news that her body responded well to phototherapy and her bilirubin level has now gone down to normal. However, they had to make sure that there will not be any rebound on her system so she has to stay at the NICU until evening.


At 6pm, thankfully, we received a call from the NICU that Lyra’s blood test is clear, and that we could bring her home.

Finally going home.

Finally going home (notice my elephant feet).

A lot of mothers have told reassured us that jaundice is very common but still, as first time parents, it was not easy for us to wade through unfamiliar waters. I have a feeling that we have not touched the surface yet.

“Your skin
Oh yeah, your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
You know, you know I love you so
You know I love you so…”


Yellow no more.


One response to “And She Was All Yellow

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