Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kick Me While I'm Down

The weekend was mellow--too mellow. Precious slept a lot--way too much. We'd try to wake her up to eat. Seriously, we'd try everything--getting her naked, holding her, laying her down, trying to force her mouth open on my breast, using a bottle and squeezing milk into it. Eventually she'd wake up, but sometimes after 6 hours, at least 2 of which was spent trying to get her up. I knew she wasn't eating enough, but she wasn't complaining about it. And we certainly tried.

My mom kept saying, "Maybe she'll just be a bottle baby." Not helpful. I don't know if she was trying to make herself feel better or me. I know that she was disappointed that due to her health issues wasn't able to nurse my sister or me. I wasn't ready to hear that--it hurt too much. I love to nurse my, love, love it. I know it's not for everyone--and I'm not anti-formula. But I'm good at breastfeeding. Baby Girl was weaned at 15 months; early on in this pregnancy, when I was still not thrilled about being pregnant, my thoughts were that at least I'd be able to nurse again. I had even decided that I'd try to nurse even longer, not be so quick to wean. (Because Baby Girl's weaning was on my timetable, not hers--though she didn't object at all.) I wanted a breastfed baby; I wanted it for Precious AND for me. I admit it; I wanted it for me. I didn't mind not sharing feeding time with anyone else. That was my special thing--the thing only Mommy can do.

Monday at the doctor, Precious weighed....7 lbs. No weight gain at all, none. Now I realize the doctor hid her worry well, but said she wanted another blood test to check thyroid levels and for signs of infection. In the meantime, though, she said continue supplementing with the formula as we had been.

But then she gives me the paperwork to take to the lab which orders the blood test. Diagnosis -- failure to thrive. I just about lost it. Way to make an already weepy, hormonal, worried, upset post-partum mommy feel like shit. No, no, no...failure to thrive, that's what happens to babies in orphanages in third world countries who have no one to love them or babies in traumatic situations like following earthquakes where everyone has so little. My precious girl has more than enough love shown to her, she's loved and cuddled and snuggled and loved some more. There's plenty of milk (and formula too) here for the taking. There's enough. She needs to thrive--I'm not a bad mama; I'm doing my best--but it's not good enough. If it was, she'd be gaining weight. And I do intellectually know that 'failure to thrive' is a medical diagnosis, not about me--and I know my doctor cares because she didn't SAY those words to me. But it's tough, watching your baby scream as they draw a vial of blood from her heel. And then even better, since this was the same lab where they had last drawn to check bilirubin levels, they did that test not the correct one. We were on the way home when they called me to say they realized it. Thankfully I had made a stop, so we were still in the same town. So they had to draw blood again--3 vials full from her itty-bitty heel.

Test results--no sign of infection, no thyroid problems. Keep up the supplementing. Come back in a week.

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

Just found your blog from your comment on another blog. Praying for you and Precious.

Wendy said...

"Failure to Thrive" I'm so sorry you've had to go through this.

Beth said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I suspect, from conversations with colleagues, that most clergy would agree that we don't need to be in the wedding business. Laypeople, however would not.

I didn't nurse my son. I wanted to do so but he was born six weeks prematurely and was confined to the NICU for his first two weeks. I spent the first of those weeks tied to breast pump and HATED it....ended up deciding to use formula because I was afraid I'd end up resenting my own child in the same way that I had come to resent the machine.

Parenting, as you already know, is the hardest job on earth. The last thing a new mom needs is to be told that her child is failure to thrive. It sounds like you're doing everything to the best of your ability. Your child is lucky to have you.

Blessings as you continue the journey.

Beth said...

P.S: My son has a seizure disorder. He's six. It never gets easier watching them take blood from your child!

Sarah S-D said...

oh, silent... sooooo scary... reminds me of seeing infertility on paper only MUCH worse... so glad that you now have an answer and KNOW that you are not failing as a mama... you certainly aren't. you are love, love, loving your precious gift. (((((silent))))