Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Setback, Concluded

I have no neck!

I hate not having a neck!

All humor aside, I was still a mess when Britt (I have decided that it's ok to use his name...) came home from work. I had tried the feeding tube and had gotten milk all over myself and Penny. I needed an extra set of hands, since breastfeeding was still a clumsy and awkward experience for both of us. When Britt came home he flew into action. He told me not to worry and immediately started calculating how much more time he could take off from work to be with us. We were going to get this baby to gain weight and we were going to do it together.

If I may gush for a moment about my husband: He held the tube for me and controlled the speed of the flow (damn physics!) so I could have one hand on Penny and one hand on the tube inside the nipple shield to keep it in place. He got up with me every 3 hours so we could do this, even at 3 am, when we were both zombies. Eventually, we figured out how to rig it to the couch so I could do it myself without getting milk everywhere, but the point is, he fracking rocks (for you BSG fans out there) and I couldn't have done it without him. This is not the first time he has been my emotional buoy and I'm sure it won't be the last.

I also need to gush about the friends who continued to bring us food through the first month. I had a couple of people routinely checking on me to see if I needed anything and I just want to say how much I love and appreciate them.
Thank you!

Of course this story has a happy ending. Penny started gaining weight right away. Diapers were messier and more frequent. She spat up after eating, which we celebrated, because it had never happened before, because she had never been full before. The best (and possibly most heartbreaking) part was that she was a different baby. She was so happy and content and she started sleeping better. We began to see that sweet, ruddy-cheeked "milk coma" countenance we had seen on other babies and have since come to recognize it as the main indicator that she has eaten her fill.

I have let go of most of the guilt associated with this experience. I felt like a bad mom for a while, but as a result, I learned Penny's hungry cry, and learned what her face looks like when she's full. Britt pointed out that if my doctor didn't think we could handle the situation, she wouldn't have let me leave her office with Penny that dreadful day. Enough time has passed now that I can actually look back and laugh and say, "Remember when we had to use that tube to feed Penny? That was CRAZY!"


sarah said...

THAT IS A HAPPY STORY!!!! And, to concur with Whit, oh, how do I sympathize. Breastfeeding. It is WORK. Work for the heart and mind and boob.

We will be around for a few days in July; we'll have to swap war stories. We would love to meet your grrl!--and, to hear all the details of this for you.

There is nothing like the worry that your child is not getting enough food. During that part of Elliot's life I would wander around and every child I would see, I would think, "okay, well, THAT child didn't die! that's good! sometimes children don't die! whew!" Not that I really thought Elliot was dying...I just at some deep emotional level had the feeling (not the idea) that I myself didn't have the ability to keep him alive. Sigh. This part of parenting has definitely gotten better for me.

Be Like the Squirrel, Girl said...

I wish I could say that things were totally fabulous, but here we are, 7 weeks along and the breastfeeding is still not the wonderful, magical experience I want it to be. But, we will keep working on it. I would love to trade war stories! :)

allaboutattitude said...

such a beautiful baby. Such big eyes.

Jenny said...

I'm glad things are getting a little better. Oh, the difference a full belly, some sleep and a good partner in parenting can make!

War stories. Oh, I've got some too. Eventually we'll all have to swap them.