Where to begin? I’ve wanted to post about a thousand times over the last 6 weeks but haven’t been able to figure out how to put what I’m feeling into words.
First – having a preemie is much harder work than I had expected. It’s RSV season which means minimal contact with the world and the germs in it. So Obi and I are home. All the time. Feeding has been very challenging (see point two). Everyone I do come across tells me all the stories of all the babies they’ve ever heard of that have been born early and all of them are super rosy with happy ending with no talk of all the hard work and worry and setbacks and challenges which only serves to make me believe I’m the only one with an early baby who didn’t do ‘just perfectly from day one and is now fat as a pig’ or whatever term they use for every super fast growing happy fat preemie they’ve heard of. Thanks for that. Shut up now. Oh, and that whole “my c-section was a breeze – totally the way to go” thing is also a crock. I still can’t bump up against the kitchen counter or wear pants with a waist band without having shooting electric shock pain zipping from the area.
Second – she’s not thriving. The ongoing battle to increase her weight gain and maintain br.ea.stfeeding has been long, grueling and fruitless. She’s not gaining enough weight. I’ve been at the bre.as.tfeeding clinic twice a week for weight checks and more tips on how to bulk her up in addition to the 3 bottles of EBM + extra calories she gets each day. Today when I went, I was told what I’ve been dreading. We can’t wait for her to improve any longer. We need to increase the number of bottle feeds she gets a day. The more bottles she gets, the less interested she is in nursing. But her development is at risk if she doesn’t start gaining more weight faster. stat. I’ve done all I could. more than most would. but I need to accept that she needs to grow and if it comes from a bottle, it comes from a bottle. This is heartbreaking to me. Both because I really loved that bond with Bubble and because I feel like once again I’ve failed her. Oh, and it also makes me question if this is a sign of future delays not yet revealed.
Third – I still feel grossly inadequate because half the placenta died and she starved for 34 weeks. What kind of a mother only gives a kid half her food for 8.5 months.
Fourth – And while I’m whining, I’m supposed to feel lucky – I beat all kinds of odds to get pregnant, she beat all kinds of odds by surviving with only half her food (see above) but instead I feel tired, guilty, angry, anxious and sad. And before you say I might have post-partum depression, I looked up the signs and symptoms and I don’t think that’s it. I think things are actually tiring, upsetting, worrysome and not easy-go-lucky happy ending I was expecting.
Winning the lottery isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes the prize, though wonderful (don’t get me wrong, love the baby to bits) brings a whole lot more than you bargained for.
NOTE: After writing this super downer post I got a call from the speech pathologist (who worked with her in the NICU to help improve her weak suck so she could take enough food by mouth to go home). As we were booking a followup for Friday and I explained my setback today she said “Thank goodness she can take a bottle. It’s far better than her having to go back in for an NG tube”. I had never even considered that as an option…so, for the silver lining HELLS YES, thank goodness she’ll take a bottle and we don’t have to readmit her for a feeding tube. Thank friggin’ goodness.
Obi. 6.5 lbs.