Two Weeks Later

Today is my official due date and I’m celebrating with a two week well child checkup and follow up with Junior’s pediatric urologist. But that’s nothing compared to the seven hours we spent in the ER on Sunday or the two visits to various specialists yesterday. For such a small guy who sleeps so much, Junior is exhausting.

In my week 1 post, I mentioned that we had a visit at his pediatrician’s office after a period of long sleepiness. On Saturday and Sunday he was again really lethargic, hard to wake up and was latching really poorly. On Sunday he had a strange pink color in his diaper and didn’t produce enough wet or poopy diapers. After a call to his pediatrician’s office, we decided to take him to the ER.

The pink in his diaper turned out to be crystals in the urine that is a sign of dehydration. The doctor ordered his blood sugar checked and it was too low. So my tiny baby was pricked and prodded and given an IV with fluids and glucose. His blood sugar didn’t rise rapidly enough so the endocrinologist ordered special labs and they waited for me to feed him to see if that would also help.

A lactation consultant came to help and her immediate theory was that his latch has been poor since birth and his blood sugars were related to poor feeding. The doctor was quick to agree and slowly it emerged that I am the worst mother ever for not noticing that he was getting insufficient nutrition.

Seriously, what mother wants to hear that the reason their baby is dehydrated and has low blood sugar is related to their breast milk and latch technique? Talk about guilt. And then we were sent home with instructions on supplementing and pumping after feeds. Basically, go home and spend all day figuring out how to feed your kid properly.

On Monday we had a follow up at the pediatrician’s office and we’re thankful
he gained weight overnight and he weighed in at 6 lbs. The doctor recommended he be evaluated for tongue tie and tight upper lip, so yesterday he was evaluated by an ENT. Fortunately he didn’t need the procedure but once again it’s up to me to train him to eat properly and use a nipple shield if necessary for a good latch, all the while continuing to supplement and pump after feedings. I am so physically and emotionally exhausted just three days after our ER visit I am THIS close to calling it quits and switching to formula.

Yesterday afternoon Junior had an ultrasound on his kidneys and a procedure called a VCUG that looks for reflux of the bladder. Today I go back to the urologist to discuss the findings of the tests.

I am thankful for modern medicine that has helped Junior in his few weeks of life. I am not thankful for terrible parental leave policies in this country and the fact that my husband has had to continue working throughout most of this ordeal. I am not thankful for the extreme pressure placed on mothers to provide food – not once has it ever been discussed at any of these appointments that formula is an option. Of course I know it is, but it would make me feel so much better if a medical professional said, hey mom, you’re doing the best you can. It’s okay to choose formula.

In the end, I just don’t want to worry whether my son is getting enough to eat and whether we are descending once again into the cycle of not eating and then becoming more tired, leading to low blood sugar. Parenting is a great joy but also a great burden.

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4 thoughts on “Two Weeks Later

  1. A very similar thing happened to my son when he was 4 days old. We had to spend the night in the hospital and he was treated for dehydration. I supplemented and pumped for a couple weeks, and then his latch got better, he started nursing like a champ, he regained his birth weight the following week, and it was like nothing had ever happened. But even though it was almost two years ago, and he’s now a healthy thriving little toddler, I still have a hard time remembering those days and the feeling of shame at not being able to feed/care for my baby. I don’t even like to talk about it now to people other than my husband. I think there is a lack of information out there about how to breastfeed and what to do if it’s NOT going well (and how to recognize the signs–I knew he didn’t seem to be swallowing much milk but I honestly had no idea what was normal and had no family around to help and tell me what to expect or watch for). I am so sorry that you are having to go through this too. I don’t really have any “advice,” but just wanted to let you know that I’ve been there and it is super rough but it’s just a tiny blip in the parenthood road and it will get better.

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  3. Oh sweet mama. It’s hard for me to know how to be supportive here. I’m inclined to say Pack it in! But also inclined to say Hang in there, it might get better soon! The only thing I absolutely know is that both methods of feeding (and also the methods of exclusively pumping, and breastfeeding plus supplementing, and primarily formula but with night nursing, and all the millions of permutations) are honorable, healthy, and a good way to bond and show love for your child. You are a good mother no matter how you get food into Baby. And you did notice he wasn’t eating well – that’s why you took him in to the doc. You feel in the middle of a maelstrom right now, but rest assured in the knowledge that none of these feeding choices will have a huge impact on The Rest Of Junior’s Life. So pick the one that’s best for you right now, since you’ve got so much on your plate, and don’t feel one second of guilt about it – whether it’s continuing to struggle through the breastfeeding woes, or saying the hell with it and stocking up on Enfamil.

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