Day 7: I am thankful for my husband who is my best friend and advocate.
Today Thing 3 had a doctor’s appointment. At 3 months instead of 4 months because they want to check his weight regularly. He was in the 2nd percentile at his last appointment, but had been 5th earlier on. Today was in the 1%.
And that is the whole thing I have PTSD about. When Thing 1 was born, and I was just figuring out how bad my milk supply was and trying to determine if he was getting fed… He gained weight so slowly in the beginning. Indeed, I think at one appointment he’d even lost weight. And the doctor’s office made us come in to weigh him every other day. And it was horrible because I was trying SO, SO hard to breastfeed and give him the breast milk that everyone was telling me was the very best thing… but then I would show up to these weigh-ins and it was like a test for whether or not I was a good mom to this brand new baby. And truth be told I had no idea what the hell I was doing. It was SO stressful. Which is largely just an understatement. And I felt so worthless.
And then Thing 2 came along and I just decided that I wasn’t doing it. I supplemented (probably much more than I needed to) from the day he was born. He was still a pretty slow weight gainer, but force feeding him kept me out of the doctor’s office more than I needed to be there. But that was because I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t keep facing that damn scale that would tell me whether or not I was failing at motherhood.
And now here I am, again. Only this time around things started off really well. Thing 3 was gaining so well and I was pumping a good amount of milk. And because things were going so well and he was eating so great, I didn’t supplement as often. And I’d kind of gotten used to the idea that things were working this time. But, they just haven’t stayed great. He was small, and grew taller faster than he gained weight (hence falling from 5th to 2nd) and so the doctors are all freaked out. I was told at that appointment that they could declare it failure to thrive at that point. But, since my very alert baby was sitting happily in my lap and cooing at everyone that would look at him… that seemed stupid. But, I agreed to supplement more and come back in a month. Whatever.
But still, it seems over the last few weeks something has happened. I think maybe he hit a growth spurt and my milk supply just hasn’t caught up. We’ve been offering him bottles when he seems hungry after nursing, I’ve been nursing every 2 hours during the day, and pumping twice a day. But, over the last week or so I’ve been pumping much less and he is drinking at bit more from the bottle. I think my low supply has been stretched as far as it can go—even though it has done better than it ever did before. He is still an incredibly happy, alert, and otherwise normal baby. He is not colicky or even especially fussy. The only indicator that we have that something is up is his weight. But, alas, his weight gain has slowed down enough that I can’t put off being concerned about it anymore.
Anyway, here’s the PTSD thing. I can’t put my baby on the scale. I can’t even be in the room to see it. My husband has to come with me to every doctor appointment so that he can do it. Today, when he came back from the scale and told me what the weight was, and I knew it was too low, I left the room. I couldn’t even be in that appointment anymore. My husband handled all of it. And he did great, bless him. He advocated for a baby, told him we wouldn’t start offering formula once a day for the extra calories (that is so stupid on so many levels), told them we are not worried about our happy baby even if they were trying to freak out about it, and told they could go ahead and order whatever tests and blood work they wanted, but that we wouldn’t be showing up to the hospital to do it. They also keep trying to get us to give him vitamin D supplements. But, I’m a big believer in the sun, so we’re not doing that either. I wasn’t in the state of mind to stand up to any of that, so I’m ever so grateful he did it for me.
Because mostly the PTSD and PPD have taken over and today I feel like a new mom failure again. All because some stupid chart is telling me baby is too tall for his weight. Or something like that.
Another thing that the PTSD has kept me from doing is actually giving Thing 3 the bottle myself. All of the bottles he’s gotten are from William. I know that if I would just give him one, I could maybe just get over it and move on. For some reason it is just a threshold I can’t cross.
You know, as much as I want to successfully breastfeed my baby, and as much as I love the connection, I also really can’t wait until it is over. It is so hard to be second guessing yourself every minute of every day.
It is so close to midnight and I’m barely getting this post up in time. It is a NaBloPoMo miracle.
(For the record, this post isn’t an invitation to give me breastfeeding or lactation advice. I’m a Certified Lactation Counselor, and having struggled to provide three babies with as much breast milk as I possibly can, I’ve done extensive research on all of my options. I’m very knowledgeable about breastfeeding. I don’t need more ideas, I just need to vent.)