|Even though he's going bald, he's still a handsome little dude!|
This post is especially for my non-Facebooking mom-in-law, LOL! And you too, Darla! :-) But actually it's for my own records so I can look back at all this someday and see God's hand even more clearly.
Tuesday evening I nearly had a panic attack when the double electric pump I had been borrowing from a friend suddenly stopped working. For one thing, I know how expensive these things are! But even more, I was so concerned that all my hard work to get my milk supply back up was going to be for naught. Another friend had a pump she brought by, but it was considerably older and much slower than the one I had been using. It took me half an hour to even come close to the amount of milk I was expressing in about 10-15 minutes with the other pump. I used my little hand pump (which worked better than the second electric pump) to tide me over until I could call the lactation consultant on base and see about borrowing a hospital pump.
As it turns out, the whole incident has been a blessing! Not only was I able to sign out a Medela Symphony pump, which must be the Mother of all Pumps, but also I got to visit with the LC again and ask some questions. This pump is amazing. I can get more milk in 5 minutes with this than I ever got with the other pump! Talk about a time-saver! When I think of the fact that the whole nursing/supplementing/pumping/cleaning cycle was taking close to 1 1/2 hours just a couple of weeks ago...well, this is significant!
Zaden's weight gains are truly visible at this point. The scale I have at home showed him at 9 pounds, 11 ounces after his afternoon feeding--two full pounds heavier than he was two weeks ago! (And that's with a scale that didn't match the doctor's, as you may recall from my last post; the doctor's scale showed him as being heavier than my scale did.) Furthermore, he has made the following progress:
- His latch is MUCH improved, even on the right side, though still not perfect over there.
- He can nurse well on my left side when I start him there.
- The nighttime feedings we have been nursing only, with no SNS...being fuller and having a faster milk flow during those times makes it much easier for him.
- He is starting to be more alert during his wake times and is easier to get and keep awake for feeding times. He still does not wake on his own to feed during the day, and even when he wakes at night, he rarely cries, just kind of grunts and fusses. He is the least demanding baby I've ever had! Still, I find myself wishing I would hear him cry out to be fed!
- Feeding times are now lasting about 30-35 minutes instead of 45 minutes or even more. Between his growing efficiency and the hospital pump, I am slowly gaining some "free" time! (That is typed completely "tongue in cheek," since we all know I have NO free time, LOL! But at least we've been able to do some schoolwork this week!)
- I have switched to the smallest size of tubing in the Supplemental Nursing System--so he is still taking some supplemented breastmilk, but he has to work harder for it. We made this switch yesterday evening, and he has been doing well.
When all this began, I felt as if I were in a very dark valley. I honestly did not know if I would be able to nurse Zaden at all, let alone exclusively. Every feeding was different, but every feeding had one thing in common--it was a lot of work, and it was exhausting for me physically as well as mentally and emotionally. Now I'm often able to "multi-task," such as read books to Lucan and Kenna while nursing Zaden, or doing the morning Bible reading and prayer time with the kids at the breakfast table while nursing. I've gotten quite adept at working with the SNS! I am confident that in time I will be exclusively breastfeeding. I just need to be patient and wait for that time.
This whole situation has been in some ways like the deployment itself--not something we would CHOOSE to go through, but something that allows for significant growth. I'm not finished growing yet! I have no idea how much longer we'll need to go through all these hoops to get Zaden fed. But in the meantime, I'm doing what I know I need to do, and I'm learning to trust God for the rest.