I am ready for bed, so I will try to make this brief. First of all, I have to praise God for sending Megan this week! It has been such a blessing to have my dear friend and her daughter Sela here during this time when feeding Zaden is truly a full-time job. I am trying not to panic at the thought of when I have no "live-in" help after a couple more days! Lord willing, things will get a bit easier; we'll get faster with feeding times; and God will continue to provide what we need when we need it.
Zaden's feedings continue to be an interesting experiment--it seems we get different results every time as far as what we try that works and doesn't. The good thing is that he does seem to be more consistently taking in whatever supplement we're giving him through the SNS...my goal for now is to get him taking the whole thing during the nursing session so we don't have any leftovers to give him in a bottle. I don't want him getting used to the ease of bottle-feeding! I have no problems with giving babies bottles, and I do like that other people can feed him on occasion. But when our main issue with nursing is that he isn't sucking vigorously enough, I'd really like to avoid the bottles for the most part for the time being. If we aren't pressed for time, i.e. don't have to be anywhere at a particular time, we can usually make this happen, especially now that we know more about how the SNS works. (We discovered that the cap needs to be loosened just the right amount in order to allow a good flow.)
So the ironic thing is that Zaden latches and sucks WELL consistently on my left side when we're using the SNS. I have yet to get him to do this without the flow of formula or breastmilk being pumped into his mouth through the tube! Right side is hit or miss, as we still seem to have trouble latching correctly over there, though we are finding various positions that do seem to help. We did go to the chiropractor this morning and plan to go again next week.
I am SO grateful for all the prayers and encouragement from everyone. I appreciate the comments here on the blog as well as notes on Facebook from people telling me they are praying for us and encouraging me to hang in there. I do acknowledge that it's OK to give him formula. I understand many people have gone different routes with feeding their babies. And I will do whatever it seems God is clearly leading me/us to do. Right now, I don't feel that I'm supposed to completely give up on the idea of exclusively breastfeeding, and I'm praying that this will be but a bump in the road as time goes on, that Zaden will gain strength and stamina and eventually be able to nurse well without needing any additional supplements. And I'm praying for patience in the meantime, that I will learn what God wants me to learn, and that I will not succumb to stress and Mommy-guilt when we aren't doing much school and I can't give more time to my other kids.
Another good thing to report: my milk supply seems to be just fine. Granted, I'm still a bit uneven, but that would have happened regardless, I'm sure! Even after Zaden nurses on both sides (sometimes it does happen that he is on both sides taking the supplement through the SNS along with whatever he gets from me), I can pretty easily pump 2 1/2 ounces. Hooray for an electric double pump! More than once I've thanked God for these contraptions that allow me to get some breastmilk into Zaden's little body and provide the hope for bridging this gap between now and later.
The kids and I learned these verses from Job 23 for the Bible Bee this year, and they have really come alive for me:
8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
The one difference for me, though, is that I can't currently identify with Job's sentiment in verses 8 and 9. I see God's hand all over this situation! As I posted yesterday, I don't totally understand why we're going through all of this, but I do know that God has clearly provided for me in so many ways...a knowledgeable lactation consultant, a good pump, the SNS, an answer to my prayer to boost my milk supply, people to come and help when I need it, and on and on. I can only pray that after this "test" I will come forth as gold.