September 13, 2011

Today's Weight Check

It is with mixed emotions that I write this update.  Today's weight check was not quite what I was expecting.  Zaden DID gain weight; however, it was only 3 ounces, bringing him up to 7 pounds, 6 ounces.  After 4 days, the weight gain was not nearly enough.  At this point, it is of the UTMOST importance that we get him gaining weight, so the bottom line is...I need to do whatever I can to get him to take in calories.  For Dr. Z, who has been following us on this journey, that means that I MUST supplement (with formula) at every feeding.  Though he did not dissuade me from continuing to breastfeed, he did say that it looks like we'll need to do "hybrid feeding."

My friend and neighbor Chris was here at the house with the other kiddos, and she had assured me I could take as much time away as I needed.  So I left the pediatric clinic and went to see Laura, the lactation consultant, whom I had spoken with on the phone last Friday.  I have now seen her a total of 4 times!  She and I will be great friends by the time this is all over, I'm sure, LOL.

Anyway, my hour with Laura was very informative.  We did a before-and-after weight check, allowing Zaden to nurse about a half hour total.  As I had observed, he was not taking in much, though his latch seemed fairly reasonable.  But the lack of transfer is the problem.  After 30 minutes of nursing (about 15 minutes on each side), he had consumed only 1/2 ounce of milk!  No wonder he's having issues!  Our nursing sessions at home have lasted anywhere from 40-50 if he's working that hard and only taking in 1/2 ounce of nourishment, he's expending more calories than he's taking in. :-(

We don't know WHY he isn't sucking efficiently.  He can certainly suck a bottle!  So, here is our action plan:

  • I have my own SNS (supplemental nursing system) to try using with a breast shield.  We had not been using the one I'm borrowing because he was not getting a good latch, which was kind of defeating the purpose of using it.
  • I will stop nursing him after 25-30 minutes total.  Whatever he has not taken in through the SNS will then be given to him in a bottle.
  • I will continue pumping, pumping, pumping.
  • Laura said there is nothing wrong with my milk...she said Zaden should be fine taking my pumped milk through the SNS or a bottle.  However, since Dr. Z specifically said to use formula, I have decided I should definitely give him formula at least every other feeding, with pumped milk on the other feedings, so that I can be sure to follow Dr's orders.
  • Tomorrow morning we are going to the chiropractor again.  Several people have told me their babies had latching problems that were fixed with chiropractic treatment.
  • I take Zaden back on Friday for another weight check.
So...NOT good that Zaden hadn't gained more weight.  I was truly surprised at how minimal the gain was--it really seemed to me that he was doing better with nursing.  However, as Dr. Z said, he HAS gained...he hasn't lost any more...but we need to have him catch up, definitely.  At the same time, I'm thankful that we have some answers.  I've officially been told to free myself from any blame!  (Yeah, how easy will that be to release?!)  The problem isn't with me or my's with Zaden not knowing how to nurse.  So, in a sense, that is very helpful as we move forward.

Having nursed 5 babies before for an average of one year each, I definitely was not prepared for all of this.  I have a new found sympathy for moms who have tried to breastfeed only to be thwarted by various reasons in their efforts.  I have also received encouragement from many moms who were determined to overcome difficulties and were able to nurse--maybe not 100% of the time, but consistently.  It's a very emotionally difficult thing to realize that you can't provide nutritionally for your new baby.  I doubt anyone who has not gone through this can truly understand--I know I wouldn't have if I weren't in this exact situation.  Our current family dynamics make this even more difficult.  If Zaden were my full-time job...i.e. no other kids, no other obligations...I would not feel quite so despairing.  I am trying to stay optimistic, but I have to confess, this is extremely draining in all ways, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

I truly believe God wants me to nurse Zaden.  Why all this trouble, then?  I can only trust that He has a perfect plan that includes this trial for my family.  And I do mean my FAMILY--I'm not the only one "suffering!"  My other children are affected by all this for sure.  Poor Lucan's world has turned upside down with Daddy gone and a new squirmy creature taking all Mom's attention.  School has been put on the back burner indefinitely.  And meals are hit or miss, sometimes with everyone having to fend for themselves.

But since God has set this road before us, all we can do is follow Him.  I wish I could know for sure that Zaden would suddenly start getting the hang of nursing and eventually we could get rid of all these other contraptions for feeding time.  But I have no guarantee.  I may indeed need to do this "hybrid feeding" for the next year.  If so, I have to trust that God will provide for all that we will need in order to keep Zaden healthy and growing.

God has already provided...perhaps not the way I want Him to ("Fix it now, God, please!"), but He HAS provided.  My mom was here to help through yesterday.  Today, my college roomie and dear friend Megan drove down from Michigan with her daughter Sela to help us out through Friday.  I have no idea what will happen after Friday.  Right now, I just have to take one feeding at a time.


Penni Litwiller said...

I was never able to successfully breastfeed any of my children and I can empathize with the frustration. I can also say that bottle feeding can be done just as lovingly with the bond just as sweet as if a child were nursed. In fact, I use to hold the bottle and the baby in the same position for nursing so we snuggled the same. God has a reason for this struggle you are having and you are not a failure if he doesn't get the hang of it. And the older kids can even have some bonding time when he uses the bottle if you let them feed Zaden. My boys loved feeding Anna.

Bob and Claire said...

Oh Beverly, I am so sorry to hear. Nathan had problems nursing for the first few weeks and also lost a lot of weight/didn't gain, and I was so very emotional about it--and he was my first, and I didn't have any other obligations, like you said! I just want you to know I am definitely praying for you and for Zaden. Whenever I have to deal with some new experience relating to childbirth and nursing, I try to frame it as, "Well, this certainly adds another dimension to my experience, so hopefully I'll be able to better help some other new mom!" I am sure the Lord will use this experience to help others in the future. But in the meantime, (((((hugs))))). I wish we were closer and I could actually do something tangible for you. Hang in there! Have you ever heard the song "Strong Enough" by Matthew West? Here's a link to a youtube video of it--

Natalie said...

I'll continue to pray for you, Beverly. I had to supplement Nicholas for awhile because he wasn't gaining like he should. Of course, he was a preemie so it was a major concern. I'm thinking we only did it for about a month, and then he was fine. Praying for God's grace and strength for you!

Jocelyn Cook said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the trouble Zaden is having. You know what I went through with Julia - she couldn't nurse because we HAD to give her extra calories due to her heart defect. So, I pumped 7-8 times a day and fed her fortified breast milk. And I was not producing enough for her, so I totally struggled with guilt and was tired and discouraged. And I didn't have other kids to take care of! I totally feel for you and will pray that he gets the hang of it soon. A lot of kids do end up "getting it". But know you are doing all you can and what's best for him! May God bless you through this bump in the road!

Darla said...

Dear Beverly,

I don't know how you're doing it, and by "it" I mean everything that is required of you as a mom of 6, including a newborn, whose husband is far away. My heart aches for you and with you even though we are so far away. Our prayers for you and your family will continue.