September 25, 2011
Zaden at One Month
Looking at this picture, you'd never know all the trials we've been through this past month! If I had known on August 24 how truly difficult the next few weeks (and beyond) would be, I don't think I would have been in such a hurry to have a baby!
Usually the first month of having a newborn passes in a fog as we adjust to a new little person, figure out a new routine, and deal with the nighttime feedings. This time we have all of that along with the stress of each feeding time taking a minimum of an hour, usually up to an hour and a half, by the time I load up the SNS (supplemental nursing system), get Zaden properly latched (or as close to "proper" as we can come right now), nurse, burp, adjust the SNS, make sure he's sucking and swallowing, often readjusting the SNS multiple times before things flow well, change the diaper or positions or do whatever necessary to wake him up again, then pump to keep up and increase my milk supply, then wash everything to be ready for the next feeding.
Sound complicated? Exhausting? Frustrating? It is. I can't even tell you how much so.
Is it working? Well, at the last weight check, the doctor's scale showed Zaden at 9 pounds, 3 ounces. Just a week before they had weighed him at 7 pounds, 11 ounces. I have to confess I'm not entirely sure I believe the doctor's scale; just this evening the baby scale I'm borrowing showed him at 8 pounds, 11 ounces before we started the most recent feeding. (He was 8 pounds, 14 ounces after we nursed/supplemented for a bit.) That seems like a big discrepancy to me. But the bottom line is, he has definitely gained weight, and the doctor was pleased enough that I don't have to come back for another 2 weeks. I do hope to meet with the lactation consultant on base sometime next week.
I keep praying that by some miracle Zaden will all of a sudden get the hang of nursing and we can put all these extra things aside. Obviously God doesn't have the easy way out in mind for me right now, so I am trying to wait patiently on Him to answer the desperate cries of my heart. I don't feel any "release" from the goal of nursing Zaden; I know many other moms have done a variety of things to feed their babies, and I know I won't be a "failure" if I end up doing something different than exclusively breastfeeding him, but right now, after much prayer, I feel I am supposed to "stay the course" and keep persevering. It would be so much easier to quit, though, trust me!
I'm trying to take time to enjoy being Zaden's mommy. It seems often the only time I'm holding him is when I'm working at feeding him, and that is not exactly relaxing. (In fact, I've been so tense that my neck, shoulders, and back ache most of my waking hours! I've been taking Zaden to the chiropractor weekly, and I need the adjustments as much as he does!) I'm so thankful that the older kids can be such a good help. Truly, I don't know what I'd do without Charis, especially! She is such a blessing and very capable of so much more than I would expect from a 10-year-old. I keep telling her that she will be such a good mommy someday! She adores Zaden, and it's wonderful to have an extra pair of hands to help me when I need them. I try not to give her TOO much responsibility; it would be easy to let her do everything! But Tobin and Arden and Kenna all need opportunities to shoulder some of the load, too, so I do try to get them involved as much as possible. They all love Zaden and cheer when they hear he has gained weight or had a good feeding, etc. I often hear them fighting over who will hold him or sit next to him in the Suburban during an errand.
I started this post Saturday evening...now it's Sunday afternoon, and I am thrilled to report that there has actually been noticeable progress with Zaden's feedings! Starting with our 4:30 am feeding and going all through the day, he has latched and nursed very well off my left side. I used the SNS with the right side. And at the most recent feeding (1:30 pm), he latched and nursed well on both sides! I wasn't entirely sure if he got enough, though, so I did hook up the SNS and put him back on the right side...he only took 1/2 ounce from the SNS! He is sleeping well now, and I just woke up from a nap myself and plan to get him for the next feeding as soon as I'm finished here. I'm hoping this positive trend continues and that we just keep on weaning off the SNS!