The Frankenbaby Chronicles

Two girls, three cats, some frozen sperm, a doctor's office, and a big dream.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Where have we been?

So we've been absent from the internet. In fact, this is the first time I've checked my computer in about three days. I wish it was just because we're in the giddy throes of new parenthood, but we're in Weight and Milk Supply Hell. At four days old, our daughter was listless, dehydrated, and down 10% of her birthweight. We gave it another day and she got down to 13% less than birth weight. She was 5lb 13oz and the pediatrician said that we HAD to supplement with formula, that she was getting more dehydrated - she was not pooping and peeing. I cried.

We started with supplementing small amounts of formula at the breast after nursing. We didn't know how much to give her, but it wasn't enough. She was still hungry and listless. She wanted to sleep all the time and it took 45 minutes to rouse her to eat. We learned that we would need to supplement more, so our supplementing system (a 3cc syringe attached to a tube we could slip in her mouth when she nursed) wasn't going to work for us. We bought a Supplemental Nursing System, a weird gadget that is essentially a bottle you wear around your neck that has two teeny little tubes that you tape to your boobs. Theoretically you latch the baby on to your nipple and the little teeny tube slips in. Theoretically.

What REALLY happens is that you end up either getting the baby latched on nicely with the tube hanging off to the side somewhere, or you manage to stuff the tube in the baby's mouth and her latch sucks. And the whole time, you're cursing the thing, you're trying to latch on 100 times, you're screaming, the baby's screaming... fun times.

And in the process of all of this craziness, we have been to appointments up the wazoo. We've gone for weight checks on July 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, the hospital for bilirubin checks on July 6 and 7, a local breastfeeding clinic on July 10, the breastfeeding support group at the pediatrician's office on July 11 (with some time with the pedi as well), a DAY OFF today, and we go in for another weight check tomorrow.

The weight checks were coming up as office visits, and after paying copays for six days straight, I had to tell the pediatrician that we were having financial issues with the copays. That was fun.

So we've had to re-evaluate. We weren't sleeping. We weren't eating regularly. We were spending all of our time trying to wake the baby every two hours to eat, struggling to rouse her, trying to nurse, getting frustrated, finding a long, drawn-out way to supplement her formula, helping her calm down and fall asleep, and doing it all again. We had to re-prioritize. Were we fighting to increase my milk supply for her, or for me? We had to decide what was our number one goal, and that goal was to get the baby to gain weight and get stronger. Milk supply is secondary at this point, though we do want to preserve our nursing relationship.

I never thought I would have a bottle-fed formula baby... but hey, I guess that's how parenting is, right?


Blogger Lo said...

We intend to breastfeed, if it's possible. But as Co always reminds me, she was a formula-fed baby, because that's what They said to do at the time. and she is fine. She is awesome, in fact.

You are doing everything and more for your daughter. *That's* what she will be raised to remember and value, not what she ate and puked up.

Hugs to you all.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

Take comfort in knowing you're doing what's best for your daughter. Everything else will sort itself out.

Take care and sending positive thoughts your direction.

12:59 AM  
Anonymous vee said...

Sounds tough but you guys are clearly doing all you can for your little one. Do they really have to give you quite so many appointments!! Whatever happens with the feeding, it will happen because it's what your baby (and you) need and it will be fine. Different to what you had hoped for or expected maybe, but fine nevertheless.

5:44 AM  
Anonymous j said...

Ease up on youreself. You guys are attempting to do the best you can by your daughter, and well, it didn't go exactly according to plan, but it will all be fine. Really. Fine. You guys are excellent for caring this much.


9:47 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

I'm so sorry that this has been so stressful so far. We were 100% in favor of breastfeeding as much as possible in the beginning. We also immediately had to bottle feed with formula due to Andrew's needs and his jaundice.
You guys are doing a great job!
j is right, plans will be altered by this little bundle of joy, but you will do just fine!

10:24 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Just wanted to give a shout out of support. I never imagined myself bottle-feeding my baby formula either. But after jaundice, 3 straight days using an SNS, and copious amounts of tears-- bottle fed formula it was.

In the end, I wish had been easier on myself. The baby was fine. My guilt was unnecessary.

It sounds like you are handling this really well. Happy Mommyhood!

10:32 AM  
Blogger Jude said...

HA! I wish I was handling it well! I just waited to post until we'd come to some sort of peace! :)

xoxox thanks guys

1:10 PM  
Blogger Kathryn - partner of Donna said...

I had some problems breastfeeding too - I wasn't making enough milk, and after a week of tears, endless hours of Trinity on my boob but not getting anything, we decided to go onto formula. Our little girl now weighs 8lb 10.5!!!

1:31 PM  
Blogger FosterMommy said...

Have you thought about getting some donor breast milk to use in addition to the formula (as well as whatever you pump, if you're still pumping)? Check out, if you're interested. Just a thought.

Parenting is a long road of hard decisions. I'm sorry that you had to start out running in that regard.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Jude said...

We are looking into donor milk options. A couple of friends have offered but we don't know how serious they are. Thanks!

9:50 PM  

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