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Spoke too Soon September 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — booksunread @ 9:27 pm

So right about the second I hit “publish” on that last post on Monday, the Squidge decided that eating sucked again.  Things went downhill into Tuesday where we reached the point we’d been at when we took him to the hospital; I could barely get him to take a feeding all day.  We went back to the pediatrician’s that afternoon and discovered he hasn’t gained an ounce since his 2-month visit last Friday.  This is not good. He’s supposed to be gaining an ounce a day.

The pediatrician was basically out of ideas and ready to refer us to a GI specialist.  First, they sent us off for an x-ray of his stomach to make sure there weren’t any blockages, masses or anything going on there.  There weren’t.  In a way, I was almost disapointed; if they’d found something, at least it would be a concrete answer.  Instead, we got set up with an GI appointment on Wednesday.  But that doctor wanted to repeat the airway x-ray that had been done in the hospital last time.  So I went back to the outpatient services center for the second time in one day.  And got to hold my screaming child down on a cold metal table for an x-ray.  This time, we had the added bonus of the x-ray requiring poor squidgy’s head to be wrapped in a towel and stretched back AND the x-ray tech hit me right b/t the eyes with the film plate and stand and almost knocked me out.  Tuesday was not a great day.

Wednesday, Squidge was eating a bit less reluctantly and we drove to bofu to see the GI specialist. Squidgy screamed the whole way there.  After waiting for an hour past our “appointment” “time” we were seen by two doctors who poked and prodded Squidge but didn’t find anything amiss.  Their best guess was that perhaps he had an inflamation in his digestive track caused by an allergy to milk or soy that would get inflamed/heal a bit depending on the amount of milk and soy in my diet.  By this time it was time for Squidge to eat so I nursed him semi-successfully and they sent in a dietician to talk to me about cleaning out my diet.  Basically, I can have fresh fruits and veggies and meat that’s about it.  Almost every processed food has milk solids or soy in it-luncheon meat, bread, crackers, etc.  Oh, and it might take up to two weeks to see a difference. 

Of course the easiest thing to do would be to take him off breast milk and put him on a hypo-allergenic formula.  But since he won’t take a bottle still, that option is kind of off the table.  We could cut the breast cold turkey, and only offer the bottle until he gets hungry enough to take it, but we don’t want him to lose any more weight.  And the dietician basically made me feel like only Satan would put a baby through that stress.  Oh and also, that special formula? Is $50 a can.

Basically, they don’t even know if this will fix things.  This is what it has been like all along.  Try this and see if it works, if it does, we’ll know it was ear infection/reflux/allergy.  If it doesn’t, try something else and see if that works.  I don’t understand how they can’t definitively diagnose a milk or soy allergy; they can test people and confirm other allergies. (Just talked to the nurse who said that they can, but the test is not definitive in wee infants.)

On top of all of this, they also want to do a visual swallow test were they basically x-ray him eating.  And that couldn’t be scheduled until next Thursday.  And also, good luck with that, since I don’t know how they’re going to get him to swallow anything what with the whole not taking a bottle thing.  So it will be at least a week, maybe two, before we hear anything.  Of me approaching every feeding with dread, wondering if he’s going to calmly latch on and eat, or need to be soothed and cajoled on to my breast, or reject it outright and refuse to eat for hours.  I’ve also got to start pumping up a store of fresh, hopefully allergan-free breastmilk for my parents to try to bottle-feed him next week while I’m at work.  And worry that he will not take the bottle from them and just starve the two feedings I’m away. 

Just to fuck things up some more, he had to get his 2-month old immunizations today.  We’d already put them off a week, trying to avoid messing up his feedings, and he had to get them.  And he’s acted like my boobs were made of fire ever since.  He’s fussy and will barely take my left breast for 7 minutes, my right breast he will not have anything to do with.  Nor has he wanted to be put down.  All day, I’ve thought he’s been sound asleep, but the second I made a move to put him down, he’s scrunches up his face and starts howling.  I finally got smart around 4 and gave him some Tylenol and he’s been sleeping quietly in his swing for the last hour. 

To top off this entire tale of woe, Miguel is on an overnight trip tonight.  Not that he is much help at calming a fussy Squidgey, nor can he feed him, but at least he fetches things, and takes care of the dog and makes me dinner and stuff.

This is my last week home with Squidgey and it has turned into one of the most miserable ones yet.  I am miserable. I’m worried and stressed out and a sniffly, crying mess most of the time.  Well, gotta go see if Squidgey will deign to suckle at my breast now.

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Quick Update September 22, 2008

Filed under: Schmooper — booksunread @ 4:37 pm

So I haven’t posted in a bit; it’s been a rough few weeks.  A couple weeks ago, Squidgy suddenly started freaking out everytime I tried to nurse him, screaming and resisting latching on.  He’d nurse on one side for a short time, then I couldn’t get him to take the second side at all.  After a full 24 hours of this, where he’d eaten maybe about a third of what he normally does, we called the pediatrician, who directed us to the ER at the local campus of Cincinnati Children’s.  We spent the entire day there, where they ran tons of tests, poked poor squidgy every which way and got him on an IV to administer fluids.  By late that afternoon, when he’d only taken one feeding the entire day we’d been there, they decided he needed to be admitted.

Unfortunately, he was just shy of the two month age limit for that campus so we had to be transferred downtown. Via ambulance. Strapped into an isolette during the fussiest time of day, when he just wants to be held.  Once we got downtown, they determined that his ears looked red, and started him on Tylenol and IV antibiotics for an ear infection.  That night, after his first dose of Tylenol, he did great and nursed well, until they discharged us late the next afternoon.  He did fine the next two days, but then all of a sudden he started resisting feedings again.  His pediatrician thought that maybe the antibiotics at the hospital had supressed but not completely treated his ear infection.  Of course this started again Saturday night, so Sunday morning, we went off to urgent care.  They checked his ears and found them to be fine and didn’t really have any help for us.

When the feeding trouble continued into Tuesday, I made an appointment with a doctor that specializes in breastfeeding who observed a feeding and examined squidgy, but didn’t really have any help to offer.  We don’t think it’s anything in my milk because once he latches on, he takes a full feeding now.  He did the fussy, refuse to latch thing, but eventually latched on and did 8 minutes on each side.  We weighed him before and after and he had taken 3.5 oz.  So he’s not starving, he’s eating, it’s just a thoroughly unpleasant experience to get there.  The only advice she could offer me was trying to feed him more frequently…just what I want, more opportunities for him to scream at and refuse my boob. 

By this point, I was a complete mess.  Just so frustrated and feeling so helpless. Feedings usually ended in crying for both of us. Is it my milk? I’m already avoiding dairy, caffeine and chocolate-big culprits in making milk unpalatable for baby.  Is it a nursing problem or is it a feeding problem? I was seriously considering weening him to formula as it would eliminate the worry about something in my milk being a problem, and would be easier to chase his protesting head around with a bottle than to force it onto to my breast.  Oh, but he still refuses to take a bottle, so stopping the breast completely would probably lead to a prolonged struggle of him refusing to eat anything, being hungry, fussy and pissed off.  And in the end, if it’s a feeding problem, rather than a nursing problem, it won’t solve anything and I’ll have weaned him for nothing.  Pumping and then bottle feeding him 7 times a day just doesn’t make sense either, especially as I’m returning to work next week.

At this point, I really kind of wish I hadn’t tried so hard to get him to breastfeed.  Even if we still had feeding problems, there’d be far fewer variables to deal with.  And he would be taking a bottle without protest.  We saw his pediatrician for his two month checkup on Friday and really the only thing he could offer me was that maybe it was reflux that is not presenting with traditional symptons.  So we agreed to try him on Prevacid for a bit before I make the decision to wean him.  It’s been three days and it seems to be much better.  He latches on and eats with minimal protest now and is taking longer feedings. We’re back on a consitent schedule.  So for now, my plan is to keep him on the breast and my parents are the lucky ones stuck with breaking him on the bottle next week when I return to work.  We’re going to start with formula, and then hopefully once he’s taking the bottle consistently, start mixing in breast milk in gradual amounts until he’s getting full bottles of breast milk.  Before all the feeding problems started, I had been working with him to try to get him to take the bottle-I’d tried breastmilk, formula, every bottle/nipple type, warming the nipple, trying it when he was not hungry, trying it when he was not super hungry, all with no success.  Now I’ll be gone for two feedings a day and he’s going to have to figure it out. 

Oh and on top of all this; we were without power for 3 days and I lost two months worth of breastmilk that I had pumped.  Good times.

 

6 Weeks September 3, 2008

Filed under: Schmooper — booksunread @ 6:10 pm

I can’t believe it’s been six weeks!  What a freaking roller coaster we’ve been on since little squidgy got here (that’s his name, don’t ask me where it came from, he’s just all wiggley and squiggely and well, squidgy…).  I don’t even think I can capture with words all the ups and downs.  I think back to those desperate first few days and can barely wrap my mind around how we got through them.  And mostly, he was just sleeping and eating then.  And then the in between weeks, when he was more awake and more demanding, but really not all that much more fun. 

Now in week six, we are hitting the fun weeks.  He is so much more alert.  He looks around and makes fun little faces and reacts to rattles, toys and faces.  And, he’ll even sit quietly and amuse himself for short periods of time so I can get other stuff done. 

Still, there are times of day when he insists on being held to sleep, and I feel like my ass is melting into the corner of the couch where I’ve set up shop with a fort of pillows to support my dead asleep arm.  And I sometimes feel like every day is measured in 3 hour increments and I’m just living from one to the next; praying he doesn’t wake up or start fussing early, forcing me to feed him and throw off the schedule.  He’s still pretty good at night; he goes down without too much rocking/work after his 9:00 feeding, gets up at some point between 1 and 3, and is fed, changed, and back asleep within an hour until 6ish. 

On the low end of the coaster, the bottle battle continues.  There is nothing more frustrating; it makes me feel so cruel to hold him and force the bottle on him while he cries miserably.  At the same time, I can’t leave him with anyone else to do that; he’s got to learn to take the bottle.  And I just felt so helpless, because I’ve read the books, talked to lactation consultants and my pediatrician, and the bottom line is, they could only tell me stuff to try, not give me an absolute answer of what would work.  But, persistence pays off and we had a small victory today.  He took down about an ounce and half of formula from a platex bottle with a latex nipple.  We’ll keep working at it until I get a full bottle feeding into him a day, and then we’ll try getting rid of the formula and giving him a bottle of my milk.  Hopefully, this is the light at the end of the tunnel…