Friday, August 8, 2008

Good news, bad news

Good news: the doc says Finn is fine as far as jaundice. He said his skin tone actually looks good (Sue came over last night and said the same), and the yellow in his eyes is not uncommon in babies who had excessive bilirubin at birth. He said the yellow in the eyes is commonly the last thing to go, and he's seen it last up to a couple of months.

Bad news: Finn isn't gaining weight :( He only gained an ounce in the last 11 days. The doc even had me nurse him and then re-weighed him, but the number was the same. Of course, he pooped during that time (it figures), so I think whatever he took in nursing was cancelled out by the pooping. The fact remains, however, that he isn't showing a significant enough weight gain. So the doc wants me to supplement with some formula 2 - 3 times a day. When he told me this, I just started crying (even though I swore to myself that I wouldn't cry; I really wasn't surprised that the doc suggested this). He gave me some formula samples and told me to come back in a week for another weigh-in.

I don't want to make this about my own ego, but I can't help but feel like I've failed in some way. None of my kids has ever had a drop of formula pass their lips, and that's something I take some pride in. I guess I'm probably one of those annoying militant breastfeeders. Kevin never had formula even though I had to go back to work when he was 9 weeks old. I took breaks at work and pumped out in my truck for him, and I nursed him for 18 months. So many people, even the nurses at the hospital, told me I'd have to supplement the twins because it's "next to impossible" to exclusively nurse twins, but I did it, and I nursed them for 18 months as well. Joey and Lilah never had formula either. It's about more than feeding to me . . . it's all tied up with the way I mother my babies, the committment I make to them, the gift I give to them. So it's a really big deal to me. I know that giving a baby formula isn't the end of the world (so please don't anyone tell me that), but it felt like a small death to me, or at least a defeat. Why isn't my milk alone enough for him? Why isn't it helping him to grow? Is it a problem with me, or a problem with him?

So I shed many tears over it this afternoon. I cried to Michael about it, and I cried to Sue about it, and Sue stated, very matter of factly, that I will NOT be supplementing with formula, that I will be supplementing with breastmilk. She is convinced that the whole problem lies in the fact that he's not getting enough from me - and likely not because I don't/can't produce enough, but because, as a DS baby, he's a "lazy" nurser - meaning he likely doesn't have a good suck (seems to me that he does . . .) and/or doesn't nurse long enough to get enough (which I think is more likely the case). So she said that I should continue to nurse him as usual, but top him off with a bottle of breastmilk after each feeding. Lord knows I have enough breastmilk stored - I'm sure well over 100 bottles in the freezer downstairs from all the pumping I did while Finn was in the NICU. So I'm going to try that and see if it makes a difference. I have to say that I'm feeling much better about supplementing with breastmilk than with formula.

In other news, I'm pretty sure that my doctor (PCP) is concerned about the possibility that I may have PPD. I got a call from her office today saying that she wants me to come in on Monday. Whoever heard of a doctor calling a patient to make an appointment!? The receptionist couldn't tell me why Dr. O wants to see me, but I have to assume it stems from a call I got from a nurse from our insurance co. a few days ago who called to see if Finn is getting all the services he's entitled to. In the course of the phone call, I cried (of course - that seems to be a daily activity for me these days), and she talked to me about PPD. I told her that I've had it in the past, but that I really can't say if I think I have it now or not. Wouldn't anyone respond with high emotions to the events that have transpired over the last few weeks? So I'll go see Dr. O Monday morning and see what she has to say.

And that's all I've got for now.


Carla said...

Oh, Lisa, as I read your post I kept thinking "two steps forward, one step back" because that is how it seems to be going for you and Finn these days. Kudos to Sue for suggesting supplementing with the breastmilk (it won't keep forever, even in the freezer, so you should use it up!). That's good news about the jaundice, though. If your PCP wants to see you out of true concern, then you've got a more than half-way decent PCP there. Yes, I think your emotions are quite normal given the last month, but it couldn't hurt to talk to the PCP a bit, could it? As always, you are on my mind and in my heart.

Barb said...

Lisa, what a beautiful boy!!! I love the name Finnian. I have sooo much to say, but I agree with you wholeheartedly when you say that the words mentally retarded are offensive and hurtful to many ears. Finnian is his own person with wonderful parents who will be there for him every step of his journey to life. Use the breastmilk mama. Geesh, what did they do in the olden times. Thanks for sharing your family moments, photos, your heart and your journey. We are here for any support and can't wait to meet Finnian and see you!!!! The only reading material I will purchase for you is the latest People.

Anonymous said...

About the PPD, I never knew if I had it with my first. My the time I had my second, it was obvious to me something was wrong. I cried daily and wasn't dealing with DS. So if the dr offers you meds, take them. It truly changed me, I think.

I am thrilled to hear about the jaundice not being a huge deal. Both of my girls were severely jaundiced due to their blood type. We had to drag back to the hospital daily with them both for bili checks, wear the bili blanket, etc. The stayed yellow for quite a while.

I feel the exact same way you do about the breastfeeding. My husband says I am the breastfeeding Nazi, everything I swore I wouldn't be. neither of my girls has ever had formula, nursed my first till she was 2 and am still nursing my second at 13 months. My oldest was a very lazy nurser and the dr suggested formula supplements, come hell to high water it wasn't happening. Like Sue said I supplemented with breastmilk. Throw the formula out, Finn doesn't need it. The dr told me with both girls that jaundiced babies are usually sleepier which causes them to be lazy nursers and that the breastmilk is the fastest way to get bilirubins in the correct range. Finn will be fine. You are doing an amazing job with him!!

Heidi said...

Hi Lisa,

When our docs said that we'd have to sup with formula, I felt like a failure too. I'm still struggling with that,even though my baby is getting just breast milk now. The time I spend feeding him is so precious to me. I'm afraid I won't be able to continue it though due to the high amount of scar tissue I have on my nipples because of an old 3rd degree chemical burn. Nursing is very painful to me but I don't want to give it up. Anyway, enough about me. Just wanted to say that I hear you. I don't see you as a failure at all.

Re: your doc's concern for you - Heck, I think your emotions are absolutely normal. And, normal can be hard. Normal can use support sometimes. Let her help you. You're not a failure. You're a great mom - to all your precious children.


Anonymous said...

So glad Finn is jauntice free!

Jodi said...

Big YEA for Sue! Your kids might be excited to help feed Finn with the bottle. Rachel loves giving her baby brother a bottle so I pump a few ounces each morning and she gives him an afternoon snack.

Whether or not it's PPD, I think it's a great idea for you to check in with the doctor.