Tuesday, October 6, 2009


So, tomorrow is Ann Peyton's six month well baby visit. I LOVE going to see Dr. Denney and I have about a page of questions for him. Is it strange that, for the most part, I look forward to visits to the pediatrician (so far she's never been sick, so we've only been for check ups, PTL)? Dr. Denney is just so warm and loving and he's just about the nicest guy in the world. I'm pretty sure it doesn't hurt that I've been friends with his family for ages, but I know he acts like that with every single one of his patients (people here just adore him and light up when I mention his name).

But, there's also a bit of nervousness. I wouldn't say I enjoy seeing my daughter get those dreaded vaccinations, but to me it's just not as big of a deal as it is to some mommas. Although, there was one time when (after a long discourse from Dr. Denney about how safe vaccinations were, in which I vehemently agreed and told him we were not the type of people to even think of delaying them/not getting them--sorry if that offends, but we think they are very important) I freaked out about the (totally unsubstantiated) autism risk. Of course, in the end I put my anxiety to bed and deferred to the pharmacist, whose life's work is medications. Anyway, all that was a tangent. Point is, shots don't bother me that much and maybe it's because she tolerates them so well. She cries for a couple of seconds and is done (so far that's how it's gone). Anyway, that's not what get's me anxious about the doctor.....

I just have a terrible fear that we will go back and she will be too low on the growth chart for her age, again. Look, I know I need to keep this in perspective; I know she is not seriously ill and I have SO much to be thankful for. But I don't want to go through that again. And it's not the middle of the night, every two hour during the day feedings. I could do that for a year or more if that's what it took to grow a healthy child. It's the feelings of failure that come with it.

I really didn't talk much about it the first time, because I felt like with so many truly ill children I would be seen as being a little melodramatic; it wasn't like she was a failure to thrive baby, her weight was just below the point that Dr. Denney was comfortable with. But truth be told, I am a little melodramatic. And that's why I'm sharing this. Because this is my blog, and it's always been my goal for you to really see my heart.

Anyway, when they told me she was not gaining enough weight it really stung. Part of it was hard because I really did not want to supplement with formula. I know it's not a big deal to use it and truthfully, I think part of it was just me being stubborn and wanting to do it the way I wanted to do it. I would have used it if she had really ended up needing it, but nursing her more frequently ended up solving the problem.

But the part that really hurt was feeling like I had failed her in a way. The thing is for all the crap Babywise and other parent directed feeding methods get, that is what ended up helping Annie thrive the most. From the beginning, I basically demand fed her. Even in the hospital, they brought her to me when she was hungry. Looking back, it seems a little odd that she began life only nursing every 3-4 hours. Not that I'm blaming the hospital staff for ANYTHING; it's not their job to keep up with a bunch of babies' schedules, they bring them when they cry, as they should. As best I can remember, once we got home she NEVER woke me up more than twice in a eight hour period and often only once. I ended up setting my alarm to make sure she didn't sleep through multiple feedings. During the day she nursed almost as infrequently. By the time she was around six weeks old, she would nurse only four to five times in a 24 hour period. Looking back, that seems really crazy (she nurses at least five, sometimes six times now and is six MONTHS old and eats solids as well as nursing).

I had read TONS of stuff about caring for a baby and even specifically about breastfeeding. I guess that when I read what was the "common" amount of feedings I didn't think that meant "necessary". Please know that I do feel really stupid. I just think my mind was almost as tired as my body, and it just didn't register. And I wasn't ever really good at reading her "cues"; I know crying is a late signal, but she didn't really chew her fist or making smack her lips or anything like that. That's another reason scheduled feedings ended up working so much better.

Also, I had lots of well meaning people who really wanted to see me get to sleep through the night and not be constantly loosing every calorie I consumed and bit of energy that I had to the baby. It is funny how people get so caught up on babies sleeping through the night (seriously that was the number one question I got asked until about a month ago, when it became "when is number two coming?"). I mean I'd probably be stressed if she still wasn't sleeping through the night now at six months (or if I had been this poor woman whose child didn't sleep through the night until she was four years old, yeah), but I don't really understand the huge push. So, all these well meaning people thought it was great she'd go for longer stretches than what would be expected. And honestly, had she been a larger baby to start out with (she was just under six pounds; we had to get her preemie clothes), it really might have been fine.

I still am not trying to blame anyone, but I guess for a variety of reasons, I assumed that demand feeding meant "feed Annie when she demands it". However, she is the kind of good- natured baby every parent would want and really never "told" me when her diaper was wet or dirty, either. And yes, following the awful appointment not only did I fault myself, but I questioned her--"why would she not cry when she needs to eat? Is something wrong with her?".

Well, when I realized she wasn't gaining enough, like I said, I felt like a failure. I mean, the truth is, when you're nursing and you're baby isn't gaining weight, it really does feel like the blame falls mostly on the momma. And it crushed me to feel like I had done something wrong by her. Thinking about that day still kind of gets my stomach tied in knots. And another visit to the doctor with another weight check kind of does, too.....

All that to say, if you don't mind, please be in prayer for us today and tomorrow. I know y'all are, for the most part, a praying bunch. Thanks, friends!


Rachel Bolanos said...

praying for you! hope all goes well!

karim said...

An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

Karim - Positive thinking