Sunday, December 27, 2009

More "Weighty Issues" for the Herringtons

Okay, first of all, I've said SO many times that I want this blog to be authentic and vulnerable. I read (and love!) many blogs that are basically a chronicle of someone's life, but I want my blog to be different from that. I want it to be a place where I can be transparent and share my feelings. I'm definitely doing just that in this post. Honestly, my heart is really raw right now, so if you do leave a comment, please try to be sensitive to that.

The second thing I want to say is this (and you'll understand why if you read the rest of the post): I don't think formula feeding your baby is of the devil, or anything like that. I am definitely very supportive of breast feeding, but it's something that I feel like is a very personal decision.

And here's the third thing. I am kind of (alot) melodramatic. And it goes with the first thing. I know it's not my best quality. But I have spent the last twenty plus years figuring out my personality and working on it. Not to say I'm finished, but this is where it is right now. And I don't really feel like pretending it is something different for the sake of creating a different blog persona. This blog is about being true to myself and that includes a slightly obsessive, anxiety ridden, melodramatic personality. Okay...

So, Ann Peyton has been running fever and Peyton took her to the after hours clinic yesterday. Long story short, she has a fever virus and it pretty much just has to run it's course. Well, I said it awhile back, but I have major anxiety about taking her to the pediatrician; I know they'll weigh her and because of her weight issues, I'm just terribly nervous about what the scale will say. This time, though, I actually wasn't even thinking about it. We were trying to get out of town to Peyton's grandparents' house and I was getting things together and we decided kind of last minute he should go get her checked out first. When he got home, it occurred to me, though. "Did they weight her?!?". Honestly, she looks a lot bigger and has been eating so many solids, I figured she'd still be low for her age, but have gained a good bit. "Uhhh...." he said and then he told me the numbers. Thankfully, she has gained some, but nowhere near what I was expecting, or what I feel would be satisfactory. I was pretty crushed.

I am going to call Dr. Denney on Monday and see what he says. I really fought putting her on formula back in the summer. I did everything I could to make it work without doing it. We basically went back to a newborn or almost newborn type feeding schedule--she nursed every two hours during the day and every four at night. If you've never done it, it is not fun to have to wake up your child as opposed to them waking you up. It runs completely contradictory to your every instinct. In fact, at Granny and PopPop's yesterday it was almost time for a feeding and she was fast asleep. Granny told Peyton "you NEVER wake up a sleeping baby" and he explained that, even still, you do wake up a sleeping Ann Peyton. It was one of many times I've told family, friends, and near strangers this. I don't say this to brag on myself, just because I want to explain how important it was to me.

This time I am not so sure. I am so blessed by our sweet pediatrician. He is a family friend and is so dear to me. He told me at our first visit it was an "honor" to take care of her, but really the honor is mine. Dr. Denney, my OB, and my former childhood pediatrician (who is now retired) are three people who I know that I can trust. I just feel like their advice is almost unquestionably reliable (I say 'almost' because clearly I don't hold these people to some infallible deity type standard, and I want to make that clear). So, when I talk to Dr. Denney (not his nurse (whom I also adore), not another doctor in his clinic, and not a myriad of friends and relatives) I will probably just go with whatever he says.

That said, I don't think it will be easy for me if the answer is formula, even supplementing. Please tell me that I don't need to clarify and say that I know this isn't the biggest deal in the world, that I'm thankful for her health, that it could be much worse, that I do have some semblance of a perspective. I do. Please know that I do. Please reread the aforementioned part of the post about my tendency toward melodrama. Please just stop reading if you are feeling the need to judge me on this.

My mom told me yesterday to quit saying that I didn't want to do formula. If it is the answer I will do it, but I'm not going to pretend (at least not at first) that I am happy about it, especially not with the people I am closest to. And I told her as much. Which led to an exhaustive conversation about being truthful about your emotions and how we can't judge each others feelings.

Her saying that kind of reminded me of a conversation I had with some friends about someone who wanted a natural childbirth and was so afraid she wouldn't be "okay" if she ended up needing a c-section. In my opinion, I feel like it would be very hard to care so deeply about something and work so hard for it and then see that your own body was not going to be able to accomplish it. I guess I feel a similar way, though to a much lesser degree, I'm sure.

I set a personal goal for myself to exclusively BF for a year. Again, PERSONAL CHOICE. I had pretty much decided (mainly because of my own issues with keeping weight on myself) that we would stop at a year. I just saw myself just transitioning her straight to cow's milk. I thought we might do some bottles (she takes a couple of pumped bottles a week now), but pretty much just go straight to a sippy cup of whole milk--like my mom did with me.

I don't know why not supplementing was so important to me back in July and I don't know why it is now. It just is.

I think part of why it is hard for me is that I'm a planner and I get upset when plans don't go my way. I used to freak out when I was little and a friend was supposed to be coming over to my house, but I ended up going to her's or vice versa. I know this isn't the most healthy way to do life and I've grown up emotionally by leaps and bounds since then. Also, having a baby has done wonders for my "Type A, need to control my life and everyone else's all the time" temperament. Anyway, it doesn't really matter. Right now, I am just trying to sort through my emotions, not justify or validate them.

But, this is still hard for me. It's hard because I feel a little like a failure. I am pushing myself to eat more than I really want most days, but could I still be doing better? She has seemed so fussy and I've partly known that some of it was because she was hungry; was increasing her solids not enough? Why didn't I take her back and get her weighed monthly, even though they said I could let that go? Why didn't I notice that she isn't that much bigger and doesn't feel that much heavier? It's all just weighing on me today.

Aaaand, that's all. I'll have an upbeat "Holiday Happenings Recap" post up tonight (hopefully).


Sherrie said...

I have three boys and with #1 he went on a bfeeding strike at 4 mo. I tried everything to keep him bfeeding , but it became an insane circus of trying to bfeed him, make bottles of formula to supplement, and pump. I went to a lactaction consultant and she was pretty worthless. In hindsight the issue was that I was just not producing fast enough like he got with a bottle. He would drink breastmilk out of a bottle fine, but when I went to bfeed him he would not do it. After an insane week or two he was strictly formula fed.

I was very disappointed and had lots of the same feelings you are feeling, but in the end the important thing was that he was healthy.

I am happy to say that with #2 was bfed exclusively until nearly a year (and I froze milk for when I went back to school. I had a huge supply with him. #3 I was off for a year and he was exclusively breastfed until about 10 mo when he started biting and I just could not get him to stop. I think I started him on cow's milk at that point.

Trust your mommy intuition. It's harder as a first time mom, but with subsequent children you will be amazed at how much you know yourself. Also trust other mom's who have BTDT. Even peds can vary so much on advice depending how conservative or not they may be. Good luck!

Christy said...

I had the same experience as Sherrie did-Layton went on a nursing strike at 3 months after a very difficult 3 months of breastfeeding. It was this weird mixture of relief and sadness. And then the comments started! I cried many, many times because people were so rude and unfeeling.
Sherrie is also right in saying that as hard as this feels right now it WILL get better. YOu will become more confident as a mom, the pediatrician's visits will become less nerve wracking and the numbers on the scale less important. Is AP happy? Does she seem full? Does she beg for more food or seem unsatisfied after nursing? I know I am probably just repeating your pediatrician but please don't compare her to other chubby babies and think she is starving. Some babies are just smaller in wieght and frame than others. If she is growing and changing and developmentally on track then she is just fine! I am merely repeating the words I have read over and over in the La Leche handbook :)

I am not trying to disregard your feelings or concerns and come across as a know it all. I may have three children but I DO NOT think I have it all down! I do understand what it is like to worry about your child's wieght :) I struggled with an eating disorder that nearly took my life (blogged about it in past blogs) and the numbers on the scale still haunt me. It may be opposite with you but still painful. It is so hard to let go of our own issues and anxiety and not put that on our children. I struggle with that every day!

One last thing, I PROMISE that if you do stop breastfeeding, if your trusted dr. tells you to do so, it will be okay. I am in NO WAY belittling your emotions. Been there and it is hard at first. However, you will simply learn, as I did, that your bond with AP is not due to you breastfeeding. It is due to the fact that you are an awesome mommy to her. She loves you and is healthy because YOU are taking care of her. Not your boobs as crude as that may sound :)

Ashley said...

I'm probably repeating myself, but I totally understand why it's hard for you to stop breastfeeding. I had in my mind to nurse a year, and when it didn't happen, I just couldn't believe it. But then I realized that it had been a pretty gradual process, and one day we just stopped. I had one night where I cried about it, but once you have a "release" of your emotions, it helps a lot. Please know that as your friend, I will never judge you or belittle you. If I can help in ANY way, please let me know! You're a wonderful mother---don't ever question that!

Sarah Broadus said...

Ah the boob drama~One of the worst parts of being a mom. Let me add my entry to the diary. I went into labor with madyson at 24 weeks. I had to be put on bed rest, given TONS of shots and medications and literally sat for 12 weeks. When she was finally on her way, I wanted a natural childbirth (NO DRUGS!) I labored for 6 hours in pain as she was about to enter this world, she got the hiccups and turned. I had worked in L&D and knew I did not want them to use the vaccum. SO the only other option was a Csection. The first wrong turn in my life plan! Once she arrived she was so small, and I had been on so many medicines during my bed rest period, Milk just wasn't coming. Wrong turn #2. so she was formula fed. When I found out Aubrie was coming I decided that the csection was so bad so we would stick with it! But BF was a must! She came and I fed her for a week and LOVED it! Then I got an infection and had to go on strong medicine, which (even with "pumping and dumping" dried everything up!) So we had to formula feed AK. Needless to say, my kids total upset my apple cart of being "the super mom" with natural births, breast feeding, and bonding. But in the end it all worked out for the best. Once they both were on bottles, Todd had the pleasure of getting up some nights to feed them. He got a bonding time with them that he would have missed out on if they had been EBF. Needless to say, once you have heard all the opinions (which I think you are a GREAT mother for doing) just remember that sometimes God has a different plan that what we want...even on the small things like feeding your child. In the end, it all works out for the best and not breastfeeding for a year doesn't make you a bad mommy! You are a wonderful mommy & don't ever forget it!

The Niemeyer Nest said...

I could have written your post! Evie and I have had some issues with BF but now that it is coming to an end. It's very sad! My goal was a year too. I do not think breast is best for everyone but it worked for me. Have you tried giving baby yogurt - it has a lot of calories and plumped Evie right up. Some babies are just small and formula may not even plump her up. It sounds like you have done a lot to try to help her gain some weight. I hope your doctor can give you a little guidance and know that whatever you decide has to be what is right for you! My LC told me that the only bad mom is the mom that does feed their child! HA! Hugs to you!