Monday, June 9, 2008

Due Time

We're trying, with some success, to forget the whole hospital ordeal and move on. Thanks so much to those who commented - I can't tell you how good it felt to get reassurance from you that what happened really WAS fucked, and we weren't just psychotic crunchy people with a grudge against western medicine.

Anyway, it helps that Evan is so goddamned perfect it hurts. She sleeps, she eats, and she is awake, wide-eyed and mesmerized by light filtering through the tree leaves. She smiled yesterday -- her first true, eyes to mouth smile -- at the dog. She loves to float in a sink full of warm water, as long as she's got a two-handed, iron-clad grip on the finger of a larger, sturdier individual. She is instantly rendered unconscious, even in the midst of a full-blown hiccup attack, with a head massage. She tolerates kisses with a look of mild disgust.

As fucked-up as her arrival was, our 1 Great Triumph was that she never had one drop of formula. E pumped every three hours starting the morning after her birth, and her milk came in on day 3, which I consider a minor miracle due to the circumstances of her delivery. Evan was bottle-fed breast milk at the hospital, and once she got home she transitioned to breast-feeding within a week. Her diminutive stature and narcoleptic behavior made it difficult at first, but an extremely strict lactation consultant with many small plastic instruments and a bubbling cauldron turned things around, and then they were off and running.

Some minor bumps along the way:

1. Choking at every feeding. We realized that E's boobs were functioning like beer bongs, forcing milk down the poor baby's throat at a speed alarming to a newborn. E made some adjustments (switch sides every 2 feedings) and things have improved. She still chokes at the first feeding on the new side...any advice on how to prevent that? I've experienced few things as heartbreaking as listening to my tiny, hungry infant splutter and gasp for air. Although her milk-bong induced coma is sort of hysterical.

2. Excessive, at times scary, projectile spitting up. I'm embarrassed to admit that there were a few times in which I felt afraid of my baby. Note to new parents: don't prop up your baby and stare at her in the middle of the night in a darkened room. Babies look kind of creepy in dim light, and when their eyes suddenly cross and white liquid shoots out of their mouth, jesus christo, who wouldn't say a little prayer?

Anyway, we spent a couple of days worrying that she had reflux, so we called our lactation consultant who laughed and pointed her finger at us and laughed some more. You'd know if your baby had reflux, she said, cryptically. Just prop her up when you feed her, and don't bother me with such nonsense in the future, fools, for I am busy ensuring the babies of the world Gain Weight and Thrive, and frankly your baby's thighs are much too large for that preemie diaper she's wearing.

8 pounds, 2 ounces on her due date. I could not be more proud of E. She set about the breastfeeding thing with steely-eyed, lock-jawed determination and lucky for all of us her body cooperated and Evan is totally thriving.

And you know what? Since the day I met her, the longest this baby has cried is the time it takes to stuff a pre-fold diaper into a cover. Slap the diaper on, pick her up, and girlfriend's like, waa- what up, gangster? What was I crying about?

I don't presume that things will stay so easy forever...but it's hard not to feel like we lucked the fuck out with this one.


Anonymous said...

Nice work, ladies. ~Scoutgjee

Melody said...

Maybe you guys took all the pain of the first year up-front, and now it's just bliss till she hits 12 months, 1 day.

Anonymous said...

Some good tips on forceful letdown:

And she is just beautiful!

starrhillgirl said...

Lord, it's good to here from y'all. That girl sure is pretty as the day is long. Tell E I said good work on the bf.

bleu said...

I had major milk. I could pump 8 oz in less than 5 minutes, no kidding. I found if I pumped a few ounces before starting feeding he choked less, but then after a few months he wanted the huge gush immediately and I had to do the opposite, I had to syringe him milk before let down even happened so he had not even 45 second of waiting for milk so be careful when you go one way or another,lol.

So beautiful, congrats mama's.

Aunt Becky said...

Dude, GS, she's bloody awesome. And cute.

You three done good. Now, Auntie Becky will be coming to visit sometime soon.

owl said...

She is just beautiful. I am glad you are finding things easy. I hope they stay that way, well deserved happy baby-moon after such a horrific start.

Eliza said...

OMG she's ADORABLE! And that's coming from an objective third-party, kids--your baby is GORGEOUS!!! I'm so glad to hear that breastfeeding is going well; I did some worrying on y'all's behalf because it IS a total miracle E's milk came in on time after such a horrible traumatic delivery--I've heard of women having crash sections less traumatic than E's whose milk just didn't come in after, or took weeks of pumping and domperidone to be enough to sustain the baby, or...oy. Let's just say that I was very worried, because after everything poor E. went through I figured not being able to breastfeed might be the last straw for the poor girl--I'm relieved to hear that at least that much is going right, and don't worry, Evan will learn to deal with the "fire-hose" let-down better once she's a little bigger. If she's not puking EVERY feeding, and screaming like a banshee after, and/or crying while trying to eat, she probably doesn't have reflux. My kids all did, one so severely that we had to stop feeding the child by mouth while the poor wee esophagus healed from all the damage--in fact, that one is almost three and currently eats through a g-tube...sigh. We did purchase, at GREAT expense, a "reflux wedge" which has a washable cover with a flap that comes up between the baby's legs and snaps by their waist to keep them suspended at a 45-degree angle while sleeping for minimal pukage (didn't look very comfortable to me, but my kid slept in it without complaint). I still have it because I am not bright enough to figure out e-Bay, and if you're interested, would be willing to send it to you should the puking continue to be an issue or get any worse.

Oh and my mom was a midwife; I have seen over 250 babies born and had three of my own, and I have NEVER heard of a delivery turning into such a massive clusterfuck of agony and all-around suffering. NEVER, EVER let anyone (including your inner critics) convince y'all that Evan's birth was, with the exception of the outcome, anything but a brutal and abysmal failure of medical and surgical judgment and execution. She TOTALLY should have had the steroid shots (although those take three days to kick in and it sounds like E. was a pretty sick girl so there may not have been time), they absolutely should've repositioned the epidural, or short of that just given poor E. some general anesthesia, at the very least after they got Evan out, those two nurses playing solitaire ought to lose their fucking jobs (YOU DO NOT CALL A BABY "IT" AND IF YOU DO NOT HAVE OTHER PATIENTS TO TEND YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY SIT BY THE BABY AND OBSERVE/SOOTHE THEM), I cannot BELIEVE the hospital with the "there can't be two moms" (this is the twenty-first century, assholes, and you can't tell me you two were the first two-mom family to deliver at that hospital), and...well I could go on and on but if I were you I would be on the lookout for symptoms of PTSD (yes, you can totally get that just from having a baby in the NICU, neverMIND such a horrific delivery) such as feeling the need to tell the story over and over, reviewing it constantly in your head, hearing the monitor beeps when you're half-awake, panicking when you smell medical adhesive, etc. There is a specific type of therapy called EMDR that if you read about it sounds like a bunch of hoodoo, but I have been doing it for a couple of months for PTSD of a different type and it really does help within the first couple of sessions--my therapist says nobody really knows WHY it works, just how to do it and that it shows that the brain accesses memories differently on a PET-scan before and after therapy. You might want to look into this for yourselves to help you move past the horrible beginning to your wonderful new family if you feel like it's a problem (not diagnosing you or anything--the fact that neither of you is currently in a rubber room is a very GOOD sign IMHO).

Did I mention that that is one good-looking baby? Love the burgeoning pudge on the cheeks and how alert and expressive she is in the second picture. She really is PERFECT.

amy said...

i'm glad you guys are doing so well! there's nothing better in my opinion than the bliss that is those first few weeks of getting to know eachother. some would say i'm insane and that certainly doesn't take away from the incredible love that continues to evolve as they grow but there's something about that brand new exploration between baby and new parents that is euphoric even in the insanity that is no sleep and figuring out what all of her sounds mean.

vee said...

She's a cracker! Great pic. Glad everything is going so well now that you guys are in the driving seat!