The way things are

posted by Mel

This is hard. Simone came 4 weeks before her due date, and she was growth-restricted to start with, so she is extra tiny. She’s behind. She NEEDS to eat every 3 hours. Sometimes she wants it every 2. Sometimes she doesn’t want to eat at all. We have major breastfeeding battles. Her mouth is tiny. I have to use a nipple shield, which makes breastfeeding cumbersome. She still only gets the tip of the nipple in her mouth and none of the aureola. So my nipples get sore, and I don’t think she’s getting enough of what she needs. I have to supplement with expressed breastmilk spiked with formula to add calories. I have to pump a lot. For the first week and a half I pumped after EVERY feeding to build my supply– Yes, 8 or more times/day. I’ve cut that down to 4 times/day after feedings. It’s still a huge messy hassle. Today I had to give up on the boob just to get calories into her. I’m hoping to be able to pick it back up soon. For now the milk needs to get into her tiny body by whatever means necessary.

There are 4 cats, a dog, and a 21-year-old living here with us. None of them help. Eric has a girlfriend I despise, and he kvetches about her constantly. He doesn’t seem to understand that there’s a cranky needy preemie upstairs with congenital heart problems. I have to practically beg him to do things like change the litterbox and take out the garbage. He’s moving out soon and taking two of the cats with him, thank goodness, though I haven’t seen him pack a single box yet. He’s a mostly good kid, but I swear that he has regressed 5 years in the past couple of months. He is completely self-centered. For those of you who don’t read password-protected posts, Vanessa and I broke up several months ago. She’s here a lot helping and planning to buy a house nearby soon. We are working on a co-parenting relationship. I have a great circle of friends, including even an unexpected someone special, and my parents who are also helping as much as they can, but when it comes down to it, it’s mostly on me. It’s February, and there is probably still 6-10 inches of snow on the ground outside. Simone has numerous doctors’ appointments/tests to get to, and it’s stressful to get her out (even with help) in her special preemie car seat.

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I wrote all that around 4 PM today– right after Simone spit up the 1 1/2 oz of formula-spiked breastmilk I’d just bottle fed her. 4 1/2 hours later, everything I wrote above is still absolutely true, but things are looking a little brighter. Vanessa came over and fussed over her with me, and we got her to eat another 2 oz (which so far has stayed down) over the course of an hour and fifteen minutes. It’s a tiny victory, but I’ll take it.

And now a reward for reading this painful post…

Simone's First Bath at Home

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20 Comments

Filed under Young'n

20 responses to “The way things are

  1. giggleblue

    she is the cutest little thing!! i can tell how much she enjoys bath time! lol. i know you are feeling overwhelmed but know that you are doing an awesome job!!

  2. Amy

    look at all that hair!! she’s absolutely adorable!! i don’t know the background on the 21 year old, who he is or why he’s there but glad to hear that he’s moving out. the LAST thing you need is more of a burden. glad to hear that vanessa is helping out and that you have someone special to lean on, that makes all the difference in the world! hang in there!!

  3. Oooh, look at her! Just gorgeous! And so much personality.

  4. Oh, she is so beautiful, just makes me weep. Your daughter! I’m so sorry that you are overwhelmed and that it is difficult. I know from my nephew that preemie is its own kind of special and its own kind of difficult. Sending you love – and sleep. xo

  5. Jen

    Love her!! What a cutie!
    Good luck with the breastfeeding, I know it’s tough with a full term baby I can’t imagine a preemie. All my babies were different a couple with only formula fed a couple were both and my last I breastfed for almost a year and I can say now there really is no difference in their health. Mind you I have no preemie expereince so…..maybe that was useless….anyhoo….

  6. jay

    Ahhhh so lovely!!!! I’m sorry it’s hard, and I hope Eric gets his act together soon. Sigh! Sending lots of love and extra sleep vibes xx

  7. vee

    Sounds REALLY tough, but oh my, she’s cute! Glad you have lots of folk around you, helping you to be there for Simone. Sending a long distance kick up the arse to Eric though – lazy boy!

  8. sorry to hear about your breakup.. especially hard when becoming a new parent. She is beautiful though!

  9. missanthropy

    You poor thing. I know it’s got to be sooooo stressful right now. Is it possible just to pump and give her breast milk in something like a preemie-sized bottle? Maybe this is something you are already doing and I misunderstood that? I guess to relieve some of the pain involved in actual breastfeeding, but so that you don’t go strictly formula. Then again, if this is something you end up having to do . . . well, then that’s what you have to do!

  10. g

    You should give yourself a lot of credit. Breastfeeding is HARD in the beginning, and especially hard when you have the added challenge of a tiny little mouth that makes nursing even more painful. You’re doing a great job, and it will get so much easier as she continues to grow. She’s gorgeous!

  11. Not to pay myself on the back, but I’d like to point out more in the name of humor that I took one for the team and listened to Eric go on about his idiotic gf (and some other chic on the outskirts) for over 30 minutes last night. Bella was way more interested in what he had to say than I was. I feigned interest then told him to drop her like she’s hot. He finally came over to get the boxes I had offered! So anyway, maybe that’s 30 minutes less he’ll kvetch to you.

  12. You are working really really hard. Many congratulations on how well you are doing, despite how hard it can be. I’m sure that Simone is thriving in love, if not quite in weight yet.

    Also… um… I think that may be the cutest baby I’ve seen in (nearly) five years. Absolutely adorable!

    Thinking growing thoughts for her and getting-some-rest-or-at-least-a-tiny-shower-break thoughts for you.

  13. Annie

    Breastfeeding is hard enough with a full term newborn, I cant imagine how rough it must be for you. My heart goes out to you. Hang in there!

    Have you tried a supplemental nursing system so you don’t have to switch back and forth between bottle and breast and risk nipple confusion (and more soreness). It’s basically a thin tube that delivers the hi-cal formula while you breastfeed. Most hospitals have free lactation consultants, don’t be afraid to call and talk to them. Sometimes just having a friendly ear to talk to and hearing reassurance that you are doing everything right can be a huge relief.

    Love the photo! Such a cute little yawn on a beautiful little gal!

  14. SP

    She’s adorable. And good good luck with the bfing, it is SO hard and no one tells you that. But it’s really worth sticking to it – it gets easier. (Says mommy who supplements with formula…)

    I feel like we missed something, wanna send over your password? Here I thought I was a loyal reader – boo me.

  15. I am so sorry that things are so hard right now. I can’t imagine how hard the needy preemie + singleness + live-in teenager (mentally if not chronologically) must be.

    OTOH, Simone is exquisite. And is it wrong to say that I think polydactyly (sp?) is really cute? A baby was recently born in SF with two extra toes and two extra fingers, all fully functional, and I loved the video of him with all fingers a-waggling — it is damned adorable. But my own aesthetic pleasure aside, I’m sorry if it means trouble/surgery for Simone.

  16. Lo

    She is just beautiful.

  17. Co

    Simone is such a cutie. OMG.

    I had a not entirely dissimilar early bfing experience. It was similar in that we wound up supplementing with formula and forcefeeding my lazy boy. He was full-term, but he had absolutely no interest in feeding himself. What happened to the good old days when it just came via umbilical cord? You want me to suck for my food, Mommies? You must be joking. We forcefed the bambino with a syringe until he perked up enough and gained back enough weight to learn how to latch. I would spend 15 minutes every 2-3 hours trying to feed him, then Lo would forcefeed him while I pumped. It was grueling. But he went from a baby content to starve to death to a ravenous boob beast, which he is to the this day. I hope eventually you get past this and no longer find it as grueling.

    I know it is much harder for you than it was for me on so many levels. But I thought it might help to know that the early struggles with bfing might pay off.

    I am thinking of you and Simone daily. Hang in there. And keep us updated, please.

  18. Merete

    Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

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  19. g

    Thinking of you and hoping things have gotten a little easier for you recently. Hoping that you’re enjoying your time with your adorable bundle of joy, and that you’re finding a way to get a break every now and then…take care of you!

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