Goodbye for now

posted by Mel

I know it has been forever since I posted. The truth is, I’m overwhelmed and depressed. Breastfeeding was hell with a preemie with a tiny mouth and required use of a nipple shield. Feedings sometimes lasted an hour. Zillions of doctors’ appointments made them nearly impossible. I laid awake at night fretting over how I was going to organize them.

Simone had surgery for her hernias. It was tough, but we got through it. While we were at the hospital the cardiologist took another listen to her heart and ordered an x-ray which showed more fluid in her lungs, so she was put on medicine that would help dry it up and make it easier for her to breath. (This is happening b/c of the VSD– one of the holes in her heart.)

For the past week or so Simone had been falling asleep at the breast, making feedings drag on longer and longer. Postpartum depression has been robbing me of my sanity, so I got on an anti-depressant and had nearly decided to give up BFing all together when it was time for her next cardiologist appointment two days ago. Tests showed that, although two of the holes in her heart appear to be closing, the most troublesome one- the VSD- has not changed and, in fact, she now has a 2nd VSD. She’s not gaining weight as she should, and it’s probably because her little body is using the calories to keep up with the workload her heart’s not handling right now. Breastfeeding is too much effort for her, so it turns out that giving it up is the best decision for both of us. Somehow it’s still breaking my heart and making me sick. When she reaches 12 lbs, she’ll have surgery to repair the holes. It’s going to be a struggle to get there.

I’m trying to dry up cold turkey. It’s extremely painful. Meanwhile, Simone is making a rough transition to formula and doesn’t want to eat at all this morning.

So that’s the update. Sorry it’s not happier. If you want to keep up with us, Facebook probably really is the best way. I don’t have much time to post here anymore, and right now it’s hard to summon the energy. I love you all and appreciate the support this community has provided. I hope to rejoin it in a happier time a few months from now when Simone has recovered from her surgery and is doing better.

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “Goodbye for now

  1. Oh, Mel. I’m so sorry it is so hard. You are doing all the right things. I’m so glad you got an anti-depressant. Simone is fighting so hard, and so are you. I wish it was easier. You’re so strong, so, so strong. Even though you don’t always feel it. Lots and lots of love.

  2. Julie

    The path this has taken you down has been bumpy and stressful. But I am here. I am not going anywhere. I promise. I love you.

  3. Lynn Cameron

    Mel-

    I’m so sorry that it’s been so hard- adjustment to parenthood is huge even when everything is going well. You’ve had more than your share of worries to complicate it. I’ve adopted two children with heart disease- both had unrepaired VSDs and the both did incredibly well with their open heart surgery. Both began gaining weight immediately afterwards and have continued to have uncomplicated, active lives (healthwise) since then. I know how terrifying it is to be planning for such an invasive surgery, but I also know how great you and she are going to feel once it’s done. Feel free to contact me if you want to talk about about this. Wishing you and your sweet babe peace and health.

  4. I’m so sorry that things are not going as smoothly as you planned. Hang in there and take things one day at a time. Your little Simone is a champ and is very lucky to have a Mom who is working so hard to give her so much.

  5. jay

    I’m so sorry it’s been so hard for you both. We were wondering how you were and were *just* going to email and see, so appreciate the update (we aren’t on Facebook, sorry). I’m glad you got the anti-depressant and I do hope it helps somewhat. Rooting for you both always!! xxxx

  6. Rachel

    God, I’m so sorry that you’ve been through such hell. I look forward to the day when this is all just a distant memory and Simone is bopping around as healthy as can be.

    Thinking of you guys… if I can dig up your last name I’ll friend you on Facebook; if not I’ll email you mine so you can friend me. Take care.

  7. Oh Mel, I’m sorry it’s so hard. I’ll see you on Facebook–if you need anything, you know where to find me.

  8. Jen

    Awww….you poor girls 😦
    I hope things start looking up!
    Everytime i stopped breastfeeding I went cold turkey. My trick was an old sports bra from when I was in grade 7! It was so tight but made the drying up bareable. Good Luck!

  9. vee

    I’m so sorry you and Simone are going through such a difficult time. Keep doing what you need to do to look after yourself and her. We’re Facebook luddites, so will just hang here until things are looking up and you feel able to come back and tell us how much better everything is. Take care. xxx

  10. Jan

    This is heartbreaking. Will be thinking of both of you! Take care of yourself. Sweet Simone, she is lucky to have such devotion.

  11. Io

    Mel, I’m so sorry this has been so hard. I know the community will be here when you come back.
    I will message you on facebook – now that I am over my death illness, I need to come see you and bring the blanket I made for Simone. And dinner. And anything else you need.

  12. Co

    Mel, I’m so sorry to hear that you and Simone are going through so much. I am glad you are getting help for ppd. I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you. Let us know if we can help in any way from afar.

    You didn’t ask for a$$vice, but here are a few possibly helpful ideas. You have probably tried these already, but in case not…
    1) Syringe feeding. We syringe fed Jo when he lost too much weight right after he was born. It’s basically force feeding and we used to do it because he would fall asleep and we couldn’t rouse him sometimes to eat, or if we roused him, he would scream and refuse to eat. If Simone is burning too many calories sucking or is refusing formula, maybe that would be a way to go. She might still spit it out, of course, but maybe not…
    2) Bottle nipples with more flow. The newborn bottle nipples that are sold to breastfeeding moms have very limited flow. Then they sell different bottle nipples for older babies that apparently allow the liquid to flow through more quickly. I wonder if the higher flow nipples would be easier on a baby having difficulty sucking or who uses up too much energy sucking. Maybe they’d be too big for her… I dunno. It is just a thought.
    3) Sleepy baby. Jo used to fall asleep while feeding when he was an infant and the feedings routinely took an hour each and then he would want to eat again an hour after that. When he fell asleep eating, I used the following with varying degrees of success to wake him up again: jiggled him, tickled his feet, put a damp rag on the back of his neck, and if all else failed, sometimes repositioned him or stopped the feeding. I don’t know if Simone falls asleep at the bottle too, but I figured I’d mention those. I think a lot of babies like to nip and nap… the nip relaxes them, then they drift off, then they want to eat again… Heaven for the baby, hell for the mom. You’ve probably tried all that and more, but I figured I’d mention it.

    Hang in there. Simone is lucky to have you. I will continue following on fb.

  13. CD

    Have been thinking of you, so thanks for checking in. Hope to “see” you again, when you’re ready. There WILL be better times. It gets easier – it has too. I’m sorry it’s so rough at the moment. Good luck to you both.

  14. You need no advice right now – you’re doing exactly what any mom should and putting Simone first. But I offer you one bit of knowledge – I was in the same situation with my boy. He wasn’t feeding enough, having trouble gaining weight, and my milk supply was awful. I went to a wonderful lactation consultant who got me through breastfeeding with supplementation (sometimes it was more the reverse, but it worked.) Everyone and all the books make it seem like you have to do one or the other, but you can do both, and you can do it for a long time. I did it for 6 months, expressing and getting him used to a bottle, and then doing both nursing and bottle feeding. Your mileage may vary, and forgive me for sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong, but that was an “ah ha” moment that just isn’t well publicized.

    My boy did well on formula, and even though he is on the small size, at least in relation to his relations, he’s just perfect in my eyes. Hang in there, it DOES get better.

  15. So sorry that this is so hard. I wish you the best and hope that you and Simone find some peace and health soon.

  16. xxoo i check on you on facebook now and again, i will get over my facebook aversion and email you there now and again. dakota and i are always thinking of you and simone… much love, mulberry

  17. Oh honey, what a tough time. While I am totally pro-breastfeeding, I am also VERY pro-do what mommy needs. If that’s giving up breastfeeding, then that is OK – don’t beat yourself up over it or think you have to rationalize it. Formula is what is best for you, which in turn, will be best for miss Simone. You are a wonderful mommy and will do anything for your little girl, we all know that.

    ~hugs~ from this girl way out in colorado.

  18. We all love you over here and although we’ll miss you for that bit of downtime, we support you in whatever you need to do to take care of you and Simone. We’re on Facebook, so we’ll keep up with you over there. Dont worry about anyone but you and that baby right now. Lots of love from over here xxxxooo Jen and Michelle

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