Thursday, March 27, 2008

Growing Peanuts

Well it's been a loooooong three weeks since we figured out that Maggie was losing weight! As I said before, once we went to see the lactation consultant and figured out she wasn't sucking correctly things have been moving along pretty good. She has steadily gained each week since then. With breastfed babies, the general guideline is that they should gain 5-7 oz per week, she has been averaging 4 oz or more. I went back to our pediatrician for her weight check last Tuesday. I was so worried about this weight check in fact that I'm sad to admit that I took Maggie to the post office the night before and weighed her on their self-service scales! According to the post office scales she had gained well so I went into the weight check the next day feeling confident and happy. I had been working so hard to keep her eating good and was feeling so good about her weight gain or our improved breastfeeding. Well, despite her gains and excellent physical examination, they still were not happy wanted to send us to get blood work and urine checked. I held it together in their office but once I got to the car I was a mess. I felt like a failure and was so frustrated, stressed and even angry at the nurse practitioner and doctor. I also was a bit scared for Maggie and wondered if my intuition was failing me and maybe something WAS wrong. After having a good cry and talking to Brian and my mom, I decided to take her to get the blood work done. I hoped it would prove that she was fine and we could move on. We went that day and had it drawn. Maggie did GREAT, only cried when they put the needle in her little vein. The tech was amazing and as the other nurse held her still she got down close to her and reassured her and even KISSED her to calm her down. Kind of weird but I saw it as she just couldn't resist those adorable little cheeks and if I had been in her place I would have done the same thing! Her blood work came back the next day and was okay. Her liver enzymes were the only thing that showed up abnormal, they were a bit high and on the phone they told me they didn't know what that meant (why tell me then???) but that they had referred Maggie to a GI specialist at Children's Hospital to check her out. I was a bit panicked at this point, wondering what high liver enzymes could mean and as many of you know when you google something medical it can get ugly and even scarier so I called my dear friend Meva . Meva is a P.A. and she helped calm me down with her medical knowledge and opinions and also as a friend and mom. So, we went last Friday to see Dr. Mezoff at Children's Hospital. I'll admit, it was rather scary and surreal to be taking MY child to the hospital for the unknown. The appointment went very well though. Dr. Mezoff was VERY GOOD and very calming, reassuring and caring towards Maggie and me. He made sure I understood everything he was telling me and asked me over and over again if I had any questions. His opinion was that Maggie, while not gaining great, was still gaining well and that overall she looked very healthy and alert. He said the elevated liver enzymes were high, but not high enough to cause him to think there was a real problem. His thoughts were that they were up due to her early jaundice and previous weight loss. He was very encouraged that she had gained steadily since fixing her latch and that likely her liver enzymes would continue to decrease as the weeks went by. He ordered an ultrasound of her liver, just to be careful and wanted us to come back for weight checks and more blood work to make sure the numbers continued to decrease. I left his office feeling so good again and with a renewed calm and confidence! We had the ultrasound this past Monday and again, Maggie did great. The hardest part was the four hour fasting prior to the scan. She was so hungry and mad that I wasn't feeding her-poor baby! We got the results in the mail yesterday that all was fine with her ultrasound-more good news! Today we went for her weight check at Dr. Mezoff's office and Miss Maggie was a hefty 8 lbs exactly!! She was 7lbs, 10 oz last week so that is a great gain!!! I'm happy that all seems to be going well and that my intuition has proved good. It is still a struggle though as Maggie just isn't a super eater but I WANT to keep breastfeeding her and know it's best for her so the stubborn part of me will not quit. Please keep us in your thoughts or prayers that Maggie will continue to grow bigger and that breastfeeding will get easier for the two of us. It's important to me and Maggie I think.

Other good news, Maggie is now smiling!!! It's so cute and makes it all so much better!! She is also holding her head up very straight and looking all around. People are stopping me all the time now to ask how old she is since they can't believe such a tiny baby is so alert and strong. I should be used to this I guess since this is exactly what happened with Ellie too. Everyone predicted Brian and I would have huge, fat, hairy babies and instead we seem to create tiny, petite bald peanuts! I love my peanuts!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Too small

Maggie has struggled with breastfeeding from the get-go. It didn't help that she was put under the bili-lights for two days after she was born (for her jaundice) so we've been struggling. I had been feeling more and more worried about her eating/feeding and small size lately and finally went with my gut and called the paediatrician from their parking lot to see if I could come in for a weight check. (I had been out running errands and just decided to stop) I'm so glad I did-she was only 6lb, 15 oz which was down from her previous gain back to her birth weight a week ago! I immediately felt horrible and started to cry. I was hoping to go in, be reassured that all was well and leave sheepishly with a pat on my back as a "worried new mommy." So, not the best news but at least my mama's instinct was working and now we are working on plumping Miss Maggie up! I met with our practice's nurse practitioner Deb who is wonderful. She was very reassuring and very pro-breastfeeding and not only gave sound medical advice from her end but strongly encouraged me to call the lactation consultants at the hospital to get some extra help. We did give Maggie some formula in the office and they gave me samples to take home to supplement my feedings on the breast. I used them a few times but then read more online about pumping and supplementing with my own milk instead, so we have been doing that and leaving the formula as only a last resort. So now I feed her until she seems done, then I pump and give her 1-2 oz of expressed milk to "top her off" and make sure I am giving her countable amounts. This has not been easy as she feeds 30-45 minutes on the breast, then I have to pump and then it seems like it's time to start the whole process all over again.

I went to the lactation consultant's office on Wednesday and they were wonderful! Right away they could tell that Maggie wasn't latching on fully. She was only nursing on the tip which made her work very hard and use a lot of energy to get the milk and because of this she was also only getting the "skim" milk and not the good fatty milk. She showed me how to make her latch on correctly and right away we heard her gulping and swallowing like crazy. She was fighting me on this "new way" but after a few days of making her do it the new way, she is latching on correctly on her own most of the time. I was relieved to find a reason for her inefficient eating correctly since Wednesday afternoon. She also looks and acts much better.
We went again on Friday for another weight check and she had only gained 2 oz since Monday, they weren't very happy with that but I feel okay about it as we really only had been eating but want to wait until our next weight check on Tuesday, March 11 before making any orders for additional tests. Brian and I have talked about it and as long as she has gained so more we will wait another week before consenting to invasive testing. My gut is saying that she is okay although I do have moments of wavering on this. I am putting a lot of pressure on myself since I am the one providing the food for her. I am stubborn and want her to get the best which is why I am not giving up on the breastfeeding. I am nervous about tomorrow and hope and pray she has gained some sufficient weight to make them happy and me too!!

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers!! I'll let you know what we find out tomorrow and will add some more photos and updates too.
She was 7.1 Friday and today (Monday) was 7.4 so that is good! They are still being cautious but the doctor said she looks healthy and made decent gains so she is giving us another week before making a recommendation for tests. Keep up the good work Maggie!