The last week has been hard. Actually make that Hard, with a capital H. T has really been struggling to put on weight. When the midwife came last week, he had put on a little but not nearly enough, 50gms in 3 days. K’s sister offered to drive down and stayed the night on Saturday to help out/lend her considerable experience, and picked that it was not just reflux but silent reflux we’re dealing with (where he doesn’t bring it up most of the time, but swallows it therefore burning his little throat on the way up AND the way down).
The paediatrician finally rang and we went to see him on Sunday, he agreed yes it is reflux and gave us a script for some losec first off. His poor little throat is red and raw from the acid, we had booked a homeopathic appointment for Tuesday so weren’t sure whether we’d try alternative medicine first, but decided to go straight to the medication to get it working faster. He then went on to weigh him and he had not put on any weight at all since Thursday. Now it is different scales etc but this was not good at all. He checked him out thoroughly, and said that he had lost quite a bit of muscle condition since he’d last seen him (at 1 week old) and he was very worried about him. It was a huge shock when he went on to say that he was moderately to severely malnourished. We knew he was a skinny kid but never dreamed he was that poorly. He recommended that we continue topping up with the expressed breast milk as we had been doing, but also bump that up with some formula to get some more fat into him. It seemed like he had been drinking plenty both from the breast and the expressed bottles but apparently not enough – probably tied in with the reflux as well, it hurts him to swallow so he probably hasn’t been sucking effectively. Despite our misgivings with him last time, the doctor was very nice and understanding, acknowledging that K would be disappointed to bring in formula but also making it clear that this doesn’t have to be a forever solution, just to get him over this hump.
We left the appointment with a plan and a clear target that T had to reach or else be put in hospital. We were in shock and pretty much devastated that things were so bad – we know it could have been worse, but to be told he was severely malnourished and losing muscle condition..just wow. K had already started taking a herbal remedy to boost her milk, which is definitely working now, and she also already had an appointment booked with a lactation consultant for Monday. I took Monday off work as well to support her but also because we were both just exhausted. The LC was good, but again we get different conflicting advice and it’s so hard to work out what’s right for us. She also suggested K try the drugs to increase her supply, but we’re still thinking about that as her supply has definitely increased with the herbs and she said it could take 4-6 weeks for the drugs to work anyway.
Yesterday (Tuesday) morning I went off to work, only to be sent back home again for a few days by my boss (I work with some truly awesome people – I may complain about them plenty, but they have really come through with a heck of a lot more support than I’d ever expect or even ask for). We had our first visit from the plunket nurse in the morning, whose scales showed that he had put on 180 gms which was a huge relief (again though, different scales so we didn’t want to get too excited). Then our midwife C came in the evening and confirmed the weight gain – 240gms on her scales since Thursday, which is twice what the paediatrician was looking for. This means he is also back above his birth weight again, he did get back there a week after birth but since dipped under again. He started off in the 50th percentile for weight but now is way down in the 9th – at least it’s starting to go in the right direction though.
We are so relieved that he is gaining now, it sounds underwhelming to put it that way because it’s so much more than that. Even his cheeks have started to fill out again. It has been such a hard road in the past month with his tongue tie and reflux trying to work out what has been happening and how to fix it. It has been frustrating getting different opinions and stories from different people/experts, but that’s the way I guess and every situation is different so we need to get used to that and find our own way through the information we get. We’ve done everything that we could, when we could with the information we’ve had and K has been doing an awesome job breastfeeding. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s been hard on her to have to supplement with formula but she is still doing everything that she can for our son and it’s amazing and humbling to watch.
It’s not quite over yet, the poor little man is now constipated from the formula which is just heartbreaking to watch. Last night I was holding him and he was straining so hard, screaming and bright red. He just kept looking at me with the saddest look on his face like he’s asking me to fix it. We tried giving him boiled water but he just threw it all up, we’ve tried massage and bicycling his legs but so far nothing.
Anyone got any other bright ideas?
It’s just so scary when things aren’t going well, that tiny little boy that we love to bits is completely reliant on us to make the right decisions and that’s a huge responsibility when you’re already exhausted yourselves. It’s right what everyone says, nothing can prepare you for the changes when you have a baby, and it’s been damn hard so far but we wouldn’t give it up for the world. The feeling of such a sweet little baby in our arms, and the glow deep inside when he looks at us and smiles is more than enough to make it worthwhile.