I’ve been wanting to write about what’s been going on but I have not made an effort! Here is an attempt to update on the last 5 weeks. The post was so long that I am going to break it up into several posts. This is probably fairly boring to anyone who is not me! But I would like this to remember the early days!
After baby A’s delivery we were transferred over to the mother/baby unit to work on breastfeeding and recover. Because of her low birthweight (4lb 13oz) she needed frequent temperature checks and blood sugar checks. Her sugars were on the low side of normal. The nurses said that my colostrum would be enough to sustain her sugars. Well, breastfeeding was a different story. Since she was 3 weeks early and quite small, she could not latch on effectively to transfer the colostrum, and she was jus biting my nipples. Ouch!! She had a sugar of 37 in the early evening. I nursed her and also expressed some colostrum (like 0.3ml) and fed that to her. Then nighttime came. Baby A screamed and screamed throughout the night. The kind of scream that hunger brings about. Now I know colostrum is suppose to sustain babies through the first days of life. The nurses tried to reaffirm that. But I truly believe our baby was starving. Remember, she was IUGR. She had not met her growth potential in the womb. She was ready to grow and to do that, she needed to eat. It was so difficult to listen to her scream and for me to be unable to sustain her. I was in tears for a large part of the night.
The icing on the cake was when they checked her sugar around 4am and it was 28. That is a scary low blood sugar. I know what happens to babies and kids when they blood sugar is low, that’s part of my job. I demanded formula to feed my screaming, starving child and the nurses were so hesitant to provide it. They took awhile to bring it which only made me more upset. It was incredibly frustrating to be made to feel bad for doing what was medically necessary for my baby. Hindsight tells me I should have demanded to speak with the pediatrician but I was so upset and sleep deprived that I wasn’t thinking straight.
After feeding the formula she slept. It was such a relief. But then she woke up screaming again in a couple of hours. That was when I lost it and was just continuously crying. When the nurses came in for change of shift, they told me I would be the first patient to be seen by lactation that morning.
The visit from the lactation nurse was just what we needed. She watch baby A try to latch and agreed that she was too little and bite-y (is that a word?) to latch properly. So we developed s plan. I would try to latch her 2-3 times a day to practice. Then I would use hand expression to get out as much colostrum as possible. My husband would then finger feed her the colostrum and give her about a half ounce of formula while I double pumped to help bring in my milk supply. I was given a hospital grade pump to take home for 2 months. I was so incredibly thankful that we had a plan that my husband and I could agree with. I felt like my concerns were heard. The pediatric nurse practitioner was on board with us as well.
We ended up staying an extra night to make sure she gained weight, as on the morning of our original discharge she weighed 4lb 7oz. We continued our feeding plan, and the next day she was 4lb 10oz and we were free to go.
Overall the nurses were fantastic and I feel like we got great care, aside from the formula issue.