Yesterday was Brooklyn's four month check up. I was recalling my trip with Isabella to her four month check up and how happy I am to now have a doctor who takes me seriously. When Isabella was about 3 months old she started getting skinny. She had never been a good breastfeeder, her latch was great but her attention span was non-existent. After many a days of doubting my abilities to mother I switched her to formula. Just after making the decision we headed in for her four month check up and she had last almost a pound since her second month check up. I had so many questions for my doctor. I felt so dumb. Isabella did sqwack a fair bit and I knew she was hungry but I tried to follow advice and persevere at breastfeeding so as not to be judged, and in doing so had harmed my child. How could I be so dumb I thought. So I went to my doctor for answers. He looked at me, told me someone had measured her wrong at 2 months cuz no baby loses a pound. It just doesn't happen. I knew she had lost weight, she had always been lean but I could count her ribs! I disregarded my doctor and decided I could no longer stick it out in breastfeeding land, I would just accept my F and move on. Isabella began to eat and eat and eat. The pictures of her transformation from long and lean in June to a virtual basketball in August are incredible.
Since Brooklyn was born I have been stressed about her weight too. I try not to be cuz my kids will be smaller than others, but it's hard. To be the 10th percentile mom in a 90th percentile world is hard. The other day I was saying to Nick how excited I am because Brooklyn actually feels heavier to me than she did a month ago. She has 5 really wet diapers a day and a bowel movement too. She eats her bottle and then she smiles and coos. She's a happy camper until she eats again 3 hours later. She does like to be rocked to sleep and gets a bit whiny, but definitely not the hungry wail I get if I accidently sleep in. I was definitely stoked to just have a small child.
Then I went to visit the doctor. My doctor was out sick for the first time in 15 years and I had to see another guy I've never met. We weighed Brooklyn and she was looking around all bright eyed and smiling at everyone. She had eaten about 2.5 hours ago and she was still a content child. We put her on the scale and weighed her once, twice, three times. Then the nurse said, it's possible someone measured her wrong last time as the scale is tricky to read but just ask. So the weight was mentioned and then the doctor looked her over. She has not had any feavers or illnesses. She is happy all the time. She can almost sit up by herself, she rolls from back to tummy all the time, and even all the way over a few times already. She has the greatest smile too. Then we get to the weight issue. The doctor asks me how much I feed her and I tell him. He looks at me kind like, 'and she's happy after she eats?', are you sure? And the thing is I'm very sure because living in paranoia small baby owner land I constantly ask people after she eats if she looks content. I'm constantly running through a dialogue in my head of 'is that hungry or is she exploring her hands?'. I take this very seriously. He does the rest of her exam, she's completely healthy and then he checks out her girlie parts. He says there's an odor he noticed when changing her diaper. I stopped to think, an odor, an odor. There is a smell that accompanies an incredibly full of pee diaper, but it's always there. So if it's emitted from her body it's been there since day one an a completely consistent basis I respond. Then the doctor leaves the room.
He returns later with another doctor who is usually in the clinic who sits down and looks at me with that patronizing look that says: 'all women should have to get a degree before becoming parents, and you my dear would have failed.' Then we recount to the ounce what she's eating. Tricky to do with a breastfeed baby. I missed the day where they implant the ounce counter beside my nipple. But I could tell that Brooklyn had not been totally full at a few feeds and had been trying to get her to re-latch and eat longer and was really giving it all the effort in the world. Still, there had become a few feeds where she would eat and then I'd give her a few ounces of formula and those feeds had become all her feeds and then she was just wanting the bottle so I gave it to her and as of Saturday she had been just bottle fed formula. (There I said it. I have a formula fed baby.) So I knew that as of Saturday she was eating 20 ounces a day. Now for all of you with healthy children you can stop reading, or you can pick your jaw up off the floor or whatever, I'm sure anonymous you'll have something wonderfully witty to say about that. She is such a content baby. You've all see the smiles and that's what I get all day. She sleeps solid 12 hours a night she is great and happy and otherwise healthy.
The doctor continues to look down his nose at me and tells me I need to DOUBLE the amount she eats. She needs to be getting 40 ounces a day. And he would like me to swing by the hospital right now for further tests. I can't I reply. I will not have a vehicle until 5:00. Then he gets the 'oh I'm talking to a poor person' tone and says 'well then how did you get here?'. Like my car was in the parking lot but I would not use it to take my kid to the hospital after he's just told me she could be sick. I walked over I replied. Oh he says. Well then go right at 5:00 I'll call the hospital, they'll be expecting you. (I should intergect that because of the 'odor' the first doctor smelled they thought she might have a chronic urinary tract infection causing the weight loss.) Feeling sufficiently retarded that I had kids before I won the lottery, and wondering how I could be so stupid as to actually think my child was happy and doing well. He further went on to tell me I would have to be closely monitored until Brooklyn was back on the growth chart at a satisfactory place. (yes I would have to be monitored, not Brooklyn). I did my best to hold back stinging tears, repeating my new mantra 'you're not a bad mom, just having a bad day' and gathered up my toddler who had missed her nap while sitting in the office and did not want to leave. I got home, called Nick to tell him he had to come straight home. I put the kids down for a nap.
I went to the hospital thinking they were ready for me to come. I was sent to emergency and filled out the paper work. Then I had to sit among puking kids who were all dealing with major cases of the flu. I sat there for 3 hours. They finally took us back and sent me away while they did Brooklyn's test. I could have stayed but it was going to be traumatizing if I did. They inserted a catheter into my baby to take urine from her bladder to test. I went to call Nick with an update and use the bathroom myself and when I came back she was screaming so loudly and looked so scared even though the test had been done for a few minutes. Poor girl. Then I waited another hour for the tests to come back. I had tried to give her her last bottle of the day, trying to figure out how to get her to eat 8 ounces instead of her usual 4. She just wouldn't have it. At four she would spit it out and though I tried for an hour to get her to eat more she just sat there with it in her mouth not even sucking. The doctor finally came back, (after I was traumatized listening to an 11 year old get stitches without freezing and not by his choice), and said there's nothing abnormal in her urine, and because she's obviously so healthy he's not going to subject her to the blood panel the doctors suggested.
What a day. I just wonder how I could have messed up so bad as to not realize she was eating HALF of what was necessary. I actually thought she was thriving and happy and healthy. I thought I was listening to her cues and although I had to suck my pride back and fail again at breastfeeding I was willing to do it so she would eat. I was getting all geared up for adding cereal this month and then the fruits and veggies and day dreaming about family dinners with both my kids. It was such a tramatizing day. I go back on Thursday to see my family doctor and we'll see what he has to say. And I wonder, will this happen with Baby #3 as well? Am I just a bad breastfeeder although everything goes well minus the length of time my kids will eat for? Is there something wrong with me?
It might be silly but I'm really not looking forward to Brooklyn going from long and lean to basketball. Just like I am bombarded every day with models and how I should look to feel beautiful, the basketball represents to me the same thing for babies. What if I just have smaller kids, or does no one really have petite babies?