Friday, January 17, 2014

Parental Wringers

Because of the speedy exit Mr Mambo#5 was jaundiced, just like his sister was. The muck didn't get squished to the southern exit. Apparently newblings need more than 20ish minutes being squished out of mama's nether-regions for that to happen.
And so began the incessant trips to the lab, back to the pediatrician, lather rinse repeat. He was also tongue-tied. The perinatologists and the pediatricians all said that it was minor. But it was indeed NOT something to be left unrevised here. In our case, baby boy could not extend his tongue far enough to pull milk out of the breast. He was always hungry, always nursing, always gassy and unhappy. He wasn't moving enough of the foremilk to get the fattier hindmilk that keeps him fuller longer. He was exhausting himself nursing all the time, trying to fill his little belly. I was pumping sufficient amounts of milk, probably more than he was moving out of there himself. Babies are supremely more efficient at transferring milk than a pump is. If I was able to pump 3 ounces from one breast with a nursing newborn, then something is definitely amiss.
Add to this scenario, twice a week lab checks, with ped follow up - and a 4 year old in tow. I was supposed to be recuperating. Pregnancy and childbirth takes a big physical toll on a woman's body. And I had a pediatrician's office not listening to me about the tongue tie being part of the problem. They kept suggesting the same things: supplement even an ounce of formula or give pedialyte, or pumped milk - anything to improve what he was taking in, so he could flush the bilirubin faster before it started posing more and major health problems. The problem was my child hated anything but the "gourmet groceries" as Mrs. A calls them. He would begrudgingly suffer a bottle of pumped milk - very reluctantly suffer it.
A friend was at her pediatrician's office, getting her son's tongue tie revised 3 days after he was born. She related our situation. The doctor told her to call us and get in there *NAO*. It was Friday, at 5:30 pm, and the pediatrician could have said "tell her to come in here next week." No, she said NOW. So, we hastily packed up everyone and left. My lil man was 10 days old, barely gaining, still jaundiced, and barely going through any diapers. Average is 10 diapers a day, but we were using maybe half that many.  We had to wait a while, and finally we got his tongue tie clipped. The pediatrician regularly does frenectomies, and understands the impact a tongue tie has on breastfeeding. I was about ready to take him to a pediatric dentist who would laser the tie, as trained by Dr Kotlow. But someone closer to home could do it, and covered with insurance and a copay. And she was insistent that I get to her office immediately, on a Friday evening, because my supply was at stake.
The first day after the revision, he was a little cranky and clingy, but that's to be expected. Then he started making up for lost time. He filled so many diapers over that weekend, and actually did more than a smear of poo. If he had a blowout diaper, I would've celebrated because it meant the bilirubin was moving out of his little body. Thankfully he didn't, but if he had, I would have cheered anyway. Diaper output immediately doubled. And then we had yet. another. follow-up. that Monday. He lost an ounce and the ped's office got all panicky. DUDE! He finally started producing diapers that were worth changing! Look at the whole picture here, will ya? I was supposed to go to a weight check on the Friday of his 3rd week, and I was exhausted. I refused to get in my mom-bus one. more. time. that week. My sanity, and that of my 4 year old needed to push pause on this incessant going places. Not to mention, the household budget needed a break from the fuel expenditure when I was not working to pay for said fuel, and copays.
I'd already had an appointment for the next Monday, so, really, I didn't feel a need to cater to the demands of the pediatrician's office when my sanity just was D.O.N.E.  and I needed to rest. This was not my first rodeo, and I felt safe staying home despite the objections of the nurses at the doctor's office. If mama is fried, the kids suffer. I learned that a long time ago. And I didn't care that they thought I was being neglectful. Yes, it's *just* a weight check. But to my 4 year old, it was yet another disruption this baby has caused her life, and making mommy impatient and cranky with her. She was devolving into a petulant, foot-dragging preschooler who was making mommy late for everything. We stayed home, and I napped on and off all day, with the little girl happily able to do what she wanted.
That next Monday, I had another ped appointment in the afternoon. I made them fax the lab order before my appointment, because I refused to spend my day waiting around and dealing with inefficient travels. I'd done this enough in the 3 weeks, I had a good gauge of the timing. Sure enough, he gained almost half a pound in a week, and the bilirubin was almost what it was when we left the hospital. No more wringers for us. We could resume a typical well-child check schedule.

And then 3 weeks later, for the well child check, Mr Mambo porked up an entire pound. No wonder I was losing circulation in my arms while holding him. Silly medical people, this mama is smarter than you think she is. Maybe you should listen more and wring her less.

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