Saturday, March 5, 2016

Hard Days

Sunday was a hard day. By that point, Eliza should've been eating. But she wasn't. She wouldn't really breastfeed. She would latch and suck a couple times and that was it. Every time. We had tried syringe feeding her a little in the hospital, but that hadn't gone well. She just slept and slept and it was getting harder and harder to wake her to try to feed her. Needless to say, I was a worried mess when we headed off to the newborn check up we had scheduled that morning. The check up was with a nurse and a lactation consultant. They weighed her, checked for jaundice, and then watched her try to eat. Though her weight was still within the normal range, she was a little jaundiced and her lack of eating was a huge concern. The nurse called in a pediatrician to check her out. The pediatrician noted that Eliza was being tested for Down syndrome and told us that babies with Down syndrome often have trouble with feeding at the beginning. She was also concerned with her lack of eating and her lethargy, so she called the pediatrician on duty at the hospital to discuss the possibility of re-admitting her. After talking, the doctors determined we would take her home and try bottle-feeding her. The nurse would check in with us that afternoon and, if the bottle-feeding wasn't successful, we would bring her back to the hospital so they could check her over and get some nutrition in her.

I should mention that, with my postpartum hormones, I was a total wreck. The tears, oh the tears! I could not stop them from coming, no matter how hard I tried. I was pretty much either crying or on the verge of tears at all times. I was balling as we left the appointment. The nurses were very nice, but I'm not sure what they thought.

We went home and tried the bottle-feeding as directed. It didn't work. When the nurse called that afternoon, we told her that it wasn't successful and she told us to head back to the hospital. With all of this going on, my family stepped up and took care of Stella so we didn't have to worry about her. When we knew we would be going back to the hospital, my family came and took Stella. They also helped give Eliza a Priesthood Blessing before we left for the hospital. As we were getting ready to leave, Eliza woke up for a few minutes. We hurried and syringe fed her a little bit of breastmilk just to try to get something in her. Then, we were on our way.

They were very nice when we got to the hospital. It is not a fun thing to have to check your two day old baby into the hospital, but the nurses got Eliza all set up and then the pediatrician on duty examined her. He said he couldn't find anything wrong with her during his physical exam, but he noticed the same Down syndrome characteristics that the other pediatrician had seen and mentioned, again, that children with Down syndrome often have feeding issues. He said he was going to have the nurses see if they could get her to eat successfully before doing any more invasive tests.

Apparently the nurses have magical powers (or maybe just lots of experience) because they got her to eat right away. I pumped some breastmilk and they fed it to her in a bottle like it was no big thing. We were so happy to see her eating! She ate a good amount and they showed us some little tricks to help her eat. They put her on a three hour eating schedule and said we could be there as much as we wanted. It was wonderful news! We went back every three hours to feed her and I pumped so they had a good stash of milk in the refrigerator for her. Mr. Frisby and I split the night feedings (it was really a pain to drive to the hospital every few hours) so we could get a little sleep and we let the nurses handle the 3 am feeding without us. As soon as she started getting some nutrition in her, Eliza began to perk up. It was such a relief to see.

When we went back Monday morning, the doctor told us that Eliza was doing well and didn't have any major problems. He said if we were comfortable handling the feedings ourselves, we could take her home. There was nothing they were doing for her that we couldn't do ourselves. We were thrilled to be able to take her home again and thrilled with how things were going. We didn't have the car seat with us and needed to pick up some specific bottle supplies for her, so we said we come back for her next feeding and take her then.

It was so nice to finally be home with Eliza and not have to worry so much about her. Stella was getting more excited about her and loved getting to know her. We still had the uncertainty of her diagnosis in the backs of our minds, but we could at least start taking care of our little baby.

I was hopeful that Eliza would still learn to breastfeed, so with each feeding, I pumped, tried to breastfeed her, then one of us bottle fed her. It was a long process and kept me pretty busy from one feeding to the next. The nice thing about bottle-feeding was that Mr. Frisby was able to help with the nighttime feedings, so I was able to get some sleep.

We followed up at the newborn clinic on Wednesday. Eliza was eating pretty well at that point and seemed to be doing much better. They were a little concerned about jaundice, but we had her first appointment with our pediatrician scheduled for the following Monday, so they said he would check then and we headed home feeling so much better about things.

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