growing and outgrowing

There's so much in this post that I'm about to write that scares me. It makes me vulnerable and opens many opportunities for comments and criticism. But I've been thinking much about this topic lately and I need to get my thoughts out. 

There's a lot of growing around here... namely, our Gemma girl growing up literally before our eyes. I look at my little girl and realize she's already 12 weeks old... Wasn't my baby girl just born? It almost feels like she was just inside me, growing and developing. There are things she's already outgrown. Things she doesn't do much of anymore. Things like grabbing onto our shirts when we'd hold her. Things like when she'd look longingly at us and just stare for lengthy periods of time. Things like sneezing several times and on the last one, she'd let out a big sigh, thinking it was another sneeze. And these little things, things that may seem insignificant to others, are slowly going away. I notice these things as they become fewer and fewer.

Most people don't know this, but Gemma is a little underweight. Gemma was 7 pounds 0 ounces when she was born. I made the decision quite a while back that I wanted to breastfeed. And I am committed to breastfeeding. However, it has not been the easiest road. I won't get into the details, but I found out around Gemma's 6 week appointment that she was not gaining as well as she should have been. I didn't hear this from our pediatrician {who was my pediatrician and I just love her}. I heard this from a lactation consultant in another practice.

Now, I am a new mother. I do not think I am out of my mind, but with hormones still regulating themselves and worrying about every little thing, I am more sensitive than usual. This lactation consultant, who will remain nameless, told me that Gemma and I {a breastfeeding team} were not normal, that Gemma had a problem, that pediatricians don't know what they are talking about, and that this was an emergency. I cannot begin to describe the immense guilt I felt after I left this appointment. I cried for two days, thinking that I was starving my child and that I was causing her permanent damage for not feeding her enough. Being the sole provider of food and nutrition for my girl, it was all my responsibility and, in my mind, all my fault.

Gemma's always been a big sleeper. And she always seemed fairly content after nursing. I had gotten mixed advice from many people about how to nurse, when to nurse, how frequently to nurse, etc. So I went with my instincts and just fed her when she was hungry. And then I find out there's this huge problem? I was so confused and didn't know what to do. Everyone who knew what was going on asked me, "How else could you have known?"

Gemma's pediatrician wanted to keep an eye on it but didn't have many concerns. Gemma was hitting all of her milestones and wasn't showing any signs of malnutrition or delayed development. But I became all consumed with feeding Gemma and sticking on the lactation consultant's plan of getting Gemma to catch up. It was really rough for a couple of weeks, constantly monitoring how much she'd eat and how often she'd eat and how much she was pooping. With this preoccupation, I was completely wrapped up in how much Gem was growing. Every ounce at weight checks at the doctors was a victory point for us. Every time she'd stay the same, I'd become stricken with worry again over Gemma's little body and why she wasn't gaining weight. It's been quite the emotional month or two.

However, during this time, because I was so worried about her growth and wanted her to gain weight and grow bigger, I feel like I didn't take in enough of those "little things". I didn't realize they were slipping away. I was so wrapped up in her "growing" that I feel like I almost wished her littleness away. I didn't realize it, but now that I reflect back, I wish I would have taken in more of it. While growth is good and it's what she's supposed to be doing, it makes me somewhat sad.

I can now say that Gemma is a slow gainer, but that this is more common than that first lactation consultant let on. After another harsh follow up appointment with this certain woman, who was unsupportive when Gemma had only gained 1 ounce in 4 days, I talked with Gem's pediatrician who suggested we see the LC in her practice. This new woman was more kind and understanding and more than I could have asked for. We have been working hard feeding Gemma all day and night, and she's on the up and up now. Today, I just found out that she gained 13 ounces in one week. Typically, babies gain an ounce a day, and Gemma has doubled that in the last week. 13 ounces!!! I can't even tell you how proud I am of my girl! Her pediatrician was thrilled too. We are beginning to see results. She's still a peanut, and she'll probably always be, but she's growing and we're glad for that.

And while this post probably comes off as a bunch of rambling, I guess I will sum it up this way... While Gemma's growing and getting older and bigger makes me sad, in a way that I know I'll never see some of those little things again, I know that her growing is a part of life. Sometimes I have to tell myself, Ali, she's supposed to be getting older and bigger! I will miss this stage of her curling up and sleeping all of the time, but there's so much more I am excited for. While I am sad that time's flying, I am glad that her little body is doing exactly what it's supposed to {just a little slower than others}. And what thrills me the most is that her little personality is starting to come out. It's kind of the best thing ever, getting to know her more and seeing more of who she is. I just love her to pieces!

1 comment:

  1. She's taking after her mommy - you were a little peanut, too! And she just looks so happy and content. I think you're doing a marvelous job as her mom - keep it up!



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