Sunday, November 2, 2008

All Hail the Silver Bullet

Check out this insane bit of machinery. Go ahead, check it out! This, my friends, is the Silver Bullet, so named not because of its metallic hue but because it is a missile that goes to the heart of your boobs to shoot milk out your nipples and into two plastic bottles. The nurses say it's some 40 years old; its gentlest setting feels like the overzealous attentions of a superhero called Purple Nurple; and despite its large and clunky plug, I'm pretty sure it's powered by mice on a treadmill. Nonetheless. I hooked myself up to this baby while next to Penn, behind a screen, today, and behold! four ounces of the finest breastmilk in all the land. of course, that was after 3 completely dry and frustrating attempts to divine nourishing liquid from my hooters. but i'll take one gusher over no gushers.

As for the star of this show, well, she had a wonderfully uneventful day. The kids came by and sat with Randy while he held her, and fought over who got to sit in the groovy chair. Then they left and I pumped; she was fed some of my breast milk via a tube to her stomach, and tolerated all of it (no residual leftovers at the next feed). She napped while I stared stalkily at her. Then I held her, and almost immediately she started making lip-smacking "that smells tasty" noises, so I showed her Righty and she latched right on, while our room's two nurses looked on and cooed their admiration (this is advanced behavior for a 31-weeker). Apparently I actually wasn't supposed to be letting her try this yet -- I need the doctor to order it -- and the nurses will make sure they get the order tomorrow. "Nature took its course, so it's okay," one of them said. Oops! What do I know? My kid asks for a nipple, I'm gonna say no? 

She then took a couple-hours nap with no As or Bs, just nice calm shifting around and gentle paddling of her feet and hands. Heaven. 

When it was time for her to eat again, everything went really well, but after that she started to have a bunch of overstimulated alarms go off -- her heartrate was high, and she was doing her cool baby yoga move. I thought maybe she was trying to poop, but it became evident that she was just plain overstimulated and had to just be left alone with a blanket over her isolette. That was hard. I couldn't calm her -- the best thing I could do was walk away. Just in case you ever wondered what that's like, it's hard and weird and awful. Thank goodness the nurses are so amazing, or I would really just melt down every time I had to leave. Actually, I melt down anyway, but I usually keep it under pretty good wraps. Now you know.

the yoga move:


Betsys said...

My daughter was a 34-weeker and that having to leave her alone was so hard, I know! They only let me try to nurse every other feeding, so she wouldn't get too tired.

Even after she came home, she couldn't take too much stimulation at first. If I held her AND rocked her AND sang to her, that was way too much for her! So was holding her and reading out loud. She didn't really like being read to until about five or six months, then she couldn't get enough of it. My daughter grew out of it all and so will Miss Penelope.

She'll never be a person who likes lots of crowds and noise, but I don't think that's because of being early.

Maggie K said...

aww, poor little overstim baby! i know just the feeling, and wish someone would put a blanket over MY isolette some days. I know its hard to walk away but think of how manic and intense everything must be to a little munchkin who would normally be in deep dark wombland still if she hadn't been so darned eager to get born. I'm glad you're blogging all this, when she is driving you nuts in a few years you will look back and wish fondly for an isolette to toss her into, and a blanket to throw over it!

Jessica, Mark & David said...

Hail hail to the silver bullet! Pumping really is a drag and nowhere near as satisfying as nursing. That said, obviously Penn agrees. Glad she liked Righty, too. Hang in there, Amy, it sounds like she's doing GREAT.