So I guess we've hit a bit of a plateau, and I had a frustrating night last night. First of all, Penelope has lost weight for the third day in a row -- just a little, but still a loss, and she's certainly not gaining. I found out she has still been getting the OG tube -- and here's how I found out: I walked in and she was getting one. You know, this hospital is super responsive to the parents and has a very open-door policy, but sometimes I swear they are either weirdly passive-aggressive or they just don't really mean it when they say they want the parents involved. I understand that sometimes she gets tired and has to have the tube, and after the nurse explained that she was tired all day I was ok with her getting the tube, but what the hell? Can we talk about it? How about let me in on the conversation?
As with any other health-care situation, you have to advocate for yourself -- i learned that early on, when she was taken off feeds and they fogot about the milk that was in the fridge, so it went bad and had to be tossed. I try to read her chart when I get to the hospital, but there's so much going on with just the overwhelming emotion of seeing her again and getting her to breast that first time of the day that I sometimes forget. Whatever -- I'm there every damn day! It's not like I'm hard to find.
I also found out they've been giving her formula for the past two days because they ran out of the milk I'd frozen while she was sick. Now, I know intellecutally that formula is no big shit, but again, nobody could mention this? I'm redoubling my pumping efforts, and/but ...
... the milk I had with me yesterday? I idiotically forgot to put it in the fridge when I got there. I actually thought of it and then said "oh no, that's right, I left it home because I thought we were going to stop in again before going to the hospital." In fact, it was with me, but by the time I realized that it had been in the cooler for 12 hours and the nurses thought it was too iffy. I know this was entirely my fault, but I still wanted to punch the nurse when she told me it made her too nervous.
To make matters worse, Penelope was, in fact, super-tired yesterday, and every time I put her to breast she fell asleep before she was really done (maybe getting a full feed every other time). At around 9:30 or 10pm she woke up hungry, and latched on but wouldn't suck. She was rooting like an insane monster baby but just wouldn't seal the deal no matter what I did, and I got increasingly frantic and worried, which of course doesn't help. And I guess the nurses that were on last night just weren't the best match for us, because they just stood around and had no advice or encouragement for me...
big difference from two nights ago, when I had the awesome Chu and wanted to get an isolette of my own and just stay there. Jeez! Not only that, but when I finally decided to pump so she could eat fresh, I don't know what happened, but one of my pump bottles just disappeared... vanished! You know that thing where you just keep looking where something is supposed to be, because it's not possible for it to have just walked off? I just couldn't fathom that it had vanished, so in this tired, frazzled, frantic state I was poking around the bassinette for like a half hour at midnight.
I don't know. I'm used to having Randy there with me at night and he kind of drags me out of there by like 11, so I probably need a wingman to keep me focused after a certain number of hours.
All of this sort of gets made worse because the more I look at Penelope, the more I realize -- even as I see her developing to a closer-to-term baby -- that she is really supposed to be inside me right now -- always in contact, always in communion with me. It's maddening to have to put her down, let alone leave her for the night, when I realize that.
Blarg. So the plateau is this: she doesn't have the energy or skills to take enough food by mouth to keep gaining weight. so she still has to take every other feed via tube, AND she has to get formula some of the time because my production is good, but still not quite enough. (Ferinstance, I'm pumping as I type this, and I just finished -- totally under target. I should have had a snack before I started.)
But I'm still thankful: see this spread? One of the cleanup ladies, Angela, has taken a shine to another one of the moms and myself. She made all this food, plus soup, and set it out for us on the day after Thanksgiving -- the noodles were a special un-spicy version for nursing mothers. (She wouldn't let us try the one she made for the pot-luck the day before, because "too spicy for the baby! I don't wanna take the chance!") When I walked into the parents' kitchen and saw this, I melted into tears -- which indicates that I am still quite hormonal. And that people are really wonderful even when you're feeling homicidally stressed and apoplectic.
So, you know. The problems are small and will be overcome in a matter of days or a week or two. It's just a moment.