Last Thursday Oliver had his usual 6 month check up. I expected it to be no big deal because, well.. his other visits were no big deal. For this visit, his doctor was out of town so we were scheduled with another pediatrician. The new doctor's nurse came in, asked us if we had an specific concerns for this month, and I said no. She told me to strip him down and take him to the scale.
We weighed him with no problems, and he didn't scream like he has in the past. The nurse starts clicking on the computer and then turns to me and asks.. "The scale did say he was 15 pounds... right?"
I didn't even know. I don't really care much about his weight. I can't remember numbers worth crap so it could have been 15 or 30 and I wouldn't have known. She had written down 15 pounds, but thought something must be wrong because at his last visit he weighed 14 lbs 14 oz.
When she said that, I figured she just used the scale wrong so I wasn't initially worried. We went back and weighed him again, and the scale said the same thing... 15 pounds. A second scale confirmed the first's judgement - he really does weigh only 15 pounds.
In two months and 1 week's time, he had only gained two ounces.
I wanted to take back what I said before. Yes, nurse, I do have concerns and questions now.
The doctor seemed to take her time in coming in, which gave me plenty of time to worry about what was wrong. When she did come in, she jumped right in about his weight. No how are yous I'm fine thank yous. Just -
"I see your son hasn't gained weight."
That made me feel really good. The whole time she was questioning me about his eating habits I felt like she was pegging me for some sort of child abuser. I already felt bad enough, but she kept asking me...
"Are you sure you feed him at least 5 times a day? Do you stop him from eating before he's done? Do you ignore his hunger cues to keep him on a more convenient schedule?"
No. I fed him all the time. He was pretty happy and he had grown longer than some of his clothing so I thought he was fine. I wasn't paying attention to any of that. I assumed that he was growing. I assumed that, you know... once you get a hang of this gaining weight stuff you don't turn back. I guess I was wrong, because my 90th percentile whopping big boy suddenly dropped to a 10th percentile petite little thing.
It was everything I could do not to freak out and cry. I wanted to keep saying I feed him I feed him I feed him! But I felt like repeating that would make her grow more and more suspicious of my caregiver skills. She told me about all of the bad things this could mean. Things wrong with Oliver, things wrong with me... She told me all of the statistics about what he "should be" but isn't.
And then she took a deep breath and said: Well, it could just be one bad weigh in. A temporary setback. Sometimes these things happen. Come back in a month and we'll reevaluate our situation. No big deal. I'll just overtly accuse you of neglecting him and you will shrug it off and come back in one month. Sound good? Good.
It's not good. I feel bad. I feel like I've failed him. I feel like I've starved him and its my fault for not realizing it. He seemed happy. He did grow an inch taller. I was doing my best and I thought I was doing a good job and then to hear that I just felt like I failed. It is hard for me to fail. It is especially hard for me to fail when I've given it everything I've got. It is especially hard for me to fail Oliver because he needs me to do everything for him. I don't ever want to let him down.
I wrote what was above the break a few days ago, and it was making me feel so bad that I just couldn't write any more of it. I write in this space to make myself feel better, and if writing isn't making me feel better I don't want to do it. The situation has gotten better now, though, so I feel like I can finish this. The end of that doctors visit was this: go home, try to feed him more often, and come back in a month and we'll check him again. Since he didn't seem to be nursing that well, I started giving him supplementary bottles of breastmilk or formula. I hated giving him formula, but I wanted to make sure he wasn't hungry.
Then on Monday I took Oliver back in to the doctor because he was refusing all foods except his solid foods. I saw him pulling on his ear so I thought he might have an ear infection. (He didn't.) When I took him in, they weighed him (twice) and found he had gained 10 ounces! Ten ounces in 3 days was a good sign - it meant that there was nothing wrong with Oliver, because clearly he is able to absorb the calories if we can pump more into him.
The bad news is that my milk supply has taken a dive. They suspect it is because of my Poly Cystic Ovary Sydrome, aka PCOS. Basically I can't make up enough to meet his demands. I still make milk, but it comes in very slowly... despite pumping, galactagogues, eating more, drinking more, etc. I have a meeting with a doctor on Monday to talk about different options we can take, but there may be nothing I can do about this problem. I may just have to live with it, always supplementing him with bottles until we wean him. I really would love to breastfeed him until he turns a year old, but it just might not be in the cards for me. I don't want to speak too much about it too soon - I'll find out on Monday what our game plan will be.
Stupid PCOS. Go away.