I hate even typing this blog entry because I’d rather stay private with our struggles. It’s hard to admit we’re having problems and that life with our baby girl isn’t perfect all the time. But right now, my desire to have people praying for us is bigger than my desire to appear like I have it all together (and trust me, looking like I have it together is a big deal for me). Some of you know that we’ve been having issues with Eleanor’s weight gain. For those of you who don’t know, here are the details as quickly as I can manage.
On Jan 16th Eleanor was born at 7 lbs, 6 oz. As is typical, she lost weight while in the hospital and when we left she was at 6 lb 10 oz – this was nothing to worry about as it was within the realm of normal newborn weight loss. However, over the last 5 (almost 6) weeks, she’s gained back the weight excruciatingly slowly. In fact, she only hit her birth weight about 2 weeks ago, something she should have done within 10 days of birth.
As of yesterday she weighs 7 lbs, 13 oz, meaning in nearly 6 weeks she’s only gained a net 7 ounces. In the weeks since birth she should have been gaining 4-7 ounces per week.
At birth Eleanor was in the 47th percentile for her weight. Yesterday at 7 lb 13 oz, she’s in the 8th percentile – an alarming fact.
With the extremely low percentile for her weight, words like “malnutrition” are being tossed around… totally freaking. me. out. Her percentile puts her in a range called “head sparing” – a condition where an infant’s body preserves her brain (her head circumference is in the 45th percentile) but stops growing elsewhere. I’m shaking just typing this out… I’m picturing the orphans you see on tv with large heads and skinny bodies… how is it possible Eleanor could be described that way?
I’ve been breastfeeding since her birth and we supplemented for about a week between 3-4 weeks – once her weight started climbing I switched back to exclusively breastfeeding but I realize now I shouldn’t have done that. I don’t want to use formula (I’m worried my milk supply will be depleted) but I’m more concerned about her growth. As of now, I’m demand-feeding her (I’ve been doing that for a week and a half now) and attempting to give her a bottle of formula after each feeding to “top her off.” She doesn’t always take it but I’m trying.
Please pray for us…
Pray for Eleanor’s health first. Pray that she would chunk up FAST. Pray that the Lord would protect her brain as we’re trying to get her body to grow. Pray that there would be no long-term effects of this nutrition shortage.
Pray for me. It’s so hard not to take this personally and think that it’s somehow my fault… is my milk deficient? Is there something more I can be doing? I feel like a bad mom, that I’ve missed signs of her discomfort or poor health. It’s easy to feel defeated. I know breastmilk is best and I’m trying to pump myself full of calories so I keep producing good, high-calorie milk. I’ve had a few people (in public, not friends) comment “oh, was she a preemie?” which just stabs my heart because NO! She was a healthy baby and was exactly the perfect size at birth and only 2 days early. I’m becoming so defensive and jumpy about any comments directed at her weight.
Pray for Bronce and me – this is putting a lot of strain on our relationship and I don’t want to sacrifice the closeness we’ve gained since having Eleanor as we deal with this unforeseen struggle. Having some doctors in the family has added extra strain as they give recommendations (which we appreciate very much, but it does overwhelm us!) and as they occasionally freak out (which makes us freak out more since we’re rather uneducated about all of this).