I’m so glad that I was already able to put into words everything that’s been in my head.
Because, wouldn’t you know it. Today was one of those days.
I’d already been dreading this day for a long time. G’s 4 month appt., which was actually taking place at 5 1/2 months. The day where I finally have to make up my mind about his second round of vaccinations, after the miserable experience that was last time. I actually had nightmares about it.
If you remember, I switched Doctors, which is why it took me so long to get into the rotation. Dr. Dennis was highly recommended to me by Courtney, because she is a DO, which means that she is trained in a little bit more of a “whole body” approach to medicine.
Really, finding Dr. Dennis was the only good thing about today. She patiently talked with me for about an hour, never seeming rushed (even though we were 10 min. late for the appt.). She took time to explain each vaccine, reactions she’s seen to various versions of it, which ones she thinks are absolutely necessary, etc. She also took the time to explain homeopathy in more detail (which really helped, since it confirmed everything I’d read online). Together, we decided not to immunize G against Pertussis for now, seeing as this was probably the reason for his bad reaction last time. She said that her granddaughter had the same reaction to the “DTaP, and that once they took out pertussis, she no longer screamed or ran a fever for two days following the vaccination. We also decided that since G is breastfed, I would forgo the Rotavirus vaccine, seeing as she’s had two children in the past year go to the ER with distended intestines as a result. A breastfed baby has a very small chance of getting anything GI tract related, since that’s the very place which breast-milk coats with antibodies. Things like the polio vaccine, she said, are pretty benign, as far as vaccines go, so I got it, along with the rest of the vaccines that the AAP recommends.
But she had some pretty bad news for me. G is not only underweight, as I suspected, he is very underweight. 13 pounds, 5 ounces. That’s under the 5th percentile. By now, she said, he should be close to doubling his birth weight. Instead, he’s only gained 2 pounds in the past 4 months.
Part of the reason is genetics. I love that she took the time to ask about Jesse’s body type so that she could take this into account when determining the problem. He is a very active baby, so his metabolism is going crazy right now. Even while we were talking, he was trying to climb out of my lap so that he could crawl on the floor. I don’t think he stopped moving the entire visit.
But I have noticed that my milk supply has been diminishing. In the beginning, I had too much. Ever since G’s cold, however, I’ve noticed that I have a hard time pumping any extra for piano teaching days. For the past three days or so, I’ve also noticed that he’s still hungry, even after I’ve just fed him.
It became really clear last night. I pumped after G went to bed, as I usually do. When G woke up at 2am, ready for his night feeding, I had nothing. NOTHING. My body just wasn’t producing. I ended up burying my head in the pillow helplessly while Jesse rocked him back to sleep, hungry belly and all. All day today, he hasn’t been latching well, mostly because he’s been acting impatient, as if he’s saying, “where’d it go?”.
It was my worst fear coming true. The moment she said he was very underweight and looking pretty scrawny, I started crying. I realized that deep down, I already knew something needed to change. I knew that G wasn’t getting enough food. But hearing someone else say it stung bad. Luckily, she was very gentle. She asked about my diet, and reminded me to get enough calories and water and to keep taking my prenatal vitamins.
Surprisingly, she didn’t even say the word formula. Instead, she told me to go out immediately and buy Brewer’s Yeast and start taking 3 capsules/day. She said it was the quickest way she knew to increase milk supply. She also said to start him on solid food immediately, slowly starting with the yellow/orange veggies, going for fatty things like avocado soon.
After his vaccinations (Julie came with me for support, which we realized was a bad idea, seeing as she faints when she gets shots or has her blood drawn!), I dropped Julie off at her car and headed straight for the Sunflower Shoppe around the corner from our house. Brewer’s Yeast only comes in powder form, so I also bought vegetarian capsules to put it in, seeing as the taste is supposedly terrible. On Dr. Dennis’ recommendation, I also bought him homeopathic belladonna tablets, seeing as all of Hyland’s Teething Tablets have been taken off the market (mainly, because the FDA doesn’t understand that homeopathic is not the same as actually containing the herb!). She would prefer me use these instead of chalking him full of Tylenol for the pain. She also told me to tie a small washcloth in a knot, soak it, then freeze it. He can hold the ends of the washcloth while chewing on the frozen part in the middle.
I ended up cancelling all of my piano lessons for the day and going over to hang out with Courtney until Jesse got home. I was too emotionally shot to think of leaving my baby (who was screaming, by that time, from lack of food mostly), plus, I couldn’t burden Courtney with him right now. Turns out, it was a good move– once Jonathan and Topher were awake, all 3 kids took turns being fussy and crying! Too much for one person! I made my yeast tablets, took one, and nursed G. When he was still fussy, Courtney graciously heated up 3 oz. of her own stored milk. G gobbled it down and for the first time in days, actually acted full!
Jesse is now home from work, and so we are tag-teaming the still screaming baby. At this point, I don’t think it’s a reaction to the vaccines– he’s only slept a total of an hour today, so he’s EXHAUSTED. We have a few jars of organic baby food given to me at one of my showers, so we have that for now. I will also be trying my hand at making a few different kinds of baby food tonight.
Thanks for all the kind words and comments. It really means the world to know that there are other moms out there, going through some of the same things as me.
Update later in the evening: Turns out, the serving size for the Brewer’s Yeast is 2 tbsp. It took me 30 capsules to get all of that! 100 empty capsules was $6…don’t think I can keep this up! As an experiment, Jesse made me a smoothie with 1 tbsp. of the Yeast. Although not Jamba Juice, for a health smoothie it was pretty good! Two bananas, blueberries, a serving of Greek yogurt, the Brewer’s Yeast, plus a tbsp. of the Agave Nectar for yumminess. 450 calories later…definitely beats the 1/2 hr. it took me stuff 30 capsules!
Apparently, I’ve lost another pound since last week. I am now betting that part of the problem is I’m not consuming enough calories. So I also drank a beer tonight. And ate an entire chicken breast. Hopefully, these mega smoothies will help!