Monday, July 7, 2008

Closed for Business

Brayden and I have made it through the first week of no nursing. I am closed for business. Brayden seems to have no problem with the transition.

For Brayden's first year, we spent quality time together. By some miracle Brayden was able to nurse successfully from the beginning, in fact better than my other two boys. The first twelve months of Brayden’s life, we spent about 45 minutes together, 5-6 times a day. The only way that he could eat was nursing. He has problems with things touching his face and he tends to push things out of his mouth; bottles, cups, spoons, etc, did not work. Nursing was his only nutrition and a lot of comfort for him. We have no idea why nursing worked and nothing else. We worked with doctors and therapists, no explanation. We considered it to be a miracle, no explanation needed, a little miracle and piece of normalcy in his not so normal life.
Shortly after his first birthday, Brayden got his feeding tube. We were unsuccessful with getting him to eat or drink anything. His growth reached a plateau for over 4 months so we knew that he needed the feeding tube for nutrition and the best possible chance for him to grow and develop, as well as his brain. After his feeding tube, we went down to nursing twice a day. Then the past few weeks has only been once a day. That only lasted a short time; my body was shutting down the milk factory and officially closed for business one week ago (I know this borders on too much information).

The feeding tube, for the most part, has been going well. In about 8 weeks Brayden has gained about three pounds. The doctors are calling that catch up weight; then his weight gain will steady off. Jeremy and I are getting the hang of things. We are pretty comfortable with hooking him up to the pump. The older boys know the familiar beeping sound of the machine and let us know when the feeding is complete. The feeding pump is called a Kangaroo Joey and has a kangaroo jumping across the screen so they love that!

We are having difficulty with Brayden and projectile vomit. No, it is not spit-up; it is projectile vomit, so much that it drips down the sides of the crib. I love my children but I do not handle anything coming out of either end very well. The vomitting has been happening over the past month, 1-2 times a day. We are in the process of figuring out the problem. He has been tested for reflux several times and never showed any signs. The problem seems to be with digestion of the formula he gets through the feeding tube.
Brayden is still doing feeding therapy with a speech pathologist and showing great progress. He prefers things that are a bit heavier, like a pudding consistency. I am going to attempt making baby food for him so that we can really control what he is getting. So if you have any pointers, please pass them along.

Letting go of the nursing has been harder for me than him. I know that I complained about nursing…a lot. I spent hours upon hours sitting in the car feeding him, between doctor appointments, running errands and driving the boys to activities. I listened to more talk radio than I ever knew existed. I sat in the same chair every day feeding him and not being able to tend to my other children. No one could help me watch Brayden, not even Jeremy, because I was the only one who could feed him. That went on for almost thirteen months. Nursing was his only source of food for over a year. It was exhausting. Having the feeding tube has given us a lot of freedom. But letting go the nursing has been a bit emotional for me. It was always a time for Brayden to relax, he spends so much of his day putting a lot of effort into just being. Nursing was his safe area when I could hold him without a fight and he could just nestle in. Nursing has been the only organized activity that Brayden could do, we are working on other things. It is great oral stimulation for him to continually use his mouth, we are finding other ways to help him with this. As much as I loathed nursing him for so long, I always knew that it was the best thing for him and I was really doing something tangible for his well being. I have a bit of guilt letting it go. I also have great hormones when nursing; great skin and hair plus you use a lot of calories just sitting down to nurse. In case you were wondering, I only nursed my other two boys for about 6-8 months. I am not a die hard nursing person so for me to last this long was a miracle in and of itself.
My nursing days are in the past, officially closed and I am handing in the Hooter Hider (this really is the name of a product; if you are nursing, this is a must have). We are finding new ways for Brayden to eat. I am trying to join that super mom circle of ladies that make their own baby food!


Courtney said...

let me know how the "making your baby food" thing goes!!!

Apple Joos said...

I just wanted to stop by and thank you for your comment on my SITS day!

Debbie said...

Hey Carrie...I know it is bittersweet, but with more freedom you can focus on other things that you need to address or deal with. I know....but's hard.

Missy said...

I've been wanting to stop by here to "meet" you after your comment on my baby food post, but my computer went berserk! So glad you stopped by and I would LOVE to help you in any way possible. Your boys are precious! It truly IS a miracle that little Brayden nursed for so long - that is simply amazing! Hopefully the ability to control specifics of his food (esp consistency) will help you to feel even more confident in using the g-tube. I have so much admiration for a mom that nursed for that long, because it is all-consuming.

Oh, this is good to pass along to you: at my dtr's 9 month appt today the dr told me that homemade carrots were not ideal due to potentially high levels of nitrates in the soil. So... no more carrots for a while!

You can always email me with questions, I'll help if I can!