Saturday, October 4, 2008


I *THINK* he may have just smiled at me.
Maybe. Unless it was gas. Again.

*updated before I could even finish this post* He just farted a very proud, manly fart. It was gas. Oh well.

Several people commented on this photo being a smile. It's not really a SMILE. It's more of a happy look. You can certainly tell when he's happy. He's quite perky and bubbly usually in the middle of the night/early morning (say between 1am and 5am) And then again sometime mid morning/early afternoon. He just gets bubbly. You know he's happy, but he's not really smiling.

Smiling is a milestone I'm really looking forward to. Some positive feedback would be lovely.

I commented yesterday that I do feel a bit like a slave. I'm at his beck and call and if I do anything that displeases him, or do it too slowly- he screams his displeasure.

I hook myself up to the God Forsaken Cones 8 times a day trying to increase my supply to make the milk that he keeps either screaming while he eats, or spitting back at me. (Have I mentioned that reflux is The Devil? REFLUX IS THE DEVIL.) If I try to nurse him when he's not in the mood, he screams and slashes at my breasts with the teeny razor blades that some call fingernails. I don't care how much I file them, when he gets a bit of aerola, it hurts. Significantly.

Now, of course, looking at his handsome face is a reward. Of that there is no doubt. But at this point I really don't even know if he LIKES me.

Earlier tonight we had a not-so-good feeding. Sometimes I swear he's too hungry to eat well. It had only been 3 hours since he'd eaten, it wasn't as though I let him sleep too long and we woke up starving. But he was anyway. Then he tends to guzzle. Guzzling leads to lots of air in the tummy and lots of choking. Which leads to screaming. Which leads to lots of air in the tummy. Which leads to pain. Which leads to more screaming. You see where I'm going with this?

We've been using mylicon drops but frankly, beyond the fact that he likes the cherry flavor so he quiets for a moment in a way that says "Hey.. that shit's Gooooooooodd... oh wait.. I was angry about something.. oh yeah! Back to screaming now.." I don't think they do much.

A friend recommended Gripe Water so I sent the husband out for some tonight. (To his credit, I send him shopping at least 3 days a week. He doesn't even sigh at me any more. He actually emails me to say "send the list.") So tonight during the guzzling-screaming-choking debacle we gave it a shot. He spit it at me. He didn't swallow it and reflux it.. he pursed his lips and said "SCREW YOU I'M HAPPY WITH MY SCREAMING THANK YOU!" Fun times.

I gave it another shot before his last feeding and it went much better. I have no idea if it helped or not, but he didn't fuss much after his feeding and other than some whining in his sleep and has been pretty quiet since. (I know you're asking why I'm not sleeping, then. I actually got to nap earlier!) I'll take what I can get.

My point is that there is lots of negative feedback. (And it's not as subtle as an unhappy look.) but very little positive feedback.

And since I'm essentially a shut-in, he's really my only companion these days.

And I really don't know if he likes me.

I'm not sure in his shoes that I would like me. I mean, sure, I feed him, but feeding isn't always pleasant since with food comes choking, gagging, and puking. And I'm forever shoving a thermometer under his arm (we're still having trouble keeping him warm enough) and wiping his butt with a cold wipe.

Sure, I seem to have the magic back-pat, but David is quickly mastering the right speed & firmness so I may lose my monopoly on that as well.

I was actually almost relieved tonight when during the bad feed when David said "Do you want me to try?" (YES. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOUR MONTHS HE SAW A PROBLEM AND OFFERED TO HELP WITHOUT ME SAYING ANYTHING. Pardon the caps. The moment required some excitement.) that he continued to scream. It's not just me. He hated everyone in that moment.

Now, I realize that Robbie isn't here to meet my need for approval. And generally speaking, my need for approval is fairly low. I usually like myself quite a lot, so I don't require much. But it would be nice to know when I'm doing something he appreciates just so that I know to do it more.

So a smile would be great. I'm told that's a 4-6 week milestone. He's just over 4 weeks adjusted. So, you know.. any time now, bud.

Speaking of milestones, he's actually doing quite well.

The OT was significantly impressed with him yesterday. All of his reflexes are present and accounted for and things he should be doing by 1 month adjusted are right on.

He makes eye contact, follows interesting things, can lift and turn his head while on his tummy, and actually has exceptional head control. I credit the head stuff to all the kangarooing we did in the NICU. It's basically tummy time with extra benefits. So he was getting 3-4 hours of tummy time every day.

The OT who came is also a lactation consultant and she was very helpful on the nursing front. She thinks he'll do it.

He has some sucking problems. Basically he tends to use his hard palate to press on a nipple instead of actually using his tongue & cheeks to suck. That works great for a bottle, but on the boob, he has to do it the right way. He CAN do it, but it's not what he's used to and requires more effort. She thinks that's why he gets frustrated and gives up after 5 minutes most of the time.

He has a really great latch, it's just the motion that he needs to work on. She gave me a little exercise (basically, he sucks my finger and I press on his tongue) to help. But she thinks he's really on the cusp of being able to really, really nurse.

It was actually really a relief to find out that there is a reason we're struggling a bit that isn't "He hates your boobs." She thinks that he may be a little bit nipple confused as well. But he does seem to want the boob a good portion of the time, it's just a matter of making them work. She thinks he will get it, though.

She said she sees babies months older than Robbie who just don't want anything to do with the boob. He's interested and has a good latch. She thinks that with age & growth, he'll just get better and better and that as long as I'm willing to continue, she really believes he'll eventually be a full time nurser. (Weight gain permitting- he may always need some bottle feeding so we can add calories.)

She said he's actually developmentally better than almost any preemie she's seen- especially a 26 weeker. She said she didn't want to dismiss my concerns or frustrations at all- they were quite valid- but that there are a lot of moms of preemies out there that would kill to be where we are.

Now, of course, that doesn't mean he can't have delays later. But for now, we're celebrating good stuff.

Our official EI (early intervention) plan meeting is next week. They'll consider the therapists recommendations and set up a plan. I believe that basically they'll recommend he just continue to be evaluated regularly. No actual therapy yet. That's fine by me.

The evaluations are free, and really, it's sort of like getting a bit of therapy in there, too. I mean, the exercise for his suck is a prime example. That's not really a "delay" that needs to be worked on.. but I still get the benefit of an expert.

Between all of that, the Zoloft, the fact that David has actually been helpful AND the fact that Robbie slept almost 4 hours in a row last night (I got to sleep 3 1/2 in a row!)- not to mention all the wonderful comments and emails from all of you today- it was definitely a better day.

I'm still tired, of course, but I'm bolstered.

Now if he'd just smile.



Elizabeth said...

I love Robbie pictures!!!

The day he smiles, I hope someone is there to see you smile right back at him, because it's going to be one of the most beautiful sights in the world.

Yea for more sleep, more help, and a very supportive LC.

There's a bunch of us out here thinking you are amazing so I'm pretty sure the little guy knows you are too.

And yes, he thinks you are HIS and you are there to do his bidding as each of us moms are. Humor him for now, the toddler years will come all too soon.

grumpy_resident said...

Hey - don't know if you've read this blog already, but I thought it might help to read about someone going through the same thing...

if you read back from this post you can see the same refluxy, no-sleepy, angry preemie situation that you are in -- AND, if you read foward, you can see how it all turns out OK in the end...

Kristen said...

Oh, Robbie is just so adorable! I'm sorry about the relux issues. We have a mild case of that too where milk comes streaming out of Nate's nose. Not fun times. The gripe water really helps us for hiccups but Nate tends to gag on it so I have to give him really small doses at a time.

I hope the real smiles start to come out soon. Once you really notice one, it seems they start to flood out and you get more and more until it is everyday, several times a day. And it makes all those hard nights so worth it. XOXO

Newt said...

Robbie is such a handsome devil.

I'm glad it was a better day, and thrilled that David stepped up a little more! Woo Hoo!

Now if only that reflux would get the memo and scram. Sending good thoughts, SuperTrish!

Mrs. Spit said...

Well, I'm smiling at you. . .

And I believe that he will be soon too.

Hang in there, you are, whether you can see it or not, doing great.

Two Hands said...

I've heard that junk about it being "just gas". Personally, I don't buy it. Do YOU smile when you're flatulent? I mean beyond the low-brow humour of it? I think it's entirely possible that he smiled at you. I've heard health care professionals say the same thing. I think it's an old wives' tale that it's just gas. Robbie has been consistently ahead of the game when it came to things, I remember looking at his early photos, at how aware and present he seemed to be. I thought at the time, as I do now, that he was a very bright little boy.
I know how frustrating breastfeeding can be and you've got a situation there that's ten times more difficult than anything I've seen/experienced. I am in awe of your perseverance, absolute awe. Hang in there, Trish, things will get better and soon all of these problems will be nothing but a memory.

wanttobeamom said...

I'm so glad it was a better day and that David is helping some more! You really do sound much more positive today. Way to go Robbie on being a developmental over-achiever! He's not going to let being a premie stand in his way. =)

Keep the pictures coming. Robbie is a CUTIE!!!

Anonymous said...

Trish your doing GREAT Robbie is getting more handsome as the days go by. I love the inspiration your blog gives off. Keep up the Awesomw job you #1 mommy to ROBBIE
The one peice of advise I have for you is to have his tounge checked by his ped. or OT to see if he has a restrictive or tight frenulum! It's also known as tongue tied, my son had it. He had a hard tine latching on too. We just didn't catch the tongue tie issue till he was almost 4 and had been going thru Speech therpy. I've done alot of research and it helped me understand the issue and decide to have it snipped and he is 10 times more talkative and everyone that knows or meets him can understand and actually hold a toddler conversation with him. If you want
read aboout it and see what some others said about tongue-tied and enjoy reading. Also if you need a name an great doctor that fixed our sons....his name is Dr. Macck he is in Chesterfield-MO, and his number is 314-523-5330. I hope this helps! I'm sorry if I am being to forward, but I wish someone of told me about this issue/condition before! Enjoy your beatuiful little angel and keep up the good work!!!!!!

Michelle said...

I think he smiled. I really do. Peanut was gassy too, but she smiled early (no one believed me, but she did...). That aside, just the fact that he's not crying, that he's sleeping, that he's growing... all of that means he's happy and well cared for. Plus, he's SUCH a cutie! Before long, you'll get the giggle too and I can't wait to see that one. In the meantime... ((HUGS))

Alice said...


You have made me smile, remembering those days ...

You have such an amazing way of perfectly describing the joys (and pains) of being a mom. Excellent job!!! (yet again!)

And I'm so very happy to hear that he'll "get it" soon when it comes to the boobage - rock on little man!

All I gotta say is - WAY TO GO MAMA!!!

(and for me, in my experience, I ran with those gassy smiles - they were *all* I ever got for a long long time!)

Kristin (kekis) said...

No, not a perfect day but a better day must feel perfectly good - and give you some hope for more of those kind of days. Keep up the good work, Mommy.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it was a smile. Talya smiled in the NICU - the nurses said that yes, it was a smile.

You are doing such a wonderful job. I had given up trying to breatfeed long before this point - so I really admire you for sticking with it and giving it your all. Great work!


Heather said...

Glad to hear things are getting better. I'm sure Robbie will get the breastfeeding too. It sounds like he's doing well toward that direction. Also make sure you're drinking lots of water and keep trying to get as much rest as you can. I'm so glad that you really insisted on help both from the doctor as well as family last week. It proves what a strong and smart tough cookie you are!

And Robbie will smile soon! And when he does, it's the most amazing thing! I still remember when my now eight-year-old daughter smiled for the first time - BECAUSE SHE KNEW IT WAS ME! That was the best moment ever!

Amy said...

Aww I hope you do start getting some positive feedback from Robbie. Glad you got the Zoloft, too, hope that helps. And I continue to pray that you both start getting a lot more sleep!!