Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Feeding Your Child

Pictures 1 & 2: Lilli and Kenzie doing our laundry
Pictures 3 & 4: Kenzie trying hot fudge for the first time.
Picture 5: Kenzie doing her sign for "More" at dinner the other night

I don't think anyone can truly understand what it's like to feed a child that doesn't eat except for other mothers going through this. Until I sat down here to type this, I don't even know if I got the enormity of how great it felt. When I was pregnant all I wanted to do was breastfeed. I don't look down upon people who don't but for some reason it was just something I always wanted to do. I loved the idea of getting to give my child that time with me. So at 2 weeks old when I was stripped of that ability, it was truly heartbreaking. Few people know how hard it was for me to wean myself and watch as I would have to pour my milk down the drain, especially since some people try so hard and just can't produce. I was producing more than enough and yet my daughter was completely allergic to my milk. First, I was told my anatomy was too small to fit a baby and I needed an emergency C-section and then this. As a new mom I don't think you can feel more inadequate than that. I was lucky to overcome the horrible feelings I had about myself as a mother in order to take the best possible care of Kenzie but it is a constant struggle when I think of that time. To make things worse, because of all of Kenzie's issues, very soon after, she started refusing a bottle. Again, the normal everyday things mothers get to do with their children was something I'd have to do without. Some people find it annoying to have to stop everything to feed their babies or give bottles... but I assure you that if for some reason you couldn't, it would be missed. Jordan and I had to give up a lot in the last 15 months with Kenzie and the older she got, the more we saw the big differences between her and normally developing children. Sometimes we would try and make jokes about the fact that Kenzie refused to put anything in her mouth and sometimes we would remain silent while thinking how sad it was in our heads. But, for the most part we were able to be thankful that cognitively she was and is perfect.

To make things worse there have been other people who have said flat out to us "you know how it is" or "I totally understand you" when their babies aren't transitioning well from formula to solids... or when their children are a bit picky with textures. All this while their child is sitting in front of us holding their bottle. When we hear things like this inside we want to either cry or scream at them but we try and remain as polite as possible. But I guess I am finally venting... NO! We don't know how it is and NO! You don't understand. You can't possibly. We came here because our child was 100% tube dependant. She was also for a long time 100% TPN dependant because she couldn't even digest any formula we tried giving to her stomach. We so badly WANT to know what it's like but we have not been that lucky.

For the most part both Jordan and myself love talking to other parents about the normal everyday ailments that babies have. Ear Infections, Shots, Colds... bring it on. But feeding has always been a sore point because Kenzie's oral aversions are so abnormal and we both have always felt like maybe if we had done something different we could have prevented this (as much as every professional tells us we are crazy). As I sit and write this now, I've noticed its rare I let myself be so free with my thoughts to anyone other than Jordan but I think it's important for moms like me to get this out. I can say it aloud right now that for the last day I have fed my child! I would hardly say that the way she is eating is normal by any stretch of the imagination but she is taking food by mouth, and I am the one giving it to her. Also, for the most part, even though she is far from happy, she is not fighting it!

I caught myself during my lunch with Kenzie and really just couldn't believe it. I have fed now 4 meals of 3oz each of totally pureed foods to her. She has tested me already but I didn't miss a beat. Saying things like "Kenzie, open big" and "Great job swallowing" are becoming second nature to me. Ignoring her bad behaviors and resisting the urge to coddle her when she vomits are becoming easier and easier as I can see what a difference it makes. I guess I don't need to give many details on how my feeding Kenzie is going as my post probably says it all, but in short, after all of the worry a few weeks ago whether KKI was the right decision for us at Kenzie's young age; Jordan and I now know we have done the right thing. Kenzie will one day get off of her GTube and we will work hard everyday to make that happen as soon as she will let us.

1 comment:

Isabella Griggs said...

Amy - well said! Your words are beautiful. I get it. I know your pain, and I have lived the joy you are feeling right now as you feed Kenzie for the first time in her life. I am so happy for all of you!