June 14, 2007

Jack's first Dr. visit(s)

We brought Jackson home from the hospital on Monday and I cried a lot of the way home. This was just the beginning of the post-partum emotions! I cried because I still looked WAY pregnant. They told me I’d leave the hospital looking 4 – 5 months pregnant. That was always encouraging to me because my sister-in-law is between 5 & 6 months pregnant and I was ok with looking like she did. I went home looking 8 ½ months pregnant.

I cried because I was overwhelmed with how much responsibility we had for this new life. I cried because I was tired. I cried because all of the build up of being pregnant was over. I cried because I was still in pain from the whole birthing process (and the stitches that resulted). I luckily regained composure by the time we got home. There was a balloon and sign on the door and Joy put a sign on the door of Jack’s bedroom. It was so nice!

We got home around 1 and Cindy brought us lunch from camp. One nice thing about U of M is that they have room service and you can order whatever you want for meals. Nice, huh? You just have to be careful what you order because it’s hit or miss. The pancakes and bacon that we ordered for breakfast that morning were like two small round pieces of styrofoam and two thin strips of . . . well, some sort of dog treats. Their sandwiches, however were excellent! All of that to say . . . we were hungry.

My first order of business after lunch was to make Jack’s first Dr. appointment. The pediatricians at U of M wanted him to be seen no later Wednesday so we made an appointment for Tuesday.

When we arrived at the Doctor’s office, I was surprised to find out that you sat in the waiting room and waited for them to call your name over an intercom and then you went in the appropriate door and the nurse met you in the hall. That was kind of strike one.

They weighed Jack and he was 7 lbs, 14 oz. They weighed him again and he was 7 lbs, 12 oz. Sounds like someone was still learning how to use the scale . . .

Anyway, his birth weight was 8 lbs, 10 oz. so the nurse practitioner was very concerned about this. So concerned that she told me immediately that I needed to start supplementing breastfeeding with formula. Now let me just say that I’m not a psycho parent who thinks that feeding my son a little bit of formula will condemn him to a life of mediocrity. However, I’m committed to making breastfeeding as successful as possible for Jack and I wanted a good reason for supplementing and I wasn’t seeing one. He was within the “safe 10% weight loss” zone and my milk hadn’t come in yet, so of course he wouldn’t be gaining weight like a formula-fed baby would be. But he was getting all of the really healthy colostrum that he wouldn’t be getting if he were getting formula.

Anyway, I questioned her on it and told her that I didn’t feel comfortable starting formula quite yet. My friend Annie told me a similar story from when her son was jaundiced and it was that story that gave me the courage to just express my discomfort with what the nurse was prescribing. I was close to tears at this point . . . she had me panicked about his weight loss and was acting as if he could die any second. However, when I questioned her on this she said (I hope you’re sitting down), “You will cause brain damage in your child if you don’t start feeding him formula today.” I lost it. I was crying so hard and she was giving me a stern look and shoving my hands full of formula samples. Kyle said in retrospect that her answer to everything was probably to give people formula and shove them out the door. I knew she was full of crap, but no new mom wants to hear someone say that she might cause brain damage to her child!

Thankfully, U of M sends out visiting nurses the day after patients are released from the hospital and my visit was scheduled for that afternoon. I told her about my experience and she was shocked. She said that we definitely needed to keep an eye on his weight and we might need to supplement if my milk didn’t come in within the next 24 hours, but that I would not be causing my baby any brain damage. She asked for the name and phone number of the nurse practitioner we talked to because she wanted to have a chat with her.

She explained that there is a low percentage of moms in Jackson County that breastfeed, so they’re probably not used to seeing the weight loss that comes in breast fed babies. She also pointed out that if we had just gone to a one week visit rather than going the day after he was discharged, my milk would have been in and this probably wouldn’t have been an issue. She helped us to find a different pediatrician.

I went to that pediatrician on Wednesday and my mom came with me because Kyle had to leave that morning on an overnight campout with our staff (which, of course, caused me to shed a lot of tears and to be way emotional). This pediatrician (Dr. Moore in Chelsea) was amazing. When we were in the waiting room filling out paperwork, he came out and introduced himself. All of the receptionists and nurses introduced themselves too. They were so friendly.

They weighed him and he had gained 4 oz since the appointment the day before! Milk makes all the difference, I suppose. He spent a good 10 minutes thoroughly examining Jack (as opposed to the 30 seconds the day before) and spent a good deal of time talking to us. All in all, he probably spent a total of 30 minutes with us. At the end of the appointment, Jack was getting hungry and Dr. Moore asked if he could have his nurse practitioner (who is also a lactation consultant) come in and make sure nursing is going ok. Of course she could! She sat with me through the ENTIRE feeding and made sure he was latching on well and just talked to me about a lot of baby things.

We went back on Thursday and Jack had put on another 3 oz! We saw Dr. Stefanie that day and she was just as great as Dr. Moore. She spent a TON of time answering my questions about baby routine and immunizations. I honestly felt like they genuinely cared about my baby . . . even after he peed and pooped on both doctors! It was wonderful.

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