Wednesday, October 19, 2011
If you read my old posts, you can see a video of my daughter screaming. This was how we spent the first 4 months of her life. We found out she had a dairy, possible soy allergy and GERD through a GI doctor. She had bloody stools with mucus and screamed, cried all through the night and day. I spent hours bouncing her on a yoga ball before bed time. When she did drink, she would only take 1 ounce of milk before she screamed and slapped the bottle out of my hand.
This contributed to my being diagnosed with post partum depression. I had gone through having a 32 week preemie (my first pregnancy) and it was very traumatic. I didn't even get PPD from that experience! Severe sleep deprivation, and crying that you cannot console eventually will start to break one down. I did not leave her with anybody because I did not want them to experience this torture. Relatives didn't understand why we couldn't let them feed her. Generally, misunderstandings about her health just meant we didn't know how to raise our children. God forbid people like that ever have children with health conditions. They live in a very small world.
Out of despair I started reaching out to my community and to moms I knew who already had a heart to donating their precious breast milk to Alexa, went on the diet. I put her story out on Craigslist and milksharing websites. The inability to nurse my baby girl, yet having to provide a strict dairy free milk for her was excruciating. I felt so powerless, and played the self-guilt game for a long time. Relactation was attempted, but Alexa would scream at the breast and I could not get much out with a pump (stress didn't help). I proceeded to hand express until an unusual form of tendinitis called "calcific tendinitis" developed in my left wrist. It is usually found in the shoulder but can be found in any tendon. Honestly, it felt like I had broken my wrist, or as if an explosion had occured inside my hand. My husband had to help me pick up my own baby. After an ER visit and an emergency appointment with a hand specialist, my hand was put in a cast and given a steroid shot.
Moms read Alexa's story and either went on the diet to donate what they could or were dairy free and provided all she needed, filling my 3 freezers with breast milk. I don't forsee any problems with keeping Alexa on this special milk until she is 1, as the GI doctor told us to do. The moms continue to LOVE.
I feel like I could never repay these moms for what they are doing/did for my daughter. Anything, like my words of appreciation seem so cheap in comparison to what they have given her. At times I feel so indebted. I just want to give to somebody else like this one day. I don't know how or what but I know God has a purpose in everything. I have made so many friends through this. Alexa will know one day what complete strangers had done for a little girl; they, perhaps won't even meet. She can give back, one day, too.
My daughter is healed of her GI problems and is a normal baby now. I think getting her on the diet strictly for a few months at minimum was key, before we started seeing change as her belly started to heal. Thickening the milk was a must and kept the milk from going up her esophagus; protecting from burning her little throat. We did not have to give her any medications. She's still "high need" but I'm ok with that. When your child is refusing to eat, you can deal with some clingyness and crying.
A mother's love for a baby, a baby that isn't even hers...blows me away. My daughter couldn't live without being fed. They fed her, nourished her, and healed her. The biggest factor is her caretaker (Me) has healed through this experience. I no longer feel guilty, or inadequate. THANK YOU MOMS.
Alexa (6 weeks old)
Alexa now 9 Months