As some of you have probably picked up on, I've had a bit of a hard time since Little Girl's arrival. I don't know why but I expected that since we had done this twice before, this third go at parenthood would be a bit of a breeze. I anticipated the sleeplessness and the hurricane of hormones and the kiddie chaos, but all of this was familiar territory and I felt confident and well-equipped. I was a bit smug, frankly, about this transition to a family of five.
Well. It has been a wonderful three-months-plus, but it has also been difficult at times. I am still trying to figure out why, to excavate the regal rubble at my feet. One reason I think it's been hard is that Little Girl is very likely my last child. As someone who loves being pregnant and loves babies and wants to have oodles of children, this is a hard realization for me. Even before Little Girl was born, I felt myself mourning the ticking by of my pregnant days. Each time my tiniest girl gets another month under her bitty belt, I think, if unconsciously, I will most likely never have a one-month-old, two-month-old, etc. again. Now, I know that we are profoundly fortunate to have three little girls at home. I know this. But there is something about the finality that saddens me.
And then. Then there have been some health hiccups with our smallest babe. Nothing truly major, but it doesn't take major to worry this mommy. Six weeks ago (I think), I changed my baby's diaper and saw blood. Now, I didn't panic because I had a good sense of what was happening. Blood is a sign of allergy. Middle Girl had a milk protein allergy and this was the way it manifested, so I pretty much knew what we were dealing with. Still, I was scared. I rushed my little creature to the pediatrician and confirmed this. Another child with a milk intolerance.
And so. Like last time, I cut all dairy and soy out of my diet so I could continue nursing. This meant not eating out or ordering in. With Husband's wonderful help, I prepared every single meal for myself to assure that no forbidden ingredients slipped into my system. But, alas, Little Girl's symptoms did not get better. After three weeks of this elimination diet, our pediatrician told me I should stop nursing. And so I did. Being told I had to stop nursing my likely last child at two-plus months made me incredibly sad. We moved to a prescription formula. The same formula that Middle Girl was switched to years ago.
While Middle Girl transitioned like a champ, Little Girl was not having it. She hated the formula and screamed when we tried to feed her. My voracious little eater started to refuse food. And she stopped gaining weight. Worse? Her symptoms still did not go away. We were sent to a GI specialist. For the past several weeks, I have wrestled with my child to eat something she detests when all I wanted to do was nurse her. For the past several weeks, I have been worried, anxious, and preoccupied.
It has been hard.
Yesterday was a great day. I took Little Girl to a follow-up pediatrician appointment (we have been going every week = way too often). In the examination room, my baby smiled as I undressed her. I peeled off her diaper and placed her on the scale. My heart raced as I watched the numbers dance. And then I saw it. She had gained six ounces in one week! And they tested all of her diapers (yes, I have been collecting diapers in my fridge for six weeks) and they all came back negative for blood. I cannot express to you the wave of relief that rushed over me.
Instantly, I felt lighter.
I'm not sure why I haven't talked about this ordeal here on the blog. Certainly, it's been on my mind. Really, it's been one of the main reasons why I've been a bit distant here, and in the blog land in general. I guess that when this all transpired, I felt the urge to shrink inward, to protect myself and my family, to keep quiet. But the truth was, and is, that I needed support - from people in my life. And that means you. By keeping this hush-hush, I ended up dealing with so much of this alone. And this made it even harder.
Truth be told, I don't have any regrets about how I navigated the past six weeks. I followed my instincts and leaned on those very close to me. I weathered my worry in a private way. And now? Now things are good. My gorgeous little girl is super healthy and super happy. She continues to bless us with big gummy smiles and big nights of sleep. I have figured out a way to add vanilla flavoring to her wretched formula and she seems to dig it a bit more. I have no doubt she will be a delectably chunky (and bald!) babe just like her doting big sisters once were.
Today? Today I am relieved. That my Little Girl is okay. I am also relieved that I am finally telling you about this. I know it's not the biggest deal in the world and that many kids these days deal with food allergies and intolerances, but it's been a bit of a rough road for me.
Maybe I worry too much. Or maybe I am a mother and I worry the perfect amount.
Anyway, today is good day. A day full of the sweet relief. And I wanted you to know.
Are you good about sharing your struggles while you are experiencing them? Why do you think I had the urge to keep this experience private? Have you had weathered any major or minor health scares within your family?