Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New ways to damage a small person

To begin this tale of Failed Parenting, a lame metaphor for my running friends:

You know how some people are really good at speed work? And others are best suited for longer distances? And rarely you might come across someone who kicks a$$ at the track and on double digit runs. Is it hard work or a natural born gift? For the most part it's almost certainly a combination of those two things. So, even if you're a little envious, you've gotta respect and admire these people.

I think yesterday I succeeded in soaring to the top of my game in two separate categories of motherhood: long-term neglect of- and emergent danger to my youngest.

It was Gabriel's 2 month check up. I knew I'd have a lot to discuss with the doctor, given his belly aches. But since my new "Rice Chex and fruit" diet seems to be working, I thought we'd be talking about how challenging things WERE. Past tense.

Now, I knew he was wee. Correction: I knew he was LONG and wee. But I was shocked to find when he got on the scale that he has LOST 5 ounces in the last month.


He's grown about an inch and lost 5 ounces.

When the nurse left I fought off panic and guilt mode while we waited for the doctor to arrive. I had time to nurse him for awhile and I just couldn't fathon how I didn't know. How I didn't pay attention!

You've certainly had a similar experience in same arena of your life, so you know what I was going through: simultaneously beating myself up and making excuses for why "no one would have known". He's been eating every 2 - 3 hours during the day. He's been eating at least twice during the night. Many times I think he's fussy because he's hungry and he refuses to nurse because he's just not hungry. Plus, my MOM was with him just last weekend and surely she would have noticed if he was not looking good.

When the doctor came in - she was VERY kind, by the way - I immediately asked her for the name of a lactation consultant. She slowed me down and we talked through all the belly issues Gabe has had: what I eat, hydration (yeah, I'm probably not getting enough), wet diapers (his, not mine), gas (painful v. not), stools (remember the great poop watch?)... Unfortunately, it was suggested that we give him an ounce of formula after each feeding to pack on a few more lbs. She very kindly gave me a couple of small containers of hypoallergenic stuff which I'm sure would cost an arm and leg in the store. I really really REALLY didn't want to supplement with formula, but you can't argue with LOST WEIGHT at the age of 2 months. If I do this right, we may be able to drop the supplements in a month or so. I should hear from the lacation consultant today or tomorrow....

The good news is that after examining him, she concluded that developmentally, he's right on track and that it is truly just a matter of getting more calories in him.

(Tracking the metaphor: The previous section demonstrates my long-term neglect of Gabriel, metaphorically similar to a gifted distance runner who plugs along and plugs along through the miles and through the pain.)

Appointment over, I had to decide if I was going to head home, get out the bottles, and start supplementing. Or, if I was going to go (as planned) to the track for a 6 mile run that I didn't get in at 5AM due to a 2AM, hour long freak out from Gabe. I decided that he had a great 15 minute nursing session just before the doctor came in, he was zonked out, and that I really needed the think time going 'round and 'round the track TWENTY-FOUR times. <>

We drove over to the track, I tucked him in the stroller with oodles of neck support and blankets to screen the sun. I warmed up for 4 laps and then began alternating hard/easy laps. Gabe slept through most of it but after mile 5, as I was ready for my 4 lap cool down, he started fussing. I had determined that my first line of defense whenever he gets agitated was to try to feed him... even if he isn't hungry, at least we'll get a little more food into him. So I gingerly pushed the stroller up the small hill to the pavilion where the bathrooms and water fountains are located. I would feed him and then hit the track for an easy final mile.

I parked him next to the water fountain and, remembering my need to stay more properly hydrated, turned to fill up my water bottle.

Oh. Did I mention it was a little bit windy? Not terribly. Just a little.

Enjoying the lovely breeze on the humid afternoon, I turned back to the stroller just in time to see it complete it's roll off of the pancake flat cement floor, down 2 or 3 inches on the stone-covered edge, and dump all the way over.

Never has the word "shit" been exclaimed with such intensity.

In .0002 seconds I was over there, righting the stroller and uncovering Gabe from the blankets that had been there to support his neck.


Which was sort of good. Obviously he didn't suffer a concussion because his volume was off the charts. I took him out of the stroller, scanned him for major injuries and then tried to settle him down. Nursing? No. Pacifier? No. Close up, face in hug hold? No. Out facing hug hold? No....

Did I mention he was pissed?

Now, had I been home, I would have stripped myself of my sweaty clothes and settled on the bed to try nursing with a little more insistance. But I was in public. I was SOOO in public.

I rolled the still-pissed (did I mentioned he was pissed) off baby back to the car and loaded him up. Go home or seek medical care? I was torn. He was probably okay but the straps that kept him safe from falling out probably hurt. Finally, I decided if we had been in a car accident and he had been jostled that much, there would be no question of whether he should get looked at by a doctor.

I called and left a message for Scott. I called the pediatrician's office to ask if there was a way we could sneak back in for a quick once over. Nope. So off to the ER we went.

To sum up the ER visit: baby is pissed (did I mention... oh, I did?), baby gets into exam room, baby nurses, baby settles, baby naps, baby waits for two + hours, baby gets 4 minute exam, baby is deemed fine, baby goes home.

I was waiting for social services to come in and question me, but I guess my sweaty running clothes made my story seem pretty legit.

(Tracking the metaphor: This story shows how I excel at putting my small person in emergent danger with the speed and skill similar to that of a gifted sprinter.)

Is it hard work or a natural born gift that helps me excel at both the short- and long-term mistakes? No one can say for sure. But you could say it was a day of greatness for me. But if you are honest, you would say it was a day of humbling revelations and horrifying mistakes.

Please. Please. Please. No matter how flat a surface you have your kid parked on, set the brake on your stroller. The wind is a fickle mistress.

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