These are not easy days. I used up all my emotional energy getting to the end of being pregnant. In my head I foresaw two outcomes: scbu followed by death and healthy baby who came home and did well. It didn’t occur to me I might find myself coping with staring endlessly at a sleepy baby who isn’t quite thriving and rarely wakes, is jaundiced and lethargic but, in most senses, well enough. I’m struggling. I’ve tried most things but Ben is not quite gaining weight, though not quite in a bad way either. His jaundice comes and goes. His feeding comes and goes. We’ve done syringes, we’ve done ebm in a bottle, we’ve tried different positions and approaches. Somedays are fine, some a little bit harder. Every time I think we’ve turned a corner, it turns out to just be a twist in a maze. Nagging at me is this awful fear that he’s sleepy because he shares some problem with Freddie we just don’t know about yet. He twitches at times, little movements that were occasionally pointed out to me in Freddie as possible fits. When it was Freddie, I didn’t agree, I said that I had seen all my girls do them. Now, in Ben, they make me frightened.
Over the weekend I was feeling very positive; he was pink and feeding well and I really thought I was doing better for him. Then on Monday the health visitor came and he’d only put on a couple of ounces from the lowest he was weighed at and was more yellow and she blew all my confidence out of the water. She lacked tact, to put it mildly, but mostly I’m just fragile and struggling to believe I’m doing well. It’s hard to know other babies, including mine, have put on a pound a week, and my little boy is failing to thrive. This hasn’t happened since Fran, who did at least have a recognisable reason for being hard to feed. With Ben, I’m fretting that whatever caused his early jaundice is actually a problem and we are going to get our hearts broken again.
I have so little reserves for worry. I’m struggling to stay on top of it. Sitting looking at a baby who sleeps for 22 hours out of 24 just feels too much like scbu for me. It’s hard not to second guess every last thing.
I’m taking pictures of awake and alert. When he is awake all my fears go away because he is so alert and bright. I just need him to do it more. But photos help at least. I hate that I’m wishing this bit away – its dangerous – but I need to be a week or two on with a hungry, demanding boy who takes up all my energy in a different way. I hate that I’m transmitting my fears to everyone else along with me. It’s exhausting and we need to not be exhausted any more.