Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reading the Signs

I am going to preface this by explaining a bit about Noah's illness, MCADD. MCADD is basically life threatening hypoglycemia. As fast as an infant's metabolism works, they can run on empty pretty easily, and then their body systems shut down rapidly. This is what happened to Noah, and why I am so anxious around feeding babies...

One of the things that really scares me is that I went through a whole pregnancy with Noah and didn’t know he was sick. I went through child birth with him with no problem. I spent four days doing nothing but focus entirely on him when he was alive and never noticed anything. He was a terrible eater. Everyone said that that typical of newborns, and also ones that are born before their due dates (he came 3 weeks early.) I spent almost the entirety of those days trying to get him to eat. I spent a lot of time wondering if I should keep pushing as hard as I was, or if being the instinctual creature he was that when he was hungry, he’d let me know. The problem was that being the instinctual creature he was, he did what his instincts told him and he died. He was terribly sick and I never knew. The signs were very subtle. Being a new parent, I couldn’t pick them up. No one did. I can ease some of the guilt that way. None of the pediatricians, nurses, lactation consultants, doula, grandparents, or anyone else he saw noticed anything wrong with him. I worry tremendously about the things babies feel and can’t tell us. Like if Aaron is uncomfortable and can’t communicate that to me. SIDS parents can lose babies that way. They (and I) beat themselves up over how they could have missed the signs when it is too late and their infant died. Those early days are so critical. Those are when they are so very helpless and depend on us as their parents the most. How can I do this and know he will be ok?


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