Nursery notes

July 13th, 2010

[Verity is starting her bottle.  Let’s see who finishes first, Verity or Mama.  Mama’s handicap is to type one-handed and half-brained.]

The world looks very small to me as the special care nurse going into my third week on 24/7 duty.

It is made up of ounces of milk, milliliters of medication, and tiny newborn diaper changes, all carefully marked down in the logbook.  Every day we hope that those bottles add up to 16 to 20 total ounces.  Actually, forget the 20, we’ll be glad if she gets to 16.  Sometimes she does.  Sometimes she doesn’t.

Those miniscule packets of fortifier.  We’re almost out of them.  We’ll have to put one packet into every two ounces to stretch out our supply until what we ordered shows up on our front porch.

What time was it anyway that I actually started the feeding process?   How many swallows before she gave up, and how long does the clock say she’s been at it?  Oh my, she’s been working for 20 minutes and only took in 1/2 an ounce?

Come on, sweet baby, we need to make it to 2 ounces.  Can you do it this time?”

Maybe if I check her diaper again, strip her down, burp her, try the startle trick, rub her feet, maybe she’ll wake up enough to give it a few more swallows.  She’s so sweaty, working so hard, poor baby.

“Good girl, Verity!  Yay!  Keep going!  Oops, don’t go back to sleep yet!  You still need another ounce!”

It’s been 45 minutes.  Maybe I should stop.  But she only took in 1 1/4 ounces.

It’s a relentless three hour merry-go-round of pumping, making up her next bottle with the little packet of fortifier added, bagging the extra milk and labeling it for the freezer, changing her diaper, giving her the bottle, washing pump parts, rinsing them very well until no smell of Ivory dish soap clings to them.  I try to fit other bits and pieces of life into that rotation.

Did you know that it’s possible to fall asleep and dream while pumping?  It is.

And every other day, I hope the scales show that a few more ounces have been added to her small body.  Sometimes a few are added.  Sometimes a few have been lost.

Monday morning my beloved midwife came by with some medication for my uterine infection and mastitis.  She “just happened” to be heading out for home visits when I called, and our home “just happened” to be right on her way between stops.

Yes, my body is weak.  My heavenly Father comforts me by reminding me that His strength is being made perfect in my weakness.  Right now, in this weak and hurting body, He is perfecting His strength.

The rest of the family is learning to function without me most of the time.  At least Verity and I can be home instead of in the hospital.  A little mothering is better than none at all.  God is sovereign over that, too.  He knows.

Some of the children have been unwell and cannot come close to Verity.  Jane is taking this particularly hard.  I explained to her that this is one way she can love Verity more than she loves herself.

Tomorrow we go in to get baby’s hearing checked.  I plan to bug them. 

She is taking in less milk again, and it’s taking her longer to get it down.  How little is too little?  She is sweaty and exhausted after 1/2 an ounce.  Why does she have dark circles around her eyes?  Is it the Lasix?  Her breathing sounds congested.  Could she be aspirating milk?

It is slowly sinking into our little world that we aren’t working toward a normal newborn experience.  We are working toward a surgery.

All this would be unbearable without one thing.


If love was enough to make her grow, she’d weigh at least fifteen pounds by now.  At least. Maybe even twenty.

The love is intense and overwhelming.  It makes this small world of Verity’s special care nursery look like the most valuable privilege I could possibly hope for.  Especially when she is gazing trustingly into my eyes.

[Mama won.  But only by a minute.  And hurray!  Verity drank both ounces!]

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5 Responses to “Nursery notes”

  1. Ruth Einfeld says:

    Oh honey…I have so been there!  I remember well falling asleep while pumping, and waking only to discover that I had lost milk in the process…for me that was a crisis as I never had enough milk for Esther!  Do you have a double pump?  I made a holder of sorts, so I could pump hands free…I could easily make one for you if you want…just let me know!
    You should really try to get some sleep…even if it means giving her a little formula…I had to so I could get some sleep between feedings at night…you can’t afford to get sick right now!
    Call me if you need to talk…I can call you back if you don’t have free long distance like I do!

  2. Joy Horton says:

    Oh, Susanna! Your post is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. (How can it be both?) Your mommy’s heart is just so precious, your thoughts penned so perfectly – how do you do it on such little sleep? and not even one grammatical or spelling error! ; ) You’re amazing!

    Those sweet little eyes gazing up at you would have to be so renewing, such an incredible reminder that this is ALL so worth it – all of it!

    Continuing to pray for you, for Verity, and the rest of your sweet family.

    (((((((((((love and hugs)))))))))))))))

  3. Susanna says:

    Joy, all I can conclude is that God is helping me accomplish this task He has given me just like all the other tasks He has given me!

    Ruth, I DO want to call you, and I will when I can, Lord willing!  Thank you for reaching out to me with your support!

  4. Marilyn Osborn says:

    Thanks for your precious update…..I hate that things are so very hard right now….but I’m so grateful that you are standing on truth and abiding in His strength.  Love you, dear friend.  Praying for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. jennifer76 says:

    Oh you are just so precious Susanna.  Praying for you, Verity and your whole family.  ((((hugs))))

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