We really thought that after her surgery, Verity would just take off with her eating. The new school year? That is weeks away! More than enough time to get back to a normal household routine!
Our confident expectations slowly shrank to optimistic hopes when she did not take to breastfeeding. Well, at least she is making progress on the bottle, right? The next step will be to pull the tube, and nursing won’t be far behind!
Then throughout this week, those optimistic hopes began fading off into dim wistfulness as I watched her reflux more, take less of the bottle, and more by tube. When she wasn’t gagging and throwing up, she was gazing at me sweetly above the bottle, her mouth slackly ignoring the hints I was sending.
To make things worse, on Tuesday, her cardio nurse told me that the quota was actually 95 fortified mLs now, up from 90. It was taking two hours to get that into her, only to start all over again in an hour.
By this morning, she was down to less than 30 mLs by mouth. My Mommy Alert was ringing. I cannot just passively accept her regression into tube dependency. Can I? That isn’t even desirable for a typical child, much less for one who is already certain to face speech delays! She needs to exercise those oro-facial muscles, and her failure here will have long-term consequences!
The promised therapy is still a long way off. Verity’s name is sitting on the Early Intervention waiting list, waiting, waiting, waiting until a provider agrees to take her on. Can’t set my hopes on government help. (Hmmmmm.)
I suddenly wanted to know if any of my effort was going to be rewarded. Was it possible that I could pour massive portions of Mommy time into getting this one child to nurse, only to fail in the end? I didn’t even care what the answer was anymore, I just wanted the answer. Should I accept a possible eventual defeat, something I hadn’t allowed into my mind before this week?
Well, the answer is “yes.” And with that realization came another one.
Yes, my desire to nurse Verity may come to nothing. But that has been true all along. From the beginning, I should have held my hopes in an open hand, because God hasn’t told me what His plans are. It’s that simple. The plain truth is that I have no business setting my heart on anything that God has not promised me.
I did talk with the cardio nurse today, and with Dr. Strauss, and told them firmly that we think that a 2 ounce per day weight gain, diminished appetite, and increasing reflux is Verity’s body signalling that we are feeding her too much. So, no more fortifier (we were at the end of the last opened box, anyway, and will try to re-sell the remaining boxes), and we are backing off to 85 mLs per feeding.
Joe stopped home during the lunch hour today, and prayed over Verity and me.
The next feeding cycle, I didn’t wake her at the three hour mark, and when she awoke on her own, she was ravenously hungry and drank 58 mLs right down. Well, it took her an hour, but still! She woke for her next bottle less than three hours later and drank 74 mLs! Then three hours later, hungry again, and as I type this (onehanded!), she is finishing off another bottle in her sleep.
Yes, I’ll keep plugging away at this in case she learns to nurse. That is my business, the task that God has clearly set before me. But now I am chastened in my spirit. Now my hands have let go of my hopes, and they are resting in His goodness toward me and my little one. The goodness that He has promised to show me!
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!”