Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The M.O.M. degree

In the past 6 months, I have earned two degrees: my BA in Religious Studies from UNC (FINALLY!!!) and my M.O.M. degree. My M.O.M. degree comes in two parts. I have the standard degree awarded to all moms, and the advanced, Mother of Multiples degree. It's sort-of like a double (he he he) major. After a few months of settling in, I am now prepared to put my degree into practice.

My first official act is to challenge the M.D. degree. This time, Mommy knows best. My girls are through with the NG tube and the doctors are just going to have to live with it.

Friday night/ Saturday was the worst day since the girls have been home. I mentioned in a previous post the Friday night plan to gavage 350mls slowly. After only 200mls, they had thrown up and I plugged the plug on any more gavage feeds. We were going back to the 2-hour schedule and hope for the best.

Saturday was mostly really, really awful. They ate almost nothing all day. Their amounts were pitiful - 15mls, 20mls, 10mls. It was a mess. It was so frustrating since now we were totally dependent on whatever they would eat. I also hadn't forgotten that whole starving brain thing.

It was definately my worst day, which is pretty awful since I didn't even get up until almost 12pm. There are however, a variety of reasons for this, not all directly related to the girls not eating. If you had to describe me, those of you who know me would likely describe me as very extroverted: bubbly, excited, talkative. I've been accused of being able to carry on a conversation with a brick wall. For those of who you don't know me personally, you can be assured that I am equally as verbose in person as on paper (or computer). The little known truth is that I am actually a "learned extrovert". As a child I didn't really play well with others and happily spent many hours playing by myself. When I reached high school, I made the cheerleading squad, joined a bunch of nerdy clubs (like Peer Facilitators) and I forced myself to master the art of conversation. Well, my mastery of it may still be up for discussion, but I did manage to pass myself off as an extrovert. I even passed those little personality tests under extrovert. But, beneath the surface lurked my introverted self in need of plenty of time alone.

By Saturday, I had been surrounded by people for over two weeks. My sister had arrived two Fridays before and we went to my mom and mema's. I spent 9 days there. Ben and I traveled back on Saturday, and Sunday was the only day that was just Ben and I and the girls. Monday, Ben's parents stopped in for a visit. Tuesday, we had a 4 hour doctor's appointment which ended with the reintroduction of the NG tube. Wednesday, Ben's grandma arrived to stay until Saturday. Saturday, Ben's parents, Jeff and Reagan all came over for Grandma's birthday and to see the girls. So, I had not had a single day to just myself (and my girls) in over two weeks. Add to that the stress of the girls needing re-tubing and their new refusal to eat, and my inner introvert was screaming to get out. So, I did what all stressed-out, introverted people on the verge of a nervous breakdown do - I hid. I went to my room and hid until everyone was gone. Shameful, I know, but necessary. I just couldn't handle it any more.

Fortunately, the girls took pity of me. After attempting to breast feed Abby and seeing her interest in it, I decided to try a bottle of straight breast milk. She sucked down 75mls. She only took 25mls at 10pm, but followed that at 1:30am with 80mls! Natalie had a similar reaction: 85mls, 60mls, and 50mls. Sunday, we continued the Elecare-free Breast Milk, and Abby took 412mls and Natalie 445mls. This was more than their totals for the three previous days COMBINED. We started add ing some Elecare back to the milk for the calories and the girls continue to do well. They have each had several 60ml feeds today and will pass 450mls and inch close to 500mls for the day.

We still need another 100+mls per day, but we are getting much closer. I am not especially looking forward to telling the doctors we are NOT tubing the girls any more. I know I'll get resistance. But, I also know that my girls will not progress on the tube and are doing far better without. I have every confidence that had we continued on our 2-hour plan last week, we would have been where we needed to be by now.

There are times when parents have to trust their instincts. There's probably no data, but I would suspect the number of children who have been saved by their parents' gut feelings numbers in the hundreds of thousands. When it comes down to it, a M.O.M. degree isn't worth all that much. It doesn't get you a better job and you can't take it to the bank. But, it does empower you to fight for your children for what you think is right for them. It's said that possession is 9/10ths of the law. Let's hope that works in medicine too, because Natalie and Abigail are MINE, and this time, Dr. MOM is in charge.


Anonymous said...

I wish I could help them eat for you. It breaks my heart to hear you so frustrated after all you have been through. I'm glad you took some down time, moms certainly need all they can get. I haven't missed a posting yet and have loved hearing about your beautiful girls progress. It will all be ok and I think you have things going the right direction. Love, Ashley

Anonymous said...

You are so right about moms know best! You know your girls better than anyone. And down time is so important! Sometimes we moms forget to take time for ourselves but it's very important for our sanity!!! We can't wait to meet your little beauties!