I don't know if this just applies to me, but I find that when I'm in the middle of something intense, I don't see the big picture. Ok, now that I write that, it sounds totally normal. But I'm trying to forgive myself for it.
Caroline had her 9 month checkup on Friday, and, apart from being happy, healthy and smiley, she actually lost weight from her 6 month appointment. She dropped from the 75th to the 25th percentile in 3 months. Our doc didn't seem too concerned because she is otherwise thriving and just wants her back for a weigh-in next month, but I can't stop beating myself up about it.
Yes, I had noticed that she was fussy, and refusing solid food on many occasions. While frantically running up and down the I-5 corridor and back and forth between various hotel rooms and my parents' house, I would frantically nurse her before running off, then forget to even bring solid food to offer on our many restaurant meals. Our store of frozen baby food ran low, and I relied on store-bought fruits, with very little variety or calories. I figured she would nurse more, and usually she did. She also still sleeps right next to me, with an open buffet all night long if she chooses to partake.
She was teething, I thought, or her cold was affecting her, or she was just "off" because of all the travel. What scares me is that it never even crossed my mind to think about this even further. And really, I'm trying to not beat myself up about this. But, this is exactly what I'd feared would happen in my dark moments...that my grief would eclipse the needs of my children. There it was, writ large on the baby scale. And I didn't even notice it was happening.
Right after the appointment, I went to the Ballard Market and bought ingredients to make up a plethora of healthy, filling, yummy food for her. The moment I walked in the store, no fewer than three people cooed at her, how cute she was, how good. I walked over to the bulk food section and started discreetly bawling. She is good, she is so cute, and I hadn't been taking care of her. Not only that, but I realized I was desperately missing calling my mom, something I did after every doctor appointment. This was the first time I couldn't. I also realized that while I so badly wanted her reassurance about all of this, the very fact that she was gone was the reason the situation existed. Somewhere in a parallel universe existed a baby who had been well fed and nursed, who wasn't under a tremendous amount of stress over the physical and emotional absence of her mother, and who had a grandmother who would be answering the phone to hear about how much she'd gained and grown, and how enchanted the doctor had been with her in every way.
I was so angry.
And then, I gathered myself and my purchases up, went home, and cooked like a fiend. I made rice and lentils cooked in broth and blended, sweet potatoes, avocado, yogurt and bananas...I cooked and blended until almost all the produce was gone, and the freezer was full. I still don't feel completely better. But Caroline is smiling, and eating, and shoving apple and pear pieces in her mouth, devouring a half-cup of plain yogurt in a go, and smacking her lips for more lentils. All I have to do is take out the Cheerio box and she grunts and waves her arms in her seat. She gets all the food I can possibly offer her, and nurses whenever she wants. This is all much, much better. But the warning shot grazed a little too close.
9 months ago