An overall update:
Eli started eating a teaspoon of Pedialyte from the bottle yesterday at 4 p.m. They continued that pattern every four hours until this morning. I fed him a teaspoon of mom’s milk from a bottle today at 11 a.m.. This is all good news. Now, we’re going to wait and see how he tolerates breast milk. If it’s being absorbed instead of shooting right out into his tummy bag, that will be a good thing. The little guy really liked his meal, sucking it down in about two seconds. Doctors think the meconium that was stuck in his gut for all those months has been cleared out. They’ve stopped the daily doses of Mucomyst today, which had been moving things along. I think the hope is now that his gut is used to squeezing he won’t need it. Mucomyst has got to be the worst-smelling medicine in the universe. I took a whiff: it is sulphur and puke in a bottle. Knowing this, the nurse gave him a little nose tube, which is the only little tube stuck to his face right now. She uses that so he doesn’t have to taste the Mucomyst. Also, if he was too sleepy at any point to feed, she pushed the Pedialyte down the tube. I think she only had to do that once; he likes to eat. That’s why the tube’s coming out today. Baby is gaining weight. He’s peaceful when resting and alert when awake. I held him today for hours.
When I said in my first post the color had returned to my face, that was just a *metaphor* for gaining back the presence of mind that had been lost in the panic following his birth. Actually, I’m looking pretty pale. I always have dark eye circles — they are nicknamed “my bags” and have fostered a great love and appreciation for expensive concealers. Those puppies have turned into Grand Canyons resistant to all eye creams, cover-up and hydration attempts. I swear, after our ordeal began, I looked in the mirror and observed I aged 15 years overnight. My once shiny, voluminous hair went dull and limp. Days on I’m looking a lot more healthy, but not 100 percent. I was puffy after I had Eli but am less so now. I’ve dropped 20 pounds, probably just the baby, water weight, etc. I’m still taking prenatal vitamins, but I’m going to go in and have some blood work done Monday since I just kind of look extra white and anemic. Also, I was Vitamin D deficient during my pregnancy, which caused some extreme fatigue, the only symptom that bothered me. My doctor gave me an insanely large prescription dose of D, which cured that ill. So we’ll see early next week if I need a little vitamin boost again.
Despite the positive mantras I repeat to myself every day, it’s fair to say, I’ve gone through an incredible amount of physical and mental stress since Dec. 5. I hit the highest of all natural highs – meeting your new child. Hours later I met a type of terror I previously did not know existed. The majority of every day, though, I toggle between satisfied with what I’ve got and holding steady. I do get sad when my mind goes quiet, but those moments don’t tend to last long. Oklahoma is a place people have ordeals. A lot of people. It might be the place to have an ordeal. The state’s tops at natural disasters. I cover those. After a wildfire, I found a woman whose ranch burnt to a crisp.
She had no home left to speak of; it had been reduced to a pile smoldering ash and a cinderblock foundation. The metal frame of a bike and a Christmas reindeer stuck out of the smoking rubble. She didn’t have time to be upset about it. She had cattle to track down, since she and her husband cut the fence to let the animals out before the fire came. She had a fence to rewire and a chicken coop to put back up and a duck Census to conduct. She came across as someone in a manic state of can-do. I’m going to bet she mourned what she’d lost when she ran out of tasks. Because in every ordeal, even if everyone comes out OK, something is lost. Later, other things are gained, but they are hard to see from where you stand at the beginning of an ordeal, looking out over a black landscape that is supposed to be lush and green and perfect. Maybe in time she realized what initially looked like a great tragedy wasn’t actually a bad thing, it was something that made she and her family stronger, closer. Now, my child’s empty crib is like her home. We want to take Eli home when he is better and rebuild a better reality.
This is what the land looks like after a wildfire runs over it:
I’m letting this information flow now because I was *reminded* of the undeniable stress this morning, when Eli’s doctors came by for rounds. He could have an underlying genetic condition that has caused this trouble, or he could have no underlying condition. I want details and I want to understand. Yet when she spoke about a possible diagnosis, with just a few details on the ins and outs of the simple and pain-free test for baby, I could feel my blood pressure drop and the little color left in my face leave the building. I was about to pass out and I had to sit down. Then I got a little weepy, took a deep breath. My mother-in-law came in to sit with baby and I went off for a write and a snack. Feeling better now.
A test has been ordered and we’ll know more Tuesday or Wednesday.