I am pecking away at the keys very slowly, because I have a nursing newborn attached to me. You are probably wondering why on earth I am trying to multi-task while nursing... It is simple: I get a little bored. While there is much beauty and bonding happening while nursing, I am getting my fair share of this quality time- nearly 8 hours of it everyday. That is more than a 40 hour a week job!! I get paid in sweet little mouse sounds & occassional funny faces along with the satisfaction of knowing I am nourishing my baby in one of the best possible ways. ...I think... And this is where the paranoia starts.
The words "Down syndrome" color everything. Things I wouldn't normally question, get questioned. Even though I tried to steer clear of too much medical research about Ds while I was pregnant, there are things that still stand out (both from the medical community & real parents' personal experiences.) Things like, "Babies with Ds tend to grow at a slower rate than other babies and tend to be smaller in general." Then there are the words of the NICU nurses ringing in my head: "If he sleeps more than 3 hours, you need to wake him up to feed him." What about the old adage, "Never wake a sleeping baby."? Waking Elijah up to nurse him (especially at night) feels really counter intuitive to me. He has been sleeping 5 and sometimes 6 hours at night. It's been fabulous for me because I don't feel especially sleep deprived, but then I'm back to worrying about all of the scary because-he-has-Down-syndrome-isms. We had our first pediatrician appointment on Wednesday and he hasn't gained back the weight to be at his birth weight (which is what most doctors want to see of healthy babies by 2 weeks of age.) Our doctor is not at all concerned. It seems that he has gained 2 oz in a week, but this is not even confirmed because the nurse at the pediatrician's office and I had to calculate and convert grams to pounds and ounces (the hospital only listed his weight in grams. He started off something like 3590 grams and then lost 80 grams. Where are we?? Europe? What good are grams going to do us, and if we're relying on my math skills (Which we were. That and my phone calculator,) I could've gotten it totally wrong. Hopefully not. Our pediatrician is my old next door neighbor. He is amazing. When I lived next door to him before I had kids, I thought to myself that I would want him to be my kids' pediatrician. And now after a rather fruitful set of circumstances, he is. So, I digress. Elijah has gained some weight and I've been assured that since he is having plenty of wet and dirty diapers, is sleeping well and nurses well that I can relax. But, I'll admit, it's sometimes hard to relax about this.
I started writing this post last night, fell asleep, woke up and took Elijah to his follow up cardiology appointment and just got back home. The cardiology appointment went a long way in relieving my paranoia. Not only does Elijah's heart look "perfect" (Oh how I love hearing those words!) but, the cardiologist said that his weight was good too. He reminded me that just as adults can have a wide fluxuation in weight depending on when and how much they ate and what they got rid of in waste- so can babies...up to 10 oz difference! So, essentially, he considered Eli's weight 'back to his birth weight'. I was doubly happy to hear that, but also to see that since our pediatrician appointment on Wednesday, he's gained another 1 and 1/2 ounces! Woo hoo- go Eli!!! (So many parents that I've met online have said that your children's (with Ds) milestones will be EVEN more exciting than your 'typically developing child', and now I already know what they mean! I feel like a proud Mama whose baby just came home with straight A's on a report card. :)
So, for now I am spending my days nursing (and occassionally multi-tasking) and battling (and conquering) the paranoia. I'm sure it will rear it's ugly head on and off again and some of it will simply be because I'm hyper-aware of "what CAN exist" in the life of a baby with Down syndrome. But, you know what? Who cares!? He has an extra chromosome...and so far that's the ONLY thing that is different about him. He has something EXTRA. How many people can say that?