Verity checking out things at the Field Museum.
Have you read blogs that people started as a fun hobby, and then they just fell in love with blogging and managed to make a career out of it? Yes? Me too! Except… this isn’t one of them. I honestly have no idea how people manage to do anything with kids around. Anyway, for the few readers of this blog expecting TGA babies, you’re the reason we keep updating this blog. 🙂
So how is Verity doing?
Verity tries out her Goo-ma’s (Mike’s sister) headband purchase.
By all accounts, Verity is a very “healthy” baby. I put healthy in quotes because, at this point, she’s looking quite chunky. In fact, she’s managed to make her way to the 99-percentile for height, weight, and head size. Yep, we breed them big in the Midwest.
Our pediatrician continues to be impressed by how well Verity is doing. She’s meeting her developmental milestones, even having had sternal precautions in place six weeks post-surgery. [You can’t lay babies on their tummies after open-heart surgery, obviously, so most hospitals recommend that parents wait six weeks before doing anything that puts strain on the sternum.] Of course, just because Verity can be on her stomach doesn’t mean that she likes it – tummy time continues to invoke tears from our darling babe after only a few minutes.
Sternal precautions are done! Grandpa tries midair tummy time.
Baby is also quickly catching up on her immunizations. Our cardiologist recommended that Verity wait to receive her shots, and at eight weeks, she just started playing catch up. We should be back on track by next week after she receives her TDAP vaccination. As a public service announcement, I’d like to remind adults that you need a TDAP booster every 5 years or so. This one is definitely not one to put off – whooping cough (pertussis, the P in TDAP) is making its way back, and it’s highly contagious!
Of course, everything isn’t perfect with our beast of a daughter. She still has issues during her feedings, although she has improved significantly since being discharged from the hospital. To quickly recap, after and as a result of the surgery and procedures performed on her, Verity choked when breast feeding. She was found to also silently aspirate on formula, so we were told to thicken every 2 ounces of formula she eats with 20 mL of rice cereal. (I realize it’s not very scientific to use two different units, but that’s what the hospital did, so deal with it!)
Eating ain’t easy for Verity, but she still loves it. Here she is what we call “milk drunk.”
As Verity has grown, so has her ability to tolerate thinner and thinner liquids. At this point, she is able to tolerate 2 ounces of formula with only 7 mL of rice cereal! We’ve also tried a few times to see how she fares with breast milk, however, we’ve had mixed success. Getting Verity to latch onto my breast at this point is a huge struggle for both of us; Verity gets very agitated almost immediately after being put to the breast, and I get a little heartbroken having a baby screaming at my breast. In short – no one enjoys the experience. As such, I have finally let go of actually feeding Verity from the breast, though I haven’t stopped pumping breast milk yet. I have hopes that she may be able to tolerate breast milk in the near future, and if I stop pumping now, I’ll lose my milk supply.
Fun fact: Pumping daily for three months and putting it in the freezer leaves one with a lot of milk. I ended up having a freezer that was LITERALLY packed with breast milk. Since I do like ice cream every now and again, I wanted to clear out my freezer. I found a reputable non-profit and was approved as a milk donor in late March. Since then, I have already donated over eight gallons (I’m bolding that, because it’s both awesome and strange), and there’s at least another gallon in my freezer that I’ve collected since.
Verity is lounging after another formula breakfast.
However, when we thicken the breast milk with rice, she sometimes does OK. She still coughs about 50% of the time when she starts to feed, but she’s able to control the food a little after she starts. That being said, once we started to feed her thickened breast milk with every feed, we saw an increase in the amount of spit-up. We also saw the consistency of her spit up change from think and runny to thick and mucousy. Dr. Google told us that this is likely a sign of reflux (i.e., the breast milk isn’t staying in her tummy). After running our own little experiment (we cut out feeds with thickened breast milk), we concluded that Dr. Google was probably right. We’re sticking to thickened formula for now, but like I said, I’m still pumping in hopes of feeding Verity a little breast milk in the future.
I think feeding will remain an issue for some time, since we still are slowly weaning her off the rice cereal. However, with feeding as the only exception, Verity really is like every other 11 week old. Except she’s got a nice scar and is maybe a little fatter, longer, and just a smidge cuter. We have follow-up appointments scheduled with physical therapy, speech, and cardiology, but I think Mike and I both expect to hear nothing but good news. Here’s hoping we’re right.
Thanks for reading!
Dana and Mike