now that's responsibility

“You’re baby is only 50 grams away from being in the NICU.” This is what I heard about 10 minutes after I delivered Johanna. I thought, “I’m sorry, what?!” This meant that she was .1 pound over the weight of a baby who was too small for her gestational age. 6.8 pounds seems like an average weight but remember Johanna was 8 days late. Now, throughout my pregnancy I had a lot of the “too small” scares. We went to the specialist every month to check her growth, had multiple anatomy scans at the regular OBGYN and even took to trip all the way to Children’s Hospital to have an MRI done when I was 30 weeks pregnant.  Neurologists wanted to make sure she was not infected with the zika virus since I was in Dominican Republic one month before conceiving. Scary, to say the least. I spent the next 2 days in the hospital with Johanna on my breast most of the time. I thought eat, eat, eat, gain, gain, gain. Well her pediatrician wanted to see her the day after we left the hospital. I packed up my 3 day old baby and went to get her weight checked. I was confident she had eaten enough that she gained weight. Well, I was wrong. She had dropped to 5 pounds 14 ounces. Now I realize that babies lose weight but coming from 5 months of horrible thoughts about my baby being too small this was awful news. Now, obviously I knew that I had to feed my baby after she was born but I never knew that my only responsibility in life at the time was to make her gain as much weight as possible. I began cluster feeding her, which meant she ate when she wanted. I also began giving her formula on top of breast milk which is what the doctor had suggested. I even went as far as tube feeding her formula while I nursed her. Talk about messy hard work. Literally, my only responsibility was to make her gain weight. I would be taking her back to the doctor’s every other day so that she could be weighed. Every ounce of weight was a “good job mama” for me and “good job baby” for her! I can’t describe the feeling of it being a good job on your part when your baby gains the tiniest amount of weight. Feeding her enough was what I lived for for 2 weeks straight. Every 2 hours I was nursing her then feeding her 2 ounces of formula. I was waking her up (which was not easy at all) every 2 hours, set on a phone alarm. After 2 weeks, she had gained 1 full pound and it was back to feeding breast milk, solely. Thank God, I thought. That 2 weeks was literally the longest 2 weeks ever. It felt like I was always on edge. Checking the timer, making sure she was eating enough and gaining any amount of weight possible. But I did it! Somehow, I did it! ​​

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