... you are feisty and fierce in your demands, little owl. You've kept us on our toes since mere days after you were born, with jaundice that required in-home nursing care. You finally learned how to latch to the breast but then refused to nurse two weeks later for reasons we can't explain. That mild fever you had the same day? A change in the musculature of your mouth? We're at a loss. Thankfully you've gained weight on our alternative measures -- round-the-clock pumping for the bottle feedings we swore we'd only rely on until we got your nipple strike figured out. You'll latch now, but only briefly, and you draw blood sometimes before milk.
You're learning at last how to bring your fists to your mouth to comfort yourself when we are not enough, which feels like it has been every day since March arrived. Your cries break my heart even as my own impatience to find answers takes away any confidence in my ability to choose what to do next for you. Keep you alive, yes. But there are so many avenues we've gone down, trusting the guides -- pediatricians, lactation consultants -- who were supposed to help but only compounded our problems.
I've jotted down parts of the story of your arrival -- also complicated and fraught with decisions I wish we hadn't had to make, but there we were and here you are. I remind myself that you are still safe and whole. Even as we continue to find ourselves against these hurdles no one ever talked about or prepared us for. (And why would they have, given how unusual your circumstances seem to be? No sense scaring expectant parents further.) Every time I go to write about you, thinking we've finally cleared the latest obstacle -- now, now we can report with some distance and relief that all is well, I tell myself -- something else catches at our heels and threatens to throw you from our grasp.
But now you're bundled skin-to-skin with me inside the fleece jacket I've zipped around us both. We huddle against each other, tear-stained but not at odds for once. And while you sleep, I can hold off on deciding what we should be doing next for you, for me, for all of us on this wild course that seems to have no end. What I would give just to remain this way, in this quiet hour holding you, and not have you wake again just yet, hungry.
13 hours ago