Today would have been one week away from your original due date..I got my weekly e-mail from BabyCenter.com telling me what to expect at week 39 of pregnancy:) So strange that you have been here for two weeks already, when all along we thought of you as our February baby.
You are still very sleepy. I have been reading a lot on Downs, and apparently this is very typical- as is your content nature. You never cry- if you are upset you let out a high pitched squeal that lasts a few seconds. You have not had any real fussy times...except for when we're trying to nurse and you are frustrated, just wanting your bottle.
When I gave you a bath in your new tub (rather than just washing you off on a towel), you promptly fell back to sleep. In fact, you curled yourself up into a little fetal position...legs tucked up against your tiny chest, fists pulled in below your chin. I'm sure it felt like you were back in Mama's tummy:)
Nursing is ...like the NICU...3 steps forward, 2 steps back. Sometimes you "get it", more often you are mad and pull off, frowning and grimacing and grunting in frustration. The bottle is so much easier for you- all you have to do is swallow. But breastfeeding is work. And many times Mama feels like we are involved in a wrestling match...rather than the dance I mentioned in a previous post:)
We did have an excellent feeding this afternoon...it seems you nurse the best when you are completely wide awake, and have already had your bottle an hour or so beforehand. I spoke with a woman from La Leche League today, and she encouraged me that the more you are awake, the better you will nurse. Right now you have two strikes against you, being slightly premature, and having downs. Both of these contribute to your sleepiness and inability to coordinate sucking, swallowing, and staying awake...and breathing through it all!! But the bigger you get, the more you will wake up and be able to do all of these together. The important thing for us is to keep working at it, and not give up.
She also encouraged me that breastfeeding will benefit you greatly in the long run. Not only because of the health benefits- the antibodies and nutrients in breast milk are so good for you- but also because it helps develop your muscle coordination for speech. Because of downs, you have low muscle tone, so the skills you develop to nurse will aid you in forming words one day...through tongue control, etc. On top of all that, the direct contact and stimulation involved in breastfeeding is exactly what you need as a baby with downs.
All of this makes Mama all the more determined to not give up on nursing. I was honestly not going to give up just because of my own desire to nurse... but now that I know it is important to you as well, I can be confident that I'm doing this for both of us.
Well, little Lily, it is time for some much needed sleep.
As I close, I am heavy hearted about our dear friends the Fishers, and all that they are going through with their daughter, Rose, and grand baby Benjamin. All of our little issues seem so small in comparison to what they are currently facing. Benjamin was born this past Sunday 11 weeks early, and weighing just over 2 pounds. His mommy Rose had to have immediate surgery after his birth to repair a torn uterus. Benjamin faces months in the NICU, with possible cerebral palsy, and Rose has just now gotten released from the hospital to see him. Lord, please touch this precious family, and bring strength to them in all that they face.
I am so thankful, sweet Lily, that you are home with us and doing so well. I am not taking for granted one moment with you- you are so, so loved and we are so incredibly blessed to have you in our lives. You are a gift straight from Heaven !
Your Mama oxox