Unbelievable excitement ensues as two Seattleites prepare for a baby!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Quick Note from the Daddy ...

Sophia had a tough time in the hospital, but Mommy was there for every moment of it.

Hello everybody,

Grandma Cathy has done an admirable job of keeping the world posted with the specifics, but I just wanted to drop a quick note and say hello and thanks.

The most recent stuff (the recent emergency room trip, the multi-day hospital stay, and all the scary stuff associated with it) was down pretty far in the childbirth post, so I'll just bring it up here to say that we are back on the path of relative normalcy. She evidently does not have an infection, and Sophia is now healthy again on the dehydration front and ready to come home tomorrow. Leigh, assuming she continues to operate continuously awake without spontaneously combusting, will be at home as well and hopefully can get at least a little rest.

Here's the quick and dirty:

It takes a few days for breastmilk to come in, so what the baby gets initially is a small amount of high-protein, low-fat substance called colostrum, which has lots of neat stuff, such as the mother's antibodies. It's hugely important, but it's not all that sustaining.

Due to the Cult of Breastfeeding (I'm a fan of breastfeeding, but not a fan of the unbelievable expectations and unrealistic standards set by some - don't worry, I'll rant on this later), babies are expected to subsist only on colostrum for the first three days or so of their life. Formula is PURE EVIL and giving it to the baby is the virtual equivalent of scattering rusty nails into their cereal later in life.

So that was fine the first day, but the second day - at which point we were sent home - Sophia was getting a bit more fussy. She began refusing her colostrum at her regular intervals, opting for 5-7 hours instead of the recommended 2-4 hours. The hospital people didn't think it was that big a deal since her blood sugar was still high so we went home in good spirits and figuring she'd eat when she was hungry.

What they (and we) didn't take into consideration was her hydration. For a pretty big baby (Sophia was only one ounce shy of nine pounds at birth) , a tiny amount of colostrum at regular feedings just isn't enough to hydrate over several days. Especially when increasing dehydration made Sophia increasingly irritable and less likely to take the breast.

This, of course, led to a five-hour screaming and crying marathon several hours after discharge, during which 'Phia was completely inconsolable and, to an increasing degree, so were her parents. We expected her to cry and we'd work through it, but we didn't expect her to refuse any feeding or to blow past all the times she should have fallen asleep, or to blow up to a 101.9 degree fever (more than two degrees past the infant safe zone).

Increasingly panicked phone calls to family during the wee hours of the night gave way to a call to the doctor, who told us to get to the hospital pronto. Another few hours of inconsolable screaming and howling later in the ER, the staff finally thought to give us formula. We balked, figuring that hey - the hospital people had said her blood sugar was just fine! And anyways, feeding the baby vodka martinis would be preferable to giving her formula, right?

Of course, to our massive relief, Sophia slurped down the bottle of formula and fell fast asleep. With the exception of the hospital's curiosity about the possibility of a bacterial infection causing the fever, the immediate crisis was averted.

Still, the fever concerned the doctors and so Sophia subsequently got a spinal tap, catheter, and a multitude of IV drips. Poor kid. Everything looks fine now, and we're still trying to mesh the good aspects of breastfeeding with the reality that sometimes baby just isn't going to take it and that the bottle (both with formula and expressed breastmilk) can be our friend.

Leigh has been awesome throughout all of this, working on virtually no sleep while doing her darndest to keep 'Phia fed and hydrated. Big thanks to Lyle and Linda for helping me support Leigh in the hospital and keeping a rotating 24-hour presence with Leigh and Sophia despite having only one hard chair in a shared room from which to work. Also big thanks to Grandma Cathy for getting the word out and keeping me from going thoroughly insane when it looked as if there might be something seriously wrong with my little baby girl.

Once I get a little caught up with everything, I will be posting to the blog just as regularly (if not more so!) than before with photos, updates on the family, and my own wandering irrelevancy. I would advise you to expect the same tired mix of cliche and insipid prose that you've come to expect here over the past month or so. But now - baby pictures!

A great time was had by all at the hospital.


Anonymous Mumia said...

Hey, congratulations to the H3! 'Phia is adorable and I'm glad she is doing well.

I'm even signing this with my real name!

11:59 PM

Blogger Jim Holland said...

I hope there's some archiving of the blog going on. 'Phia needs to read this in later years, to better understand what her parents went through in the early months of her life, and as further evidence of her father's immense talent with the written word. I'm in awe of that as well as of the events of the last few days.


11:26 AM

Anonymous Karen Evans said...

Jim, I don't think you have to worry too much about 'Phia not knowing what Mom & Dad went through this week. If I know Leigh, she'll be sure to tell little 'Phia every time she comes home late or brings home a bad report card.

And if Leigh doesn't tell, Auntie Karen will!


11:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of us at MACS in Charlotte are glad to hear that 'Phia is doing better.

The first few days, weeks and months are exhausting, exhilirating, challenging and rewarding while you fall more in love with that little person you created with God's help!

I guess we should have expected 'Phia's arrival to be extraordinary...look who her parents are!

Phia is adorable. We can't wait to see more of her!


5:45 PM

Anonymous sharonaliza said...

Congratulations!!! I know about the dehydration-thing! Both my boys went through it and returned to the hospital. But it gets EASIER - really. Just push on through this. Please feel free to call me at any time if you have questions or panic. I've survived plenty of my own parenting neurosis and am quite sympathetic.

Sharon 932-6006

9:04 PM

Anonymous Stephen Rosencrantz said...

Erin and I are glad to hear you, Leigh, and Sophia are doing better. Congratulations!

{The following is a bit of a rant, sorry.}

On another note, I will never understand these breastfeeding people, antibodies are nice, food and liquid are necessary. As father of a particularly large baby (10 lbs. 11 oz.) that needed food quite a while before mom was really ready to provide it (due to excessive blood loss), I can state for the record that formula will not hurt your baby. As far as I can tell, a rested mom, and a rested, well fed baby contribute to the overall health of everyone more than any amount of antibodies. If breastfeeding works for you (I suspect this is a smaller number of people than most would believe) go for it, its much cheaper than formula. If not, formula does the job and there is nothing to feel guilty about.

For the car enthusiasts its sort of like comparing 99 octane and 98 octane. The oil, the belts, the tires and probably a lot of other parts and fluids are going to need to be replaced long before you will notice any effect of that one octane difference and even then how would you know the effect was caused by the gas and not by replacing all of the other parts or fluids.

For those science folks I challenge any one to prove, given the vast differences in pregnancies, babies, homes, hospitals, and parents that breastmilk has any measurable advantage over formula. I doubt you could find five babies that were comparable enough in thier experiences, let alone the thousands or perhaps millions you would need for statistical relavence.

{rant completed}

6:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

she is CUTE!!!! i just read the accounts of the er visit. scary. glad that is all over now. i cant wait to see upcoming fotos!!!!!!!!
with love from
wake forest university

6:36 AM

Anonymous Jenn Chavarie said...

Hey, guys, Congratulations!!
I'm glad to hear that Phia is better. I know you must have been so worried!
Love you!

8:56 AM

Blogger Chris Hafner said...

Unca Jim wrote:
her father's immense talent with the written word

I take that as high praise indeed, since you've served as my inspiration since before the time I decided I wanted to write.

The moment at which I begin to approach your skill with a finely-tuned phrase, Uncle Jim, is the moment at which I will really begin to consider myself a writer.

1:17 PM


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