Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Fiery Five Year Old

Yesterday was Miss Lana's 5th birthday.  FIVE! She's FIVE!  Five feels like such an accomplishment.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's because it proves that for a second time I can keep a human being alive and functioning for five years. See, I DO know what I'm doing as a mom!!  And this one can be stubborn and ornery, so it's been even more of a challenge.  I think five also feels important, because this is when she will start elementary school, and her memory will most likely hold from here.  I know most of my earliest memories are around four or five.  There was a time, when she was a baby, that I wasn't sure I was good enough to make her survive until five. Why you ask?  Well, because at her nine month check up  we discovered she had only gained half a pound in three months.

Now for those of you who haven't had a baby, you're probably thinking, "How bad can that be really?"  But I heard you moms  just gasp in horror.  There are some babies that put on half a pound in two days.  So, half a pound from month six to month nine is more than not so good.  There was a simple explanation for this.  

When Lana was seven months old, I found out I was pregnant with Georgia.  Something, I've mentioned to you all before that was sooo not planned.  Yet, there I was pregnant and still nursing my second baby.  Lana had been eating some solid food, but she was still getting the majority of her calories from nursing.  Or perhaps she wasn't.  When my pediatrician discovered how little she had grown, he immediately became concerned and ordered a battery of blood tests for her.  I mentioned that I was pregnant and still nursing and perhaps my body couldn't keep up with both.  Perhaps my milk supply wasn't what it should be.  He didn't seem to think that was the problem, but decided it would be a good idea to put her on formula, so we knew exactly what she was getting.  

The good news is this all happened right after Christmas, and my parents were still visiting.  I decided to stop nursing completely and have my mom force a bottle on Lana.  I say force, because although none of the girls were ever good about taking a bottle, Lana NEVER took one.  When I say never, I mean never.  My mom tried for an entire day to get her to drink that thing and she flat out refused.  She would have starved to death before she put her lips on such a wretched thing.  Where was the boob??!!  It was so heartbreaking to hear her screaming and crying while my mom tried to coax formula into her.  The thing was, I really wasn't producing any milk, or very, very little.  I quit nursing cold turkey and I didn't even get so much as a slight twinge of pain or engorgement that you hear about.  My body had taken whatever it was using to make milk and put it toward growing the current baby residing inside of me.  I guess I wasn't up to the task of both.  Yes, it's silly, but I had felt guilty.

Since Lana refused to take a bottle, our only other option was combining any solid food she was eating with formula.  She had only just started the sippy cup and wasn't proficient at it, so we needed to get the calories in her any way we could.  So for a month, everything Lana ate was liquefied with formula.  Mashed green beans with two ounces of formula. Mmmm.... green bean liquid.  We fed it to her on a spoon and she ate it.  Mashed sweet potatoes, with formula, chicken with formula-you get the idea.  This worked though, because within a week she gained 1/2 a pound.  

In the meantime we still had to get her blood tested, just to be on the safe side that this wasn't some strange disease.  Let me tell you how much fun it is to make your nine month old baby have blood taken.  Zero.  Zero fun.  Less than zero even.   It was one of the more heart wrenching experiences of my life.  Turns out it is quite the challenge to find a vein in a baby.  The nurse must have stuck her with the needle at least five times before finding the vein to extract the blood from.  I held her on my lap and pinned her arms down.  Every time the nurse would stick her with the needle she would turn to me, crying and give me a look that said, "Why are you letting him do this to me??  I thought you were here to help me, woman!?"  I cried right along with her.  It seemed to take four hours, but I'm sure it was closer to four minutes, to get blood from her.  Thankfully, my mom was with me then too, because I don't think I could have handled it alone.  My nine month old baby begin stabbed over and over again.  My emotions were running high already because of being pregnant, nauseous, and overemotional with the third baby.   

When all was said and done the blood tests came back fine.  Nothing was seriously wrong with her.  It was just as I suspected, my milk supply had been seriously lacking.  As soon as the formula was force fed into her, she quickly gained weight and was back on track.  Well, sort of.  

Of the three girls, she is the tiniest one.  She and Georgia weigh exactly the same, and I have a feeling, G will be bigger than her soon enough.  Even though she just turned five, she will be sporting 4T for a while.  This may be just who she is and how she would have turned out anyway, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I feel responsible for her small size.  I don't know that those three months weren't pertinent to her long term growth.  I feel guilty that I didn't realize sooner that she wasn't gaining enough weight.  I feel guilty that I stopped producing enough milk.    It weighed on me for a couple years.  I've let it go, for the most part, now that I see how much she has grown and how healthy she is.  It's still in the back of my mind though, when I realize how much smaller she is than other kids her age.  My mom insists that my sisters and I were the same, and she is just "Taylor size". (My maiden name)  It's not as if any of my girls will be huge, seeing as how I am only 5'1" and Andy is 5'3".  However, as a mother, I still feel like I did something wrong.  

The good news is, she has stayed on track and grown according to her own chart.  Just today I had her at the pediatrician and she is growing and developing just fine.  She is only in the 5% for weight and under the 5% for height, but whatever.  Have you seen how big some five year olds are these days? Parents need to have their kids lay off the Happy Meals.  

Even though she is little, she is fiery, scrappy and a born survivor.  She makes people take notice even if she is a peanut.  She is headstrong and stubborn, but she can be loving and caring too.  She will be the one who makes sure she gets exactly what she wants out of life, I have no doubt.  Well, as long as she makes it though the teenage years without me killing her.  

 Happy Birthday Miss Lana Lu, Lana Drew!  Sonya may be the "sugar", and Georgia "the everything nice", but you are the "spice" in what little girls are made of and in our family.  I have a feeling five is going to be fun with you.  

Andy and I got her a guitar for her birthday.
She's going to be a Rock Star! It's pink AND
sparkly.  How could she NOT like it?
Trampoline from Nona & Grampy.
Cute outfit from Medz Mama and Meda Papa.

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