I remember this moment so vividly. Ava was one month old and was going to have a weigh-in at the doctor appointment to see if she had gotten back up to birth weight. They told us if she didn’t make it, she would have to have surgery.
Ava’s birth weight was 5 lbs 12 oz, but she had quickly dropped to 5 lbs 5 oz. We knew we had to get weight on her. I was exclusively pumping every three hours, and we were mixing formula into the breast milk to try to get more calories into her. We tracked every bottle, every ounce. We did everything we could to keep her calm so she didn’t burn more calories by crying. Everything we did circled around weight.
This was the quiet before the storm. After all that work, I knew I might not be able to protect my baby from the pain of surgery. It was terrifying. She was so, so small.
Warm tears fell as I held her tiny hands, stared at that little chin (the cause of the struggle) and just talked to her- told her it would be alright and that I would be right there next to her the whole time.
At the doctor appointment, Ava got weighed and it was a wave of relief – she made her weight goal. Our pediatrician literally danced when he came in the room to celebrate with us. But the struggle wasn’t over, because while the weight was enough to avoid immediate surgery, it still wasn’t enough.
For the next two weeks, the calorie counting continued. We would eventually choose to have the surgery, as scary as it was, to help her thrive. But this is one of the moments that sticks with me. The feeling that I might not be able to protect my child from pain.
I know this feeling will be back. That as parents, we can’t always protect our children. But for now, I will appreciate every single second that my children are safe and happy. Because it is a gift.
It does get better – Ava is now two and thriving – but it helps me to remember these moments. To realize that we can get through anything. To remind me to be grateful for the good moments. To hold her so close, give her a huge kiss and remember. Soon these hard times will be behind you. They are transformative and bittersweet memories. And it gets so much better xx