February 29, 2012

Post 4

Disappointment after disappointment.  The doctors reported Gabriel had a chromosomal defect. They said Gabriel had a duplication of Chromosome 2, which was clinically irrelevant, but we would find out many months later the genetic defect was in fact a duplication of Chrome 11 (gain) and was totally relevant! 
With all the added stress and pressures, my relationship with Gabriel’s father was falling apart.

Only two weeks after the last heart incident, the staff made the decision to send us home. It was early February and Dallas had a rare blizzard.

By the time Gabriel was ready to be discharged the roads were completely iced over and the sun had gone down. Gabriel’s father and I bundled our baby up, and began the tediously long drive home. Despite the bad roads we still felt incredibly elated.
Finally, after two months Gabriel was in our care. We were able to experience that feeling of "a new beginning."

Mom, dad and baby together at last. Alone, no doctors or nurses, just us. I knew we were in for sleepless nights, I was certain that once we made it home and adapted to the new schedule everything would start to feel better. We would unite as a family with our bundle of joy.

Every three hours I was pumping milk and mixing it with thickener, giving meds, feeding Gabriel and taking his heart rate.
This process easily took about an hour and forty-five minutes. So, by the time I was done, it was almost time to start all over again. We took turns giving the bottle, but no one but me could do the pumping.

When I did have a small window to sleep. I couldn’t settle my mind. My thoughts were racing and I felt I had to talk to a friend to calm my nerves. Everywhere I looked there was something to be done. Papers with instructions on how to give the meds, how to mix the formula with the thickener, notes on future doctor appointments, bills, calls to return… papers galore covered the fridge.  It was nerve-wracking every time we measured so many meds.... to be so careful not to make a mistake. Family offered to help but I was reluctant. I kept telling myself "this is our responsibility".

Eventually, I accepted help. Both of Gabriel’s Grandmothers would come by when they could to help feed Gabriel or do some housework. For a moment, I felt a sense of peace. I went back to work part time. I worked the days Gabriel’s father was off. One of us was always with Gabriel. Slowly I started to loose my milk production. There was no adequate place to pump at work and certainly no place for the pumping equipment.  I’m sure my co- workers didn’t want to open up the company fridge at lunch time to find my breast milk chillin next to their bologna sandwich.

Everything became too much. I slowly gave up pumping all together.  The next few months went on like that. During this time I was struggling with postpartum depressionI didn’t seek any help, instead I just kept telling myself I was fine and refused to talk to anyone about it. I’m sure Gabriel’s daddy was dealing with emotions of his own too.
Ultimately, Gabriel’s father and I decided to separate.