Friday, July 30, 2010

Every. Time.

Have you ever read something so unsettling that it sticks with you for days, weeks, maybe even months? If you read or watch the news you are exposed to hundreds of stories about people being murdered, children being abused, elderly being neglected....and sadly they all blur together....usually.

Back in March I read the story about a Korean couple who let their 3 month old starve to death while they played a video game where, ironically, they were caring for a virtual child. At the time I read the story, I had a 6 week old baby girl.

My baby was born the last of January. She weighed 5 pound and 15 ounces. I began trying to breastfeed her. When we left the hospital two days later, she weighed 5 pounds and 12 ounces. Two days later when we took her for her first visit with the pediatrician she was down to 5 pounds 2 ounces. She had lost 13% of her body weight in 4 days.

I was starving my baby, or at least that's the way I felt.

I managed to get out of the pediatricians office before I completely broke down. My poor husband held me in the parking lot as I wept. The doctor gave us some formula and sent us home with instructions to supplement her feedings. We put an ounce of formula in the bottle and she ate it greedily. And while I was happy she was getting nourishment, I felt like a total failure.

For weeks we continued to struggle with breastfeeding. I read everything I could find on the internet and went to see a lactation consultant. I finally made the decision to pump and give my little girl breast milk combined with formula in a bottle.

One night while I was washing bottles I caught the smell of soured milk. A sentence from one of the articles I read about the Korean baby's death popped into my head.
The girl, who was born prematurely and weighed 5 pounds, was often fed rotten formula and was beaten when she cried out of hunger
All I could imagine was that poor starving baby drinking spoiled formula, fighting to stay alive.

Every time I wash bottles and the smell of the spoiled milk assaults me, I think about that baby. Every. Time. And I want to yell and scream and cry. Every. Time. And I want to forget I ever read it. Every. Time. And I don't want to forget.......I don't want to become immune to the tragedies in our world.

No comments: