Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Dreaded Preemie Weight Check

Someone asked me the other day how much Jack weighs. I had to stop and think about it. I answered "oh I don't know. Twenty-seven or twenty- eight pounds." Like it was no big deal. Like it was no big deal?! It's just been recently where I have calmed down enough to not know exactly, down to the ounce, how much Jack weighs.

It took us so long to get here.

You know you are a preemie parent when you can calculate that 30 grams equals a little over an ounce. In the NICU, you come in every morning and get a report from the nurse of the day's weight check. You hear it in grams. "Jack gained 23 grams." Or "Jack lost 11 grams." From that moment on, you track your child's weight compulsively... or at least I did.

When we got discharged from the NICU, we began to go into our pediatricians office for weight checks. Oh the dreaded weight check. So horrible, right? You hold your breath walking in. You just know that your kid has lost weight... but you are still cautiously optimistic. You sit there in the waiting room, still holding your breath. Finally... finally! the nurse takes you back. You get your kid undressed and placed on the cold scale... yes, still holding your breath. The numbers start flashing on the screen. It's taking forever to stop. Then, you see it. The dreaded number. At that moment you either get an immediate sense of doom ("how is this happening?") or better yet, extreme elation. "See! My kid can gain weight! He's eating like a champ!"

There are so many factors with this number. Did your kid poop before the weigh-in? Nope. Bonus ounces! Was your kid super active the day before? Yeah... well... probably lost a few ounces with all that moving around.

And each scale is different. I swear, Jack's weight would fluctuate by 10 ounces depending on which scale he was weighed on. Personally, I always believed the scale with the highest number as what he actually weighed. Those other ones weren't accurate, right? And it's hard not to take weight gain personally. Like you are somehow forcing your child not to eat enough or to digest it correctly. Like we have any control over that!

We started to go so often for weight checks. Sometimes multiple times throughout the week. It was getting old and we had RSV season to worry about. It took us a few months, but we finally realized that we could buy an infant scale (hello!) and that saved us many trips.

We still weigh Jack on this thing, although not near as often as before. I'm finally getting to the place where Jack's weight isn't life or death anymore. I know he is growing and no matter if it's fast enough, he is healthy.

That's all we really need.
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6 comments: said...

Just recently started following Jack. Our preemie, Daphne, is three. We still dread the weight check. I am starting to think we always will.

The Kimmels said...

I remember those NICU days of "How much does he weigh today??" and just willing him to gain weight. Cohen has been gaining weight well so far, but at his last Drs appt she said he had slowed down. Now I feel like I need to keep feeding and feeding him, but the poor boy can only eat so much :) I just have to remind myself how far he has come...and also that as of the last month or so he is constantly moving and wiggling so that's gotta use up quite a few calories..right? :) Pesky scale...

Gaby said...

I was so addicted to those infant scales on the NICU that it was hard not to know exactly how much he had eaten or how much he weighed once we were home!

Anonymous said...

Ha, I could have written this same post. I even have the same scale! And my preemie is getting his Gtube in 3 weeks because he is losing weight. He just stopped eating at 6 months adjusted. He is not called Jack though. One thing different :)
I hope I can stop obsessing about ounces after the tubie is in.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand. We also had a couple of days a week weigh checks for both of our twins.
They will be 2 tomorrow (3-9) and our daughter is 19lbs ... tiny but so mighty!!
mama to 28 week twins

Chris H. said...

While my children were full term, I feel we can all agree that after a certain point your child finds their own curve. My 3 1/2 year old girl is still only 27lbs, while her 1 1/2 year old brother is a healthy 24lbs. Both are healthy kids built completely differently. I'm glad you don't stress about it too much. You have so much to worry about without trying to worry about what you can't control.