Anemic

We just found out yesterday that my little girl is anemic and iron deficient. It breaks my heart. I feel like it’s all my fault.

My husband took her for her one year well visit and they did a finger prick and tested some of her blood. I had no idea they were going to do that. They immediately came back and said her red blood cells were low and she would have to come back in three weeks to get her blood tested again. They also commented on her weight gain. She has been gaining every single time, but she’s been dropping in percentiles each time we go. When she was born at 7lbs 8oz, she was in the 50th percentile and now she is in the 5th percentile. Her weight at her one year appointment was 17lbs 9oz.

I took her this past Monday to the doctor just for labs. They pricked her finger and took three vials of blood. That was fun….They called me back yesterday and told me she was anemic due to iron deficiency. From here, they immediately ordered her to be on iron supplements for at least 3-6 months depending on the severity of her anemia. Also, we have to take her to a children’s hospital in downtown Louisville to get blood actually drawn out of her arm like a freaking adult for a complete iron study. I hate myself for this more than anything.

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I just had to post a cute picture of how she sleeps. It makes me smile when I have to get her up in the morning.

I am feeling like a real failure at being a mom. Yes, she is taken care of, yes, she is fed, yes, she is even happy, but I felt like there was more I could do to ensure this didn’t happen. I’m questioning a lot of the choices I’ve made in the past year of her life now. I knew I always wanted to breastfeed. Not only was it the best thing for her, but it was free. As long as I was able to breastfeed, I was going to do it. I’ve always read on several sites that their iron storage starts to deplete around 6 months, therefore, they need to start getting solids, cereal, etc to make sure their iron levels are replenished. Whenever we decided to introduce solids at 6 months, I decided to skip cereal altogether. Cereal doesn’t have much of a nutritional value, except if it’s iron fortified. That will help up their iron intake if I were to give her cereal. I read several reputable sites that you could skip cereal altogether and start on solid foods that were packed with iron. I did a lot of research on what types of food were packed with iron so I could make sure I was taking care of her. I made all of her food with the exception of prunes. I mean, i literally handmade every meal. Unless it was prunes and on the very rare occasion, she never got anything processed or in a package. It was all fresh produce. The point of all this? What if I had just given her formula and given her the packaged food? Would she be in this situation right now? Would we be having to take her to get her blood drawn out of her arm?

Just to clarify, this is not a bash on formula or packaged and processed baby food. I, personally, just tried so hard to give Raelynn everything as natural as possible, breastmilk, fresh produce, etc. and I feel like at this point it just wasn’t even worth my time and effort. Ask any mom who has breastfed alone and they will tell you how much of their personal time it takes to ensure their child gets breastmilk. Not to mention all of the food I made for her and I’m still making for her. I literally spend all day on a Sunday meal prepping for myself and for her to make sure she has the appropriate nutritious food all week. Was it even worth it? Would she have gained weight better if I just put her on formula and packaged baby food? In the long run, yes, she probably would have. Therefore, it really and truly just makes me rethink everything I have done for her so far.

You would never know that she has anemia by looking at her. Yesterday after I found out, I couldn’t wait to get home and just squeeze her. When I walked in, I heard her and Scott playing in her room. When she saw me, she lit up, but continued to play and talk up a storm. She was just really happy to be home playing with all of her toys. I imagine her babbling about inviting us to play with her toys or telling us which one she likes the best. And for about 10 seconds, I forgot about the phone call I had today from the doctor’s telling me she had anemia. I forgot about all the questions I had asked myself all day long. I lived in that moment with my daughter and played and laughed with her.

I wish I could always live in the moment with her. I wish I would not constantly question myself when it comes to her well being. If she had not been anemic, I would question myself about other things with her, I’m not sure what things, but I know I would.

I have a therapy appointment on Friday and it’s the first one in about 2 months and I’m pretty sure the timing couldn’t be any better. New job, house shit, Raelynn shit. Just looking forward to talking with someone who is open minded. She usually puts me back in line when my reasoning is outlandish.

–The Kentucky Momma

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