The first time the nurse walked me through venting and feeding my little boy I saw stars. I had to take a minute to sit down. I get grossed out and queasy easily and I can’t say feeding him was the most pleasant experience at first take. Becoming a tubie mom was overwhelming. I muddled through it again and again, until I was confident feeding him on my own like it was no big deal. When the time came I assured the nurses I was ready to head home and walked out of the hospital with my head held high. I was sure I could do this and it would be easy.
Turns out our first night home was a disaster. He was sore and overdue for Tylenol. I failed to make sure our Tylenol was stocked up and we only had enough for one dose left. As he was crying and my husband was staring at me, I got nervous and I forgot to close the second port and lost half. Then I forgot to clamp the clamp when he started really crying. Our last bit of Tylenol was pushed right back out and all over my hands along with the contents of his stomach. I unhooked him from the tubing and sat down and cried with him while my husband made a quick run to the store. We were both overwhelmed and I suddenly felt so unprepared for this.
After calming him down, I took a deep breath, reminded myself that this is how it is now and we’ll have to figure it out. I then went and packed up all of his bottles as we wouldn’t be needing them anytime soon. It was hard. It was scary. But it was what was best for my little boy.
We stuck with it and it got better! I learned the tricks, I became quick with the clamp when he started to fuss. I suddenly grew four more hands keeping him from grabbing the tubing while holding the milk and being ready for any sudden changes of moods in the little guy. I figured out how to slow down his feeds so he wasn’t uncomfortable after and how to make it into a fun, bonding time between the two of us.
At first, I was nervous about feeding him in public. I was nervous about what all supplies I would need to bring but, to be honest, I was also nervous about the stares we would get. I quickly got over it. I soon came to the conclusion that my baby was beautiful and nourishing him was a beautiful thing. I ignored the stares and answered the curious questions with pride.
So if you are overwhelmed like I was at first just take a deep breath. It does get easier. I promise. It will soon become second nature. At first, it seems like this big impossible mountain, but like all things, with time it becomes nothing more than a hill. Stick with it. You are a great momma and having a tubie can be a beautiful experience.