Friday, March 10, 2006

On death and boobies...

So, we think my grandmother is dying. She is almost 97, and has been in a nursing home for 8 years. Apparently, a flu outbreak hit the nursing home, and she caught it. She has been basically unresponsive for 8 months (long before the flu) and now is not eating, drinking or turning toward her caregivers. The doctors at the hospital she was transferred to said that this is either the end, or she will recover to her old unresponsive, but eating, state and might live for another 5 years.

My father and uncle are devastated, but realistic. I am sad to think that she might die, but just as sad to think that she might continue to live in this semi-alert state indefinitely. She was always such a talker, she sang throughout the day, and loved to visit with friends and family. To think that she is alive, but not herself is worse than thinking that she might die. In reality, she left us long ago....

But, this brings up the issue of traveling for her funeral. She lives outside Chicago, a two day drive for me, or a two-plane flight from me. I wouldn't leave Bigfella at home with Dyke Two, and she can't take more time off right now to travel with me, and we can't envision putting a 3-4 week old baby on a plane. When you add in the fact that Judaism requires burial in 24 hours (unless the death occurs over Shabbat) the logistics are extremely difficult.

I told my father last night that I didn't see how I could possibly travel for a funeral right now. He agreed, and said that the absolute worst thing that could happen would be if Bigfella and I came to the funeral, and Bigfella ended up sick with an upper respiratory infection from the plane travel.

Thankfully, my father and uncle are planning a small, private burial with a larger memorial service at the time of the headstone unveiling, which can be scheduled this summer. As long as the rabbi agrees with this, the burial will probably only be attended by the required 10 people to make a minyan.

I know I talk a lot about the cycle of life, and birth and death being so closely related, but it is still really hard...

...and what does this have to do with boobies?

Not all that much, in reality, except that since I am breastfeeding, that makes the leaving of Bigfella a little more complicated. Also, since I am breastfeeding, everything is about boobies...

ugh. daytime is going so well with Bigfella. Nighttime, not so much...

It isn't the lack of sleep that is bothering me. It seems like my milk is stronger and more present at night, so Bigfella and I are not jelling with the middle of the night feedings. He will go on the breast, clamp down and then splutter and cough, pop off the breast, and cry and cry and cry.

Then, he ends up way gassy and uncomfortable.

So my nipples hurt from him chomping on them to slow down the milkflow, he cries and chokes from too much milk, and I cry because of his anger.

Then, once we both stop crying, he begins to fuss because of the gas from all the air he swallows while gulping down milk. His eyes get big and his face turns a little red.

Seriously, he looks and acts like a frat boy in a beer-chugging contest.


At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Jenn_AK said...

I know at this age it's hard to know when babies will eat at all, let alone at night. Soemthing that might help, though, is hand expressing or pumping for just a minute or two before you let him latch on. The immediate flow of the milk would be slowed a little bit and hopefully help Bigfella settle down and help the air problem.

Good call not to go to your grandma's funeral, though I know it's a hard choice to make. ((Hugs to you))

Jenn (Jenn_AK at C Moms)

At 6:29 PM, Blogger Northwoods Baby said...

B, have you tried nursing him while you lie flat on your back with him on your chest? Phoebe had a huge problem with my let-down and that was the only thing that worked reliably.

I agree with Jenn, what with timing requirements and an as-yet-immature immune system (even with the boobie juice), it's still a bit early to fly with BG if you can avoid it.

I'm so sorry to hear about your Bubbeh. May G-d comfort you with all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

-Miranda (phoeber/cmonkey)


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