Beyond all of the great things that happened during Charlotte's 3rd month of life, I have a health update to report regarding her MPI symptoms mentioned in this post.

During the last week or so I've seen a drastic change in Charlotte's mood and mannerisms. When I try to lay her down in the swing she loves so dearly, she arches her back and starts screaming. Anytime I buckle her in her car seat she screams and doesn't stop until she's out of it. If she's not being held upright, facing outwards, and bouncing - she's miserable. 

These are all things that SO remind me of her brother during his early MPI days.

She was still sleeping well and was still a mostly happy baby - just seemed to be harder to please and was obviously uncomfortable. A stool culture done by our GI at Children's came back "negative" meaning she has no signs of infection. Basically telling us all signs point to MPI.

In my desperate attempt to keep nursing her for as long as I could, I started making excuses for her screaming. "Oh, she's just really tired." "She probably needs to burp or has some reflux." "She is just at the peak of some colic". "She is going through a growth spurt." "She is teething." "She just likes to be held."

All these excuses are ones I came up with while Zachary was suffering. I used them for MONTHS with Zachary... but things never got better. When I switched Zachary to formula at 8 months old and realized how much happier and more comfortable he was, I felt selfish and guilty. 

Zachary - just days after his switch to formula

When I very first saw blood in Charlotte's diaper, I promised myself I would try everything I could to keep her happy and nursing until she started feeling pain. But over the last week I started to see myself spiral into that selfish and guilty place again. I didn't want to end our nursing relationship. I want to nurse my daughter forever... or at least until she went to Kindergarten.... okay probably until she was 1 or 2. But seriously - three months is just not what I was planning on and the idea of stopping devastated me.

I find myself getting mad at people who choose not to nurse their child. I logically know that breastfeeding is a personal decision and in my right mind I don't judge people who don't do it, but it breaks my heart that I am so passionate about breastfeeding my children and can't. When so many others simply don't want to.

So excuse after excuse came to surface over the last week as Charlotte really started showing clear indications of being uncomfortable. On Monday, it all came to a head. We spent a combined total of two hours in the car and she screamed the ENTIRE time. Maybe 10 minutes of it she spent sleeping. When Zachary did this I always thought excused it by saying "he just hates being in the car". But wouldn't you think a 3 month old baby would cry for 10 or 15 minutes and eventually fall asleep with the music and motion and lack of stimulation? My kids don't fall asleep. They persistently scream. For hours.

Monday night she screamed until 11pm. Both kids were actually completely out of sorts for most of the day so I was an emotional basket case by 11pm. I snapped at my husband, I cried, and I admitted defeat. I got down on my knees and begged God to heal Charlotte's tummy. I laid my hands on her, closed my eyes and I fought desperately with God about why this all was happening to my precious daughter. I prayed for rest for all of us and clear direction and conviction of how to proceed. For the first time in her life Charlotte slept for 8 straight hours. I'm sure she was exhausted but when I woke up in the morning I heard God asking me to trust Him and let go of Charlotte. That it was okay to mourn the loss of breastfeeding but that He has something so much better in store for us. 

God reminded me of this scripture - something that's been engrained in me since before I can remember, but something that carried me that morning while I realized the fight was over:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5&6

Although I can't understand God's purpose in this disease, I can choose to have faith that there IS a purpose. And that is my choice now, to have faith. Not to spend sleepless nights holding a screaming baby, not to question if every bite of food I take is going to hurt my daughter, not to find more excuses to selfishly nurse my little girl. But to trust Him. To trust that His path for us is so much straighter and better than the one I rebelliously try to walk on my own.

So Tuesday morning, when she woke up, I gave Charlotte her first bottle of expensive and disgusting formula. I held her close to me as she refused it for hours and I cried. I still didn't feel rested from the day before and I was still letting out the anger of God's choice for my kids. But in my decision to have faith I didn't nurse my daughter. I told her that she would feel better soon, unfortunately I didn't need to convince her; I needed to convince myself.

By 6pm she was finally accepting this new form of eating as well as the new substance. By bedtime she was happier than I had seen her in days. And this morning it is her new "normal". She didn't like having to wait for a bottle in the middle of the night and I HATE having to get out of bed to get her food ready but it's now 10:30am on day 2 and she is happily sleeping in her swing. She is finally at rest and I am comforted in knowing that the worst is behind us.

In all of this, there is a chance the formula might not help. So I am pumping to keep up my milk supply and we are just trying this new arrangement for a week before making a final decision.

While we are trying to make Charlotte feel better, I am trying to accept God's answer. I have to know that, even though it's heartbreaking, it's on purpose. This disease is no accident. God is directing every moment of pain, of financial burden, of healing, and of faith for His Glory. 

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4