Pity Party

Yes, this is going to be a pity party, and you don’t have to come. Really. I’m not just being passive-aggressively self-pitying and saying you don’t have to come when really I expect you to come, goddam it.

Now that you can hardly wait to read on, here’s the story.

Das Baby’s doctors want him to get a G-Tube. That’s right, after all my smugness about “fixing” his eating problems by cutting out dairy, things slowly got worse again. His weight plateau continued (although he’s FINALLY up about half a pound), and his feeding problems returned: screaming, refusing, twisting away from the bottle, etc. By now, you would think that I would know better than to tempt the universe by declaring something resolved, but no, I just had to open my big bloggy mouth about it, and here we are.

So where is here?

Facing surgery (again). This time, he’ll have to be intubated and put under general anesthesia. Which terrifies me.

But before he can even have the surgery, they want to test how he does with tube feedings, which makes sense since he’s been off the NG since February, and to put him through surgery only to find out that he doesn’t do any better with tube feedings would be horrible. But it also means a two-week trial with an NG tube. Now Das baby hated the NG tube when he was one month corrected, and not terribly mobile. He’s now seven months corrected and incredibly active. The tube is going to drive him crazy, and I hate the thought of him being so miserable.

And, just to insert the NG tube is going to require a few days of hospitalization to make sure he tolerates it (no more Hipster Hausfrau and Herr Husband at-home tube insertions!). So that’s more torture for him.

And then it’s the surgery, and that excruciating moment where you have to hand your poor, innocent child over to the doctors (who are of course lovely and talented and trying to take the best care of him, but still…), and watch him disappear behind the double doors. And then you wait, knowing that he’s crying as they’re sticking him, and you’re not there to comfort him. And then, once he’s out, he’s lying there all floppy and vulnerable. And then they intubate him, which is always a bit risky for a pulmonary patient. And then the surgery itself. All while you sit in the waiting room trying not to think about anything, not wanting to ask for an update too soon, waiting for the moment when the doctor comes and you can try to read her face to see if your child is ok. Now of course I have friends who have seen their children through ten-hour heart surgeries (in addition to gads of routine procedures), and in comparison, a little G-tube insertion doesn’t seem like much. But any time you hand over your child to have him cut open is scary in a way I didn’t know I could be scared.

And then once the tube is in, there’s the maintenance of it, the fact that it may make his feeding issues worse rather than better (he still won’t feel appropriately hungry, and he won’t have to eat). It could also worsen his reflux. On average, it’s in for a year, but it could be shorter or longer. And there’s the simple fact that what should have been this important part of our bonding, a mother nursing her child, is instead a woman being hooked up to a pump like a fucking dairy cow so that a separate pump can inject the food directly into her child’s stomach. Herr Husband and I refer to these phenomena as the science fair project, when instead of relating to Das Baby naturally as our child, we have to relate to him technically and medically. I’m sure research has been done on this subject, but I think it’s incredibly detrimental to the parent-child relationship (and frankly a testament to the depth of our love for him that it doesn’t seem to have affected us too much).

The silver lining: I won the science fair in middle school and high school.

So I’m heartbroken and terrified and all kinds of other bad things. But I also want Das Baby to grow, and I have to believe that in fifteen years he’ll be happier to have had the tube he doesn’t remember than to have had a lack of nutrition affect his growth.

Das Baby has obliged my emotional state by taking an epic nap so that I can write this post and perform several rounds of weep in bed.  And ask ugly questions like: Why us? and My water broke almost a year ago. When will this stop? And these are bad questions because 1) everybody has their shit, it’s part of life and 2) they tempt the universe to unleash even more havoc. Don’t do it, universe! I know I have far more for which I should be grateful (like a sweet, gorgeous, alive miracle baby) than about which I should cry.

Thanks so much for coming to the pity party today. I’m not normally one to treat Hipster Hausfrau like a public journal, but I needed to write this one out. If you’ve gotten all the way to the end of this torturous message, and want to leave some love in the comments, I’d be much obliged.

Yup. He's cute. And after reading all that boo-hoo-hooing, you deserve a picture of him.


22 Comments on “Pity Party”

  1. dayna says:

    awwww leda… u are allowed to have pity parties… as long as you snap out of them… lol.. wishing you all the best… lil man will be stronger than most for all that he is going through!! (as will the two HH’s)

    xoxo ❤
    cousin d

  2. Aubrey says:

    Leda, this post has left me in tears. I’m so sorry that you guys are going through this. The part about what nursing is for you just breaks my heart. I think you are amazing. Hendrix had to be put under general anesthesia for a bronchoscopy/laryngoscopy. That simple procedure was enough to have us panicking in anticipation. I hope that your little guy will be happy, healthy, and tube free in short order.


  3. Anita Gouri says:


    I know I barely know you, but I’m all choked up for you and my heart hurts that Theo is having to go through this. I can only imagine how difficult this all is. But just know that you are saying and thinking all the RIGHT things. Pity parties are often therapeutic. I will be thinking about Theo and you and John and hoping everything magically resolves itself sooner than expected.


  4. Angelina says:

    I´ll always come to any party you throw! Can you bring out the old Halloween costumes and maybe debut a Pity Swan–picture it: it´s the schadenfreude we´re all going to feel if Natalie Portman´s baby is really, really homely.

    But seriously, good luck, hon. It sounds scary and frustrating. I will send you a little silver lining: my best friend in the world went through a LOT of surgeries when she was young (she had severe back problems). When I first saw her scars we talked about it, ánd she approached it with the same happy, calm, wonderful good spirit that she brings to everything in life. When I asked her why she wasn´t shaken up by the experience, she said [cue Manhattan Jewish accent] “My parents treated it like it was just one of life´s comical hurdles. They visited me a lot, and we laughed all the time in the hospital.” BAM.
    You´ll get through this, and knowing the personality of Theo´s parents, he´s going to tell his story the same way. You can´t keep an Eisenberg/Muckle down!
    Love you guys!

  5. Lucie says:

    A high school friend never too far, always following your updates and thinking of you — from mom-to-mom and friend-to-friend. I think back to our “we don’t have to worry about real problems” days in high school and am so proud of where we all are in life — as professionals, wives and moms… and as I read this message, can’t help but reach out to you to let you know that so many of us think of you often and that your love and devotion you have shown as a mom so far has been inspiring. So thank you for being you — because your little man is one lucky dude.

  6. Kendra says:

    Sending lots of love and wishing you strength and comfort as you face these challenges! You are all amazing and your story touches us deeply. I hope that our “company” on this journey is a tiny help.

  7. lauda says:

    i am joining your pity party with a glass of sparkling wine. you might not know this but your posts and your story are inspiring, even to those of us without children. sending lots of hugs and sparkly beverages to you.

  8. Chrissy says:

    Oh Leda, I’m thinking of you, J, and T as you make your way through this next challenge. Leave it to you to not just feel badly about it (which, by the way, I think is totally allowed and important) on your own, but to throw a party! You never forget your roots! 🙂 In all seriousness, I hope you know how much you three are loved and supported, and that you and J are incredible parents – and your sweet, active, adorable, rock-star son knows it too. xoxoxo

  9. Allison says:

    You throw a great party, pity or otherwise, so I will always be in attendance! We are sending all our love and support to you guys. Like everything else, the amazing Mr. Theo and his fantastic parents will handle this hurdle like it is just a small bump in the road. And I know that one day in the not too distant future, Theo will be standing next to the chips bowl at a holiday shoveling them in like the rest of us! I don’t know if visualizing that will help over the next few weeks of hospital time or if anything will, but know that we love you all and will be sending positive, comforting thoughts to you all!!!!

  10. Lisa says:

    It’s not that your water broke “almost” a year ago, it’s that it broke “only” a year ago. Look how far he’s come. Because of you. And the fact that you’ve been hooked up to that milker for the past “only” year. I was ready to toss that thing out the window after the second day. I am so impressed that you are able to still pump for him. Really. That is quite an accomplishment. I salute your boobs.

  11. jenne says:

    I send you thoughts of love and strength, Leda. I’ keep your little family in my prayers and meditations. This is terribly trying for you and your husband, but from what I know of you, you have the fortitude and grace to get through this and continue onward down the long and happy future in store for all of you. Much love…

  12. speakwellpartners says:

    Big love.
    Endless love.
    One mother to another love.

  13. Ben says:

    We’re thinking about you guys. It’s necessary to get it out. And while I didn’t read all of all Lisa’s post, I’ll go right ahead and salute your boobs too.

  14. Heather says:

    Your honest emotions flowing forth make me feel your pain. You are brave to share so much, and brave simply by having so much to share.
    Ugh. Belch. Sigh. I am so sorry. I would like to say something uplifting, but that is not the point of a pity party. The point is to wallow, in the company of those who love you. So I will sigh again and give you a solemn virtual hug, and tell you how amazed I am at your strength.

  15. Kate Torres says:

    I am so sorry Leda and John that you guys are going through this, again. Theo’s a tough one, he’s going to be ok. My prayers are with you. Miss you guys and I miss taking care of cute little Theo!

  16. Susan Marine says:

    Hey Leda, so sorry to hear about this and for all the stress is it causing you and J. The good news is– babies are remarkably resilient, right? you’ve seen that every day since little guy was born, and he will continue to amaze you with his ability to cope and thrive. And he has amazing parents too. Such a powerful combination! xo Susan

  17. CJTW says:

    Love to the three of you.

  18. Deborah Risk Tobin says:

    Leda, thank you for your open, honest sharing that went straight to my heart. I loved that about you when I first met you, you simply say it like it is. I’m sending you hugs, prayers, courage and strength to meet every challenge that will come your way. Theo looks adorable; I hope to meet him at some point. Love to all of you, Deborah

  19. Rachel says:

    I have been thinking about you guys constantly but just found you online. Now I am a crying mess. As usual, words fail me. If only I could express a fraction of the hurt, optimism, and love I am feeling for you three.

    You and John are amazing people and wonderful parents, Theo truly is a lucky kid.

    Lots of love,
    and tears,
    and hope,
    and an absurd amount of kisses for that beautiful little boy,

  20. […] had lots to be anxious about recently. (Das Baby’s early arrival, feeding problems, and impending surgery, for starters.) And what have I turned to (other than Das Baby and Herr Husband, and my other […]

  21. […] eat as much as he needs to grow? What if it gets infected? But overall, I think if we revisit the Pity Party, we’ll see that things have gone far better than I worried they would, that many of my […]

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