Seven hours.

It only took 7 hours after Brody was born for the doctors and nurses to decide that he needed to be put in the NICU.

We knew this was a possibility because of both his cleft lip and palate and also his chromosome deletion. He was born on a Friday and we knew by Monday after a series of ultrasounds that he was only going to be in the NICU for feeding difficulties.

PRAISE JESUS! Prayers had been answered and we were going to be leaving with our baby as soon as he started eating from a bottle! 

By Monday we were only on our 2nd bottle type and supplement feeding through a NG (nose to stomach) tube.

**Cleft babies have different bottle types to choose from:  The Haberman, The Pigeon Nipple, The Dr Brown’s Specialty Bottle, and breast feeding to name some. All of these bottles/ nipples have different advantages to different types of cleft affected babies.’s website is a great resource for buying your first bottle.** 

I was in great spirits knowing that Brody would eventually get it! I mean, how hard could it be to latch onto a bottle or nipple?  We were only on our 2nd bottle type and we had plenty more to go through.

By the next weekend we had gotten nowhere. He had been through all of the bottle and nipple types and shown very little improvement. Brody was taking as little as 5ml to 10ml over a 30 minute period.

At this point I remember saying, this is the best place to be.  If we went home, we would be sent back to the hospital for Brody failing to thrive.  We were in the right place for us at the time.  Plus, as first time parents it was kind of nice having the extra care!

By the start of the next week it was starting to wear on me that Brody wasn’t making improvements with his feedings.

Leaving the hospital without him every night “wasn’t fair”.

I had begun to get frustrated. Frustrated with the hospital staff, frustrated with Chris, and worst of all frustrated with Brody.

I was frustrated that it had almost been two weeks in the NICU and they couldn’t get Brody to eat. It was a cleft lip and palate, not a rare heart defect! Why couldn’t they get him to eat?

I was frustrated with Chris, because he wasn’t as hands-on as I was. This was his son too, and he didn’t seem as eager as I was to change a diaper or to try feeding him.

I hate to admit it, but I was frustrated that Brody wasn’t “getting it”. How hard could eating without the correct anatomy be? How ungrateful was I?

I was able to hold my son every hour of every day that I was at the NICU. So many mothers and fathers aren’t given that opportunity every day due to their baby’s health. So many women go through pregnancy, labor, and parenthood alone. They don’t have that person to help make bottles, make them dinner, or lend a shoulder for you to cry on. Chris may not have been as hands on with Brody at the time, but he was definitely there for me.

And poor Brody… I was blaming him for something completely out of his control. He tried eating from the bottle every single feeding. He was trying, and he was working hard.

Our longer than expected stay in the NICU wasn’t the hospitals fault, it wasn’t Chris’s fault, and it certainly was not Brody’s fault.

I came to the realization that everyone was doing the best they could. The nurses, Chris, and Brody. It was simply a difficult time and I needed to remain grateful and hopeful.

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