We all know progress is messy. No matter what we're tracking, it's rarely linear.
It’s filled with both growth and setbacks, success and failure.
It sometimes makes you feel like hell yeah! Other times, like wtf.
This also means progress can sometimes kinda suck.
Progress with Aspen? Yep, it often kinda sucks.
In most instances, and with good fortune, you assume that through some good ol’ fashioned milky adventures together that your baby will get bigger. Far from easy, whether boob or bottle or some combination of both, and with the likelihood of literal sweat, tears and shit, maybe some nipple blood, you and your baby (eventually) find a rhythm. She makes those gains. He grows chubby and perfect.
At least this was my experience my first 2 times around.
As Aspen hits 14 months now and with her weight, like a stubborn bastard, refusing to budge much, I find myself still waiting for that so-called rhythm to groove to.
And damnit, I’m a good dancer. I swear.
This however? The most challenging routine of my life.
At present, Aspen is eating more orally than she ever has before. Big win, right? Huge.
The remaining challenge: how the hell we make that show up on the scale.
The shit of it is, I want to celebrate the win. And we are, because this.is.progress.
This is major progress from where we began. Honestly, something I need to beat into my head over and over to remember.
I get her updated growth chart information from every doctor, every specialist we see.
I get to stare at how slow or how stagnant her progress has been…
And then of course, how far she’s fallen off track just when we thought actual progress was being made.
But here's the thing. For months, we operated on a schedule that consisted of 8-10 tube-feeding sessions a day, in addition to a continuous overnight pump that she was hooked up to every single evening. All of this was required to make an impact on this tiny turkey’s frame.
Those days also included a copious amount of vomit, constant gagging when eating, and frequent feeding refusal. Through trial and error and a crap ton of more trial and more error, we slowly managed to figure out how to facilitate and promote Aspen’s desire to eat while simultaneously ensure she received nutritionally what she needed to grow. I mean, at least a little.
Now, having crossed the one year mark and her increasing oral motor ability and interest, we’ve been successfully able to introduce countless foods for her to crush consistently - with a lot less puke, a bit less tube, and an abundant amount of foodie eagerness that she rarely expressed before.
Boom. Progress, right?
When you’re “in it”, you are legit just innnn it.. No matter what shit season that is.
It’s endless, maddening and overwhelming,… and truly never feels like you’re traveling forward, let alone very far.
So here's my reminder to myself.
I put her growth charts down.
I close my excel spreadsheets keeping track of every.single.damn.thing she ate or was pumped in that day.
I acknowledge and embrace just how far we’ve come.
Which is actually pretty freakin’ far.
Do I still have any idea of where we are headed?
Nope. Does that cause a ton of despair at times?
Is there much more still out of my control than I would like?
Screamingly so, yes.
Should I let any of this stop me from celebrating the incredible strides forward we’ve made? Hell no. That’s progress, baby.
And these gains, whether they presently show up on the scale or not, are big freakin’ gains.
Cheers to that.