Thursday, January 24, 2008

We've Come So Far...

Sorry it's been so long. I'd love to say I've been galavanting around the countryside, however that would be a lie. I'd like to say I was just too busy but that would probably be an exaggeration as well. Truthfully I've just been reading blogs, working, and taking care of SD.

Before SD was born I dreamed we would have this great breastfeeding relationship. That it would work wonderfully. I went to a class on breastfeeding and felt prepared for what was to come. My coworkers told me stories, gave suggestions, etc. Then he was born and instead of a full term infant I had a preterm white boy who was so whimpy even the lactation consultants were saying "pump... pump... pump". We spent the first 3 days having nurses on our ass about blood sugars and a physician even threaten if he continued with the low blood sugars that he would end up in the special care nursery. I resorted to formula at that point and continued to deal with the sleepy baby.

We came home and I would try for 15 minutes to get him to latch and stay awake. We tried with a nipple shield. Then I'd pump for 15 minutes... every 2-3 hours around the clock.

The next day we went to the pediatrician, were diagnosed with jaundice and it just seemed to get worse. My nipples felt like they were going to fall off and two days later I went to the lactation consultant. The lactation consultant took one look at my nipples and said those are off limits to SD for at least a week. I had been using too much suction with the pump and SD's latch was making mince meat of my boobs. It was less than glorious to be sure. I felt like an utter failure.

The next week we went back to the LC and we tried and managed to only suck about 13 cc. We continued to try and breast feed, but at that point I was resigning myself to becoming an exclusive pumper rather than an exclusive from the tap. We went each week and he was improving, but at that point the nurse in me was kicking in and I became obsessed with just getting him to take the amounts that the doctor wanted him to take in. So at 6 weeks when he finally managed to take close to a feed in at the LC I tried... and failed to get him back to the proverbial boob. I then gave up. We nursed if I was tired and he was tired and we were in bed. Otherwise I'd be hooked to the pump and D would feed.

By the time I went back to work at 12 weeks we were nursing maybe 2 feeds a day. At 16 weeks we finally had gotten it figured out. We were nursing maybe 95% of the time. Now when I'm off it's still about 95% sometimes 100%. I still pump at least once a day as I produce way more than he takes in and I'm just too uncomfortable to not pump, but it truly is amazing to think how far we have come.

I tried to donate my breastmilk to a local milk bank and was turned down... considering I have about 16 liters in my freezer right now I'm a touch heartbroken that I cannot donate because I take zyrtec and prilosec... which are considered safe for breastfeeding, but when donating they have stricter regulations. I'm investigating whether or not I can switch to a nasal spray for my allergies and stop the meds for gerd but have not truly put forth the effort.

Ultimately breastfeeding did not go how I imagined it would... I had all those dreams of it working so easily and when that didn't happen I was heart broken. I was devestated that I couldn't make it work. Now that it is working I think of how far we've come.. and how hard it was to get here. I wish that it would have been easier, but I'm glad that I finally arrived.


DinosaurD said...

I'm glad that things are finally working out with respect to the breastfeeding and I am *SO* glad to see a post from you. I miss a lot of the bloggers who aren't posting very often any more.
Take care

Thalia said...

delighted to hear how much things have improved and v jealous of your supply! I do hope things continue to be so good.

Brandy said...

Congratulations on sticking with it and coming this far. I'm sure you would be a true inspiration to the many women out there that have nursing issues.

I hope you don't mind but I'll give you my two cents on the extra milk stores in the freezer. My supply was a LOT greater than Aiden's demand (like me pumping 32 oz a day and him taking 16 oz). I seriously thought about donating too (and wasn't on any medicine at the time) but decided to keep it just in case. Throughout all these months my packed to the hilt freezer got less and less full and now I barely pump exactly what Aiden eats in a day. It's been a weird transition but I was definitely glad I ended up not donating after all.

Anyway, good luck and I hope things continue to go just as well!

Maribeth said...

Sam, you know they never worked out well with my first child and I only nursed her for 3 1/2 months. The second I nursed for 6 months and all was going well until I got a uterine infection from being improperly cleaned out after birth and ended up int he hospital having a hysterectomy. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. The most important thing is the love.

DD said...

A few months ago a blogger was looking for breast milk. Another unrelated blogger had an excess of breast milk. I hooked the two up and things have worked out.

The blogger looking for breast milk was a new mom through adoption. Maybe you could ask some of the adoption bloggers you know and they can put the word out?

I'm also glad you persevered. It's so much more difficult than anyone can describe, that's for sure.

MsPrufrock said...

I'm always awestruck by women like you who make it work, so well done! You should be very proud of the two of you!

Amy said...

I'm jealous, LOL!! We had a hard time with breastfeeding too, but I just threw in the towel. Although I swear at the time, it felt like we were working so hard at it. Congrats on the great strides you made with breastfeeding!!!

Kath said...

Dear Sami, I started reading this post more than a week ago and then got called (OK, screamed) away, and what with my advanced case of "nursing dementia," I plum forgot to return for the rest. I am so sorry!

I am so thrilled that nursing is working out for you, and that all that time and hard work paid off so handsomely. Well done!

And the 16 liters in your freezer have me awestruck...

A said...

Oh wow. Such hard work on your part - but I'm also a little "wowed" by the 16 liters in the freezer.

April (formerly of Underwater Clown Conspiracy)

Amanda said...

This is really encouraging for me...dd is 10 weeks old today and nursing is still not going as it should. I figured my milk would dry out when I go back to work in 2 weeks, but maybe not??? I can hope.