Breastfeeding hell as a first time mom

Breastfeeding, Formula, Pumping, bring it on! I was dead set on breastfeeding my son, afterall, that’s the natural way to go, it’s free, it’s easy, that’s just what you do. When our little guy was born so tiny I opted to give him formula in the hospital until my milk came in since he couldn’t afford to be dropping any weight. We attempted to breastfeed every time that we gave him a bottle but neither of us really knew what we were doing. He was able to latch on a couple of times but would instantly fall asleep. We met with the lactation consultant on our last day to find out what I was doing “wrong” and she informed me that my technique was perfect he was just your ‘typical late pre-term baby’. This means that he is healthy and perfect like a full term baby but he eats like a premie. She assured us that the closer we got to his actual due date the better things would be, that he’d be stronger, and to just be patient. So for 2 weeks I didn’t stress about the breastfeeding, we’d try at almost every meal and he’d get frustrated, wouldn’t latch, and we’d give him a bottle. I had rented a breastpump from the hospital and I’d pump during waking hours to keep my supply going.

After his 2 week check up where we found out he was gaining a good amount of weight we decided it was time to attempt the breastfeeding idea exclusively so we met with another lactation consultant. We got him latched on with the help of a nipple shield, something many preemies need and something that many bottle fed babies need to help with nipple confusion. It was great, the first time he’d latched since leaving the hospital! Next issue up was my milk supply which pretty much sucked so we came up with a plan to build the milk supply. First, was pumping round the clock 24 hours a day which meant when Shaun was doing his night feeding, instead of sleeping, I had to be up to pump. Then I was given an herbal supplement with Fenugreek to help increase my body’s production of milk. And I was given a prescription medication, Reglan, to also help the production. So we had a plan, it was going to be a LOT of work, but I was determined to do it.

Bring on the triple feeding!!! At each feeding, every 3 hours, we would attempt to breastfeed for a half an hour, then give him a bottle of formula, and THEN I would pump. All in all, it took about an hour to an hour and a half for the whole sha-bang and quickly our days became much more exhausting. It seemed like as soon as you were done feeding him, it was time to go sanitize everything and start all over again. Add that to no more sleep at night since I had to be pumping and it became very overwhelming very quickly, but again I was determined so I continued to suffer.

Fast forward a little bit. My supply had increased…. Barely… prior to any intervention I was pumping at best 2 oz. total per 25 minute session. Afterward, I was pumping at best 3-4 oz. per session whereas most women I talked with would get 8-10 oz. in 10 minutes. The lactation consultant said that the hospital should’ve provided me with a pump while we were there and since I went those 3 days without any “simulation” it dramatically messed up my supply. I guess now I know for next time? I slowly started to see that even though my supply had increased, it was no where near where I needed it to be and with this amount of intense work I didn’t think it was really worth it.

Then we move to 2 weeks later where I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression, where I find out that Reglan, my little milk supply increaser medication has a side effect of causing depression!! Something I was never told! So needless to say, no more Reglan and thus I believe we are done with the breastfeeding idea. It became a source of stress when it was supposed to un-complicate things. But I can’t help but feel a sense of failure about it, I’m a mom, I’m supposed to be able to feed my baby…. Breastfeeding would make everything so simple, but instead we get to deal with expensive formula, bottle sanitizing, packing the diaper bag up with ice packs, having to track down warm water to heat a bottle when we’re out, ughhh but I’ve come to terms with it and I’m ok with it. My busted boobs have let me down but I guess there’s always room to try on the next one.

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They don’t call it Labor for nothing! A birth story.

We headed into the hospital at 7:00 pm to start the induction. First we were settled into our room which I must say was like a luxury hotel suite, it was HUGE! Talk about plush, there was a pull out sofa for dad to sleep on, zero gravity recliners for other visitors, a flat screen tv with games, educational videos and movies on demand, the free room service menu including things like jumbo sea scallops, lamb top sirloin, and pork medallions, I mean even the bathroom was plush complete with hair dryer, and decorative curtain valance for the tub! I was definitely not complaining about all of the over the top comforts gearing up for this show. After taking pictures of all of the “amenities” we got ready for a night of interventions. I was checked and the games began with me at a fingertip dilated and 60% effaced. I was given Prostin, similar to Cervidil, every 4 hours to help ripen the cervix and then we waited until the morning to see what the game plan would be.

My body actually started laboring on it’s own after 2 doses of the Prostin but we went ahead with another dose because it would just further things along. Once the doctor came in the following morning we started the Pitocin. I was now at 1 cm and 75% effaced and the plan was to break my water at noon. In the meantime, the contractions started coming full force and getting pretty painful. Everything that people said about Pit was true, at least I think so since I’ve never done this before! It became painful quickly that’s all I know… At this point, I didn’t want to get the epidural yet because I didn’t want it to slow things down and I didn’t want to be tied to my bed that early. I held out for a couple more hours and then asked for some IV pain meds to tide me over. I was given Stadol which worked great to knock out the pain but the OB came in 30 minutes later to break my water and she decided to crank the Pitocin at the same time so it was a double whammy. And ladies and gentlemen buckle your seatbelts! The contractions immediately became completely out of control every 2 minutes at most, I was soon shaking from the pain and I was begging for the epidural. The nurse told me that they’d rather I wait it out a little bit longer until there was some progress with my cervix, because I was still at 1-2 cm and 75% effaced, so I attempted to hold out for longer. I made it one hour until I was absolutely spent and told the nurse that I didn’t care anymore I needed meds and I needed them NOW!

About 30 minutes later they came in to do the epidural which was a piece of cake. After dealing with those contractions a little needle stick was nothing to fear! It felt similar to getting a tattoo for just a few seconds and the needle was in and out. I was doing my best to keep it together because I was still getting contractions every 2 minutes and shaking uncontrollably through them. At last the catheter was placed and I was anxious for the relief. Unfortunately, I ended up being one of the lucky people whose epi doesn’t work like planned. It only took on one half of my body. GREAT! They tried tipping me over to one side and ultimately replaced the catheter to attempt to get it positioned correctly but it never worked. The only solution was to crank the meds up to where it relieved pain on the side it wasn’t working fully but this made the other side 100% numb to where I couldn’t even lift my leg. The pain was manageable at this point, I could deal with only feeling the pain on one side and I was more comfortable for about another hour or two. Once the epidural was placed Shaun ended up going to run some errands since it looked like I was going to be here for quite some time, afterall I had only dilated 1 full cm since we came into the hospital! But it seemed that as soon as he left the pain returned on that one side with a vengeance! I started shaking again and called for the nurse to bring the anesthesiologist back in to do something. But the nurse sent her to the wrong room so it took an HOUR for her to come in and fix me. In this hour I was dying! I was sooo nauseous they ended up giving me Zofran to keep me from puking and finally the lady came in to fix the meds. She cranked up the epidural, gave me another bolus, and a shot of Fentanyl which took the edge off one more time. The nurse checked me after this and all of a sudden I was 6-7 cm! I scrambled to get a hold of Shaun and tell him to get back to the hospital quickly! The shaking continued and the nurses said I was transitioning and started preparing the baby bassinette area. Shortly after Shaun showed up I was checked again, now at 8-9 cm 100 % effaced and baby was “right there”. The doctor went to get changed and it was time to push once she returned. Holy cow that was fast!

Pushing was overall very painful because the meds and epi started to wear off once again, so I pretty much felt everything on my left side. We ran into some issues with the baby’s heart rate during the contractions which apparently happens more frequently in babies that are small. His heart rate would drop to the 50’s (normal is 140 bpm) during contractions and the doctor told us after about 3 pushes that we may need to use a vacuum to get him out because it wasn’t safe to have his heart rate continue dropping this way for a long time. So this was my motivation to push like a maniac. I was told that I pushed amazing for a first timer but honestly I didn’t feel like I was accomplishing anything. I kept thinking if I’m pushing so great then why isn’t he out! But I kept on going… it seemed like I was there for 7 hours just pushing. I was getting exhausted and I was still shaking uncontrollably from the pain. I was on the oxygen mask and it all just became very overwhelming. I just couldn’t seem to get him under my pelvic bone so he would come out and then slide back and come out and slide back no matter what I did.

We then started pushing 4 times per contraction instead of 3 and I just didn’t have anything left. I told her I had one more good set of pushes in me so she got the vacuum ready to help him get under the pelvic bone and I gave it my all. 4 pushes later he was out thank GOD!! As soon as he was out I felt a burning sensation and asked frantically if I had torn, Shaun looked at me and said “babe she had to cut you”. I guess the vacuum popped off of his head as he was almost out and he started sliding back in and she grabbed the scissors, cut me, and grabbed his head. I got a last minute/emergency episiotomy to top it all off!!

Little baby Holden was born at 8:32 pm November 5th after just less than an hour of pushing. Our little guy weighed in at 5 lbs 3 oz and 18 3/4 inches long. He was staring all around the room from the moment he came out of the womb, eyes wide open, very alert. He was taken to the nursery to be suctioned soon after because he had some fluid in his lungs, but he was back in the room with us about an hour later and has been doing fantastic ever since! He is absolutely precious and already looks like a little man, not your typical newborn. It is truly amazing that he came out of me, I just can’t wrap my head around it…. Our beautiful baby boy is finally here and he was worth every second of discomfort these past 9 months and every minute of my crazy labor! I am amazed at myself for doing it, I actually did this… he is here… I just can’t believe it, he is here at last.

Our Magical Diaper Rash Cure

We have dealt with our fair share of diaper rash in this house. Apparently my little dude’s hiney is a sensitive one. After everything we’ve tried we’ve finally landed on a magical cure that has yet to fail us… so far.

None of the creams themselves were enough on their own, NONE of them. Everyone I came in contact with had their go to product and we tried tons and tons, even foreign ones that you can’t buy in the US and none worked.

I seem to find that all of our dude’s bad diaper rashes are yeast rashes, which are usually the worst, they last the longest, and are resistent to treatment. You can tell it’s a yeast rash if the skin looks super “angry,” red, raised, with red bumps on the outer edges of the rash. Even the prescription yeast creams aren’t enough on their own to tackle HL’s booty.

What we’ve finally concocted works and I highly recommend it to any mom out there that has dealt with persistent nasty diaper rashes. Continue reading “Our Magical Diaper Rash Cure”

Boy Mom Life, Our First ER Trip for the 14 Month Old

The pictures are graphic. I could choose to censor them but I don’t, because this is real life and more importantly it shows how completely fine he seems during the whole ordeal while I, on the other hand, worked hard to keep my composure! 

Is this what I get to look forward to with ANOTHER boy on the way? Are we going to have a VIP parking spot at the local emergency room?

I have always been one to tell people that my kid is a wild child. I mean he’s amazing, so good, and SOOO happy all the time, but the kid is B.U.S.Y. Constant motion is a phrase we use here often. He can’t sit still for more than about 5 minutes. Ok maybe 5 is pushing it. He happily runs from one activity to another.

5 minutes in our house looks like this.

HL barrels down the hallway for the kitchen, grabs open a cupboard door, pulls a few spices out and drops them on the floor, runs to grab the Swiffer or broom, drags broom into living room, finds sippy cup and takes a drink, sees truck and starts pushing it up the hallway “vrooom vroom”, Continue reading “Boy Mom Life, Our First ER Trip for the 14 Month Old”

Milestones and Mommy Guilt

This is a new thing for me in the mommy realm, mommy guilt.

I better get used to it right? This time it’s surrounding the whole concept of milestones. Whoever coined this term should be shot and so should the people, articles, and pediatricians out there that wholeheartedly emphasize the importance of said milestones. Of course milestones are important but they’re not black and white, there’s a lot of gray area and for those of us Type A’s out there we need to know that GRAY is OK. Continue reading “Milestones and Mommy Guilt”

Fear. What They Don’t Tell You About Having a Baby.

You know what the parenting and pregnancy books don’t tell you about…

Fear.

They don’t tell you that one of the largest components of parenting is fear. I guess that might put a damper on the drunken blissful “you’re gonna have a baby” mood, probably wouldn’t sell as many copies, so they selectively omit this.

Let me be the first to tell you then, parenting is a giant ball of love, trust, anxiety, joy, nostalgia, frustration, and happiness wrapped in fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the what if’s, fear of what’s next, fear of can I do this, fear of am I doing this right, fear. Continue reading “Fear. What They Don’t Tell You About Having a Baby.”

Preterm labor at 19 weeks, a humbling reality check

Well, I never expected to be in this boat again yet found myself landed in Labor & Delivery last night with quite the scare. This had happened with baby 1 but not until 32 weeks. I was admitted through the ER with the same hum-drum questions, sign here, initial here. I sat waiting for the nurse to wheel me up to the second floor when I realized that they never made me sign for the baby. When I was in pre-term labor with baby 1 I was given authorization forms for the baby in case he was born, this time there was no paperwork. I’m only 19 weeks pregnant and haven’t reached the age of viability yet. So if baby was born there would be no chance of survival, no need to authorize care… When this dawned on me my heart sank. Continue reading “Preterm labor at 19 weeks, a humbling reality check”

A Rant About Winter Pregnancy

It may be an unpopular opinion but I have to say I absolutely hate being pregnant in the winter. Most folks would welcome the cool air over the sweaty hot swelling inducing summer heat. I am NOT one of them.

First off the wardrobe. You have 5+ layers of clothing to put on to do anything. Anything. So much for being bra-less in a sundress and flip flops, oh no, you’ve got tight jeans, an uncomfortable bra, a camisole, a long sweater, socks, a coat, and the winter shoes. It feels as if you’re strapped into a girdle all day long. Overheating despite the frigid temperatures. I rejoice the time of night that I can strip down and put on some comfy sweats and an oversized t-shirt.

Continue reading “A Rant About Winter Pregnancy”

Breast vs Bottle- A Nasty and Unnecessary Mom War

So I guess I’m going to jump on the debate bandwagon because the more I read about this issue, the more posts I see I feel compelled to voice my thoughts and that IS the purpose of a blog, no? My first thought on all of this hoo ha is WHAT THE HECK?? For crying out loud do we really need MORE things to argue about these days, isn’t there enough of that going on in the world, isn’t there enough conflict, enough “I’m better than you”… I mean really.

If you’ve managed to miss all of the hullabaloo let me sum it up for you, there was a formula recall due to insect parts being found in the formula (agreed, gross) and because of this unfortunate situation the lactivists and similar folk out there have used it as a platform to proclaim, again, that Breast Is Best. It’s not just that, the problem is that things are being taken to the extreme like saying “formula feeders deserve this” and nastier comments stepping way over the line. It’s like an underground hate crime against formula feeders.  Continue reading “Breast vs Bottle- A Nasty and Unnecessary Mom War”

It’s a Parent Led Schedule at Our House

When I was pregnant with #1 we decided that we didn’t want to do the whole “go with the flow” parenting style. I needed to have a bit more of a plan, after all, I’m quite the planner. As much as I knew a new baby would throw a wrench into this mix I was still determined to do my best to keep a routine and continue to live life like we did pre-kids with some adjusting.
Continue reading “It’s a Parent Led Schedule at Our House”