Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's A Booby Day

In my vomit-induced stupor of late, I nearly missed out on talking about 2 of my favorite things in the world: Boobs! Thanks, Lotus, for the opportunity!

My girls are suddenly facing retirement as my son just cold turkeyed on breastfeeding last week during an ear infection. I am typing this right now with cabbage still stuffed in my too-tight bra, praying for relief from engorgement. TMI? Well, click elsewhere, my friend, 'cause there is more boob talk to come!

I intended from the earliest days of my first pregnancy with my now 8 year old to nurse. It was very chic and the "right thing to do". Of course, no one in my family had ever! done it! Okay, that is obviously wrong but no one in the memorable past had so I was going to be a pioneer! a trailblazer!

Well, that was all well-intentioned but I didn't count on 2 failed attempts at induction and a c-section 72 hours later after failure to progress. I was drained- physically and emotionally. The writhing being removed forcibly from my abdomen held no interest to me. I resented it for the pain it had caused and the exhaustion that I felt. I also felt a failure. Of course, I was the first and only! member of my family to have a c-section, too.

I immediately drifted into PPD. RxMan had to make me hold the baby. I tried to nurse but she sensed, evidently, that I didn't like her and she screamed as the LC held her to my breast and encouraged me to continue. I cried. She cried. I sank further and further into the darkness of PPD.

Four days later, I gave up at the urging of my OB, who saw the cloud that hovered around me. Instead of relief, I felt this was yet another way my body had failed me. So, I bottle fed her. She had terrible trouble with formula and we switched it 6 or more times, finally settling on Alimentum, which cost $7 a pre-made quart, which she drank every day. It was very expensive to feed this child.

She then developed asthma, allergies, reflux and chronic sinusitis. Every doctor and specialist that we have seen over the last 8 years has asked the question, bottle or breast? And, knowingly shaken his head when I embarrassingly answered bottle. I hated the initial meet and greet with these know-it-alls who have never had to make the choice on how to feed a child birthed from their loins.

So, as we decided to try for a second child, I decided breastfeeding was going to happen for me this time. Come hell or high water, my choice was not going to be held over my head as the cause for hereditary ailments for another child. I began reading the minute my stick turned pink. I read books, online journals, I went to classes, I talked to people. I steeled myself for the hell that I felt I was staring down. My pediatrician kindly told me that I HAD to nurse this child. Without question. He gave me books, numbers of LCs and his wife's cell number.

No. Pressure.

I opted for a scheduled c-section. There are pictures of me with make-up, earrings and a morphine-induced smile instead of teary and bleary-eyed from being awake and having the hand of every passing Tom, Dick and Larry shoved inside my vajayjay. The boy went to breast about 15 minutes after delivery. He loved nursing.

In the hospital things seemed okay. He was interested. We had latch issues but I thought I could persevere. We went home. It went downhill. I called the numbers. I went to the appointments. We got the latch fixed.

Then he started nursing all day long. Now, I don't mean cluster feeding. No, I mean this child nursed for 6, 7, 8 hours at a time. When he wasn't nursing, he was screaming. And I was crying. I quit wearing shirts, I just moved from the toilet to the chair with a robe, undies and a bra on. My boobs bled, cracked and ached. I knew I was thisclosetobreaking.

My husband took me to the LC and we discovered that my supply was inadequate. He had only gained 4 oz. in 12 days. Red flags! Scary words! Starving my baby? What? All I have been doing for 2 weeks is feeding it!

So, onto formula he went. Yep. But mixed with breastmilk this time. So, I started taking fenugreek and blessed thistle. I ate oatmeal. I guzzled water. I pumped 24/7 for 6 weeks straight. I thought happy thoughts of milk flowing from my breasts as the LC told me to. I did all the stuff they said.

And, thank God, it worked this time. After those six weeks, we went back to 100% breastmilk. And after about 5 months, my little buddy refused the bottle; only the breast for him.

We successfully nursed until the day he turned 14 months old when he decided it was time to quit. I am proud of sticking it out but MY GOD it was hard.


MomOnTheGo said...

What a determined woman you are. It would have been easy to give up with your second baby.

Melissa said...

Way to go!

I wish I seen this topic before now. Sigh...I could have posted some good stuff. Oh well...

Anonymous said...

Way to go you! I'm glad you were given the second chance to do it. I hope I get it, too.

transplanting me said...

way to go! i saw this t-shirt yesterday and if any of my kids were still breastfeeding i would so get it and wear it all the time.

The Egel Nest said...

That is more about boobs than I ever wanted to know... :)

The Egel Nest

Anonymous said...

Wow...what a story...way to go!

I had a difficult time nursing Zach and completely gave up after three months. I'm hoping the second time around is easier.

suchsimplepleasures said...

i hate when people judge you for either nursing or bottle feeding. that...pisses me off...
i nursed all three of my kids. and, with all three of my kids...and, my first two also had bottles. my daughter needed the super expensive, can't remember how to spell formula, too.
i think all these stories i've been reading around the web...they've been awesome!!
great stories, honey!!

Rebecca said...

Yay for you! :)