Breastfeeding… it almost worked.

With Aiden, breastfeeding did not come easy. As a matter of fact, it lasted three solid weeks. He wouldn’t latch, pumping didn’t produce enough, and we were both miserable. I remember the night that Brian finally put his foot down about nursing. I was in the nursery with the door shut trying to nurse him.  Aiden was screaming. I was sobbing. He came in, sat on the stool in front of me, put both hands on my knees and said, “You will not be any less of a mom if we give him formula. I’ll be able to help you.” I went to Target that night and cried while looking at all of the formula options. I came home, immediately mixed the formula, and proceeded to feed Aiden (all while still crying). He sucked that bottle down like he hadn’t been fed in a week! Brian did the next feeding and I napped. It was glorious… for a few hours. The formula made him very colicky. He was miserable, screaming in pain from his stomach. It took us three more types of formula before we finally realized he couldn’t process the lactose. Once we tried the lactose-free, soy formula it was smooth sailing. The funny thing is he can drink milk like crazy now. I guess it was just a newborn phase.

Fast forward to Sawyer. After he was delivered, I tried with everything in my power to prevent my milk supply from coming in. I wrapped my breasts until it felt like they were going to push into my spine. I tried ice packs and Luke warm showers but it didn’t matter. It came in… a lot of it. I leaked for weeks. It was a constant reminder of the baby I didn’t have. It was awful. I decided then that if we had another baby in the future, I wouldn’t let that liquid gold go to waste like I did with Aiden.

Then little miss Aubrey came into the picture. My breasts started leaking by thirty five weeks. My milk supply had completely come in before I even left the hospital. I had a phenomenal lactation consultant that helped me every time I tried to nurse her. This time, I felt like it was going to work. And then they told me she had to stay in the nursery. I was able to nurse her every few hours but they had to supplement her with extra breast milk, and at times formula, in order to expel the extra bilirubin in her system. I think she was spoiled by how fast the milk flowed out of the bottle because her excellent latch didn’t last. She got to where she would only latch on for a few seconds and then scream for the bottle. For the first two weeks of her life, we had to continue the supplemental breastmilk/ formula. So, it tuned into me trying to nurse until she became hysterical, then giving her either pumped breast milk or formula. I was engorged, had a clogged duct, and my supply started to dwindle. I got to where I was only producing 1.5 to 2oz and the supplemental amount we were suppose to be giving her was 2oz. I finally decided to stop breastfeeding all together. This was a hard decision for me. I had a mental image of being one of those women in public with the cute nursing cover and the little baby just nursing away while she holds on a conversation. Honestly, I am sure there are things I could of done to become that woman. I could have made lactation cookies, drank even more water, pumped in cycles (whatever that means), but instead I gave up. Besides my momma guilt that I felt, do you know what happened when I did? Feedings became a lot more pleasant. Everyone could feed her, even Aiden (who still feeds her every morning before going to school). She was happy and we could enjoy that time. Everyone talks about the “bond” you have while nursing. Well, Brian put it perfectly when he explained that you could hold the bottle right at breast level and she would not know the difference. The bond is still there. Now, neither one of us is frustrated and we are enjoying each others company. Yes, there are women out there who can breast feed their child well into toddlerhood, but I’ve accepted the fact that I am not that mom. And that’s okay. I tried.

I would also like to add that Aubrey was 7lb 13oz when she was born. She was 7lb 3oz when we left the hospital. She was 8lbs 8oz at her two week check up and the pediatrician said she couldn’t be healthier. He also said, “Whatever you’re doing momma, it’s working. Keep it up!”. So if anyone knows someone that could use a really cute nursing cover, let me know.

 

 

Aubrey’s Birth Story

At my last OB appointment, my doctor asked me if I had any questions. Since the ultrasound confirmed that the cord was still away from her neck, that only left me with one question… “Is it at all possible to induce early?” She stated that the earliest she would agree with is 37 weeks. That’s exactly when we lost Sawyer, 37 1/2 weeks so to me, that was music to my ears. Now that we were in the home stretch, the reality of what had occurred the year before was never far from my mind. I was waiting for the day that I noticed “she just wasn’t moving as much”. Every time we went more than ten minutes without a foot in my rib cage, I’d have a mild panic attack. To say my third trimester was stressful was a huge understatement. I was relieved when they agreed to induce me at 37 weeks.

Tuesday morning we dropped Aiden off at summer camp and headed into the hospital. My doctor checked my cervix the day before and confirmed that it was getting a little softer and was about 1.5cm dilated. It hadn’t changed at all overnight. Pitocin was started at 8am and we were on our way.

I was already contracting on my own when we arrived but the Pitocin definitely increased the strength and consistency of them. They offered the epidural pretty early and I took it. There is zero part of me that wants to ever have a “natural” birth. The first epidural was “positive” meaning it went into a vein. That was pretty terrifying! My heart started to race (it climbed to the 160s within seconds) and I started shaking. When the anesthesiologist said he’d have to remove it and insert a new one I looked at Brian and he was ghostly white! I announced that he was about to pass out (I’ve seen that look before) and the nurse went and got him orange juice. He claims it happened out of sympathy for me. The second one went in perfectly and I was getting numb in minutes. The anesthesiologist stated that that had only happened one other time in his career. Thanks for sharing. ::insert eye roll::  They checked me a few more times along the way and by around 1pm I was 5cm. Around 2pm my mom decided to head downstairs to grab something for lunch.  As soon as she left the room, the nurse inserted a catheter to empty my bladder. I guess my bladder was pretty full because as soon as it deflated… you could see Aubrey’s head full of black hair! They brought the mirror around for me to see and sure enough, there it was! The nurses quickly started paging the on call doctor. I remember moving my legs at one point and the nurse said, “Umm, Kelley, don’t move. We need the doctor in here like now”. I responded with, “Is she just going to fall out?!” The nurse shot me a look that clearly said, “She might!”

The on call doctor came in and told me that my doctor wanted to deliver me but she was finishing up a surgery. She gave me the option to wait for her, in which I declined. I mean, I just saw her freaking head! I can’t wait any longer. I literally pushed three times… THREE! I watched the whole thing in the mirror and it was amazing. Because the delivery was so fast, she wasn’t really squeezed in the birth canal to get all of the fluid out of her lungs (just like a C-section baby). She was bubbling from her mouth and they could not make her cry. That was a little scary even though everyone assured me that she was fine. Her face was also pretty bruised. They said that was because of how quickly she was delivered too. She was 7lbs 13oz and 20 1/4″ long. The doctor said that if we had waited until 40 weeks she would of been 10lbs! I can’t imagine.

We were transferred to the post partum suite and my mom went and picked up Aiden so he could meet his new sister. My mom said he was ecstatic when she arrived. He was beaming from ear to ear when he came in the room and immediately asked to hold her.

Brian took Aiden home that night and Aubrey and I had a great first night of lactation consultants, nursing aides pushing on my uterus and taking my vitals every hour. Needless to say, there wasn’t much sleep.

The next morning, the pediatrician came in with the baby nurse and explained to me that Aubrey was very jaundice and her bilirubin level was 11.7 (20 is the “danger zone”) and that she would need to stay in the nursery for light therapy until she leaves. We’d also have to stay an extra day or two. Then the nurse wheeled her right out of my room. I was devastated. There was something about being in the hospital room without a baby that was eerily familiar to last year with Sawyer.  I curled up in the fetal position and cried.

Eventually I pulled myself together, washed my face, and wandered to the nursery to understand what they were doing better and to see her for myself. My lactation consultant saw me crying at the nursery window and invited me inside to talk to the nurse and to see Aubrey up close. I felt a lot better after talking to them. I explained what happened last year so they would understand my emotional response and not think I was just an overdramatic new parent. The nurse assured me that they would call me as soon as she woke up and I could come down and nurse her for thirty minutes with skin to skin contact and then they would supplement her with formula or breast milk (if I would go back to my room and pump, which I did). She received one bottle of formula but the rest was breastmilk. Brian came to the hospital and went to the first feeding with me. I felt much better after that initial feeding. It wasn’t exactly my vision of her first few days on Earth, but it was necessary for her and looking back on it now, it wasn’t that bad. Her bilirubin level came down to 8.3 so they sent us home after just the one extra day. We were home before lunch on Friday.