Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Breastfeeding Journey So Far With Baby #2

When we finally had her 2 week checkup, it was determined that she wasn't gaining enough weight again, so we had a follow up weight check 2 weeks later. In the meantime, I was seeing a lactation consultant to see how much much she was eating and get any and all help from them as I could to make breastfeeding successful.  As the visits occurred we noticed she was gaining weight and doing well.  When we saw the doctor he was pleased with her weight gain, I did still see the lactation consultants at the hospital just to be sure that everything was going ok.  I was advised to start using a herbal supplement, I used MotherLove More Milk Plus ( and they helped increase my supply and I continued to pump after her feedings to ensure she was getting enough.  I froze a lot of milk since I stayed at home and she no longer needed to finger feed any of my expressed milk.  For a while I pumped and froze, then I stopped and things were good.  As we got closer to 6 months old I dreaded starting solids...

I held off on the solids since she never had a bottle nor pacifier.  As she got closer to eight months I started to introduce cereal and baby food.  We had problems with constipation and that just made things worse for us.  I started by trying to give her 100% prune juice, but that didn't work since she never had a bottle so after a few days I gave her stage one prunes and finally after a few days she had a massive poop-splosion.  She seemed to fine after that and I just needed to be sure that I gave her prunes on top of cereal and other baby food I gave her.

She has her good days and her bad days with solids.  Now at 11 months old she's cut back on nursing (pretty sure it's teething related) and I pump to ensure I have milk to mix her cereal with.  I have a very good supply, but she's so easily distracted that I cannot keep her nursing as long as I'd like.  I'm glad she's doing so well, but I'm not sure she's ready to wean.  I say that because I'm not ready and when it's just her and me she nurses like a champ and drains me so my breasts feel light.  I'm looking into those nursing necklaces so she can focus on that and nurse without distraction.  

She does have teeth now and it hurts when she bites, I've gotten to the point where if she bites I stop feeding her an tell her no bite momma.  She looks at and then we switch sides.  I try not to react when she bites, but if she pulls my hair that's a different story I do yell and tell her no, but she thinks it's funny and now every chance she gets she pulls my hair.  I'm hoping to cut it shorter soon so that it's harder for her to pull my hair.

Baby #2

When my son was 9 months old I found out that I was pregnant again.  My husband and I were in complete shock.  We had no idea how we were going to make it especially since I was fired from my job.  I was fired for missing a lot of work.  Finding out that I was pregnant was the last thing we needed.  My husband and I had no idea how to announce the news.  We decided to just call our parents and let them know.  I first called my mom while she was at work and she was shocked and frankly everyone was shocked.  When my husband told his father it wasn't a pleasant conversation...from what I heard.  My husband and I did discuss our options, but at no point was termination or adoption an option for us.  We basically figured out how this was going to work.  Would his income be enough to support us, was our biggest concern.  We tried and tried to figure out how it was all going to work.  Around Christmas we had a dating ultrasound to see when this new baby would be born.  A lot of my extended family didn't know I was pregnant and they were mainly focused on my cousin and his wife since they were expecting.  As my extended family found out it seemed like no one was happy and no one wanted this baby to be born.  I was discouraged and my husband wasn't as supportive as I wanted/needed him to be.  I was the only one who was truely happy that this baby was coming. 

As my prgnancy progressed, it was boring...I had nothing major happen and as time passed we celebrated our son's first birthday.  I was happy and eventually our families came around to be excited since we were having a girl.  Both my husband and I began figuring out what we were going to do since most of the stuff we had was boy themes and colors.  We decided to get a double stroller, reuse the infant carrier/travel system, buy a bassinet for our bedroom, start stocking up on diapers for her and clothes since she was going to be a summer baby.  We used a chunk of our tax return to buy what we could.  My in-laws offered to throw me a baby shower (I guess they believe you have one with every baby), but I declined since that's not how we do it on my side and my parents threw me a huge shower before I had my son.  As we got closer to my due date I started to stress because we didn't have everything we needed.  At that point, my husband collaborated with his parents to throw me a Sprinkle Shower.  He got the idea from me planning one for a friend of mine who was going through a difficult time and was going to be a single mother of 2 children roughly the same ages as mine. 

At my Sprinkle shower, two of my other friends also expecting were there (one who was a day past her due date).  I was surprised andhappy to see my friends help celebrate this new baby.  It was a nice day, but crappy weather for an outside party.  I received some items that I needed and was super grateful for everyone coming.  But as I got closer to her delivery I got more nervous and worried because I didn't have what I needed to be ready for her arrival.  So one weekend I was at my moms and she took me, my son, and my sister to Babies R Us to get the items I needed to be ready for her arrival.  We bought clothes, diapers, wipes, blankets, organizers for the room, and a few other items I wanted to make the transition to having a girl better.  One of my friends was having a boy (she already had a girl) and she gave me lots of the clothing her daughter never wore or out grew.  That helped, but the seasons were off because her daughter was born in the winter, just like my son.  After shopping with my mom I felt much better about the upcoming arrival of this beautiful baby girl.

As we got to te final weeks of my pregnancy it was determined that if she didn't come on her own by the last weekof the pregnancy, I would have another c-section.  I wanted to go VBAC, but it was a little dangerous since my pregnancies were so close together.  I agreed to have the c-section, but was hoping she'd come sooner and if she did I could try to go natural.  Unfortunately, that was not the case...I tried using the eggplant parm receipe that induces labor naturally (nothing happened), ate fresh pineapple (it has an enzyeme that helps induce labor and that didn't work either), my siter took me on a long bumpy drive after my final OB appointment before the scheduled c-section (where my OB tried to sweep my membranes, I was 2 days shy of being 39 weeks, and that brought on some contractions but nothing that lasted). 

So two days before my c-section I was at home alone with my son and my husband was working.  After my son's nap I started have contractions, they got progressively worse and more painful than I'd ever felt before.  I waited until they were frequent and strong enought that I thought I should call the on call.  I called when they were 3-4 minutes apart lasting about a minute or longer, they said I had to come it.  I started to panic because my husband was an hour away at work and I had no car, so I called my mom in tears telling her that I thought it was time and I needed to go to the hospital.  She and my sister rushed to my apartment to get me and my son and bring me to the hospital.  I got there and my contrations slowed to 5 minutes apart and they hurt.  I was examined and it was determined that I wasn't progressing and to just go home and rest.  As I was being discharged my husband called and was worried that he was going to miss the birth.  I told him it was false labor and that I was going home to rest and that I would be back in 2 days for my c-section.  He was kinda angry that we didn't call him sooner, but I didn'twant him to leave work unless I was really going to have her that night.  My mom brought me and my son back home and we went to bed.  The night before my c-section my son went to my mother's house to spend the night and stay with her until I came home from the hospital.  My husband left work early that night so that he could get some rest since we had to be at the hospital for 6AM.

I awoke the morning of my c-section nervous and excited.  My bags were packed and we grabbed the car seat and headed to the hospital to meet my dad whos was going to be with us.  I went up to the floor and was escorted to my room, funny thing about my was the same room I was in when I had my son.  I got admitted, hooked up to the monitors and just rested until it was time.  I talked with the OB about a few concerns I had and asked about my husband getting to cut the cord since he didn't when out son was born.  I asked if my dad could be in the OR too since my mom got to go with us last time.  They said sure got both my dad and husband scrubs and caps and those shoe covers so they could accompany me in the OR.  They waited in a special waiting area while I got on the table and had my spinal block put in.  After that they were allowed in the room.  They stayed by my head until she was out.  As the took her out it was determined that my husband couldn't cut the cord, however they left a tail on so he could trim it at the warmer.  She was breach, come to find out, and cried as they held her over the drape so I could see her.

I cried as soon a I saw her and just waited to see her cleaned up and by my side.  My husband and my dad both got to hold her brefore me.  She was perfect and I immediately knew I was going to do it right this time and breastfeed her from birth until she chooses to stop.  As soon as I was closed up and back in my bed, she was brought over and laid in my arms as we made the journey down the hall to my room.  As soon as we were back in my room my dad and my husband changed out of their scrubs, then my dad called my mom to inform her of my daughter's arrival.  Due to her being large for her gestational age, the monitored her blood sugar for 3 hours.  During that time and getting me hooked up to the monitors I asked when I could start breastfeeding.  As soon as I was settled in bed they brough her to me to nurse her for the first time.  It was weird and amazing and different all at the same time. 

Once it was determined that her blood sugars were fine she had her first bath.  Then my mom and my son arrived to see her.  My son I think was confused as to what happened, but it seemed as though he loved her.  Since he was only 18 months old visits were kept short so that we could see him multiple times a day.  By the second day of our stay, I was up and moving.  So when our son came to visit my husband hid our daughter and asked our son where she was.  Not sure how he'd react we waited and he pointed to my belly.  We then showed him his sister and told him that she was there and not in my belly anymore.  He visited multiple times during my stay.  When the time came fo us to go home we were informed that she would not be discharged becasue she lost too much weight and needed to gain weight before she could go home.  Luckily they were able to stop my discharge so I could stay with her and get medication and food until they discharged her.  At that point all the fears/emotions I felt when my son wasn't gaining weight came back.  I was scared and very upset.  I called my mom and was able to tell my dad, but when he put my mom on the phone I just cried and my husband had to talk to her.  For a couple of hours my husband left and went home to shower and pick up some things for me, while he was gone I laid in bed cried, and held my daughter.  Later on that day I had a visit with a lactation consultant and discussed what to do.  So I pumped after every time she nursed and finger fed the pumped milk (just an ounce, any additional milk was sent to the nursery fridge for me to take home) to her using a dropper.  It worked, not only was my milk in around day 3 but I was on the road to having an abundant supply.  She gained an ounce, so after 5 days in the hospital we finally went home. 

My husband was able to be home for a couple days after returning from the hospital, the day he returned to work he took our son to mom's where he stayed until it was his bedtime.  He was then brought home by my parents and put to bed for me.  They stayed after he went to bed to visit with me and my daughter.  My mom helped me with her first bath at home in our kitchen sink, since my husband was at work, my dad just sat in a chair in my living room and watched tv.  We sent my son to my mom and dad's house while my husband was at work for 2 weeks, while I was still on a lifting restriction.  After the two weeks was up, he was with me when my husband went to work.

Breastfeeding My Son

The first few days with a newborn at home were very interesting and that's when it happened...the baby hadn't pooped in over 24 hours...I got very scared and no matter how much formula I fed him he was still so fussy. That's when I changed my mind and wanted to breastfeed. I called the hospital for help and got an appointment with a lactation consultant, she then called me the next day, after seeing me at home the previous day and cancelled the appointment since I was getting sick and needed to rest. She advised me to get a nipple shield, my husband went to the store to get one and helped me use it...not the easiest thing for me, but I set myself up for it since I was the one who started with bottles and formula.  We rescheduled the appointment for 2 days late and he'd be weighed and she'd review our latch and how to make this transition work for both of us.  Now with the decision to breastfeed, I knew that I had a lot of work ahead of me since I didn't breastfeed once he was born.
I worked hard at breastfeeding; I took herbal supplements to try and help my body create the milk my son needed (Motherlove More Milk Special Blend: I used a SNS (Supplemental Nursing Sysytem) from Medela (the hospital lactation consultant gave it to me), we used formula as my milk was still coming in and I hadn't started to pump yet (although she also gave me a Medela Harmony hand pump). We tried using expressed breast milk and formula in it, but we still had a long road ahead of us to be off that system and bottles all together.  I had frequent visits and weight checks with them.  He just wasn't gaining the weight fast enough.  We had our first well baby visit at the doctor's office and that was super difficult since he just wasn't gaining weight, he was instead losing weight.  I got very discouraged and began to give up...I couldn't believe how sick he looked...

According to the doctor's we needed weekly weight checks until he gained back the weight he lost and got to where he needed to be.  We just weren't doing well breastfeeding; I was ready to give up, but I still tried.  We offered a bottle after he nursed, he seemed to do well, but then vomited most of it back up.  We began to get discouraged and were referred to another pediatrician to try and figure out what was going on.  Come to find out he had Reflux and needed medication and a new formula to try.  We used the prescribed medication as directed and used Similac Alimentum formula (sample cans the doctor gave us).  It seemed to help, but when he did spit up, it smelled nasty.

My supply never seemed to regulate itself and it appeared that he was lazy since we offered a bottle after every nursing session.  I was discouraged and wish I had more support in trying to breastfeed.  No matter how many times I put him to the breast he was never interested and as a result I thought about exclusively pumping and that way he'd still get my breast milk.  I rented the Medela Lactina Pump from the hospital to try and see if it made a difference.  Immediately it did, but I couldn't afford to rent it until I stopped breastfeeding.  After a few days of pumping, my husband and I decided that I needed a pump especially with me returning to work.  We went and bought the Medela Pump-In-Style-Advanced from Target.  It wasn't as powerful as the Lactina, but it did the job.  As we prepared for my return to work we were also preparing for a follow-up appointment with the doctor.

As I returned to work, my husband was working second shift (4PM to 12:30AM, but was gone from 2:30PM to 2AM) and I was switching to first shift (7AM to 3:30PM, but was gone from 5:30AM to 5:30PM).  Luckily we worked at the same place so he cared for our son while I was at work, then he'd bring him to work with him and we'd trade.  It worked logistically speaking, however, it took a toll on all of us.  I tried to nurse our son before I left for work if I didn't then I pumped before I left or in the car on my way to work (don't ask me how I did it because I don't know how I was able to do it since I didn't have a pumping bra).  The first few days were tough, but I was sure things would be okay.  I left enough pumped milk so he would be all set, but little did I know my husband was sleeping through a feeding for our son.  I know that he was tired, but I figured he got up, fed him, and then went back to sleep.  I guess he didn't wake until our so was screaming, which come to find out on my 4th day back to work (I left early for a doctor's appointment for my son) and went alone that my son wasn't gaining weight nor was he being fed enough.  Immediately I had to stop working to get him to gain weight and he was diagnosed as failing to thrive.  I was heartbroken and called my parents in tears and drove to their house where they comforted me and tried to stay positive for me.  During the appointment the doctor informed me that by my husband waiting for him to cry to eat contributed to his diagnosis and why he wasn't gaining weight.  When I told my parents that, they told me not to tell my husband that it was his fault; they said I should tell him what happened at the appointment and leave that part out. 

I had a difficult time telling my husband everything but that tiny piece of information; he was worried and reassured me that things would be ok; I felt horrible since I had to take even more unpaid time off of work to care for my son.  My employer understood, but still I was starting to become unreliable.  I was working hard breastfeeding and offering formula, then once he was about 4 and a half months old we introduced rice cereal and baby food.  We mixed his cereal with formula and tried to get him to gain weight.  It worked!!!!  Finally after 6 weeks of being home with him he was gaining weight and was doing wonderful.  The doctor released me to return to work half days for a week or so then back to full-time status.  I was thrilled and so was my husband.  Every morning before leaving for work I'd prepare his breakfast, bottles for the day, and his lunch.  My husband got up and fed him at the same times I did while I was home, then when he took a nap my husband took a nap too.  It worked, but he wasn't off of the bottle and pretty much refused the breast.  A couple of weeks later we moved into a new apartment and things looked like they were improving; my son was taking the breast and still taking the bottle too, he was gaining weight and looked so healthy.

Our journey down the path of breastfeeding had it's bumps, but the one that ended it for us was me getting pregnant...

My First Baby

In 2010 I had my first child.  My pregnancy was one that I will never forget.  The beginning of it was scary since I had lots of bleeding and multiple ultrasounds to verify that I was still pregnant.  One night at work I started bleeding heavily and rushed home to get my husband and head to the emergency room.  It was determined that there was no heartbeat and that I just needed to take it easy and rest.  I saw my OB and had an ultrasound that determined that there was a heartbeat.  It was a very emotional moment and I shared it with my mom since my husband was at work.  I enjoyed the feeling until again I was bleeding and I was scared again,  thought oh no I'm going to miscarry.  I saw my OB again and I was fine, however part of the placenta had started to detach.  It was a waiting game to see if the placenta would re-attach. 

Then I was struck with massive pain in my belly; I went to the emergency room again and it was determined that my gallbladder was full of sludge.  Being my first trimester it was determined that surgery wasn't safe; the only time that was safe was during the second trimester or waiting until after the baby was born.  The surgeon decided to wait, but unfortunately things got progressively worse and I was hospitalized until I was able to keep any sort of food down.  I finally went home and followed up with the surgeon; he decided that based on how things were going I needed to have surgery.  As soon as I reached my second trimester I had the surgery.  My OB was in the hospital that day too (it was his surgery day); luckily he was because after my surgery the nurses tried with the Doppler to get a heartbeat and was unsuccessful.  I begged them to call my OB and have him look.  He rushed down and tried with the Doppler then requested the ultrasound machine to see what was going on.  My husband waited there anxiously with me as we waited for an answer.  Then we saw two little legs just kicking away; we were both relieved and so happy to see the baby made it through the surgery fine.  I spent the night just to be safe since I was pregnant and felt so crappy. 

After that ordeal I had a quiet pregnancy until I reached the 8th month.  That's when we had lots of false labor and many a trips to the hospital to only be told sorry it's a false alarm.  Finally at 35 weeks my OB ordered a final ultrasound and that's when my world stopped; my baby was in the frank breach position (he was butt first).  A week later we tried to do an external aversion, but that didn't work, we got as far as I could go pain wise and the baby showed some distress so we stopped.  That night the baby went back to where it was before, so now I needed to have a c-section.  I was scared, but at least I knew my baby would be born healthy.  A few weeks passed then OMG, I had these horrible back pains that just didn't go away; working an hour or so from home I called my OB's answering service and spoke to an on call doctor.  We went in and it was discovered that I wasn't in labor, but that my back was having muscle spasms.  Man was I discouraged.  So that night, I decided that it was time to stop working; I knew it would be difficult, but it was more practical since I couldn't keep leaving work until the c-section.  I spent about 2 weeks just hanging out at home prepping for the arrival of the baby and had hardly any false alarms.  Then it was the big day...

I remember the morning of my c-section, it was a quiet uneventful morning.  I went to my mom's to meet them and then we were heading to the hospital for check-in.  My OB was doing it on his lunch hour, so we didn't have to be there until later in the morning.  I arrived on time and waited and waited...the OR was still occupied when I was supposed to be in there. So instead of things going smoothly I was waiting; the time finally came to meet my baby, well being awake during it wasn't so bad.  That was until he was finally born; he wasn't crying or breathing from what I could tell and they rushed him over to the warmer to give him oxygen and clean him up.  My husband videotaped the entire delivery and you could see that they were having a hard time getting him to breathe.  Finally a after a minute or so he cried for the first time.  I was relieved and so was my husband; my mother stood in the scrub room until the OR emptied out a little bit and then she was allowed in.  She took lots of pictures while my dad waited in my room for us.  When I finally got to hold him; I thought that my little family was finally started and I didn't want to let him go.  As the day progressed I had lots of emotions running through my mind; I made the decision to bottle feed him (later I regretted that decision) and he was doing ok.  My nurse noticed that he was breathing fast and decided to check on us again in an hour.  Friends were with us upon her return; he was still breathing too fast.  She rushed him to the nursery and I told my husband to stay with him until I could be brought down to be by his side.  Our friends said that everything would be ok and I begged the nurses to get me down to be with my baby as soon as possible.  As our friends were leaving the nurse came in to see how I was doing, she noticed that the catheter wasn't working so the decision was made to remove it and give me a chance to try and pee on my own.  That was when something very embarrassing happened.  My husband left our baby in the nursery and brought his parents back to my room (after I'd told him to stay with our son until I could get there) where he opened the door and they saw me having the catheter removed...I was very angry because he didn't even knock. Finally I was able to get down to my son.  The nursery nurse said that he was doing ok and that they gave him some sugar water.  My husband left with his parents and went to dinner; I'd asked him to call my parents and fill them in on what happened.  My parents dropped everything and came to be by my side since I was alone.  The doctor's didn't know what was wrong, but they took blood and did a chest x-ray to see if there was anything going on.  They ruled everything they could out and then finally my husband returned.  My parents left us to be alone with our son and asked that we call should anything happen; they left and I stayed with our son, held him skin-to-skin and fed him a bottle.  He seemed to improve being on my chest and after being without the catheter for 6 hours and no ability to pee I had to go back to my room and be re-catheterized until the first 24 hours was up.  As I lay in bed and they did it I begged to be allowed to return to be with my son, the nurse informed me that they were going to bring him back to me as soon as I was in bed.  I was pleased and so happy once he was in my arms again.  That night we slept skin-to-skin and it was hard to sleep since he was so tiny.

The next morning my parents came to visit; my husband went and helped my dad move some items, but before he left he changed his first diaper ever...yes, he got peed on.  Then they left and my mom stayed with me until they returned.  The nurse came in removed my catheter and said it was time to take my shower.  My mom held my son and read to him while I showered and got cleaned up.  That day I took a walk around the floor (doing multiple laps) and just visiting with my mom.  Once my dad and husband returned they headed out and we just talked and figured out what was needed from home since he was going there to shower.  He brought back a bottle for me to try since we were having some problems with gas.  That night was our last night there and the next morning we went home.  I was on the road to a speedy recovery until we got home.  The day we left we went to my mom's to see my aunt, her kids, and my dad's dad.  When we got there I took it easy, but my poor dad never got to hold my son the entire time I was in the hospital so I left my dad feed him and cuddle with him.  My family visited and then it was time to go home, I was tired and needed some sleep and the baby needed to get to know where we lived.