Friday, July 30, 2010


First of all, thank you to all of you who responded to my plea for advice. I truly appreciated all of it, and the encouragement I received.

Now, an update on Evan: he's doing great! He had a pediatrician visit on Wednesday and was up to 9 lbs., 11 oz. But the pediatrician referred us to an ENT because she thinks he may be slightly tongue-tied, which she said would certainly interfere with his being able to nurse. We go next week. Meanwhile, I still try him on the breast at least once a day, with and without the nipple shield. Yesterday I think he tried to chew on me even though he doesn't have teeth yet!

I am still pumping about 8 times a day but not getting much more than an ounce and a half per pump. I made a visit to Indigo Forest on Wednesday to rent a newer-model hospital-grade breast pump since our month with the hospital machine is up, and I talked to Beth, the owner, who is a midwife and lactation consultant. She was so compassionate and full of information. I won't tell you how much I spent (isn't breastfeeding supposed to save you money?!), but she loaded me up with natural herbal/homeopathic remedies to help my body heal, increase my iron stores (she said you can't make breast milk without hemoglobin!), and increase my milk supply (with Motherlove More Milk Plus, which does contain fennel, Christy!). So I am going to give those a try. I also bought some lovely plastic/silicone contraptions that are supposed to help my inverted nips stay out. If all of these things don't work, there are two more things I can try: goat's rue and a drug called domperidone that my doctor said is safe for me to take, though I would have to order it online from Canada or New Zealand since it's not on the market here. Meanwhile, I will keep praying!

At this point I am thinking that if none of these things work, I am going to give up pumping and go to just formula with no guilt, knowing that I gave it my best shot. Thanks to all of you who have given me permission to do that with your kind words. :o)

And in case any of you are wondering, I'm still planning on cloth diapering as soon as my sweet boy is big enough to fit into the cloth diaper stash I have! For now he's still in those newborn diapers and I am using disposables without guilt. (It's nice not to feel guilty about one parenting-related thing, at least!)

On a lighter note: I am having lots of instances of mommy brain, and yesterday Mike said to me, "I'm just afraid you're going to forget why you married me."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Breastfeeding Woes

So...Evan is perfect, but I am not. In fact, this breastfeeding thing really has me discouraged. In my breastfeeding class, we were told that holding your baby skin-to-skin within the first two hours of his birth would increase your likelihood of breastfeeding success by 80%. Well, guess what? I was unconscious the first several hours after his birth and didn't even get to see him until 6 hours later, so that didn't happen.

When we did try nursing, it did not go well. Evan seemed to latch on but then got frustrated and screamed. The lactation consultant at the hospital was not very encouraging. Leaving aside her pronouncement on my shortcomings (inverted nipples, if you care to know), she informed me that Evan's mouth is too small to keep a latch and as he gets older and bigger he may be able to nurse (and we keep trying!), but it's not happening now, so I should just pump.

And pump I have, with the hospital-grade pump Mike rented for me, every 3 hours around the clock, since I've been home. At most I am getting 2 oz. at every pumping, and Evan needs at least 24 oz. a day, so, if you do the math, you will see that we've had to supplement with formula. I've tried to boost my production by taking herbs, eating oatmeal, drinking lots of water, even drinking beer, but nothing seems to help. My doctor called in a prescription for Reglan for me yesterday, and I was told that if I followed the dosing schedule, my production should double within 5 days. Alas, I am allergic to Reglan. I took my first dose last night and woke up with a red, itchy rash all over my neck and chest.

So now I feel like I'm at a crossroads. Do I keep pumping for that measly amount? Is it worth it? Or should I give up and just give him formula for all his bottles? To me, formula feels like failure. I know lots of people were given formula and turned into healthy, contributing citizens (I'm one of them, actually!), but I also know that breast milk is best.

Any advice? I'm all ears.

Monday, July 5, 2010

That's Not the Way It Was Supposed to Happen...

...but we have a baby! Evan Michael arrived on June 26th, 2010, at 11:29 a.m. He was 7 lbs., 15 oz., and 20 inches long. I'm sure you'll agree that he's adorable. (Photo credit: Rachel House :o) He is truly a blessing and worth 16 hours of labor and an emergency C-section!
If you'd like all the details of the drama, read on...
On Friday, June 25th, I was at home around 7:15 and my water broke. Real contractions started soon afterward, and Mike and I called my doctor and then headed to the hospital with all of our bags (which had been packed for so long by this point that I hardly remembered what was in them!).
When they checked me out I was almost at 4 centimeters, so they got us to a labor and delivery room fairly quickly and not too much later they let me have my epidural. It worked great at first -- I couldn't feel a thing, even though a nurse assumed I must be on Pitocin since my contractions were one on top of the other. Eventually, though, I wasn't dilating in spite of all the contractions -- and the epidural wasn't working so well anymore -- so my doctor did give me a little bit of Pitocin, which actually slowed the contractions down. Let me tell you, the breathing we learned in our childbirth class really didn't help all that much! They kept giving my epidural "boosters" but they would wear off fairly quickly. They were going to try the epidural again -- at this point it was nearing 11 a.m. on Saturday -- but by then I was finally at nine centimeters and it was almost time to push.
I had only pushed through about 4 or 5 contractions when suddenly Evan's heart rate dropped to 42 and I heard my doctor call for an O.R. and say something about 4 minutes. Then the room was swarmed with people and Mike was donning surgical wear and I had an oxygen mask on and was being wheeled out of the room. They did strap my arms down, Aunt Lisa, but it's probably a good thing because since the epidural wasn't working (which means Mike couldn't be there with me after all), they had to give me general anesthesia, which didn't kick in before they had to start cutting. Apparently Evan came out screaming at 11:29 a.m. and scored a 9 on his Apgar test (my boy aced his first test!).
At first my family was told that everything was fine, but then they were told that it was taking a little longer to get me to recovery because they were doing some sort of repair. As my doctor later put it, I had "blown a hole in the side of my uterus" and the blood loss had deprived Evan of oxygen, which is why it was so crucial to get him out in 4 minutes. So I was in for more surgery and didn't get to see my son until after 5 that day. Meanwhile, while I was unconscious, my parents and Mike were sending out prayer alerts because they were told that the next few hours were critical to my recovery.
My doctor says she's never seen what happened to me happen before -- it's very rare -- and she can only assume I had a congenital weakness in my uterus, as this usually only occurs in women who have had previous C-sections or uterine surgery. The good news is, I will be able to carry a child again, but I'll have to have another C-section. No more labor for me!
We are so thankful that Evan and I are both all right. The doctors kept a close eye on my hemoglobin but I didn't end up needing a blood transfusion and we got to come home on Tuesday. I am feeling a zillion times better than I did on Saturday and am so happy to be home with Mike and our beautiful, brilliant son. :o)
Thank you all for your prayers!