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Posts Tagged ‘breastfeeding’

Ok, we’ll go with the good.

We had our follow-up visit with Jane last Thursday. Good news is Canyon is continuing to gain at a normal rate now (up to 10 lbs 4oz as of Thursday! woohoo!), I am continuing to produce more and more milk (and Jane says it is high calorie, high fat milk, so that’s amazing), and my sweet boy is happy to take a bottle when I offer him one.

Bad news is- my baby boy can’t nurse. Or more specifically can’t nurse productively. Which means that as of right now it looks like we will be pumping and bottle feeding for the long haul.

We spent an hour and a half with Jane this time. And though Canyon’s suck had improved slightly from the first time she observed him, it has not improved nearly as much as she was hoping/expecting. Still he cannot create a strong enough suction to ingest the volume that he needs.

So at 4:30 on Thursday afternoon Jane gave us our final instructions and sent us on our way.

Instruction #1) Keep pumping. Pump 8 times a day until you are producing at least 24oz in 24 hours. At that point you’d be safe dropping to 6-7 times.

#2) Nurse. Nurse as long and as often as you like. Nurse for comfort. Nurse for connection. But follow with a bottle for nutrition.

#3) Continue his suck strengthening exercises at least 3 times a day and any time he nurses or takes a bottle.

#4) Consult with his pediatrician about seeing an Ear Nose and Throat specialist at Vanderbilt. (Unfortunately, Jane suspects that there may be a bigger issue than what she is able to diagnose and treat, that may be preventing him from sucking properly- an issue that could continue to affect him beyond just his nursing abilities.)

So I have been experiencing a gamut of emotions since Thursday’s conclusion.

On the one hand, I have so much to be thankful for. My boy is happy as a clam, sleeping like a champ (well, for a seven week old. don’t get too jealous), and he is growing and healthy and full of huge smiles for his mama. My body is able to produce the milk that he needs and he is happy to take that from a bottle. We have the means and the resources needed to diagnose our problem and search for/find our solution. And we are surrounded by an incredible support group of friends and family who have blessed us immeasurably since Canyon was born, making this crazy journey so much more manageable than it would be otherwise. And there is still hope that continuing to follow Jane’s advice as well as consulting with an ENT doctor could have my boy nursing properly at some point in the future.

But I am also so disappointed. Disappointed that Canyon and I are not able to share the sweet simplicity of a successful nursing relationship.

And overwhelmed. Overwhelmed because how do I keep doing all that I need to do on such precious little sleep and while hurting, still, every single day?

And jealous. Jealous of the women who’s pregnancy/birth/infancy stories sound so much easier and less complicated than mine.

And ashamed. Ashamed of feeling all of this in the first place. Ashamed of how much I am struggling when I am so very blessed. Ashamed at how much I suck at the whole pregnancy/birth/infancy phase of life.

And then I remember my friend Jennifer who lost her baby girl just 3 weeks after I got to bring my baby home. And I think that I really don’t have anything to complain about at all.

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So, long story short: Two weeks ago I visited A Mother’s Place with my youngest because he still (as of a 4 week old check-up) had not regained to his birth weight. While we were there we discovered that he has mouth issues that were causing milk supply issues, that were in turn causing weight gaining issues. My poor boy was hungry and I didn’t even know it! 😦

We spent 3 hours with Jane and came home overwhelmed (well I was, he probably wasn’t) but with a plan. This has become our routine since then:

5ish: nurse, both of us back to sleep

8ish: nurse, give 2oz bottle of my pumped milk, change diaper, “play”, nap (him, not me), take herbs and vitamins (me, not him), eat breakfast with older two, drink 20oz water, pump

11ish: nurse, give 2oz bottle, change diaper, “play”, nap (again him, not me), take herbs and vitamins, eat lunch with older two, drink 20oz water, pump

2ish: nurse, give 2oz bottle, change diaper, “play”, nap (him, and if I’m lucky, me)

5ish: nurse, give 2oz bottle, change diaper, “play”, nap (just him this time), take herbs and vitamins, eat dinner with older two and hubby, drink 20oz water, pump

8ish: nurse, give 2oz bottle, change diaper, “play”, in bed (just him, not me yet), take herbs, eat snack, drink 20oz water, pump

11ish: give 2-3oz bottle, in bed (us both this time. yay!)

Some days it seems to take all day just to do the things on this list. Other days I might fit in about 10 % of what’s on my other “to do” list like laundry, dishes, school with Meadow, making dinner, reminding Granite not to whine, errands, baths (or hygiene in general for that matter), answering the phone, replying to texts, etc., etc., etc……

Yes, I am overwhelmed. Yes, I am doing my best to extend grace to myself every day, sometimes many, many times a day. Yes, I am ready for a good night’s sleep, a day without physical pain/discomfort, enough strength and healing to be able to run and hike and workout and wrestle with my kids and make love with my husband. Yes, I am ready for “normal”.

But I am also savoring this short time I have to cuddle my youngest before he is too busy to be cuddled, to kiss his bald head before it is covered with hair, to enjoy his huge smiles while that is his only means of communicating how much he loves his mama, and to nurse my sweet baby while that is still his favorite way to be comforted.

Every day is a challenge for me right now. But it is also a miracle. And for that I am so very, very grateful.

His and Yours,

~Echo~

P.S. Canyon gained 1/2 a pound after one week of our new plan. His pediatrician said that is perfect, that was what she was hoping for. Thank you, Lord! And thank you friends and family for your prayers.

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“…and my breasts…they’re so…flat. All the fullness is gone. And I have this tummy that I can’t seem to get rid of. And I see the women that he sees on tv and on the internet and…I don’t know…I’m thinking I  need to just get a boob job. I mean, I know its expensive but ugh, what am I gonna do with these things?” my friend said, gesturing at her breasts before continuing her list of complaints about her post-baby body.

And as I stood in my living room, listening to the dissatisfaction and defeat in her voice, I found myself growing more and more agitated.

I listened quietly and patiently for a while, letting her vent, but the whole time thinking, “NO, NO, NO, this is all so…wrong! How can a woman so beautiful, a woman who has had the honor and privilege of creating the most magnificent gift possible – the gift of life – be in mourning!? What has the Darkness done to our culture, that mammas all across our country are dissatisfied with, frustrated by, even ashamed of the effects that creating life has had on their bodies? And when are we, daughters of the King, beloved of our Father and Creator, going to get angry enough at said Darkness…to fight back?”

I’m tired of the camp our culture has created- the camp that says a woman is less attractive if she has given birth, the camp that says she is more attractive if she has avoided pregnancy all together or at least been willing to sacrifice the money for and endure the pain and trauma of being cut up and artificially altered, the camp that says that when God created woman…He made a mistake.

I’m tired of that camp.

So I’m starting a new camp- a camp where pregnancy and birth are celebrated, a camp where women are admired for having the strength and selflessness that it takes to grow another human being inside of them, a camp where stretch marks are badges of honor, where squishier tummies are evidence of the beautiful life that grew inside of them, where the lack of fullness in ones breasts is the awesome reminder that those breasts nourished and comforted the sweet little life that depended on them.

Because I believe that becoming a mama is a gift- a beautiful gift from a perfect Father and Creator who adores us and created us in His image. And it is my deep desire, my great hope and my fervent prayer that all mammas will see that beauty in every glimpse of their reflection.

So though I stood there for a few more minutes, listening to my dear friend and all of her emotion, I finally spoke up, unable to stay quiet, unwilling to allow the lies of the Darkness to perpetuate in my living room, uninterested in spending one more day, watching one more mama spend one more moment in mourning.

Because I’m not going to be a part of that camp. Not this mama. Not that camp. Not anymore.

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