Encouragement Needed

Most of the time this blog is pretty mindless stuff.  Every now and again something a little deeper comes along. (I’ll admit that’s not often!)

Sometimes I write just to write.  It makes me feel good; it’s that simple.  Sometimes I post to update our family and friends.  Sometimes I post because something big or funny or ridiculous happens.  Sometimes I post craft ideas that worked well for me and I wanted to share.

But today’s post is a little different.  I’m posting because I need you guys.  I need support.  I need pats on the back.  I need to hear that I can do it, and that somebody else believes that I can do it, too.

See, back in 1997 I was blessed with opportunity to have a breast reduction.  My breast were so large that I had constant indentations on my shoulders from my bra straps.  My back would ache.  I couldn’t run.  (Well, I still can’t run…but that’s only because I’m too lazy!)  When I had my reduction, the doctor told me that I may or may not be able to breast feed if and whenever I chose to have children.  I’ll admit that I was young when I had this surgery, but the complexity of that decision did not escape me.  I wanted nothing more in my whole life to be a mommy.  One of the biggest parts of being a mommy is providing for your child…and that, in my mind, also included breast feeding.  But the pros outweighed the cons(they still do), and I decided to have the surgery anyway.

When I had Carter, I tried to breastfeed.  I made nothing.  At all.  With Lydia I lasted a little bit longer(not much).  I made some milk, but not nearly enough.  She was losing weight and never satisfied.  She cried a lot…and I gave in to the self-induced feeling that I was somehow denying her the basic right of sustenance.

This go round has been a little different.  Asa has started out by being a champion feeder.  He may take a long time to eat(probably because my milk flow is so slow), but he is usually pretty patient.  He usually latches on well, and stays put the duration of the feeding.  He seems to fit so perfectly in my arms.  It wasn’t like that with the other two.  It was awkward to hold them in a place where they were happy and could still easily reach my nipples(which are a bit high due to the surgery).

But here’s the deal:  I’m simply not making much milk.  Markedly more than the previous times, but still not much.  I’ve begun supplementing.  And I’m pumping regularly for nipple stimulation.  I’m about to start taking Reglan, which we hope will increase my milk supply.  Eventhough the battle isn’t over yet, I still feel a bit defeated.  He prefers a bottle to me.  I don’t like taking second fiddle to a piece of plastic.  That thought is pretty depressing to me.

Like I said…the battle isn’t over yet.  I’m going to try, and I’m going to try hard.  But I can’t mentally handle it for too long.  I cry at nearly every feeding, and that’s not good for either of us long term.  So Marshall and I have made a pact to do everything possible for the next week.  If things aren’t better by then, I’ll back off.  But if I have any sign that this all might be working…I’ll push onward.  So I need you all to pray that a miracle will happen in the next week.  I really want this…

There’s not a day that goes by that I would ever trade my “old” boobs back for my “new” ones.  I don’t ever regret my decision to have the surgery.  BUT I do hate that it’s left me in a place where I feel inadequate and second rate to a plastic nipple.  I know it’s not the end of the world.  I know Asa will be fine without breast milk.  Carter and Lydia were both formula babies, and they’ve turned out fine(sorta 🙂 ).  But I want this for him and for me.  I know all the benefits of breastfeeding.  I want that for him.  But I also want to continue that closeness that breastfeeding gives to mom and baby.  I have to admit that I’ve often seen people breastfeeding with ease and been beside myself with jealousy.  And then I look at my poor hurting, cracked and bleeding nipples and wonder if it’s all worth it.

Thanks for reading my ramble.  I know it’s a whirlwind of thoughts that are poorly constructed into sentences and paragraphs.  But it’s where I am for the moment, and how I feel.  I’m off to pump again…wish me luck!

9 Responses to Encouragement Needed
  1. Joy
    December 27, 2008 | 5:38 pm

    Hey Bridget! CONGRATS on the birth of little Luke!!! I’m so incredibly excited for you guys…and I know that Tucker and Emerson are enjoying their new baby brother 🙂

    I will be praying for you that this goes a little easier for you, with the feedings and all. Honey the other two turned out great, so just hang in there! Luke will too! I did want to mention something about Reglan though…I know Marshall’s on top of this and knows a LOT more about it than I do, but I just wanted to caution you to be careful with that drug. I know it’s been on the market for EVER, but I had to take it a few years back and I had some pretty severe side effects from it and I felt awful until I got off of it. Obviously I wasn’t on it for breastfeeding…for my stomach because I was having digestion problems. But anyway, just wanted to throw that out there. I know that Marshall is on top of it though!

    Anyway, congrats on everything that is going on in your lives – and hope you guys had a Merry Christmas! BTW, I’m back in the blogging world, I am indeed alive 😉

    Happy new year!

  2. Liz Sanders
    December 27, 2008 | 6:21 pm

    I did wonder what you had done with the other 2 after your reduction. I remember when you had it and I thought I wish I only had half of them, being that I thought they were the best things in the world cause I had none! I completely understand why you had the surgery. No one needs the back problems that they can cause. After nursing 3 sometimes I think about having one done being that I am now a size triple D!

    I started breastfeeding Peyton in 99 and I feel that I never stopped as each child came along. Peyton nursed until he was 22 months old, Wyatt until he was 13 months and Rhett…well he is 22 months old now and isn’t giving me any signs of stopping. that kinda scares me. I never wanted to be the mother with a 5 yr old pulling at her to hide in the corner so he could have some “quite” time!

    No one ever tells you that the first couple of weeks to a month can be hard. You are sore, bleeding possibly and it seems that you are stuck in a chair every aching hour of the day while everything around you piles up. But it gets better. Get you some lanolin cream for your nipples and put it on there after every feeding.(Letting them air out helps as well, just make sure you do that when no one is visiting!) Also remember that the every three hours you have to feed the baby start at the begining of each feeding. So that means that if you start feeding him at 1 he nurses until 2 you have about 2 hours until he is going to nurse again. Make sure his bottom lip is flanged out (not turned in while he sucks) because that can be painful. It will be sore while your nipples get use to it, but the more he nurses the more milk you will have.

    I refused for the nurses to give Rhett a bottle in the hospital. Anytime they needed to give him a little something to help him out after his circumcision so he would tinkle they gave him some formula through a syringe so he didn’t get the nipple confusion. Babies are smart beings and if the milk comes faster from a bottle then that is what they are going to prefer, plus they don’t have to work as hard for it. When they breast feed they have to work to get your milk to come down. Also they first week it is going to take time for your milk to come in, but every bit of the colostrum he gets is beneficial for him. You will notice over the next few days that he will be swallowing more and you will feel the sting of your milk coming in.

    I know it seems so confusing as I type it here, I’m trying to keep it somewhat understandable. It is worth it and sticking to it can be hard especially when you think that they aren’t getting enough. But a baby gives you signs of being full from the breast. Their sucking will slow down, they get a “drunk sailor” look (that’s what I called Rhett) and they will stop sucking. You should be shooting for at least 15 to 20 minutes on each breast and alternate which one you start on at each feeding that way each one is drained properly and the milk will come in evenly. He is going to seem like he wants to nurse so much more than he would if he were on formula because breast milk is so easy for their tummy’s to digest. Feeding him on demand is a good way to go for the first month or so, and then once you get the hang of things you can see what kind of schedule is right for him. I use to take my nursing pillow with me everywhere when my boys were little and was frequently found sitting in the back seat of the minivan nursing.

    Okay I ramble more than I know I should. You can do it! Your husband can be a big help in helping with the kids and supporting you with it as much as he can because when you are feeding there isn’t much he can help with but get you what you need to be comfortable.

    I tell you what if you would like to talk to someone I will be glad to call or vice versa, you have my e-mail and if you would like my phone number I’ll give it to you. I hope I have helped with my rambling, you can do it just give it time. oh and Good luck!

  3. Jesse
    December 27, 2008 | 9:28 pm

    I’ll call you tomorrow. You can cry all you want. Love ya, mean it!

  4. Tara
    December 27, 2008 | 10:39 pm

    I’m no help as an experienced nursing mom, but I was a teenager with you, and I remember some (though you hid it well) of the problems you had. You absolutely made the right decision to have the surgery, and you’re right, it’s not the end of the world if you have to give Luke bottles. While I can only imagine the disappointment you’re feeling (I would feel the same), some babies just don’t do breasts….but don’t give up just yet, either. Apparently some babies have to be trained to like breasts. And, if it makes you feel any better, I feel that reading your blog prepares me for adventures in pregnancy and motherhood. And for that, I very much appreciate you. You’ll be alright. And our kids will never really do what we want them to. 😉

  5. peapodsquadmom
    December 27, 2008 | 10:42 pm

    Bridget, I totally understand your emotional crisis over this issue. One of the many dreams that felt completely out of reach for me as a mom to triplets was that of breastfeeding exclusively. I wanted that sooo badly…for my babies and for me. I spent the first 4 months of their lives stressing about it. The boys would never latch on once they came home from the NICU. Not at all. Sweet Pea was a great nurser and I pumped feverishly (with a rented hospital grade super pump) for the boys. I felt guilty for bonding more with her than with them. I felt guilty for resenting my time with the pump. My supply wasn’t sufficient and I had to supplement. After a while, it seemed I was losing the battle and I reluctantly surrendered. I cried and cried. I woke in the middle of the night weeks later insistent that I could “re-lactate.” I spent hours online researching the whole thing. I woke Sweet Pea up and nearly forced her to suck. Hubby found me there in the floor of the nursery crying my eyes out as I tried to get her to re-establish that experience. I was a mess. A big mess. He put her back in her crib and walked me to my bed. I realized the next morning that I was no less a mother because I wasn’t able to breastfeed for the full year I anticipated. In fact, I was more refreshed since the absence of that dreadful pump meant I had more time to spend with all three babies.

    Long story, I know. I apologize. I just want to say that you should do whatever works for your family. Nowadays, formula is fortified with much of the “good stuff” that breastmilk supplies. And you already know that the colostrum was the true liquid gold for Luke. You gave him that.

    Hang in there. I will pray for your breastfeeding miracle. And if it doesn’t work out, I’ll pray for you to find peace with that.

    Love you girl.

  6. ...angela
    December 27, 2008 | 11:14 pm

    We will pray for that miracle. But you can also be close with him when supplementing – just hold him close! We love you all…

  7. Camille
    December 28, 2008 | 12:21 am

    Okay, so I am commenting from the flip side. I didn’t enjoy breastfeeding. And I felt so guilty about it. I wasn’t happy when I was doing it. I ended up bottle feeding all 4 of my children.

    Because of my guilt about bottlefeeding, I wanted to make sure that I still connected with my children. I NEVER propped the bottle, and I never let them feed themselves. I always held them while they ate, and looked in their eyes, and stroked their soft cheeks and talked to them. And I bonded with each of them. You don’t bond by breastfeeding. You bond by holding them and touching them and giving them attention.

    And they are happy, well adjusted, HEALTHY children. ‘Nuff said.

    You are a good mother, no matter what route you take.

  8. Leila
    December 28, 2008 | 7:56 pm

    Hang in there! Those mothers who nurse their kids easily in the snugli on the playground had trouble at the beginning too – I know I did.