March 11, 2008

My Nursing Stories

*DISCLAIMER* I'm going to talk about BREASTFEEDING MY BABIES so if you don't wanna read it, I suggest you stop now.

I worked at a Pediatrician's office when I was pregnant with my first baby, Tad. I had never really thought one way or the other about nursing a baby. I just figured, I'd try it and see how it goes. The doctor's had me stock up on both regular and soy formula, just in case.

When Tad finally arrived a month ahead of schedule, the nurses weren't sure if he'd breastfeed or not. With the help of the lactation consultant, (who I went to church with, kinda awkward...) Tad proved to be a rock star eater. He was a pro.

Except for the whole screaming thing. At his two week appointment, Tad already had a double ear infection. He was put on antibiotics, but the ear infection just wouldn't go away. He was the most high maintenance baby I'd ever met. He had colic, he had ear infections, he kept getting strep throat, then we'd both get thrush. Add in the fact that he couldn't sleep or lay down for long periods of time because of the pressure on his ears. It was a nightmare. And still, I kept nursing. I kept telling myself, it had to get better. He got his first set of ear tubes at four months.

I borrowed the mack-daddy of breast pumps from my sister. I started pumping because of the thrush, it wasn't going away despite both of us being on antibiotics. And it was kinda nice to walk around the block while DadGuy held down the fort for a few minutes. Then my milk started to dry up. I couldn't figure out why. I was nursing Tad non stop, and when he wasn't nursing, I was pumping. (And let me tell you, when I'm nursing, I have milk like a cow. Who can pump 12 ounces in 5 minutes? Me, that's who.) So it was a mystery as to why my milk supply was being depleted.

About this time, I was dealing with my own medical problems. I didn't feel great. I couldn't sleep, and my hair was falling out by the handfuls. Every doctor I called said, well, you just had a baby. You're not SUPPOSED to feel very good. I finally went in and demanded some blood tests and am pretty sure I scared the bejeebies out of the PA. When he called a few days later, it was to tell me that I had Hashimoto's Disease and that I was pregnant. That's when I gave up the whole nursing deal and switched Tad to formula.

Baby #2, my sweet little Blayne, was also born about a month early. She simply Would. Not. Nurse. Period. She would only take a bottle, but not just any bottle, she'd only take the preemie bottles with itty-bitty nipples. And then there was the whole problem with her not tolerating regular formula and not knowing when to stop eating. She'd eat and eat until she threw up, and then eat some more. So I was told to monitor how much she ate, and only give her so many ounces per so many hours. bleh. It was just easier to feed her with a bottle. (Oh, and bottlefed Blayne? never got an ear infection.)

Then along came Baby #3, Danny. I was bound and determined to breastfeed this boy. When he came, my other two were still in diapers and I just could not afford to have three people in diapers AND formula. Luckily, he also proved to be a rock star nurser..... Unfortunately, that whole thrush thing pounced on us.... which quickly escalated into a full blown breast infection on my end. Again, I started pumping... and pumping.... and pumping...... But to no avail. I was so sore and in so much pain. Then there was the fact that I had three kids under three to take care of and I sorta lost it. (Okay, more than sorta, but I don't wanna talk about that.) I started taking meds for anxiety/depression/crazy lady in the house syndrome. I was cramping, and bleeding, and my milk was drying up anyways, so what was the point?

In the midst of all this chaos, I realized that it had been a few weeks since my last period. oh yes, I was pregnant.... again. I thought I had lost it before? Now I was full-blown crazy. The doctor's upped my meds. About this point, I started visiting my Ob/Gyn weekly, because the pregnancy didn't look good. I got to go in for tests and ultrasounds every week and had the privilege of giving blood every Tuesday.

I was put on bedrest at about 11 weeks, because little Taylor was so anxious to come. She finally debuted 2 months ahead of schedule. I didn't see her after she was born. She was rushed to the NICU and hooked up to lots of machines. They didn't even try to feed her at this point. She was hooked up to IV's instead. After 4 days, they took the IV's out and tried to feed her with a bottle. Again, for medical reasons, they needed to know how many cc's she was taking and how much she was spitting up and everything else, so it was just easier to do the whole formula thing. Plus there was the whole reflux thing. She still wasn't gaining weight, so that's when Taylor got a feeding tube. She was put on special formula that had more calories per ounce, in an effort to fatten her up, or at least get her back to her birth weight.

Long story short, she finally came home, and we did the bottle and I've never felt bad about that decision.