Wednesday, July 9, 2008

If You're Not A Mom You Won't Understand...

My First Time Breastfeeding Maeve :)

Sorry to be so exclusive here, but I don't want you to think I am nuts... breastfeeding is one of the most special and intimate times you'll ever share with your baby. I've blogged about this before, but never in such detail... I thought I would explain exactly what happened and where I stand today with the whole thing. This is another one of my infamous "gross.. TMI (too much info) posts..."

Here goes:
I started producing massive amounts of colustrum (that nutritious yellow stuff) in my 20th week of pregnancy. According to other pregnant friends and my doctor, that was kind of early to be producing it, but it was a good sign that I would have ample milk supply. I was excited :) I wanted to bfeed Maeve for a good, solid year... maybe even to 18 months or so. For those of you who know me well, I am a germaphobe and I have kind of crazy food habits (or food preparation) I guess... So, I was excited because I was thinking "NO dishes to wash, nothing to sanitize! Just BOOBS!"
I really didn't put too much stock into breastfeeding classes or books or any of that stuff... I thought it was such a natural thing, that Maeve would pop out (oh just a heads up for those without children -babies don't POP out) and I would feed her. Simple as that.
It *almost* happened like that- like I said before, she didn't pop out, but she did latch right on and eat for about 10 minutes right after I had her. I was thrilled :) But unfortunately, my good luck didn't last long. In the hospital, she wasn't getting enough colustrum and she was turning yellower by the minute. So I had to supplement with formula. YUCK. I was pissed. But determined to get it to work... SO when I got home from the hospital I tried and tried and tried. I would sit on the bed and SOBBBBBBBBB while jamming my nipple into Maeves mouth- mind you Maeve was screaming and starving. It was really one of the most stressful times in my life. For the first 3 weeks of her life, I pumped my brains out. The only time she had formula was in the hospital- I refused to let that stuff in my house. (haha I was acting like formula was freaking arsenic or something) After a few DAYS of pumping I thought I was going to lose my mind- and I think I did. My nipples were raw and cracked. My boobs were as big as watermelons and the color of a sunset (red and purple hues). One night, after a long day of pumping, I noticed that I had this horrible red spot on my right breast. It felt like fire and was hard to the touch... almost felt like there was a marble under my skin. Right about the time I noticed this spot, I started to feel achy, feverish and flu-like. I am not kidding- within hours, I had a fever of 104 and my boobs were as hard as rocks. Trip number ONE to the ER... I had mastitis. :( BLAH. They put me on some antibiotics and advised me to slow down on the pumping. I did both and was mastitis free for another week. Then just as it had happened the first time, I got it AGAIN not twice, not three times, not even 4 times... but FIVE TIMES. Yes- I had mastitis 5 times in the first 2 months of breastfeeding!!!! Come to find out, I was pumping too hard- the pump was pulling and aggravating my ducts... nice. I will most definitely not make that mistake again! Anyways, rewind to like my 3rd week of pumping... I went in to see my friend/midwife Laura for some breastfeeding help. I was beaten down to a pulp... I felt I had nothing left and needed some professional lactation help and support! Laura was exactly what I needed! She had Maeve latching on and sucking like a pro!!!! So I was officially a breastfeeding mommy... I was so proud :) Besides the mastitis every 2 weeks, the first 2 months of breastfeeding actually went well. I LOVED my time with Maeve and she loved my boobies. It was great.
Month 3 rolled around and this was about the time my anxiety started. I was in and out of the ER with my attacks and I was given the "Its time to go on meds" speech about 100 times. But I was DEAD SET in breastfeeding this child to a year! So I kept saying no to any sort of medication. This lasted for about another month... it was right around January that I finally broke. I gave in and decided to go on medication for my anxiety. So came the time to wean Maeve. It was devastating. For weeks I cried and cried... I wouldn't even make her a bottle because I couldn't stand the smell of formula. I made Ryan prepare all the bottles and I would gag as I fed them to her. I suppose I'm a bit of a drama queen but breastfeeding was of utmost importance to me. Cutting off my milk supply was harrrrd. Not as bad as I thought it was going to be, but never the less, it sucked. I eventually made it through the weaning phase and learned to love not wearing breast pads! It had become so normal for me (I had to start wearing them at 5 months preggo!) that I forgot what life was like without them. I pulled out my old bras in anticipation that my boobs would deflate.
Well ladies, here it is about 5 months to the day that I quit breastfeeding and I am STILL wearing my DD's. My boobs are about as big as ever. And they leak constantly... which led me to todays post and my experiment. You have to understand, I have been watching milk trickle out of me for months and months. I always think to myself "Daaaang there goes some good milk... all down the drain." If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have been weaning off of my anxiety meds. Today I am on ativan AS NEEDED... which on a good day is none and on a bad day is 1-2. (thats pretty good... I was taking 4 a day- haha 1 ativan is equivalent to 3 beers. I was walking around with 12 beers in me a day- HOLY SHMOLY) Also ativan has a half life of about 8 hours- thats pretty short for such a strong medication. SO anyways, back to today- I have not taken an ativan... the last time I took one was the other my milk is gooooood and clean. So Maeve was fussy, fussy, fussy at the studio (where I work) and I had no bottle... (haha I bet you guys are thinking "No she didn't!!!!") YES I DID. I breastfed Maeve today. I swear it! I swear it on anything! I breastfed Maeve today!!!!!!!!! Only for about 5 minutes but that little bugger was sucking away! And laughing and biting :) It was amazing :) I remembered how much I love it and how special it truly is. It calmed Maeve right down and I think she probably only got about an ounce of milk but I am beaming right now. Just to have a minute to feed her like that... well I am crying right now, writing about it :/
I don't know why breastfeeding means so much to me, but it does. And it always will. Of course my mind is reeling right now with thoughts about how to restore my milk supply... and there are ways! But who knows... I don't want to deprive Maeve of anything, so maybe I will just try and get enough supply to fill in between big feedings. Or maybe not even that- this was probably just a fluke... whatever it was, it was a great few minutes for me and Maeve.
Breastfeeding moms, I am so jealous of you- its so painful because I KNOW what its like to breastfeed- I know the bond, I know the benefits.

Ahhh, anyways thats my whole breastfeeding story. Long, sad, true :) I will keep y'all updated on what I decide to do (reestablish my milk supply or not?).


Kase and Jules said...

Griff is starting to be over BFing. Oh well! I am over it and he has 3 freakin teeth!

The Paulk's said...

I know exactly what you mean! We must have a lot in common :). I too got bad infections with a trip to the ER! I love nursing and have been fortunate to nurse both of my babies. I,too, was sad when I stopped wit Riley. She was 14 months and I was preggo with Lincoln and my belly was getting in the way. I had a 5 month break from nursing, and neither baby had ever had formula. have to do what is best for you and Maeve! And if that's being on necessary meds then don't feel bad. You are doing that for her as much as you are doing it for yourself. There will be a day where I'm sure you'll get to nurse longer :)!

Maeve seems happy and healthy, so don't worry :)!