A Whole New Life

The next few days (5th and 6th) were really rough.  Davie’s bilirubin continued to hover around 14-15.  She had to wear these blue light paddles – one on her chest and one on her back, under her shirt and against her skin – as much as possible.  They made her miserable.  She glowed like a little Glow Worm.

My milk continued to NOT come in.  I was (and continue to be) wracked with guilt that I can’t provide the milk she needs.  We began to supplement with formula.  The new milk in her system was hard for her to digest at first and the three of us (mom, me and Davie) spent a miserable night as she cried in pain as her digestive system adapted and I cried all night, grieving for what my body just would not do.  If only I could make milk, I could provide what she needed so she wouldn’t have to learn to digest the formula, and she wouldn’t be in pain.  Somehow, even more than the infertility itself, the failure to produce milk is to me a failure as a woman.  It was a rough couple of days.

The hospital was so kind to allow me to ‘room-in’.  Although I was officially discharged, I was allowed to stay in the same room with mom and Davie.  I was able to hold her and be with her as much as possible.  I have to say, one good thing that came out of having to stay so long was that the lactation consultant, Loretta, came and stayed with me for at least an hour or more every day.  We tried all kinds of pumps and methods for breastfeeding.  She was so kind and encouraging.  I felt like I was a miserable person for choosing to have a breast reduction out of vanity, never realizing what it could cost me later – one of the greatest joys I’ve discovered about being a mother.  Loretta assured me that many women have trouble making milk, even if they haven’t had a reduction.  And even breast fed babies can have a difficult time at first as their little systems adjust to digesting food. 

We’ve begun using the SNS – the Supplemental Nutrition System.  I fill a bottle with formula and run a tiny tube down my breast to my nipple.  As Davie nurses, she gets whatever breast milk I’ve made and the formula from the bottle.  She’s such a trooper – Davie loves to breastfeed, and she’s been a champ at feeding that way.  We rented a Medela Symphony pump from the hospital, and I also pump at least four times a day.  Mom, Troy and I cheered the first time a drop of precious while milk appeared in the bottle!  I’m now making about an ounce at each pumping, which we add to her formula at the next breastfeeding/SNS session.  Hopefully I’ll keep making more and more!

using the SNS while breastfeeding

On Sunday the nurse took Davie to the nursery to be assessed by the pediatrician – and when the nurse brought her back, she wasn’t on the paddles any more!  Sure enough, she was being discharged!  Mom immediately began trying outfits on her.  We tried the little pink outfit that I went home in when I was a baby, but it was too big on her and it turns out the snaps that close it were broken.  Mom is taking it home to fix the snaps.  Davie ended up going home in a snazzy pink flower outfit, complete with a pink bow. 🙂

My going home outfit when I was a baby

I have lace ruffles on my butt!

Nana set me up with an all matching outfit!

I think we should’ve fed her before strapping her in the seat.  She tried to eat her strap covers!

 

 Monday morning Troy and I took her to her first pediatric appointment.  Of course, Nana had to deck her out in another matching pink and white striped outfit!  The pediatrician felt she was doing a great job of getting rid of the last of the bilirubin in her system.  Sure enough, since then her poo has turned from dark brown to the usual yellow seedy poo of a breast fed baby!  I’ve never been so happy to see yellow poo!  Or ANY poo!  She was 7.9 lbs when she was born, and she had regained up to 7.52 by Monday.  Not bad at all!  She’s been eating like crazy so I’d guess she’s even closer to her birth weight by now.

The rest of this week has been just adjusting here at home.  I mean that in a wonderful way!  Mom has been staying with us.  She and Davie and I still sleep in the same room. Troy has a little cold and has been sleeping in the guest room.  Also, he really has a rough time being sleep-deprived.  He gets really run down and sick.  Since eventually Mom is going to have to go home (poor Dad!), she has encouraged us to take advantage of her being her for now!  So she gets up with Davie and does the late night feedings, usually 2 or 3 a night.  We’re so spoiled, I know it’s going to be a lot harder when she’s gone!

Troy feeding her a bottle of breast milk I pumped. Yay!

Slowly, we’ve been doing laundry and cleaning up the house in between feedings and wakeful times.  When she’s awake, we all stop and just sit and stare at her.  She’s the most fastinating thing in the world!  I just can’t get enough of her.  She’s so beautiful! 

I've almost outgrown my newborn jammies already!

The after-effects for me have been rough.  I’ve had an intense headache since I got home, but I don’t want to take an Imitrex because it can get into breast milk.  I have an intense, over-whelming urge to pee – ALL THE TIME.  It NEVER goes away.  I have to just go pee periodically because the sensation never goes away and I don’t really know if I need to pee or not.  My stitches really hurt.  I have aches and cramps in my lower abdomen and lower back.  They think I might have a bladder infection, so they’ve put me on antibiotics as well as the pain meds.  Sometimes the pain gets overwhelming, but I nap a lot (whenever Davie does) and so far I’ve made it around ok.  Each day gets a little better than the day before.  I’ve made a few outings – to Target and Babies ‘R Us – to pick up a few things, and it was really good to stretch my legs.  When I move and walk, I feel better.

I hope I can lose weight steadily.  I weighed 220 when I got pregnant.  The day before Davie was born, I weighed 248, and today I weighed 234.  So there’s some work to do, and then some.

Tomorrow is Davie’s first photo shoot. 🙂  We’re going to J.C. Penney’s to get pictures taken.  Mom bought her a little pink tutu!  She looks like a princess!  I can’t wait to see how the pics turn out!

I’m thinking of you all.  Up ’til now, it’s been all I can do to keep up with posts.  But now that the pain is getting less and we’re getting into a routine, I’ll be catching up on blogs.  Thank you all so much for all your advice, well-wishes and congratulations!  You all mean so much to me.  I’ve missed you and can’t wait to catch up on your latest news!  Love to you all!

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22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Aisha
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 17:19:57

    I’m glad she’s all better- and that your milk is coming in- there are so many emotions surrounding breastfeeding ,aren’t there? No matter what remeber- don’t let any of that get in the way of enjoying your long awaited baby-girl. No matter what milk she drinks- the important thing is she is loved by her family- which she is- the rest is just fine! 🙂

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Mar 10, 2011 @ 22:21:24

      Thanks, Aisha! I know you’re right – logically. Emotionally, I’m still a bit fragile. But with every ounce I pump, and every time she’s willing to nurse with the SNS, it gets better. I just love her so much, I want to be able to give her everything! I love the bonding of breastfeeding. I never understood how beautiful it is. It’s amazing.
      Of course, it could be all the hormones. 🙂

      Reply

  2. Kari
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 21:20:45

    ((HUGS)) to you. Breastfeeding is really hard. You are doing an amazing job!! As the previous commenter said, what’s really important is that you enjoy your beautiful blessing. It’s hard when your body fights you though, I’ve been there. I know it feels like you’re failing but you’re not. You are doing the best you can for your baby girl and that’s all that matters. These dark moments will pass. Trust me, months from now you won’t even remember how you felt at this time. You’ll know you were sad and that you grieved but you will wonder why it mattered so much-I promise. I thought I’d forever be caught up in my failure at breastfeeding and mourn it always but that feeling faded and now I’ve moved on. Your daughter is just so beautiful!! Enjoy her and take good care of yourself. You’re doing a fabulous job!!

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Mar 10, 2011 @ 22:26:23

      Oh, Kari, it’s good to hear that. It seems like I’ll never get over this! It’s getting better and I know we’ll at least have partial bonding and I can partially provide breastmilk for her. It was especially important for me to be able to do that for her in these early days.
      But it’s good to know it won’t always seem like such a big deal. I’ve been thinking at least part of all these emotions must be hormones. Hopefully they’ll settle soon, too.

      Reply

  3. katery
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 22:44:42

    stacey, DO NOT beat yourself up about breastfeeding, you can only do what your body is capable of doing. many people get breast reductions for reasons other than vanity, like severe back pain, and i’m sure you had some of that if you felt you needed a reduction. there are plenty of people, as your lactation consultant told you, who did not have reductions and still cannot breastfeed, so it’s quite possible you could have had this problem with or without the reduction. many many babies are formula fed and do just fine, i’m one of them, and i don’t have any weird health problems or food allergies.
    the very best thing you can do is do whatever you need to in order to keep mama and baby healthy and happy, and if that means formula feeding, than girl, you do it, and DO NOT feel bad about it, you are a WONDERFUL mother.

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Mar 10, 2011 @ 22:54:26

      I’m trying so hard to be practical about it and to remember, it’s about meeting Davie’s needs, not about my emotional needs. I think it’s going to be a process, but I’m going to be able to adapt to the idea that I can partially meet her needs, even if it’s not going to be the way I assumed it would be.

      I always wondered if I’d be a good mom, but I knew Troy would be a great dad, my folks would be wonderful grandparents, and I’d learn to be a good mom. I’ve been amazed to find more patience and natural ability within myself than I ever thought! I’m hoping I might be ok at the mom thing, after all! 🙂 Thanks for all your encouragement. I needed it!

      Reply

  4. Pie
    Mar 11, 2011 @ 10:33:41

    You are doing so great Stacey – I can’t believe you’ve been to 2 stores and are planning to get pics taken already! Wow, you are strong, girl! I was a mess for weeks. I still haven’t gotten to Target, and Critter Girl is 8 weeks!

    And don’t beat yourself up over the breastfeeding – it is so much harder than anyone will tell you beforehand. It sounds like you are getting some breastmilk into her, and that is enough to give her all the health benefits of breastmilk. Keep that in mind, you are giving her what she needs – both with breastmilk and formula.

    Keep up the good work, Momma!

    Reply

  5. christina
    Mar 11, 2011 @ 10:43:20

    I love the pic in her carseat where she has her hands held all dainty-like!

    Don’t beat yourself up about the breastfeeding thing. It will work itself out. I’m glad the SNS is going well and your supply will get there. And if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t! I remember reading a blog recently (no idea where) that talked about how difficult breastfeeding is and how we beat ourselves up in the moment, but by the time they’re a year old it seems so long ago and distant. Not that it isn’t important, but it seems so HUGE when you’re “in” it, and in the end she’s getting the nourishment that she needs, and most importantly she is surrounded by love love love!!

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Mar 12, 2011 @ 22:34:24

      I’ve heard a few people say that eventually, it doesn’t matter how they’re getting their nutrition. It really helps to know that! I think I needed to know there’s a bigger picture out there. Thanks for the encouragement, I needed it! 🙂

      Reply

  6. Txgirl
    Mar 11, 2011 @ 15:42:28

    She is sooo beautiful! fyi about the bf–when my milk came in, it wasn’t like striking oil or anything huge. It took alot of pumping and time to get anything close to what I thought I should have been producing. Patience–as long as you’re producing some, I would expect it to increase with “use.” 😉

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Mar 12, 2011 @ 22:37:00

      Hi, TxGirl! I’ve been amazed at how much more I produce each day. Although I realize I might never be able to produce 100% of her intake, I’m gonna keep trying! I’d love to make at least half of all she drinks.

      Reply

  7. Another Dreamer
    Mar 11, 2011 @ 17:15:35

    It’s good to hear she’s doing alright and went home 🙂 Yay. And what a cutie she is.

    Reply

  8. babybaker
    Mar 11, 2011 @ 19:23:27

    omg! i love her!!!!

    and i agree with the PP. give yourself a break about BF. it will all work out in the end, even if you have to supplement. you’re a wonderful mommy!

    Reply

  9. Stacey
    Mar 12, 2011 @ 00:37:19

    Stacey, she is such an angel! What a sweetie! I can’t wait to see the professional pics.
    You are doing an amazing job already. Those first few weeks of breastfeeding are VERY HARD. It sounds like you are doing the absolute best you can with your situation. I know it’ll be sad if you can’t continue, but you will know that you gave it your all. Don’t let it get you down, mama!
    How wonderful to have your mom there. I’m telling you, my hubby and I could not have survived without my mom for the first 3 weeks (she was only supposed to stay for 2!). It is a tremendous help and I’m sure they are forming a special bond.
    Keep the pics coming! So happy for you.

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Mar 12, 2011 @ 22:53:23

      I’m determined to give the breastfeeding thing my all! I’m so grateful for my mom. I’d be lost without her! I’m so glad we get to share this time together as mother and daughter – and daughter. 🙂 It’s really been a special time.
      I can’t wait to show off her photos! We’re going to pick them up on Monday.

      Reply

  10. Womb For Improvement
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 11:20:27

    She is gorgeous. Congratulations.

    Reply

  11. Low Fat Lady
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 16:20:21

    Glad she is home now and doing well 😉

    Reply

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