Friday, April 24, 2015

this time around.

I knew deep down that the possibility of my second child being just like my first was pretty much non-existent.

Other than the obvious he was a boy and she was a girl, I knew that there would more than likely be personality differences. My pregnancies couldn't have been more different and I figured that was the beginning of what would surely be plenty of big differences in my children.

I could talk for days about how their sleep is different, or that he always wants to be held while she never did. Or that he is the world's most unscheduled baby while she was like clockwork. But I won't. Not today anyway.

When Ella was born, I never even considered not breastfeeding. I just figured it would be something we would do. I didn't give it too much thought it just was.

Then we had supply issues. From the very beginning. So we started supplementing from the very beginning.

Lactation people were telling me not to (emphatically I might add) while her doctor was telling me it had to be done because we were all watching her bilirubin rise and her weight drop with a quickness. So we supplemented. As I think any parent would have done.

My supply never went up. I tried. I pumped. I put her on every single time she wanted to eat. I did what I thought best for my girl. But things didn't change. She would latch on and scream and hit me with her frustration over low supply and I would cry and it was just AWFUL.

I went back to work and lugged that pump with me for three months. I would sit in a room pumping and squeezing every last drop I could out. We would nurse in the evenings but that ended when she lost all interest. When that happened, I dropped that pump and that measly 1/2 an ounce I was pumping, like a bad habit. I was free. And while I felt guilty as hell, I was also relieved. Beyond relieved.

So many people told me that low supply wasn't real. That it "effects like less than 3% of the population" and that that wasn't my real issue. That supplementing was the problem. That scheduling her was my problem. That made me feel worse than anything. I felt judged and that maybe I hadn't actually tried as hard as I thought.
When I found out about Cooper, I was bound and determined nursing would work this time. I didn't even allow anyone to buy any formula for "just in case" because I didn't want it there. I had flashbacks to Ella screaming all the time in hunger and I was terrified that would happen again, but I was bound and determined it wouldn't.

Then he was born. There was no immediate desire to nurse from him. He actually just laid on my chest for the longest time just staring at me and not making any move to nurse. But then he did. And for the next couple of days, he nursed over and over and over.

Pretty quickly, his weight dropped drastically. That word was brought up again; supplement and I wanted to scream. I was devastated.

They kept telling me that when my milk came in, things would be better. Just to give it a couple of days. So I did. But his weight kept dropping and his bilirubin kept going up. It was just like Ella all over again.

So I ordered some supplements of my own. I tried tea. I pumped after every feeding. And I drank more water than I have ever drank in my life.

I tried oatmeal. I threw any idea of a schedule out the window and let him nurse on demand. It was hourly but I was game. We were going to do this.

His weight went up a little and we were given the ok to stop formula. Almost immediately his diaper output plummeted. I took him up to the lactation specialist to see what was going on. He was getting less than an ounce off of both sides total.

I was so upset. I ordered new supplements. I pumped after every feeding. I felt like my chest may fall off but I was determined.

Through all of this, he hardly complained. He seemed content just to be that close to me. I felt like I was letting him down because my body sucked. To be honest, if he hadn't seemed so interested, I would have thrown in the towel immediately. It was so dang stressful.
Selfishly I wasn't ready to quit. I wasn't ready to give up that quiet time with him. I wasn't ready to give up how he would rub my fingers while he nursed. I just wasn't ready to stop.

So we kept at it. We would nurse and then supplement. It was working for us. He was happy, I was happy. We were good.

Now he is five months old and we are still at it. I've nursed in public (NEVER would have thought), though completely covered (my personal choice). We've nursed while walking around with him in the Ergo. It's a foreign world to me and honestly one I can't believe I'm in. I feel lucky. I do. I feel lucky to be experiencing this with him.

It's a lot of work. I've done some research and low supply is usually caused by some other medical things that I've got going on. Levels and stuff. So yay. But it's worth the work. I pump all day in the car while I'm traveling. I pump at night. I feel attached to that dang thing and I sort of hate it, but it's necessary. He still nurses in the middle of the night, sometimes multiple times a night and while people keep telling me to give a bottle then, it's such a special time and I'm not ready to stop. So we keep at it.

I don't know how much he's getting anymore and most days I think he's just comfort nursing but I don't care. I keep saying, "I'll quit when he's ready" and that's still my plan. I don't know how much longer we have of this but I'm bound and determined to see it through.

So one more difference between my kiddos. This one seems to need and want to nurse when his sister wanted nothing to do with it. If there's anything I've learned it's to just do what you need to do for each kiddo. So we do this.

And honestly, I think this is good for both of us. It's such a special, special time.


A.B. said...

Supply hasn't been my issue...but I know I would be so conflicted. However, I both want some freedom and would be devastated without. I also wake up multiple times a night and sit in the quietness enjoying that baby.

eerupps said...

Good for you, mama! That's amazing. What a special, special thing. I am breastfeeding my first daughter right now and it's such a bonding experience, and it is also such a commitment! Kudos to you!


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