breastfeeding journey

breastfeeding journey

My oldest daughter is Mylah age of 2 in November and my youngest is Maizlee age 6months. I nominate myself because I never thought I would make it to where I have. Breastfeeding i believe has saved me from such a dark hole that I had fallen into before as a mother. My first born was born November 17th, 2019 and it was a traumatic birth but oddly enough it really wasn’t at the same time. I was high risk my whole pregnancy and had a beautiful but uncomfortable pregnancy. I have a double uterus and double cervix with a vaginal septum all the way. I had bleeding and pains and scares. I was told different things and had to go to two different offices my whole pregnancy and prayed for a healthy baby and delivery every time.

My whole pregnancy was like holding my breath for 9 months! I knew one thing about having this beautiful baby girl on the way and that was I want to breastfeed. I was determined! Sadly it was not the case.. I had a traumatic birth where I had been in labor for a while. I started having contractions Friday evening and went to the hospital early Saturday morning because I knew my contractions were close. I got there and was at a 5 and I tried staying in a tub but something didn’t feel right. I tried and tried to push myself from having an epidural. I was crying and crying in pain as my legs burnt and hold right side of my body felt paralyzed with each contraction. My nurses and doctors never pushed me for any decision they simply said I’m strong but I have options. I said I can’t do it and she told me that’s okay and I got an epidural and I was glad I did. I was about to push and my doctor realized my vaginal septum in between my two speedster uterine walls was the issue.

I begged and cried explaining my fear of a cesarean. ( NEVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU ITS THE EASY WAY OUT MAMAS) I was terrified and she knew it. She did everything to prevent this to make this as easy and comfortable for me. In the middle of labor they had to go behind my daughters head and tie off my septum and cut it for my daughter to come. After a push or so she came and I bled a lot. They couldn’t get the bleeding to stop and my body didn’t handle it well.

Seeing my beautiful daughter and I was scared I would never see her again. It didn’t matter I saw her face and heard her cry and felt her fingers. I didn’t do well with recovery and I didn’t do skin to skin after. I couldn’t hold her and I was weak and out of it. I wasn’t told much from the LC I was provided and she made me uncomfortable unfortunately. I was told she had no ties and she’ll be fine. She was 8lbs 6oz and dropped a significant amount of weight after birth. More than she should have. I tried and tried and cried. My healing was different. I’ve never heard of another mom having a procedure I had so I didn’t feel comfortable asking mommy groups as I was slightly embarrassed with my condition and also too exhausted to explain my anatomy to 20 people in the comments. My LC said words that hurt but I still tried. “You probably just aren’t making enough and she’s hungry”.

She left and I felt worthless. I cried and I was confused because I thought it was natural. I thought if I fed her latched her and she would be eating. I thought my milk was in after she was born. So many things that I thought made sense weren’t quite true. I went home and it all hit me.. the birthing trauma I just experienced the sore blisters on my nipples, the crying baby who was crying because she was cluster feeding not because I wasn’t enough, the pain of labor and pain of a emergency procedure on the bed in my labor room, the fear of I’m now a mother with a newborn life all by myself.

I screamed in pain with the latch of my newborn and had a meltdown because I felt like I was already a failure as a nursing mother. (I was not, I was just not educated) I immediately started chugging tea, drinking supplements, scarfing fish and oatmeal and other such things. Nothing absolutely nothing seemed to help! ( I was drinking and eating supplements that had fenugreek in them which can completely kill your supply and or make baby gassy! It did both for me!) I ripped the pump out and was so confused running on no sleep, lack of eating, and pure frustration. These instructions were like a foreign language to me but I tried. I was frustrated because I pumped and pumped and pumped but I looked down and my bottles were empty. My breast were like rocks and I was sore and defeated at the sight of empty bottles. I was wondering how could I have full breast as if they were rocks on my chest but I can’t get milk out? I was losing my self and my brains.

All I could hear was what she told me in the hospital.. I felt horrible. I was starving my child? I can’t pump so she must not be getting any when latched right? (Wrong a pump does NOT define what baby is receiving on breast) I was falling into a hole. I felt like a horrible mother not being able to provide. My daughter also was getting a rash and odd poops. Highly uncomfortable, gassy, hiccups, and many other symptoms. I searched and searched these symptoms and you’ll see oral restrictions and or dairy intolerance. I haven’t been educated on either one. My pediatrician assured me it was nothing she had no ties and it was probably just sensitive skin. It was not. My daughter also would choke and turn purple many times we couldn’t figure this out. We did test and check ups and nothing. (( COVID starts to come … it’s January ))

I’m going through post Partum anxiety and depression on top of my normal anxiety and depression. I saw this “virus” popping up on my time line in China and everyone said I was over reacting. EVERYONE. They all said it was my anxiety and said I was crazy and it made it worse. I was scared I lost sleep I couldn’t breath all I could think about was my newborn child what would I do? How can I prevent it? What if it comes here? What if it’s real? It was. I couldn’t do much. I wasn’t crazy it happened and it shut the world down. In the beginning of a pandemic and recovering from a traumatic birth and many other scary things of the beginning of 2020 I was lost in this journey that I was already failing at.

It was hard to make it to the LC at the hospital but when I did she was aggressive and not soft. She told me I did everything wrong and seemed as if I never done this before. Which I hadn’t and I was lost. I can’t figure out why it hurt so much to be handled like this but it did. I couldn’t latch right or hold her right I had no idea what my pump did what bags I needed how much she ate or what time and how often. I didn’t know I needed to time and count feeds I just fed. I was told she is feeding to long so I started thinking about how I must be starving her. I left the class and cried and carried my daughter to the car and lost it again. I chose formula that day. I tried cutting dairy out as I came to the conclusion that she had a dairy intolerance and she had restrictions. The formula didn’t upset her stomach and she seemed more content and I felt hopeless. I cut the dairy out but realized it takes two weeks for me to pass and two for her to pass. I tried pumping to keep my supply but I couldn’t get anything out. I had no idea that I needed to be sized! I didn’t know this until I had already lost my journey. I didn’t realize that could of saved my pumping. I didn’t realize cluster feeding was normal and she had enough wet poopy diapers I wasn’t starving her. I didn’t realize it took the time it did for diary to pass and it took patience and comfort. I didn’t know she had oral restrictions. A new doctor pediatrician confirmed dairy intolerance a new LC confirmed restrictions and hugged me tightly as I bawled my eyes out in her arms in her office. I realized it wasn’t all me. I was a new mom who had no idea what I was doing and had no help at first. I had a baby with restrictions and intolerance issues. I had an LC who wasn’t kind and didn’t help educate me. I was a nursing mom who didn’t get a supply increase from fenugreek I lost my supply when drinking it. I’m a mom who’s baby had a hard time swallowing anything without choking. I’m a mom who had lost help because Covid stopped the world right when I was trying to figure out how to be a mother. Doors closed, offices slowed down or closed, appointments weren’t hands on, zoom calls replaced everything. Therapy had to stop. I was alone and scared and lost. I chose formula and lost my experience because I mentally couldn’t handle it.

It breaks my heart everyday. I beat myself up still for giving up and losing that journey. Things have changed and I shortly found out I was expecting again on Mother’s Day 2020. I was due in January 2021 and it was a blessing. It saved me again. I spent so much time trying to educate myself on things because all we had was time. After my first born I tried to learn everything I could if i was to have another baby. I’m glad I did and I’m glad I stayed in the breast feeding support groups and chimed in and listened to these other moms! I’m telling you right now these mommy groups will save you they really will. 99% of the time you aren’t alone! I was determined and with corona I was even more determined to succeed with my next journey. Covid made it hard to get to classes physically but I did what I could while staying home and keeping my family and loved ones safe. My whole pregnancy was a high risk and was extremely frustrating and terrifying as it felt like the world was ending. I was raising my first born and making my second born in a world of unknown while mostly alone. I was separated and alone (besides my partner) and virtually. This was not an easy time for anyone but especially not for stay at home mothers. This was not easy for me with my mental health. The world was stopping and behaving in ways I have never seen or heard of. I just wanted my babies healthy and alive and I wanted to be alive with them. Every couch or fever or headband was a waiting game. Every slight interaction, doctor visit, grocery trip, etc.. You never knew when or if.

The world shifted and changed through this pregnancy and I made it. This labor wasn’t easy either but she was healthy. I did it all different! I chose my nurses. I chose my limits. I tried different techniques. I was educated. I had her and did immediate skin to skin and latch. I was educated. I stayed latched and skin to skin and put off our bath as long as possible. I ate differently. I watched her latch and instantly noticed it wasn’t right. The clicking the pain. I was educated!!! I wasn’t so hard on myself I came prepared and excited to meet my LC. I felt good. Then it happened, I met her again. I had a feeling I just knew it. I gave her another chance because people change, maybe I took it wrong. I love health care workers and am not one to be rude. Nope. It was the same and she didn’t care to listen to me and my body about my baby and my needs! I said good bye. I didn’t see another LC there and I felt fine! I felt amazing. I wasn’t scared. Our latch wasn’t perfect but we were going to get through this. I tried née positions. I stayed hydrated, made myself eat, hand expressed, used my Hakka, steered from fenugreek as it wasn’t my friend, and I was patient. I adjusted our latch when I needed. I broke the seal re-latched! I was sore but I got through the two weeks. We saw a new LC and she welcomed US with opened arms. She practically read my heart and mind. She took the words out of my mouth. I cried HAPPY tears guys. I learned more and I’m successful. She didn’t degrade me and use negative terms she educated me and spoke to me positively. We got a new pediatrician and she is my oldest best friend. This journey is scary and confusing so why surround yourself with a village that shuns you? I changed who i went to and changed who was there for us and it made a world of a difference. This journey the second time around is not easy. I have had discomfort, pain, confusion, fevers, supply dips, hormone issues, loss of sleep, hunger, nap trapped, boob locked, clogged ducts, anxiety and much more! I’ve spent money on supplements and some work some dont! I learned about flange sizing, milk removal and the process of supply and demand, foods and oils that can increase or decrease, Intolerance issues, hand expressing, power pumping, how to use my pump and MORE!!

I WAS EDUCATED THIS TIME. I learned and had the help I was looking for. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t a failure. My second daughter has oral restrictions no intolerance and we’ve had our problems but we are getting through them. We don’t have a good latch sometimes but we fix that! We have questions or worries our LC provides that! As a nursing mother it can be a lot mentally and physically. I constantly see all these babies super chunky and mine is just fine. I would compare my milk output to other moms but every mom and baby are different. I learned my milk is made for my baby and she is healthy and growing! I’m still learning and we’re still growing. August 5th my daughter will be 6 months. We will be 6 months EBF. I never thought I’d make it here but we did. We did we did we DID! With the help of loved ones, supplements, Lactation Consultant, OB, and the beautiful bond we are doing it. We are overcoming it and we are overcoming teething as of right now! Mamas please listen when I say you never failed. It isn’t your fault. Everyone baby and mom is different. Change your doctor, change your LC, don’t listen to negative remarks, feed your baby HOWEVER long, feed your baby wherever. Remove the people who won’t listen and will only have negative responses. Listen to your gut and educate yourself early!!! You won’t want to be flipping through pages and lessons right after labor trust me. There are so many things you can do and learn and it will possibly save your journey. Sometimes you need a second opinion you aren’t obligated to stay with one pediatrician or one LC. You have that option mama.

by Haley Dawn