Friday, September 28, 2012

Breast Feeding Update (The NEW Gameplan)

Today I bit the bullet and paid for an IBCLC (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant) to come out to our house. I wasn't truly comfortable with the plan given to me by the consultant at the hospital. After digesting it, it just didn't feel 100% right. Plus, as I started getting her back to breast, I was already feeling sore. Something just wasn't right.

I am so glad I did!

Firstly, she's awesome. We had a great conversation last night, she talked through our experience, familiarized herself with our background, and did her best to see if she could help via phone without charging us at all. In the end, I needed her to come and spend a little bit of time with the two of us. She rearranged her afternoon to ensure that she saw me right away. I think she could tell I was getting desperate.

She was only with us for an hour and already I think we've found our solution. And it's a simple one - Lily is tongue tied. Part of me is pissed off. She had two lactation consultants put hands in her mouth before we even left the hospital - and now we've had two appointments with another... how did they not know this?! Clipping her frenulum takes minutes and could have been done the day after she was born! There was no reason at all for us to struggle, for me to get mastitis... none of it! Her tie is a bit more posterior, so it isn't immediately obvious, but even I could see it once she pointed it out. A trained consultant, that even commented on her holding her tongue back... didn't know?? Maddening.

But, the good news is - we have a fix.

Our new favorite person in the whole world referred us to a doctor that can see us Monday to fix it. Folks, our whole world is about to change. I hope!

Having a game plan feels amazing. Once we wrapped things up, I cried I was so grateful. If this is it, I am going to drive to this woman's house and smother her in kisses.

I appreciate everyone's comments on my last post. It does make me feel better to know that I'm not alone in this. I am going to keep talking about it - I am lucky to have good listeners and this blog when I need a good word-vomit. Otherwise I am going to give myself a little bit of space to see how things go once we are on the mend, breast feeding wise. I think if that major stress can be removed - and I can sleep more consistently - perhaps my overall disposition will improve. But, as one of you suggested, I will get a referral from my doc at my appointment next week. That way I have it should I need it.

Fingers crossed that our time pumping/bottle feeding is limited!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Baby Blues VS. PPD

How do you know the difference? The past six weeks have been wrought with frustration. Mostly surrounding breast feeding. There are been a few other hiccups that come with having a new baby - figuring out why she's crying, dealing with a lack of sleep, her scare spit-up episode...

The first few weeks I was definitely emotional, would cry at the drop of a hat, and simply exhausted. I was recovering too. Most everything I read says the blues should be gone by now, but I still feel them most days. Most of the time I don't care to get dressed (hellllo yoga pants - again) and it's all I can do to make sure I at least brush my teeth. I've only really left the house for doctors appointments. But, I don't really have any desire to socialize either - going out feels like A LOT of work.

There are times that the extra pumping/breast feeding problems really weigh on me. Living in such restrictive three hour cycles is making me a little nutty. Especially at night, because our routine takes at least an hour of that three hour cycle, so our sleep is really impacted.

Money is really tight for us right now. We just got rid of our rental property and do to so we basically emptied our sizable savings. That stress is added on top of all of the rest because we're facing the added cost of childcare expenses. A friend of ours is helping us out the first few weeks, but not for nearly as long as I'd originally been planning for.

There are some days, honestly, that Lily would already be on formula if it wasn't for the cost. I'm continuing this fight firstly because I know it is what is best for her. If I can get through this rough patch it will mean giving my baby the best start possible. But, on those really hard days when I want to say 'Screw it! I was formula fed and I'm FINE!' the added cost plays a part too. I have to go back to work in a month. I need to work out my breast feeding issues because I want to start building a freezer supply. 

There is an ongoing pity party in my mind too. WHY must everything be so difficult? Why did it take me almost 4 years to meet our baby? Why did I have to be the one with the two and a half day labor? Why did I get mastitis and thrush at the same time? Why do I now have problem breast feeding? Couple the pity party with the other stresses in my life and some days I just want to quit.

How do I know the difference? Do I wait for my six weeks appt, or see my doc now? Really, I hope it passes because I do not want another thing to keep me from relaxing and enjoying our baby.

But instead, like right now, I am going to stop what I'm doing and go hold my baby - she just woke up. The rest will just have to sort itself out.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Breastfeeding Woes Continue...

My left nipple is still giving me grief. I have a large crater in the center and Lily latching on is excruciating. I called the lactation consultant yesterday and today they fit me in. I did a bit of homework last night and watched a few videos (search for Jack Newman - a canadian doc and good resource for breastfeeding info). I noticed that Lily wasn't sucking like the babies in the video and that got me looking into my letdown.

At my appointment today I learned I was on the right track. What started with my Mastitis and then the resulting pain/stress, has resulted in a huge drop in my supply.


She watched Lily latch on both nipples and on each she really chomped down in frustration when I wasn't letting down for her. It was her level of aggression that contributed to my being put on 'nipple rest'. It isn't the ideal situation when working to build up supply, but what are you going to do? My nipple simply won't heal.

We've got a good game plan that involves pumping, fenugreek, ointment, and a lot of time topless - all for at least the next 48 hours. Here's the plan:

I will feed Lily what I pumped the prior session and supplement whatever is lacking (thankfully I have a friend who has donated us her breast milk, so I no longer have to do formula - which Lily only got at two feedings)
I will then pump again (both breasts) for the next feeding.
After pumping I will apply a mixture of triple antibiotic ointment and lotrimin (anti-fungal) 4x a day
Every hour I will rub my nipples with breastmilk
Fenugreek 3x a day

Tonight will be an interesting, and probably long, night. It's a lot of work to feed her, put her back down, pump, clean up, etc, etc. But, we will do what we have to do until we're healed up and build our supply. Once my nipples have healed we will hopefully be able to ditch the exclusive pump and get back to building supply with nursing.

Tomorrow, even though I cannot nurse her, Lily and I are going to spend the whole day in bed. Her in her diaper, me topless, and we're going to snuggle and rest, drinking tons of fluids.

I am so frustrated. I was so sad to have to give my baby a bottle of formula at the consultants office. But mostly, I feel good about the plan. I am just pissed as hell that nothing can go smoothly. Why must we hit these speed bumps at every turn? I'd like to pass through one thing without hiccups. Getting pregnant, pregnancy, labor, breast feeding... everything has been so damn hard.

But for now, I just need to get through it. And now, it's time to pump. Here we go again...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Period?!

I'm fairly certain that I'm currently having my first period postpartum. I've had irregular periods for years now and all of a sudden I'm going to get one almost exactly one month after I give birth?

I'm fighting tooth and nail through this breast feeding business and I cannot even get a delay on the start of my period? Figures.

How long did it take for Aunt Flo to visit you for the first time after giving birth?
 Were you regular right away?

All of this period crap got me thinking... My six week visit is in a couple of weeks and I'll need to start some sort of birth control. I'm thinking of getting an IUD. I've not had one before, so I'm a bit nervous about the experience, but I think it is the best option for us at the moment.

Which birth control option did you choose? Why?

Friday, September 21, 2012

One Month!

I cannot believe it, but it's true...

Doesn't she look thrilled about it?? lol

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mastitis and Thrush

This weekend the pain in my boobs got much worse. Achy stabbing pains in my boob, in addition to the agony that already was my nipple. J was out of town, but thankfully my mom was around to go to the walk-in clinic with me and help with Lily.

The doctor I saw was hugely helpful. She gave me major kudos for breast feeding and we talked about how incredibly hard those first days/weeks can be. And that is without the added pain. We talked about my pain, she examined my breast. I was fairly certain I had at least a mild case of thrush. Although there is nothing in Lily's mouth, I did have a white spot on one nipple and the pain that went along with it. Doc agreed and recommended an anti-fungal cream (ewww).

But, in addition to thrush, she said I have mastitis. She (and I) was glad to see me when I came in, because I didn't yet have any of the flu-like symptoms yet. But my breast (left especially) was a bit red, swollen, and complete with all of the lightning and stabbing pains that typically go along with it. I couldn't even let Lily snuggle on my chest. Even the light pressure from my bra could make my eyes water. "I'm glad you came in when you did, this can get much much worse."  WORSE?! Dear Lord, I'm glad I came in when I did too. What I had was sucky enough.

With my perscription antibiotic in hand, I was sent home with the instructions to continue nursing - frequently. After 24 hours I do feel a bit better. The aching has subsided and while it still hurts for her to latch on the left side, it has improved. Hopefully after a few more days we'll be sitting pretty.

Moral of this story? If you're having any aches and pains associated with breastfeeding - do not hesitate to go in. Waiting to see how things go only makes it worse.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Just Because

J is at an overnight bachelor party tonight (paintball and camping) and baby girl and I are flying solo. Well not entirely solo, my mom is coming up for girls night!

For now, Lily and I are snuggled up with Netflix and a cookie.. or two.

I mean, I can survive one night without my husband when I have this face to snuggle, right?

When did I turn into such a chicken?

Friday, September 7, 2012

4 ounces!

We saw the nurse for another weigh-in today. On Tuesday Lily weighed in at 9lbs 11oz. In three days she wanted to see at least a gain of 1.5 ounces - or .5 ounces a day. And what did she weigh?

- insert drum roll -

9pounds 15ounces!! - A gain of 4 ounces!



I am so relieved to have that behind us. We are starting to get it down - she slept so much better between feeds last night I woke up feeling rested.

She was alert and all smiles in the doctors office too. Not even a peep when we had to strip her down or change her diaper. And we're now back home, relaxing in the back yard while Lily takes a nap.

Today, we kicked ass.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Now Hiring: Wetnurse, Nanny, and a Housekeeper (A Vent.)

Cause damn it - I'm tired. Three nights of only sleeping in 45 minutes stretches has caught up. The days are starting to go really well. Lily is napping, breastfeeding is going a bit better (with one exception I'll talk about in a minute), we even made it to the grocery store yesterday. Then night time comes and the gloves come off. She wants to marathon feed and then will wake up the instant she's laid down. Or she'll lay awake forever just looking around... Or, like last night, I woke up, changed her diaper, she ate for almost 30 minutes, she burped and laid there forever. She finally closes her eyes almost 40 minutes later... and poops. So, I change her, she's wide awake again.. we rock and snuggle - and she asks for the boob again. And we start over.

Lord-e-mercy child! We could not get in sync last night. And since I didn't get a nap yesterday, there were tears. Snotty ones. And not two hours before we started settling down for the evening, I'd declared victory on the day. That's when the universe saw fit to karate chop me down a peg.

J did everything he could to help us and the poor guy had to work today - now add guilt. We finally got things settled a few hours later and I got strict orders to do nothing today but nap with the baby. Now - before you jump on me cause I'm online - she's laying here awake - I swear!

I'm trying to be patient with myself. To take things as the come. Allow myself space to learn and let everything else fall away. But that's hard! I want to have confidence that the next night will be better and that it's okay for me to get a few things done - you know, like shower and make dinner... only to self destruct later.

At our two week visit we hit another speed bump - Lily hasn't gained weight. She was 9lbs 14oz at three days and Tuesday, she was 9lbs 11oz. The nurse instantly suggested we supplement with formula. That was like a kick in my metaphorical nuts. I had some really great conversations with my friend Rachel (who called on her midwife and pediatric friends) for some advice. I've changed up some of our feeding - letting her go as long as she wants, even if that means spitting up (which has gotten more 'normal' again btw). The running theory is that at our three day visit, she wasn't done losing weight. My milk didn't come in until that day, so she probably lost weight for another couple days and is on the upswing now. So, we have another weigh-in on Friday. Until then I am not going to supplement. If she's continuing to lose weight, we'll talk about it again then. I really don't think my supply is an issue - I can tell they're full. If you have a spare positive thought - please think/pray/wish for a bit of weight gain tomorrow. We need a win around here.

Last nights drama? Also, breast feeding related. My left nipple is killing me. When Lily spit up last night - it was kind of thick and mucus-y (which is fine), but it was tinged with brown. The brown freaked us out. Turns out my nipple is bleeding a tiny bit. There is also a small white spot on the end of my nipple. I need to allow my nipples to air dry and switch away from the disposable breast pads to something that breathes better. When we visit the nurse on Friday, I am going to ask about thrush. I have been doing some reading (FYI - don't look at images of Thrush - it's enough to make anyone panic) and we have a fair amount of the symptoms, including the fact that we had antibiotics after labor (which can kill off the 'good' bacteria and encourage yeast growth). If I do have thrush, I know it would be minor. We'll see...

My stride could not be found soon enough. I love this little girl. The time we get to spend together, snuggle, and I get to look at her sweet face... the best in the universe. She is so stinkin cute and I just cannot believe she's ours. She's starting to be a bit more aware when she is awake. Wide eyed and checking things out. Every single day I'm in awe that she is here. Finally. For once I would just like a few less hurdles. Struggling to get her here, a long labor, tricky breastfeeding... fewer speed bumps and more time basking in her awesomeness is all I ask. Is that too much?

With all that said - yes, I am hiring. Not really, cause we're broke, but isn't it a nice dream? Nap with your sweet baby while someone else runs around cleaning, changing a thousand diapers a day, and chaffing their nipples? Meanwhile, I am off to feed my sweet girl. Dreaming that my nipples that are in one piece while I stroke her adorable chubby cheeks.

(I'm not even going to go back and read this. It was meant as a thought-dump and that's what it will be. Blech - there it is. Motherhood - Day 18.)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Being a mom is scary stuff.

J and I joked a lot the day we were leaving the hospital. Mostly things like, "They don't need to do a background check on us before we leave with her??" "You mean, the nurse doesn't come home with us?" Nervous jokes filled the air as it settled in that we were taking our daughter home.

Now that we've been home a couple of weeks, we trade off being neurotic. "Is that normal? Is something wrong with her?" and the other typically responds with, "She's a baby, it's okay."

As a person who has struggled with anxiety, panic attacks, etc in the past - this is something I always try and stay keyed into as to avoid a problem. It hasn't been something that I really suffered with for years (college), but the anxiety will occasionally pop up in times of high stress. That has certainly been true with Lily at home. I have a harder time relaxing, especially if we're out, now that she's with us. I would call it more nervousness and nowhere near anxiety/panic attacks. But more on that another day. I can tell you what doesn't help - now Lily has started spitting up after breastfeeding. Not normally too big of a deal though, right?

Which leads us to last night. Commonly during the night I have to wake her up to nurse. It was 2:20 a.m. and about 3 hours since she'd eaten last. Lily was sound asleep when I picked her up from her bassinet. Our routine is to check/change her diaper, reswaddle, nurse, burp, snuggle, back to bed. As soon as I laid her down on the changing table - she was pissed. She started crying - and then she scared the shit out of me...

Her mouth was wide open, but no sound was coming out, she turned bright red and arched her back so that only her head and butt were on the table. I quickly picked her up, bounced and started firmly patting her on the back. She weakly burped and made this awful tiny little gasping noise. I immediately turned her over on my arm and smacked her good a couple of times on the back before she cried. (baby CPR style) I held her and kept trying to burp her while I woke J up for help. For about 20minutes or so she cried her little heart out while she worked up spit bubbles and a bit more spit up - through her mouth and nose. We tried to help clear her nose with the nasal aspirator, and basically did whatever we could think of to help clear her out. Three hours after she ate last.

By about 3:00 a.m. she was doing better - able to breath normally - so I was able to finally nurse her. We only went a few minutes at a time and I would burp her again before putting her back to the boob. Afterward I sat up with her - she was wide awake - for about another hour and a half. I didn't hardly take my eyes off her.

She's made a few gargle noises before when we'd lay her down after a nighttime feeding. Talk about an awful sound. You mind instantly goes to her aspirating on her own vomit while you fly out of bed to get to her in the bassinet. But nothing like this. If I never have to see that panicky look on her little face again, it will be too soon.

Thankfully she's been fine ever since. But holy hell did she about give us a heart attack.

To help manage her spitting up I've been trying to feed her for a shorter period of time (and more frequently) because I'm certain she's overeating. She's a comfort sucker (loves her binky - damnit), so she doesn't quit when she's full. We've also been trying to keep her more upright for awhile once she's done to let her tummy settle. I'm also trying to limit my diary. Some of it has helped, but I still feel like she's spitting up more than she should.

Has anyone else had trouble with spitting up? Any other suggestions for things I could try or something you did that was helpful? I know that some babies are just more prone to spitting up and as long as she's still gaining good weight, she's fine, but if there is something I can do to make her more comfortable I want to try it. Our two week pediatric appointment is Tuesday, so I plan to chat with the nurse then as well.

Being a parent is clearly a 24/7 fright fest. One worry to the next. Let's hope I at least live to see another birthday before I have my first heart attack.