Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Answer is No

Even though Anna wasn't latching successfully every time, she was having more than enough wet and soiled diapers. While I've certainly been incredibly frustrated and fatigued, I wasn't worried. But today, her sixth day, she didn't poop at all, probably due to the fact that we only had two successful latches. The other feedings were breastmilk fed with a hospital feeding cup, which has its problems - namely that some runs down her chin, rather than her tummy.

I had to break down and rent a hospital-grade breast pump, to help alleviate the engorgement and clogged ducts. There is disagreement on that, since the more milk you use the more your body makes. Pumping only makes oversupply problems worse. But on the other hand, engorgement can give you a low-grade fever and make you feel crumby, and the clogged ducts can lead to an infection.

After I softened the breast tissue with the pumping, Anna had to adjust to a different latch, leading to further confusion. I am seeing a lactation consultant on Monday. We are both losing heart with these marathon latching sessions. By the time she has finally latched or I've pumped and given her the feeding cup, its almost time to start all over again! It's taking up our sleep time, and every other spare minute!

Tonight, in desperation, I asked my husband to pull her chin down, since the main problem is that she just won't open widely enough. And guess what - with that assistance, she latched the first time! Tears just started streaming down my face and my husband's face. We had both prayed a desperation prayer before that, since it was clear she really, really, needed some sucking satisfaction. It's too early to give her a pacifier, so when she can't latch, she misses out on the all-important sucking. It alleviates all their little stresses; I could feel her body relaxing as she nursed. Mine too. Sometimes I can actually feel the wave of oxytocin calmness wash over me.

The lesson tonight must have been that, as parents, we must work together to be successful. I don't know why God keeps giving me tiny babies with tiny mouths, paired with large, overly full milk bottles. Pre-pregnancy, my "milk bottles" are a B cup, growing to a D during the first month of nursing. I'll certainly be asking God why he didn't spare me much despair, by pairing my B cup with these little mouths. The first three weeks of nursing always prove to be among the most challenging weeks of my life.

We can pray and pray, but sometimes the answer is just no. It has always been no, in response to my prayers for smooth, new-nursing relationships. Fortunately, we can ask why later.


Steph said...

This was a lovely post, Pam! I'm sorry to hear you're having such troubles - this can be so stressful at a time that is otherwise so beautiful (although tiring!) - but you wrote about it so eloquently. Anyway, I hope things improve for you. Post a picture soon!

ctdeyo said...

Hi, Pam. Congratulations on baby Anna! I, too, had similar problems nursing my son. He became dehydrated and was drinking from a cup, too. I beat the lactation consultant to the doctor's office on Monday morning, where she recommended a nipple shield. It was a Godsend! We both got the hang of it and weaned from the nipple shield around 6 weeks. Then continued to nurse for 13 months.
I'm anxious to see a picture of your new little angel!