Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nursing Update

There hasn't been much time to write recently. The nursing has gone from fairly good and improving, to much worse and seemingly hopeless. It is breaking my heart, I have to say. Few things about parenting bring me more joy than nursing. She is still not opening her mouth widely enough. I was helping with that after she would latch by pulling down her chin. Now she isn't wanting me to do that. Complicating matters is the fact that I developed a bad bladder infection, something which I only get after having a catheter. The on-call OB took the conservative route and waited for a urine culture, which left me suffering for several more days before being able to start a antibiotic. The infection wiped me out physically, along with the surgical recovery itself, and I wasn't able to keep up with the pumpings as I should have. And further, I mismanaged things by trying for too long each time to get Anna Grace to latch. The sessions would go an hour and sometimes more before I would have success or give up and pump. During the sessions, I would give her some pumped milk with a medicine dropper, to keep her from going too long without food. Sometimes a little from the medicine dropper would help her try harder.

Both Mommy and baby became very stressed by the whole thing, and she would cry sooner and get frustrated more easily each time I would try to latch her. Now she is on a bit of a strike. The last two days I've only been able to get one latch each. My milk is not as plentiful, so now I am taking the pumping schedule very seriously, and feeding her pumped milk with a tiny tube that rests on my finger. This is a system the lactation consultant (used the hospital consultant this time) gave me, which is much less stressful than the feeding cup or medicine dropper (nothing gets wasted). She sucks on my finger and as she does so, milk comes out of the tube and into her mouth.

The whole thing seems bleak to me, given that Don goes back to work in nine days, and I will have the responsibility of all the children again. They are stressed because I am always in the bedroom either pumping or feeding or trying to get a latch. Timothy and Emily Rose are behaving and are mostly cooperative, but Daniel's behavior is awful. I have to weigh what is fair to them as well. I know that some moms are forced to give up on actual nursing, while continuing to pump and feed their babies pumped breast milk from a bottle for as long as possible. Thinking of that possibility breaks my heart, since I am sure some of the benefits come from the skin to skin contact with Mom. I have to decided to practice Kangaroo care, which involves wearing the baby in one's shirt, with baby in just a diaper. The skin to skin contact provides many benefits, one of which is the encouragement of nursing.

Although my faith is very low right now, I haven't given up. I know God can turn things around quickly. I have been pumping on a strict schedule for just the last 18 hours, and I'm already feeling more and more letdowns. There is always hope.

Don's support and love has been invaluable to me. He completely understands how much I love nursing, and he has been doing so much to help Anna and me meet our goal. When I go to him in tears, which has been often lately, he reminds me that God sometimes takes people to the brink and then rescues them. Last night he recounted how God drove his people to the Red Sea's edge, with their enemies in fast pursuit, and then miraculously opened up a path through the sea. Why did he take them to the brink, instead of merely rescuing them earlier? Was it to encourage all those in future generations who were suffering and praying for something? I don't know what his plan is with our nursing relationship, but I have to be willing to accept whatever happens, and trust his reasons.

1 comment:

Evenspor said...

I am sorry to hear you are having such a difficult time. I hope everything sorts itself out.