Monday, December 21, 2015

Baby Blessings and Struggles 2015

On January 1, 2015, we found out that, after 12 years, we were expecting a baby! Through trisomy testing, we found out on Feb. 23 that it was a girl. The entire pregnancy was perfectly normal with no surprises. On August 17, 2015, we welcomed our sweet baby girl into the world. Though she came via c-section due to prior cesarean delivery, she arrived perfectly healthy, weighing 7 lbs 15 oz.

While I did not even think about breastfeeding my first child when he was born 12 years ago, I had said many times in the years between that if I ever had another child, that's exactly what I would do if I could. While in the hospital with our beautiful jewel, Ruby Belle, I had trouble getting her to eat. She just seemed too sleepy to latch on and stay latched on good. My husband watched me struggle hour after hour trying to get her to eat. She would just barely latch and gently suck enough to put herself to sleep and, if I woke her up, she would just get mad and scream. I talked to the nurses about it and they said what I was describing was normal. One even said if she was hungry, she would latch on. I asked for a lactation consultant and was told that she would be there in two days. By the time she got there, I thought we were doing better and told her so. However, when we were getting ready to be released on the third day, the nursery tech started fussing at me saying that Ruby was hungry and that she had lost weight. I had just told my husband that morning that she looked smaller to me. I was terrified that they weren't going to let me take her home. Finally, the nursery nurse on duty that day came and helped me get her latched on. She ate good for the first time since she was born. They did let us go ahead and go home with strict orders to take her to her pediatrician the next day. She weighed 7 lb 3 oz. The next day, at the Dr office she had lost another 2 oz. I explained to the Dr my concerns and told her that I really thought we had it under control now since I had finally gotten some lactation help from the nursery nurse. She requested a follow up weight check for the next day. Ruby had lost another oz. Although the Dr recommended that I supplement with formula, I was determined that wasn't what she needed. That was on a Friday and she wanted to see Ruby back on Monday. If she was still continuing to lose, she wanted to do electrolyte testing. My maternal instinct said that she was fine, that the drugs in my and her system from surgery as well as poor latching were the problem in the beginning and we were over that hump. Well meaning people advised that I follow the Dr's advice and supplement or even trick her into starting to suck with a pacifier then switching her to the breast but I didn't want to do any of those things. I wanted to give our bodies a chance to fall into the natural rythm for which they were created. I hung in there all weekend and when we went to the Dr on Monday, Ruby had gained 3 oz! Dr asked if I supplemented and I told her no, she didn't need it. I was very proud of myself and in awe of this beautiful, natural process of continuing to nourish my baby through my own body though she was now outside of my womb!

Fast forward to December 4, 2015... Ruby is almost 4 months old, is still nursing, growing and has even started eating some baby cereal in addition to breastmilk. I felt really bad all day, achy all over and just kept getting worse. My left breast had been hurting for a few days and hubby had mentioned mastitis. I thought I may be getting ready to start my cycle but I looked up symptoms of mastitis just so I would know what I needed to be aware of. I finally felt so bad late that afternoon that I checked my temp and was running a fever. As it was a Friday, I called my ob/gyn and described my symptoms. He sent in an antibiotic prescription for me and hubby picked it up. I started feeling better the next day but I made sure to take the full 10 day course of meds. Just a few days after I finished, though, I felt it coming on again. Only this time, I could feel clogged milk ducts. Being a natural researcher, I found out everything I could about clogged milk ducts and home remedies for them. I applied warm compresses, lavender oil, vicks vapor rub, I massaged the breast from above the clog down towards the nipple, I took hot showers and let the water massage the breast, I nursed on that side first every time, and I pumped after every feeding to make sure my breasts were emptying. Again, hubby is watching me struggle hour after hour, day after day, and, in his concern, he starts telling me maybe I should give up breastfeeding. I told him that goes against everything I have read. I have to keep feeding/pumping or this clog will abscess and may require surgery. So, I stayed the course, and last night, while nursing our beautiful jewel at my unclogged breast, I looked at him with tears in my eyes and I said, "As difficult as it has been, breastfeeding has got to be the most satisfying thing a woman could ever do". There is no job, no amount of money, fame, or recognition that could make me feel any more amazing than I feel when I look at our growing baby girl, knowing that my body has provided for her every need. Just as with childbirth, the joy makes the pain worth bearing. 

Along with the breastfeeding struggles, we have also FINALLY overcome a round of colic. Trust me when I say this sweet little baby girl can turn into a wildcat in a split second! We are very happy that seems to be over! It's been a difficult season but we are looking forward to the next with anticipation of watching our beautiful jewel become who she was created to be. As tired as I am, grateful can not even begin to describe how I feel for the year we have had. Thank You, Lord, for Your blessings on me!


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