On BFing

Alternate title for this post? "BFing is making me effing crazy!"

Oh the things you learn with your first baby. . .

For instance, I learned that being nonchalant about breastfeeding (i.e. setting in your mind that "I'll just pump, no biggie" while you're pregnant) is not necessarily the best approach.  People (including every LC at the hospital) are a strange mixture of aghast and amazed that I pumped exclusively for a full year with C.

This time around, I have been more committed to making breastfeeding work.  Then, I had a baby who literally did NOT know how to suck.  We had to finger feed him in order to train him the proper way to suck.  Going from finger feeding to bottle feeding was a huge triumph, and going from bottle feeding to nursing with a shield was also pretty awesome.  (Why oh why didn't I know about shields with C?)

Only, my kid is an inefficient nurser.  So, he takes a LONG time to nurse, then doesn't get enough because he quickly tires and falls asleep since he has to work harder at breastfeeding than he does at bottle feeding.  So, then he cluster feeds, sometimes every half hour for hours.  Which makes me a bit crazy.

Take yesterday, for instance.  With C on a field trip to Nana & Tata's house, I took the opportunity to nurse (and hold my baby) as much as I could.  Which was pretty much all afternoon.  At one point, he nursed for a full hour, then took another ounce and a half by bottle, then still woke up for more within an hour.  The babe ate every hour between noon and 5 p.m.  At which point I was pretty exhausted, in need of a bonafide nap, and also sort of all what the what?

I sent a dispatch to my friend asking for moral support:

I need some reassurance that it's not awful that I prefer pumping and bottle feeding because I have an inefficient nurser who not only needs a shield to nurse and cluster feeds, but takes FOREVER at the breast . . .

And that wonderfully seasoned mommy of four did what friends do: she reassured me.  

Then, something sort of magical happened.  I gave up nursing for the day and Baby A started routinely eating 3 ounces every two hours and sleeping in between.  (Hello two week-old eating pattern we've been waiting for!) 

I'm not giving up!  I'm going to try every day and continue to hope he finally "gets it" the way I've heard some babies magically do.  In the meantime, I am thankful for a body that remembers how this went last time and has made a fantastic supply in response.  (I seriously freeze about 8-12 ounces every day.)

Oh.  Also saving my sanity?  Besides wonderful in-laws who take my kid?  The swing.  Hooray for the swing!



Things You Miss

My pregnancy with Baby A was much easier than my pregnancy with C in almost every way (save morning sickness).  Even so, toward the end, I was still feeling a little bit "done".  The high bp certainly didn't help.  Oh, and the swollen feet.  And the feeling huge.  And my missing mojo. 

While pregnant, you truly think it is impossible to miss a single thing about. . . well, being pregnant.

And you'd be wrong.

Here are some things I'll truly miss:
-thick, long, luxurious hair that does not shed or fall out
-no menstrual cycles for 10 months (I somehow always forget about that part)
-no need for birth control
-most excellent skin
-not having to suck my stomach in



Second Birth

In the last weeks of my pregnancy with A, I heard myself tell my two OBs - old and new - that I would be happy just repeating my delivery with C, minus the hemorrhage and the sick husband. 

So, after my ER visit, I was scheduled to be induced on 5/24 at 39 weeks for high blood pressure.  Because my complaint was heart palpitations, they never actually monitored the baby when my blood pressure was so high, so I left the hospital knowing only that my bp was in the normal range, but not having any idea what having bp spike like that was doing to the baby.  I was anxious about an induction, having heard horror stories of failed or stalled inductions, but I was more anxious about something happening to my baby.  I had to make a conscious decision to trust my (new) doc, have faith, and trust my body.

At my doctor's appointment on Wednesday the 23rd, I was completely closed and not effaced.  To my surprise, my doc didn't give me an out, so I was still scheduled for a 3 a.m. induction the following morning. At 10:00 p.m. the hospital called and we got bumped to "early afternoon".  We planned an entirely different morning, one that was leisurely and included homemade crepes and playing outside with our kid.   So, we stayed up WAY too late talking and trying "natural" ways to get ready for labor.

After about 3 hours of sleep, we got a call at 5 a.m. saying they had a bed and to come on in.  We checked in at the hospital at 8 a.m. and went straight to a LDR room (no triage!), where they started an IV and checked me. I was 2cm and 60% effaced! So, no need for Cervidil: I went straight to Pit around 9 a.m.

My doc came in and explained process and info about breaking my water, which made me entirely nervous and I told her I was really hesitant to start the clock.  She explained that the risks of c-section were the same either way (about 80% at that point) and that it might help baby descend gradually and help me get more dilated and effaced.  I confirmed with her that the baby wasn't posterior and then agreed to have her break my water.  (That hook?  Youch!)  Once things really got going (i.e. uncomfortable), I sat on a birthing ball for several hours and worked through contractions while M and I watched "contraction TV" and read Us Weekly (me) and a book about succession planning (him).

The next question was when to get the epidural.  I didn't want to get it too early and I really wanted to stay mobile as long as possible.  By 12, the nurse had upped the Pit and my contractions started to have teeth.  After she got back from her lunch break, she upped it again and by around 1:30 p.m., I was having a lot of back labor and asked for the epidural.  The epi was placed around 2:15 and when I was checked right after, I was 5cm and 80% effaced.

Then, I started going numb in my chest and arms, which made me itch the way a foot does when it falls asleep.  I told my nurse I was numb up to my breastline.  She cut the epidural off and got the anesthesiologist back in the room.  Once they got it adjusted, I progressed really quickly from there and by around 3:30, I was feeling pressure and was ready to push.

Two rounds of pushing and 10 minutes later, my second son was born! I went from 2 cm to having a baby in less than banker's hours. It was the best labor and delivery I could have hoped for (and one that I would TOTALLY do over again)!

Aside from a poor bruised nose from being pushed so fast and furiously, he was perfect, with tons of dark hair and the cutest little face ever!  They placed him on my chest immediately and we got a good nursing session in before his first bath. 

He developed jaundice and as a precaution we had to stay longer than we wanted.  He wasn't eating well, so we had to finger feed him, which basically means I put my index finger in his mouth facing up while M fed a little tube in on top of my finger.  I would hold the tube in place with my thumb while M pumped formula in with a syringe.  Yes - that means it took two people and four hands to feed our little boy for the first few days.

Thankfully, his jaundice resolved and he learned to suck the right way and we haven't looked back since!

Baby A has the sweetest little spirit and we are so grateful for him!

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury