As soon as I found out I was pregnant I would dream about the precious moments my baby and I would have together while I nursed him/her.
Plus my mom nursed me, so I too wanted to nurse my baby.
After some simple research I wanted to do it even more! The list of health benefits was just mesmerizing!!
When my daughter, Sarah was born prematurely one of my first thoughts were, “Has my milk come in?”
After I gave birth they quickly placed her on my chest as we did skin to skin.
Second from marrying my beloved, I was the happiest I’ve ever been. With tears of joy I just starred at her as she laid there breathing so peacefully.
After some vitals and a bath I was told I could feed my baby.
After the second feeding I was a complete mess. Between the tears and the pain I was very sad. This was supposed to be this beautiful time between my daughter and I, but all I could do was cry and shake when it was time to nurse.
My lactation consultant came back after a few hours to check on me. I cried as soon as she entered the room. I no loner wanted to nurse. I no longer wanted to be in such excruciating pain. She checked my positing once again and told me everything looked fine. She even told me Sarah had a really good latch was eating well. She even nicknamed her a piranha. She quickly called her associate for a second opinion while I just sat there crying. My fantasy had not become a reality. I was just devastated!
Once the second lactation consultant checked me, my first lactation consultant set up a referral for me to see my OBGYN that afternoon. They thought they saw something I should get checked. With my PJ’s and messy hair I walked from Labor & Delivery to my OBGYN (got to love Kaiser!) and waited for my appointment. I couldn’t stop crying. I was hormonal and really sad.
Finally in the room I was told I had a rare case called, Raynaud‘s. The problem I was having nursing was not my supply or my daughter’s latch, but the lack of blood flow in my nipples. Anytime she would latch off (which can occur many times while trying to figure out how to nurse) I would get this burning sensation.
Imagine sitting on a chair with one leg on top of the other. After a few minutes when you decide to shift your body, you bring down your leg and experience a numbing sensation which is usually described as pins and needles.
That numbing, tingling sensation was what I was feeling. Every time Sarah lathed off I would get a shooting pain. It would last for a few minutes until the body finally sent blood to my nipple. With prescription in hand I walked back to my room with the news.
I was heartbroken. My baby was only a day old and I already had to poison her with medication just so I could nurse her. It didn’t make sense. I didn’t know what to do.
After a few more attempts and tears I was given a pump. It lessened the pain, but it still was unbearable.
Before heading home, the nurse brought over some formula samples. I didn’t want to take them, but hubby insisted.
After arriving home for less then 24 hours we headed back for Sarah’s 3 day well visit. She was diagnosed with a severe case of jaundice. We were wheeled to the NICU and given a bed. Since I was still attempting to nurse they admitted us both and gave us a room.
A few days later when Sarah’s jaundice was not getting any better and I was told to hold her less, we were told I had jaundice in my breast milk. Already feeling horrible that I couldn’t nurse her like I planned, I simple gave up. I was too emotionally drained to deal with it all. I started switching between pumped milk and formula. We finally saw some jaundice improvement and were sent home.
After 3 weeks I stopped pumping. I gave Sarah what was left in the freezer and then exclusively gave her formula.
Formula might not have been my choice, but under the circumstances I felt I had no choice.
When I finally came to the realization that I could not nurse I was a much better mom. With the pain finally wearing off I was able to hold her really close and enjoy the moments as I fed her a bottle of food.
Even though I wasn’t able to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week with my mama friends I am thankful for the moments we did have together for those few days.