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Today I am participating in Sarcastic Mom’s Breastfeeding Carnival. It’s an awesome idea. If you feel bad that you missed it you have an opportunity to make up for it on March 24 during the Birth Story Carnival, in which I will also be participating.
First off, I have two children but my Breastfeeding story today is going to be about Kayla, my first daughter. Why? Because if I wrote about my breastfeeding my second daughter (Avalynn) it would go something like this;
Baby popped out. Baby was hungry. Baby latched on. Baby eats all the time.
See, wouldn’t that be boring? There is a lot more to tell about Kayla. She was no where near an easy baby to breastfeed.
The first time I was able to breastfeed Kayla was when she was eight weeks old. The day she was born she was having trouble latching on, or even rooting for that matter. The nurses told me sometimes it takes a day or two for babies to decide to eat. By the time she was about 24 hours old, they decided to send in a lactation consultant. When she arrived she tried with all her might to get Kayla to latch on but she wouldn’t even close her mouth around my nipple. (Yeah, that’s right I just said NIPPLE! Did I get your attention yet?) During the time the lactation consultant was there, my daughter had a seizure. After a few hours of testing in the NICU, they decided to transfer her to the Children’s Hospital NICU, there they had discovered that she suffered massive bilateral cortical strokes during her delivery. (Click here to read more about that story, but for this one I am going to focus on breastfeeding.) After she was transferred, I had to wait for an OB to discharge me. While I was waiting the lactation consultant came back to visit me and go over how to use the Medela Lactina Select Breast pump we decided to rent.
That pump is like a little mechanical angel. If it was 552 million billion gwazillion dollars, I would own six.
Thus began my pumping story. I cried when I found out I couldn’t breastfeed for a while, but I was determined to get as close to the real thing for both of us as possible until then.
The day she arrived at Children’s she was placed on an NG tube. She received formula through it until my milk came in. Once my milk came in I asked that she only received my breast milk through it.
While Kayla was in the NICU, I pumped and pumped and pumped. I used a picture of my little angel that I set on top of the breast pump to help with let down. That helped a lot. It reminded me that I was doing this for a purpose, for her.
I kept a little beanie baby I had bought for her tucked in my nightgown at night. I brought it to her every morning and switched it out with a different one that a nurse had brought in for her. They told me it would be comforting to her to smell me and help with bonding after she was released. It always seemed to calm her down. I remember moving it closer to her when I had to leave at night to sleep.
Once she was allowed to come off the NG tube and receive oral feedings, I still wasn’t allowed to breastfeed. They wanted to monitor her intake and they couldn’t do that if I was breastfeeding so I could only pump and bottle feed her my milk. I came every three hours to feed her. Every day. I wanted to feel as close to her as I could, and if she were home with me I know I would be getting up to nurse her every three hours regardless. It was just a little different to make the trip to see her every three hours when we weren’t in the same building.
Close to when she was going to be released they decided I could finally breastfeed her, but despite all my efforts, I just couldn’t get her to latch on. We tried everyday, we worked with another lactation consultant, we even tried nipple shields. She had gotten way to used to bottle nipples and due to her disability the doctors told us that we were lucky she was even drinking from the bottle and to come to terms with the fact that she may never breastfeed.
After she was released I continued to try. Weeks went by and we still weren’t making any progress. I continued to pump and try everyday until one day we went out as a family to the mall. As we were leaving the food court, I saw a mother breastfeeding her child at a table.
I broke down into tears right there in the mall. I was so frustrated and so determined to share this bond with my child, but I felt as though I had failed her since we still couldn’t get it down.
That night I decided I was going to give it one final shot before I gave up and just pumped for her bottles. We spent all night trying and trying until one moment somewhere around 5:30am she latched on and began to nurse. I almost jumped up and down with joy but I didn’t want to interrupt her for fear that it would never happen again.
From that day forward she nursed without a problem. I returned to the breast pump to the hospital. We were one happy mama and baby. She never had another bottle and nursed effortlessly until she was 18 months old.
I am so glad to have never given up. I enjoyed the time I did get with Kayla nursing and I will cherish it always. I am now currently still nursing my six month old who just happens to be the easiest baby ever to nurse. I plan to nurse her until she is 18 months old as well.
I thought I would include some tips for pumping/breastfeeding while your child is in the NICU. I believe you should do what is best for both you and you baby whether it’s formula feeding, breastfeeding or pumping. If you do plan to breastfeed, though, and your child has to stay in the NICU for whatever reason, here are some tips:
(A lot of you that have had babies in the NICU already know these!)
Pump, pump, pump! Rent a hospital grade pump and pump every three hours for at least 15 minutes on each side. Yes, that means waking up in the middle of the night as well.
To help with the letdown process take a picture of your baby and set in on your breast pump while you pump, or pump while you are sitting next to your baby in the NICU.
Tuck a stuffed animal or folded blanket in your shirt or nightgown every night and sleep with it there. When you see your baby next sit it next to him/her and switch them out every night. (This is how the baby will get used to your smell)
Ask that your baby receives breast milk through their NG tube instead of formula.
Once your baby is switched from an NG tube to oral feedings ask if you can breastfeed. If that’s not an option, ask that no one feeds your baby but you and show up every three hours to bottle feed your baby. (If that is an option for you.)
Never give up!
I’m back! Okay, where to start? Well, we helped my parents and brother and sister-in-law move on Saturday. It’s been freezing all month here but on the day we choose to carry heavy objects up and down stairs San Diego decides,
“Hey, how about 85°? Does that sound like fun? I think that would be awesome! Your air conditioner in your car broke a few months ago, right? All the better! Oh and your driving around two hot cranky kids that aren’t having any fun at all? Sweet!”
It was about as un-fun as things can get (But is moving ever?). It was, however, pretty exciting to see their new place. Once we were done with my bro and sis we headed over to my parents to help them. We had helped them take one load early in the morning, but the rest of the day had been consumed by my brothers stuff, because HE HAS A LOT OF STUFF. Once we were finished they were pretty much almost done (for the day) and so we decided to help by providing a whole bunch of KFC and some strawberry champagne for celebrating. No one had eaten all day so they were very grateful. I just wanted to eat KFC. Everyone is extremely relieved to get out of there. They can finally live like tenants now and not prisoners of war. They have a toilet, two actually! And heat! Hell, they can even hang things on their wall if thy feel so inclined! I know my Aunt and cousin read our blogs (old
landlords captors) so I have a little message for them.
Dear Asshole and Asshole Jr,
You will have to find someone else to control now. I know you want to play it off like you gave them a place to stay to be helpful but you really just wanted one more thing in your life you could control. A helpful relative doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for rent for a TRAILER. A helpful relative fixes toilets when they break. A helpful relative doesn’t tell you when you can or cannot hang things on your walls, yell at you for hanging up a wind-chime on the patio, whether or not they can collect their OWN mail out of the mailbox or not or how many things they can have plugged in at one time, etc. No one believes you were trying to do anything nice for them. So give it up.
Today Kayla had her first Occupational Therapy appointment. She loved it! She now calls it “the fun doctor”or “the toy doctor.” They therapist noticed her “tics” right off and said she would probably need physical therapy as well. It’s still not known whether or not they can do anything for them. They’ve decided she is a “Sensory seeker.” I could have told you that. She prefers bright colors, smears food all over herself at every meal (still at almost three), would rather be upside down, spinning, etc. at all times and things to that nature. Hopefully we can work on those things as well as her letting us know when she has gone to the bathroom (and possibly even help with potty training) and learning how to dress and undress herself. It’s pretty strange that she still can’t even take her own pants or shirt off. But it’s soon to get better! I am so, so, SO proud of all the things she CAN DO. She has gone well above everybody’s expectations as to what she would be able to do. She has much less than half a brain left and somehow she can manage to say things like “It’s dark in here.” That’s my girl.
Sunday night (I know, I kind of went out of order) we ended up having to call the cops on some guys out front of our apartment complex. We secretly watched from our balcony as two African American guys came up and started beating the crap out of three other guys. Another guy that happened to be driving by got out of his car and tried to help stop the fight. Instead of stopping, they decided to jump him instead. About four more African American men came out and the all six of them were beating the crap out of this guy that was just trying to help. This is when I decided to call the cops. While I was gone the hubbs said one of the guys looked like he pulled out a gun. All the girls that were around watching started screaming and some guy was yelling “Put that away! Put it down!”
Operator: 911, what is your emergency?
Me: Hi, I’m at ************* St. There are about six African American males beating up a guy in front of our apartment complex. (I didn’ know about the possible gun at this point)
Operator: Yes, someone has already called and the police have already been dispatched.
Me: Okay, thanks.
We live about one full mile from the police department. It took them about an hour and fifteen minutes to get here. I think, even if they had walked here the entire way, it wouldn’t have taken over an hour. That’s pretty ridiculous.
Anyway, shortly after I called, someone yelled to everyone that the police were on their way and everyone took off. Me and the hubbs were like, “What the heck just happened?”
Have I mentioned we are moving? Oh, we are sooo moving.
By the way, my pregnant friend had her first appointment today. He gave her an ultrasound and she has a dot baby. She called me to tell me about how much she loves her little dot. It’s not quite bean sized, just a dot. So she is probably around 4-5 weeks pregnant. He wasn’t sure about the due date but decided it was probably somewhere around Halloween. She goes back closer to the end of the month to get a better idea of a due date. That way the baby will be easier to measure.
Tomorrow I am participating in Sarcastic Mom’s breastfeeding carnival. It sounds like an awesome idea. Everyone blogs about their breastfeeding stories. So look out tomorrow for that. I promised myself when I heard about it that I wouldn’t ait until the last minute to start writing the post but just like high school, it’s tomorrow and I haven’t started yet. So that’s what I am going to go do now. See you tomorrow!
Click here for details!
It has been a busy past few days here. I feel accomplished though, by getting a lot of things done. So I thought I’d let you know what I’ve been up to an give a little update.
Friday I made about a billion phone calls including;
Calling to find out when Kayla’s next neurology appointment is. It still isn’t until May, even though were are on the cancellation list. For some reason, the neurology appointments at Children’s hospital are booked out in advance at least six months at all times. Highly frustrating. I really want to know what this new neurologist thinks of Kayla’s ‘ticks.’ (I’m not really sure what they are, this weird arm flapping, jumping motion she makes that seems to only get worse with time. They seem to occur more and more frequently. The nurse practitioner we saw at the neurology office last time said it may be a movement disorder of some sort.)
Set up an appointment to get Kayla state disability checks. I don’t know why I didn’t do this when she was first born, I guess I wanted to prove so badly that we didn’t need any ones help to take care of our daughter. But with the medications, occupational, speech and possibly physical therapy she is starting now we just can’t afford it. The co-pays alone are $15 dollars per doctors visit with our insurance. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but factor in the fact that she will have a MINIMUM of 3-4 visits a week, we will be paying $45 + plus a week for her treatment. And I don’t work so I can stay at home and take care of her. And we live in San Diego (holy cow it costs an arm and a leg to live here!) We barely make it by most months, so any help we get will be heavenly.
Set up Kayla’s occupational therapy appointments. Every Monday, for the next 24 weeks, we will be doing occupational therapy. I am extremely excited to see how much progress she makes! I can’t wait!
Talked to my psychiatrist about the medication he prescribed. I was supposed to have an appointment today with him so he could find out how the medication was working for me buu-uut I hadn’t actually been taking it. He told me what all he other doctors had pretty much told me, about how there aren’t a lot of other options out there for breastfeeding mother’s with Bipolar disorder. He decided to prescribe Lexapro to at least help with the depression and anxiety, but he wanted me to double check with Ava’s pediatrician to make sure he thought it was safe enough to take. Her pediatrician told me it was not recommended because it hadn’t been studied enough. So I didn’t take it. But I forgot to call the psychiatrist for a week to let him know. When I did call him, he stressed the importance of me taking the Lexapro. He told me discontinuing the nursing would probably set off hormones to spiral me into a deeper depression and that wouldn’t be good for me or the kids. His recommendation; don’t stop breastfeeding, take the Lexapro in an extremely low dose. He also told me he had consulted with two other doctors about it. He told me that her pediatrician was covering his butt, that he doesn’t know the benefits to risk factor, and told me that the studies had only found high doses of the medication to cause drowsiness in infants. So my low dose should not affect her, and if it does, he told me to discontinue it.
So I started taking it on Friday and I swear, I feel better already. I know, it has to take a couple of weeks to build up in your system but I think it’s working already. Maybe it’s just that I want it to work so badly that I’m working it up in my head with kind of a placebo effect, but I don’t care. Whatever it is, it’s working. Although side effect wise, it makes me feel like I’ve had six cups of coffee, a little shaky, but I’ll deal. Ava seems to not be affected at all by it. She seems they same as she did all week before I started taking it. She was teething before I started, though, so it’s hard to judge.
I got car insurance…YAY!
I also paid the gas and electric and the cable bill. Blah.
Saturday we went to visit my parents and we played some guitar hero and Wii bowling. The mood is pretty heavy over there (understandably) due to the fact that my Great Aunt decided to evict them from their house. I kind of want to kick some butt over that. Oh! I also got to feel the baby belly of my little future niece or nephew. I have a feeling he’s a boy. But, of course, I thought both of MY girls were boys.
Sunday we relaxed around the house a bit, went to Sears Essentials and bought new car seats for the kids. Kayla had outgrown her car seat and was ready to move to a booster type seat. We bought a bright pink one and it’s so cute! We decided Ava needed one to match, also hers was dirty beyond belief. I figure car seats are not really one of those frivolous things. They are kind of a necessity. So no splurge there.
This has turned out to be quite a long post an I still have a bunch more stuff I was going to type but I guess I will get to that later. I probably lost most of you by bullet three, but the caffeine overdose effect these pills are giving me is kind of making it hard to write, or stay on subject for that matter.
Off to take a nap (I hope!), I finally got the kids to go down at the same time and I am going to take full advantage of it.
Last night we took the kids to Chuck-E-Cheese. Kayla LOVES CEC…but what kid doesn’t? C’mon, they’ve got games, tickets, rides, and pizza! Who could ask for more? I’ve even got to admit, I have fun as well. She is starting to get to the age where things get really cute; she waves and yells “hi cheeeeese!” at the sign when we pull up, she thinks it’s fun to get a stamp on her hand at the front door (the kid check–I don’t remember having that when I was a kid, they stamp your and your kids hands and no one can leave without showing the matching stamps? Is that only because I live in California or is that everywhere?) and she doesn’t need to hold Mommy and Daddy’s hand while she rides the rides. Come to think of it, this isn’t really cute. This is very grown up and un-cute. I want hand holding! I want my little baby back!
We had a good time, we had pizza and salad and Kayla turned in her tickets for a troll doll and a necklace. The one we went to has this blue screen that they can dance in front of that is really cool. That was pretty much Kayla’s favorite part.
I only had one complaint, and I seem to be having this one a lot lately; people staring at me while I’m trying to breastfeed the baby. What is up with that anyway? I always cover with a blanket, too! It’s as though they can just sense someone in the room is breastfeeding and turn away from whatever they were previously doing to stare. At first, I thought this was all in my head. I tried to ignore it but now it’s just to plain obvious that people are STARING! It’s not a peep show! I think the worst is the men. I notice it more with the some of the Hispanic guys around here (I’m not sure why, maybe they just have a more open culture?) but they seem to just stare. I will never forget the day once I was breastfeeding my first baby and a guy who was staring at me nodded his head and winked at me! Can you believe that? So, I have to get this off my chest real quick…Men, it is not okay to hit on a woman while she is breastfeeding! It really creeps us out! There is nothing sexual about breastfeeding and again, you can’t even imagine the CREEPY factor! So do me a favor. When a woman is feeding her baby, don’t stare incessantly at her, eyeing us like you are using “the force” to make the blanket fall down for a second to get a quick peep! I put in a little video from the trip. No, it is not of me breastfeeding (Hahaha), but I hope you guys still like it. ;D
Avalynn is growing so fast! To me it seems like she is some kind of genius because of how early she is doing everything, but then I realize the only thing I have to compare it to was my obviously developmentally delayed other daughter, whom at the time I thought was right on time for everything and now I see how much she really wasn’t on a lot of things. But I’m pretty sure Ava will be full-on crawling by six months. My hubby didn’t believe me until he caught it on camera himself. She just turned five months old and she is pretty close to doing it. Kayla did this right before she started to crawl only it was quite a few months later. I’m so proud of both my girls! If you want to watch Kayla crawling when she was a baby it’s on my Dear Kayla page (You should watch it). As for Ava, here she is in all her glory!