Archive for August, 2010

Guest Post: Maria’s VBAC

Posted on August 23, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

For those of you keeping up with Maria’s story on the When Your Water Breaks Before Labor Begins post, Maria has had her VBAC! She is a native Spanish speaker but was kind enough to translate her birth story so that I could read it and she gave me permission to repost her story here. She said maybe her story could help another woman. Her story hit home with me on a few levels since I just had my own VBAC four weeks ago but also because some of the thoughts and feelings and situations she had in her labor are the same as ones that I had down to having to transfer to the hospital postpartum.

Thank you for sharing your story Maria. I am very proud of you! Congrats on your VBAC and your baby! HERE is the link to her story. I’m also reposting it below.

My Baby Boy! Born By VBAC

Mariposa has a brother
This second pregnancy wasnt a surprise. After the painful experience of a c-section, I try to heal my mind and my body, wait two years to give me a second chance. I Leave nothing to the chance. If the minimum time between pregnancies had to be a year, I wait two.
When I was pregnant I was convinced that in no way I could return with the same doctor. So even before I began an exhaustive search of the doctors or clinics that supported a vaginal birth after cesarean.
On the blogs, I realized that even though some doctors seemed pro VBAC, actually end their policies betrayed and ended in Elective c-section. So I had to be very careful. I found several references to a Dr. Regina C, who attended in a clinic, but the deliveries took them within a hospital, with everything needed to help a natural birth. She also had a team of midwives who came to know well before delivery.
I made an appointment. Knowing my history told me that my c-section had been totally unnecessary and that this induction was doomed to failure because of the way it was done. Do not weigh myself. She ask me if I wanted an ultrasound, still without impositions. I left there completely optimistic.
Afther three months of  pregnancy, we had to change our country for work purposes. Now in addition to seeking a home and school, had to find a doctor and a hospital. The first two months I went in looking for a house, my daughter adjust and adapt to change. moving home, close accounts, open other, etc.
I was 7 months pregnant and just going to have my first consultation with social security. The private part was saturated for my dates. The doctor who could assist me perhaps these days would be holidays. I realized I want to have my baby in the private wing meant fewer possibilities for a natural birth by clipping services.
Social security was not bad. They took the blood and urine tests were in the same query. Never made me an ecographie. In England they make just one or two. And I was already late for that. You do not see doctors, midwives comes and touch your belly and know the baby’s position, size, if the liquid is fine, etc.
At first the spelling I have no echo was little security, but then I realized that you must thrust your body until you have real reason to think that things go wrong.
So I spent a very peaceful pregnancy. Walking a lot. Very busy with my new life. Without fear of anything. Trusting in my body.
In the public hospital they put me in contact with two midwives in charge of VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean. I love meeting and talking with them, gave me confidence by saying that it was possible, which would let me get to 42 weeks, or a day before, did not have to be lying when I was in labor. That could take a shower. And wouldnt put time limits, but be very careful with the baby’s heart monitor my pulse etc. .. When asked if they were there they said only if the birth was Tuesday.
Finally I had an appointment with the obstetrician, but midwives canceled it because it was thought that if he would want to schedule a cesarean, so I saw it through week 39. Talk to him and see how everything was an imposition made me realize that everything was shaping up for a new caesarean. Luckily from the 36th week my husband and I had a visit to the birth center.Somewhere between home and hospital.
I did not want to give birth at home, I looked much risk, but the birth center was literally in the corner of a hospital. From the first visit one of the midwives was very interested in my case asking me questions, they said they had 80% of VBAC. I knew my chances in the hospital were 40%!
A week later, after much thought, talk with two doulas that  I contact via the Internet, we make the decision to try delivering in the birth center. So we started to have consultations with them about twice a week to make sure to meet as many of them. (they were 6 in my team)
During the 39 weeks I began to feel more flow than normal, and I thought it was broken or cracked the bag. The options were to do a test that increased the chances of an infection in case if it were broken or wait. The hospital would not let me and I would expect nothing touches.So I decided to do nothing and wait for nature to take its course.
Not expected to give birth before 42 weeks. 40 week walk a lot. I had a lot of energy. But after the damage of c-section that, I did not really believe being able to get birth alone and in my head I was thinking about the options I had if I  would have 42 weeks and not put me in labor.
I heard so many stories. Women who have never broken bag and contractions. Women who start labor but never expand enough. In order that my head was full of negative stories. Attempts impossible.
I read a lot. I wanted to convince my body that was possible. I could not understand that in God’s creation could be so imperfect. I had to let nature take its course. No inductions. I had to relax, I knew the adrenaline in my body could not let act natural oxytocin.
Week 40 +3. On Friday morning I went to get my daughter to the park, I sat in the sand to play with it. we went to the house of some friends. I went to make last minute purchases. When we got home noticed a little blood. I thought it was a bad sign, but to call the midwives told me it was the mucus plug. After two hours the contractions started. every 5 min lasting 1 min. Still it was a good pattern was not very intense so we hope to see what happened and try to sleep.At 4 am the contractions became less continuous. 1 every 10 min. So all morning. On Saturday night were more intense but every 7 min. Domingo. The contractions were up but they were more continuous. It was difficult to walk and talk at the same time. At 4pm try going to the park for a walk but it was impossible. We returned home. Contractions every 5 minutes with duration of 1 min. We call the birth center and 6pm and we were there.
We left our things. We were alone. I got into the tub immediately, with relaxing music and candles. The contractions had a good case. After it became difficult to carry them, all I could do was walk.
3 am, I thought it became increasingly more frequent, but the midwife looked at me and told me that they had no specific pattern. 6:00 a.m. and could no longer walk, I had strange feelings in my body was exhausted. I was beginning to give up. It seemed that there was extensive enough yet, (I had made no touch) but the pain was impossible to endure the fatigue I had.
I thought about the power of the mind. I thought my mind was able to do everything I wanted.The only thing left was trying to rest and find strength. I asked her to make me a “tacto” for what to expect, but the midwife who was with me that night told me to wait for the nex midwife who was to be with me the full next day.
Spend the whole morning in bed, having contractions every 5 or 4 min, very painful, which made me get all my body, I had to shake hands with my husband too hard to endure a little longer.
My mom was really worried, the contractions were very strong. The midwife kept saying they were not really a case to make a touch if I had spent the morning in bed was difficult to progress.

She said that the  option  still available was caesarean section, in the hospital inductions are not allowed to  who have had c above. So we decided to wait a little longer and see what happens.
At 3 pm we ask her to do a  tacto. She said that the bag is intact. She looks at me and tells me I have 8cm and can feel the baby’s head. I suddenly comes an energy, I do not know where. I get up, take a shower. I go out and get into the tub (birth pool) request music, candles.Contractions are becoming increasingly strong. Very intense. I try to breathe and relax. I feel the need to expel something, and had that feeling since Saturday.
During the entire time they are checking my pulse and heart of the baby and going well.
She says  to bid when you feel you need it. I try, not works, is a feeling that I had not felt before. I think in all women who undergo a cesarean innecesarea, and put even more strength to try. Water breaks and water is clean. But attempts nothing happens. Suddenly I feel the baby’s head. that gives me the strength to keep trying I keep seeing even impossible.Suddenly comes the head and the body is triggered by itself. The midwife takes it in his hands and passes it to me immediately, I put on my chest. I feel a joy indescriptible. I kiss him. He was born when he wanted., I cry.. I could not believe my God. We did it!

Postpartum Experience

After the baby was born he was put to my breast. The cord stop beating, and we left the tub. The placenta has not come out. I slept with my baby at the breast and a contraction come the midwife came pull the cord and the placenta.
The midwife was concerned that had not yet gone to the bathroom so she asked me to get up and when I did I began to feel dizzy, and when we got to the bathroom try to sit down and only heard a popping sound. I passed out. I was injected to stop the bleeding. I get to the ambulance. We went to the hospital. They saw my platelets. Apparently I lost fourth is blood in the body. Do not let me leave until the next day at night with a promise not to move in the next two weeks.
Apparently was the result of fatigue from many days of contractions, combined with oxytocin put me not to expel the placenta, which prevents bleeding. Nothing that I knew so far.
Now I’m in my room, my skin is green. I have to eat well and take a million of pills. But Im not depressed, I’m happy. Afraid of what might have happened. But now I can separate the two experiences. The happiness of having my son as I dreamed in not going to be remove for anyone.
The postpartum shock either. I think what happened makes the two births of my children fairer.It would have been hard to tell always the tragedy of my c-section and the happiness of my VBAC. Both experiences have taught me a lot. The most important thing is:  I have my two loves with me and they are fine. With the two and the two I have learned.
My butterfly is the nicest girl in the world, God has given me in my children a great blessing with which I can only be grateful for them and for the oportunity to be here to enjoy them.

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I Have Difficult Babies

Posted on August 22, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

And I work so hard to get there here too! I need an outlet other than inflicting myself on my friends on Facebook so at 2am this morning, I am blogging about my ‘easy’ baby. Yes, at 2am, after walking for almost three hours, I am still calling Stella my easy baby. That’s not saying much though.

Graham was what most people would refer to as colicky. He screamed from about 6pm to 10pm every night (that’s sounding pretty good right this moment though!) and when he was awake during the day he was generally fussy and unhappy. This went on until about 10-12 weeks old and then he gradually began to relax a little. I’m pretty sure he needed crania-sacral therapy due to his birth trauma and that might have helped him a lot.

With Stella, I’m at a loss. She isn’t colicky. She is demanding. She wants to be held constantly, which I don’t mind at all and she spends a lot of  time in the Moby wrap. The Moby is where she is happiest and I love to wear my babies so it’s perfect. However, at night it is a big problem.

Take tonight for instance. She slept from about 7pm to 11pm which is a great stretch of sleep for a newborn. Unfortunately, I could not sleep then since I have a two year old and a kitchen to clean. I did get to sleep from 9pm til 11pm though. When she woke up my husband brought her to me and from 11pm until 1:30am, the only way she would not scream was if she was in the Moby and I was walking. That is VERY exhausting but I have to do it because I don’t want to wake up Josh and Graham. At about 1:30am I kicked Josh out of our room and sent him to the couch and told Stella we were done walking. She did not appreciate that very much and has pretty much been crying (screaming) ever since. I alternate holding her and laying her down and she alternates between crying and not crying. I’m hoping she will drift off to sleep soon since it’s almost 2:30am now.

The newborn days are hard but they do go by quickly. I will miss her as a newborn and I know it. I do want to enjoy this time and I am, mostly, but I’m also tired and really over being up so much at night. I don’t mind waking up several times a night for feedings and diaper changes but I have a really hard time with being up  (and walking!!!)  for 3-4 hours straight. My two year old tends to get up really early too.

I am pretty good about napping and thankfully I can. During the week Graham goes to school for three hours in the morning and most days I can nap with Stella, if she will go down. My two year old also takes a three hour afternoon nap so Stella and I get in a nap there too. I’m not well rested but I’m not a zombie so I’m functioning. Of course, I’ve had an ajuma (Korean cleaning lady who also cooked) for five days a week.. Her last full week ended Friday so I’m on my own now. She will come on Mondays to clean but day to day I’m back to doing the housework and cooking. At least I’ll have something to do while doing all this walking with Stella!

Hopefully Stella will calm down soon. I’m trying to remain peaceful and calm and ride it out. I don’t expect her to sleep through the night and don’t mind night feeding but I do wish she’d learn to go back to sleep after she eats. A two or tree hour stretch would be just fine!

EDIT: I just wanted to add that after I posted this, Stella did finally drift of to sleep just before 3am. We slept until after 8am. I’ve been saying quite a bit that it’s not the sleeping that’s the problem, she sleeps great once she gets there. It’s that she wants to be walked around for several hours in the middle of the night that’s the problem. I have to figure out how to get her resettled when she wakes, that’s the main issue.

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ECing Our Newborn

Posted on August 13, 2010. Filed under: EC Elimination communication | Tags: , |

The first time I ever heard of Elimination Communication (EC)  was in a mainstream magazine. The article was not very well written and almost seemed to make fun of the idea and I did think that it was kind of weird. Of course, I was in my mid-twenties and didn’t have children yet so I couldn’t understand the value of it and didn’t bother to do additional research.  Fast forward about six years and add my friend Karen to the equation and my interest was peaked.

Karen began ECing her daughter around 7.5 months old which was right around the time we met in person (we had an internet friendship for months prior to this). I thought it was so cool that her daughter was sitting on the potty and actually using it at such an early age and that Karen could read her cues and know when she had to go. I saw it working and realized the value of it even more as I was potty training my toddler who at the time was 18 months old. Graham was a potty expert as long as he was naked and this is still actually true, 10 months later. If he is naked he will go pee or poop with only the rare accident but with clothes on he has a harder time. He is more relaxed about it with clothes on and will pee or poop in his clothes. At 27 months, he is no longer ok with peeing or pooping in his clothes (we’ve made huge progress the last month) but for the longest time he would only poop if wearing a diaper. That was his comfort zone and what he was used to and the only way he could relax enough to go.

When I read the EC book Diaper Free Baby I realized why Graham was having a hard time letting go of pooping in his clothes. The idea behind EC is that as humans do not want to soil themselves. It’s a survival mechanism. A wet and dirty baby is more likely to get cold and sick so human babies instinctively do not want to go on themselves. It’s why newborns always seem to pee or poop when their diaper is removed. We, in modern diaper wearing times, train our babies to go in their diapers for our convenience. This is also why babies eventually stop peeing and pooping when the diaper is removed, they have become programmed to go the diaper. Then once they are at the age when we think they should start learning to use the toilet, which in the US is average 2-3 years old, we retrain them not to go in the diaper. Graham was having a hard time with the retraining part. It was a bit frustrating for us so both my husband and I read the book and it made perfect sense to us. My husband was completely on board with it and would even tell anyone who would listen about it.

We decided that with Stella, we would give EC a try. If we could preserve the natural instinct of not wanting to go on herself, surely it would make potty time easier. Perhaps she wouldn’t be so conditioned to go in her diaper that she preferred it. Maybe she would actually care about sitting in a poop diaper. We talked about how we wanted to approach it and formulated a plan and waited for her to be born so we could get started.

Stella is one day shy of three weeks old while I am writing this post. The first two weeks were spent observing her and learning her cues. We learned that when she had to poop she would squirm and grunt then get really still for a butt explosion. Poops are very obvious with her. Pees are much more relaxed. She actually goes a bit limp when she pees. Every time we saw her poop or pee we made the PSSSSS sound so that she could have something to associate with going. At every diaper change we would lay her on a clean pre-fold and give her a couple of minutes to go before putting a clean diaper on her. We would make our PSSSS sounds. During the second week she caught on and began to pee on command if she needed to go. The first time she did it, I went PSSSS, and she turned her head to look at me then she began to pee. I knew she understood and it was so exciting.

On the beginning of the third week, we started holding her over a potty bowl. We were ready since she recognized the cue to go. Holding a newborn over a potty bowl is pretty simple. I put her back against my belly and held her legs in the cups of my hands so that  she is in a seated position. The very first time I did it and went PSSSS she immediately peed. I was so excited I took a picture and called my husband at work to tell him. That night was kind of rough for us. Stella was up for several hours in the middle of the night and I was so tired the next day that I didn’t give her an opportunity to go outside of her diaper. I also didn’t notice that she hadn’t pooped or that her butt crack was red and had a raw spot on it. She was pretty cranky the whole day. When my husband got home he held her and walked around with her and when he went to change her diaper he did put her over the potty bowl. When he PSSSSd, she had a major poop in the bowl, probably the biggest I have seen her do since her meconium poop when she was two days old. She had been holding her poop in. She was either doing it because she didn’t want to go on herself or because she knew that it would burn the raw spot. She had some ‘sharts’ (we are so mature in this house) throughout the day that irritated her so I think she was holding it because she knew it would hurt. Once the poop was out, she relaxed and went back to her normal non-cranky self. It was an amazing immediate difference. Either way, I’m so glad we are doing EC because it saved her some pain by not going in her diaper.

We are approaching EC in a relaxed way. We aren’t going to let it become a stress factor or let it rule our lives. We are going to take an extra few minutes at diaper changes and when we notice she needs to go to give her an opportunity to use the potty bowl. I’m excited about  it and seeing how aware my newborn is of her body functions is quite amazing. I do believe in the value of it and if it helps reduce a little bit of laundry from diapers that I don’t have to wash then that’s an added bonus. Mostly I hope that it helps us to learn to use the potty more easily and effectively and earlier. Karen’s daughter is 17 months old and is nearly potty trained. They have done a great job with it and I hope to follow in their footsteps.

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VBAC Recovery: Better Than I Ever Imagined

Posted on August 7, 2010. Filed under: Cesarean, Vaginal Tear, VBAC inverted t incision |

I knew I didn’t want to have a repeat cesarean unless absolutely necessary. I wanted to VBAC for so many reasons but I now know that my VBAC is even more important and better than I ever imagined. The difference in recovery from an unplanned (and unwanted) c section is so drastically different on so many levels that I had to write a post about it.

The first most obvious difference is physical. I physically feel so much better.  Major abdominal surgery is a much longer recovery than an uncomplicated vaginal birth. I had pain from my c section for over a year. I did have a first degree perineal tear after my VBAC but it wasn’t bleeding so I opted not to have stitches and to instead rest and keep my legs together. The tear took a few days to close, I think about five, but it was only mildly uncomfortable. The worst part of it was that is would sting on occasion if I did too much. Regular cleaning with a peri bottle and limited activity took care of it and it seems to have healed up just fine at two weeks postpartum. Two weeks postpartum after my c section, I could still barely get out of bed unassisted and had to move slowly to avoid pain. It probably didn’t help that I didn’t take the prescribed pain medication but I had a much harder time getting around. I’m really amazed at how good I feel. I knew I’d feel better but the difference is almost indescribable.

Another physical difference is the way my body looks. Part of this is due to the fact that I only gained 30lbs this pregnancy as opposed to the 60lbs I gained when I was pregnant the first time. As of right nowI am only about 10lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight (at two weeks postpartum) and I feel really good about it. My stomach still has the c section flap but I’m strangely ok with it after this pregnancy. A lot of it is a sense of acceptance on my own part. I accept that I’ve had two babies in just over two years. I accept that my first one was a surgical birth and it changed the way I look. After my c section, I felt deformed and disfigured because I developed a flap of fat that now hangs over my underwear. I wouldn’t even let my husband see me completely naked, not once in the more two years that has passed since my c section. After my VBAC I feel like i have given myself permission to stop hating my body. I’m certainly never going to wear a bikini again and I don’t openly walk around naked but I’m done hiding. I don’t feel like I need to any more. My VBAC has given me the confidence to let go and be grateful that I have carried two healthy babies to term and birthed two healthy babies in two very different ways.  My body did some pretty amazing things when it birthed Stella and I can’t be so hard on it anymore. I appreciate that it works and I also appreciate the fact that the flap is a result of my son’s birth. Had he not have been born by c section I would not have the same perspective that I now have.

My labor with Graham was long but not nearly as tiresome or as hard as my labor with Stella. It was long though and I didn’t get much sleep leading into the c section. After the c section, I was so shell shocked by the whole experience that I didn’t get much sleep in the following days. I was absolutely and completely exhausted. I was also so disturbed by the experience that I craved normalcy to the point of going home from the hospital and  cleaning my house. I didn’t allow myself to rest or recover. I felt the need to constantly do something and I didn’t sleep well. Add to that a baby that wanted to nurse every two hours or less round the clock for the first four months of his life and the results are not that great. Since my VBAC, I have been able to get so much more rest. I attribute a portion of this to my body adjusting more easily to the natural changes that occur after a normal birth. The hormonal processes that normally happen during and after a natural vaginal birth happen to help ease both mother and baby from pregnancy to postpartum. I believe my milk coming in just over two days after the VBAC versus six days after my c section are proof of that. I think that the body generally adjusts better when the normal processes happen. It also makes it more real that the baby in front of me is the baby I birthed rather than having my baby brought to me three hours after being lifted out and having a hard to associating him as the same baby that was in me.

Psychologically it all makes sense to me. I birthed Stella. No one delivered her. My husband caught her and passed her to me and I was the first thing she saw. We were not separated and we had an immediate bond. With Graham, the bonding took more time. I feel bad that he didn’t get what Stella has gotten but I do know that he is ok and we are bonded. He is my first born and very special in a different way but Stella’s birth has given me a sense of empowerment that I never had. After this VBAC, I feel like I can do anything.

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Guest Post: Adversity and Breastfeeding

Posted on August 5, 2010. Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: , , |


*Please note, this is a lengthy post to try and convey our breastfeeding experience

Background

I was due to give birth with our first child toward the end of January 2009 and I currently live in South Korea because my husband is in the military. Since I was living “outside of my comfort zone” I didn’t feel prepared to give birth and wanted a little more reinforcement. I was put in touch with a doula that a friend of mine used during her delivery about 5 months prior. After meeting with our doula, Amy, I realized that she was going to aid in my ability to have my baby naturally. I had never even thought about having a baby without the use of pain medication until I reached a certain point in my pregnancy and I thought about how I didn’t even want to take over-the-counter medication that was approved, why did I want to take “a cocktail” of drugs to just give birth.

Short summary of labor and delivery

I was 41 weeks and 1 day when I finally went into labor. I did not want to be induced and I had been monitored on a regular basis to make sure my baby was not under any stress. I spent several hours in a place set-up for expecting mothers that do not live on the army installation where I was going to give birth. I had my husband, Amy, and a doula-in-training, Karen, with me to help me achieve the birth plan that my husband and I set-up. I spent approximately 12 to 14 hours in the alternate location working through my labor before we decided as a group that it was time for me to be admitted to the hospital. I then spent another 14 to 16 hours working through contractions in the hospital. After a total of 30 hours of being in labor, the current doctor came in and told me that I had been in labor for too long and I was not progressing on my own and they had to intervene medically. At that point, I had been through a tough labor because my baby had flipped and was in an OP position several hours prior. My doula’s, husband, and I were all getting exhausted after my lengthy laboring process and once the doctor came into the room and made her statement that I wasn’t going to be able to do it on my own terms, my concentration was broken and I broke down in my husband’s arms. I remember stating to him, “get this baby out of me if she is not going to come out the way I want…NOW!!! I didn’t want to feel another contraction if it wasn’t going to result in the birth that I had discussed and worked for over the past 2 days. I would like to note that if the doctor would not have stopped us I would have probably continued for several more hours because I didn’t want to have drugs or a c-section. Would the outcome changed, I don’t really know. I do know that at the time both the baby and I were still medically okay. I then felt required to allow them to give me an epidural, what other choice did I have, and pitocin to help regulate my contractions and to allow them to “break my water.” I was then allowed to rest for about an hour while the “medical intervention” took effect. I had finally dilated and began to push for a few hours, but my baby stayed at 0 station and was not descending. My husband and I were then faced with the question of if we wanted them to use forceps or a vacuum. Thankfully I was semi-educated, due to my own research and my doula, and I didn’t want something attached to my unborn child’s head, if preventable. We opted for a c-section because it was the safest choice for our baby. In hindsight I wish I would have asked to push for longer since we were both still medically fine. However, I don’t know if I would have been allowed.

Recovery

The recovery following a c-section is very difficult and changes what you anticipate following birth. I was very firm when I told the nursing staff I did not want my baby to have formula or a pacifier after birth, unless medically there was a reason and my husband and I needed to be consulted first. After birth I was separated from my little girl, Sierra, for a little over an hour, but began to “try” my hand at breastfeeding almost the minute I was given her. She latched right on and I was elated to say the least.

This was only the second item on our birth plan that was accomplished. The first was my husband announcing the gender of our baby.

1st Breastfeeding hurdle

Our attending pediatrician came into our room on one occasion to discuss with us his concern because Sierra had not began urinating and it was now a day after her birth. He told us if she didn’t urinate within the next 12 hours she would be transferred to a Korean hospital for additional care and treatment. My mind went into immediate overdrive. I knew that my body was providing Sierra colostrum and it should have been adequate, so I wasn’t worried about her getting the correct nutrition because I knew she was. Amy had helped with the education and I also read a couple of baby books and searched the internet. However, we now had another hurdle. I asked what can we/I do to help this along. I told the pediatrician that I really wanted to continue breastfeeding, but if she needs more liquid in her diet that my body isn’t producing at this point to help her urinate that I was willing to do what she needed so that she didn’t have to leave me. At that point, it was a double-edged sword because if she left she would be given formula anyways because I couldn’t be released yet. He suggested that I nurse Sierra for five minutes and then I let my husband give her formula. We did this every hour for the next three hours and Sierra probably consumed less than 2 ounces of formula the entire time. However, she peed on the nurse while she was being examined 3.5 hours later. A huge relief!!! We were in the clear.

Incision

7 days after the birth of Sierra a portion of my c-section incision opened up. This is one aspect of a c-section that is not publicized and is fairly common. My husband and I were very concerned for my safety because we didn’t know what had just happened. I didn’t feel any pain, but I had a substantial amount of fluid on my clothes, fluid on the seat where I was sitting, and it was still minimally coming out of my incision. We called our medical care provider in our area and were advised that I would be fine and to come in the morning. Just what every new, paranoid mother wants to hear. After seeing the medical team in our area they called my attending OB doctor and we had an appointment with her the following day. We were told this is fairly common, and that we should begin packing it with gauze and changing it twice a day. I also started having medical appointments twice a week at the hospital I delivered at which is over an hour away, one-way. My husband was now my primary provider of the dressing changes. I was still recovering from a c-section, now had an open incision, and was still nursing Sierra exclusively. I did not even let the idea of a bottle and formula into my mind. She was too young and I wanted to prevent the likelihood of nipple confusion. There would be times in the early days of breastfeeding that I would be feeding Sierra and my husband would literally be feeding me food because there was so much going on around us. My husband could not have been a better provider to Sierra or me and still takes care of a lot of my medical issues. I couldn’t have done any of this without him because he took care of her in the early days of her life and my only function in the beginning was to breastfeed.

Over 4 months later we were still changing my dressing and my incision was still not healing. However, I was able to maintain my ability to breastfeed Sierra. In hindsight, it sounds like we didn’t ask enough questions, but we had complete confidence in our current OB. He has been an OB doctor for over 35 years and I am the only case he has EVER seen where the patient did not heal. I also need to note that I was in the United States for a month during this time and I also went to a doctor there and he told us the same things. I just needed more time because a wound takes time to heal. After the OB doctor consulted with many other doctors in his field and in surgery, I was being referred out of the OB area to a surgeon.

Surgery

I had exploratory surgery on my abdomen on June 4. My CT scan did not show anything that was alarming so he had to get in there and see what the problem was. My surgeon removed a rind of tissue that was not allowing me to heal. Prior to my surgery I couldn’t get an answer on the type of anesthetic that was going to be used so that I could continue to breastfeed. Because of this I had to stop breastfeeding Sierra for 24 hours and this broke my heart. I hadn’t stored any milk for her because she refused to take a bottle. She just couldn’t figure it out and my husband tried on numerous occasions with milk that I had pumped. This is when our breastfeeding journey begins to get very difficult for me, Sierra, and my husband. My husband had to take care of our baby who had been nursing on her mom for the past 4 months and try a bottle. At that point we had tried almost every nipple known to man to see if she would take one and my husband had to feed her with a syringe the first few days. Then we began getting nipples that are used for newborns in the hospital because she could figure those out. Throughout my 22 day hospital stay there were many instances when I had to pump out milk that Sierra should not have because of the medication that I was given. She began to take the formula from my husband, Kevin, and it broke my heart, but I was happy she adjusted so quickly. My milk supply was no longer what it used to be, but my baby stayed loyal. She still latched on right away every morning when she can to my room. This was a very difficult time for me because this was a bond with my daughter that I wasn’t ready to give up yet, but I didn’t know what else to do. It still brings tears to my eyes to even think about my time in the hospital. After 22 days in the hospital I no longer had a sufficient milk supply for Sierra and we even started her on vegetables a little over a month earlier than I wanted. Sierra still wasn’t a huge fan of formula and I thought at least she is getting nourishment from me, formula, and vegetables.

Back Home

By the time we were released from the hospital we had finally found a nipple that she could figure out. By figuring out I mean she could still use her breastfeeding latch and the formula would still come out. I continued to breastfeed Sierra and I wanted my milk supply back and was even given information from Amy on how to make this happen, but after I thought about it, I couldn’t let myself stress about the formula anymore. Our days were still very stressful because I had/have doctor appointments that are an hour drive one way from where we live two to three times a week. Plus, I am still attached to a wound VAC that I have to carry around because it is attached via cords to my open wound. I needed to make peace with myself that she was still getting some breastmilk and I needed to come to terms with the fact that she may wean herself off breastfeeding before I wanted because of our circumstances. I was also being faced with the good possibility that I may have to undergo another surgery and I couldn’t put Sierra or my husband through that painful transition again from breastfeeding to formula because I wasn’t ready. As of today, August 4th, I am still recovering and Sierra is a little over 6 months old. I still have an open wound and a slight possibility of another surgery, but Sierra is back to breastfeeding exclusively and formula is not a part of her nutrition as of yesterday, but she still enjoys her veggies daily. When I began to realize the little amount of formula she was actually taking I began to get really excited. The one thing I did do to help increase my milk supply was to keep her at my breast for longer to help with stimulation if she was nursing/sleeping on me.

If my story can influence anyone to push pass the physical pain that you may feel in the first few weeks or adversity you might be facing, I am happy to share.

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