Sunday, March 7, 2010


ok, i suck. a lot. i just realized i haven't posted anything in over 6 months! i'm promising to do better from now on, so here's my first entry in my new attempt. this is the story of what happened after trevor was born that made it necessary for me to pump for him:

trevor was born june 7, 2007, at 41 weeks, 1 day. i'd known since before he was conceived that i wanted to breastfeed my kids, so my first reaction when they laid him on my chest was to nurse him. i couldn't get him to latch. the nurse couldn't get him to latch. they called in the hospital's lc, and SHE couldn't get him to latch. he had low blood sugar, so they gave him a bottle of formula when i'd tried, for an hour, to latch him w/out success.

during our 2 day hospital stay, i tried again and again, with varying degrees of success. my nipples were red and raw, blistered and bleeding. i cried every time i was able to get him to latch b/c it hurt SO MUCH! but i was willing to do it b/c i knew it was best for my baby and everyone said it would hurt for a while. like an idiot, i believed them.

we went home when trevor was 2 days old. on the way home, he started crying b/c he was hungry, so we stopped at a friend's house so i could try to nurse him. he wouldn't latch. my friend tried to help me, but she couldn't get him to do it either. she was baffled - she'd nursed 4 kids successfully and never had a problem like this!

we got home and another friend came over to try to help, again with no success. while she was w/ me, my husband went to the airport to pick up my mom. neither of them were able to help me either. in the meantime, we were giving the baby formula, so my mom suggested stopping the formula to force him into nursing. so that's what we did.

my milk came in that night and the baby would. NOT. NURSE! i became impossibly engorged and it HURT. trevor was hungry, so he wouldn't sleep, but he wouldn't nurse either. i knew the only way to relieve the pressure was to get the milk out, so i tried the manual pump i'd gotten second hand. it didn't work. i called the pediatrician because it was 4am and i hadn't slept in 21 hours, my baby wouldn't stop crying, and i couldn't get him to eat anything. the doc on call said to go buy a pump asap, pump, and get some rest. after all, my mom and husband were there, so why was i the one awake all night w/ a baby?

when the store opened, my husband was there buying a new pump for me. i told him he'd better be there as they were unlocking the doors b/c i was in so much pain i couldn't sleep. when he got home, i tore the box apart and pumped w/out bothering to sterilize anything. i was desperate. i got maybe 1 oz. from both sides combined, but it was enough to relieve the pain and get some sleep. while i rested, my mom and husband gave the baby some more formula.

after that horrible first night home, he started nursing a little bit. he's latch on, i'd cringe and cry while he sucked for a while, then we'd both be exhausted and fall asleep. this repeated every few hours for the first week.

on friday morning, when trevor was 8 days old, my mom flew home and my husband went back to work. i gave my son a bath in the morning, snuggled w/ him, and nursed him throughout the day. he took a few naps, and i thought to myself, "i can do this. it's getting better."

it was 2pm, and it'd been almost 3 hours since he'd nursed, so i tried to wake him up. he refused. i tried the things the nurses at the hospital has suggested - tap the bottoms of his feet, undress him, change his diaper, rub him tummy. nothing worked. i called my mom, who is an emt, and asked for more suggestions. she had me try cold water on his feet and a light sternum rub. he barely flinched. i was beside myself w/ fear b/c i couldn't get him to wake up! my husband came home for his "lunch" break during swing shift around 4pm and saw me crying on the phone w/ my mom. when i told him what was going on, he said to call the doctor.

when i got in touch w/ the on-call doc, they started asking me about his schedule - when was the last time he ate? is he normally hard to wake? did he have a fever? when was his last wet diaper? that last question was what clinched it - he hadn't peed since his bath that morning at 8am. i knew b/c he peed on ME and though i'd checked his diaper several times during the day, it never needed to be changed. they said to go to the emergency room IMMEDIATELY.

i grabbed my pump, the diaper bag, and some food for myself and my husband got the rest of the night off, then we rushed to the hospital we'd left only days before. when the triage nurses saw him in my arms, unconscious, they brought us to a room and immediately pulled a doctor in to see our little boy.

they asked the same questions the on-call pediatrician had asked, plus a few others. i told them about his latching issues and how it hurt so much when he did. they decided to run some tests to figure out what was wrong w/ him.

when they tried to get a needle in him to draw blood, he FINALLY reacted - it took myself, my husband, and 3 nurses to hold him down! they drew the blood they needed and sent it to the lab to be tested. the lab called back and said to redraw the blood b/c there was no serum in his blood. so we all held him down again for another blood draw. the same thing happened w/ this sample - no serum. the doc said to run the tests on what they had.

when the results came back, we were shocked - he was severely dehydrated and jaundiced. his billirubin level was 26! 18 is considered critical and needs to be hospitalized. the doc told us if we'd waited any longer, he would have needed a blood transfusion!

trevor's pediatrician was called w/ the results and they ordered an iv and billi lights. we were taken to a room in the pediatric wing and told to weigh all diapers we changed and to keep trying to nurse him, weighing him before and after each feeding.

in the morning, they sent a lactation consultant to work w/ us again, but to no avail. they said he'd been latching incorrectly the whole last week, which was why he was so dehydrated and why i was in so much pain. the 3rd day we were in the hospital, when trevor was 10 days old, he was still losing weight from his birth weight. he weighed 9 lbs., 8 oz. at birth. at 10 days old, he weighed exactly 8 lbs. it was at that point that the doctor said he needed to have a bottle, and that my only choice was what to put in it - i could pump and give him breastmilk that way, or i could throw in the towel and give him formula.

so i started pumping. i was devastated that i couldn't get my baby to nurse, but i knew this was best for all of us. my nipples could heal from the trauma they'd endured that first week, and more importantly, my child would be getting the nutrition he so desperately needed.

i was lucky w/ pumping; my body responded well to it. when trevor was 6 weeks old, i was making 60 oz. daily! he had formula for the first month because his docs said he needed the extra calories b/c he'd lost so much weight, but after that, he only had breastmilk until it was time to wean. i continued to produce about double what he needed until i weaned at 10 1/2 months - i had stored enough in the freezer so that he had breastmilk until he was 13 months old AND i'd been lucky enough to donate over 4000 oz. privately to other moms in need. i suffered 2 bouts of mastitis and a never-ending round of thrush (it lasted for just over 5 months), and went through 2 pumps and thousands of breastmilk storage bags. it was the single hardest thing i've ever had to do.

it was ALL worth it. trevor is now a happy, healthy, intelligent, wonderful little boy who is about to turn 3. he is an awesome big brother to my second son, scott, w/ whom i'm lucky enough to be able to have the nursing relationship i'd always dreamed of. trevor understands how important "mommy milk" is - he's excited for scott to nurse and likes to sit w/ me on the rare occasions that i choose to pump, pointing at the milk in the bottles, telling me all about the "mommy milk" that will go to his baby brother. sometimes, he'll even tell me when scott needs to nurse and i don't realize it. everything we went through during that first week and a half was worth it b/c of who he is now. :)