Sep 272012

After a well needed hiatus from discussing birth, I’m back to thinking about it.

In fact I’m thinking about it a lot.

I have baby fever big time.

That doesn’t mean that I’m completely “over” losing Baby #3, or that I’ve forgotten, or that I’m trying to ignore or make up for anything. It simply means, I’m ready to hold and cuddle another baby.

Jaron is officially potty-trained, and not quite officially weaned, but practically there. He’ll be two on November 3rd. That’s a month + less than a week away.  He’s turned into such a little boy at this point that some days I have a hard time seeing my “baby” boy in him at all, and he’s only growing faster as each day goes by.

So, Baby #4.

We’re waiting. My midwife encouraged us to give my body a cycle to recover before we start TTC, so I’m anxiously awaiting the return of AF so we can stop this whole pregnancy prevention thing.

We’ve never tried to prevent a pregnancy really, not at all when Aedyn came along. When he was born I went on the mini pill because I didn’t want another baby within the year, but I stopped those about the time that Aedyn turned 5 months old. Breastfeeding worked well for us and I didn’t get pregnant with Jaron until Aedyn was mostly weaned.

Jaron nursed during the night for so long and delayed the return of my fertility that we were actually getting frustrated about how long it was taking to get pregnant.

Now we have to actively prevent, I guess that “have to” is pretty strong, but we do trust our midwife and believe that this is the best thing for my body. But it’s been difficult. I drag emotional baggage to bed with us, as I’m reminded that no, tonight won’t be a night where I might wake up pregnant;  and feel a twang of grief and anger and guilt and sadness and longing for the reason why I won’t be.

Average return of cycle after a miscarriage is 4 – 6 weeks, it’s been 4…come on hormones, do your job, let my life resume it’s normal state, let me move on.

Aug 222012

I mentioned on Monday that this last week has been horrible.

But up until today there was still hope. Still a chance that things would turn out differently than the odds said they should.

Today I was officially diagnosed with a missed miscarriage.

I should be 10 weeks pregnant. I should be happily announcing via some Star Warsy method that we’re expecting Baby #3 at the end of March. I should be.

But I’m not.

I’m sitting on the couch wondering if these odd pangs I’m feeling are nerves, stress, or if it’s my body finally catching up to what happened 3 or so weeks ago.

I had an ultrasound last week, the baby measured 7 weeks, but we couldn’t find a heart beat. The nurse who did the ultrasound wasn’t really sure what she was looking at because it wasn’t something she’d seen before. She started throwing out things like twins, disappearing twin, and possible superfetation with the loss of a baby.

We hoped and a prayed all week long that she was wrong, that she missed something. That everything was ok, rarity, unusual, or not. That today there would be a glaring heartbeat, or two.

But there wasn’t a heartbeat and there wasn’t any growth. My sweet baby died without ever having a chance to live.

I did find out that nothing weird or rare was going on, what the nurse was seeing was just a subchrionic bleed and is what probably caused the miscarriage in the first place. And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I have some relief and peace knowing the I’m normal, my body didn’t do something rare or weird or worthy of a medical article.

I would do almost anything to have my baby back. To not have to go through what the next few days or weeks will bring while I wait.

I don’t know why this happened. I don’t know what good will come of it. I don’t know what the plan is. And to be brutally honest I don’t care.

7 days, 7 weeks, 7 months, 7 years…this was my baby and now my littlest one is gone. I will grieve and I will remember. I will cry, probably a lot.

And I will take care of my boys, and I will keep going. We will have another baby, a baby that will never in our hearts or minds be known as our third child. Because that position has been and will always be filled by a little one who I carried, loved, talked to, and prayed for. Who was due to make his or her appearance March 20th, 2013.

Jul 132011

I’ve had this post sitting in draft since February 21st. I’ve come back to it multiple times, but this is the first where I’m not in tears or angry about how things are going. Now I’m talking about the issue instead of just incoherently venting about the frustration. Please know that I’m not bashing Lactation Consultants as a whole, I think it’s a wonderful profession and doesn’t have the regard or the influence that it should have. However, I am talking about my experiences; which were less than stellar. I think if there were more demand for LC services then, by sheer experience, the LCs I have come in contact with would have been better equipped to handle my particular problems. I hope that my negative experiences will not steer women away from using an LC, but encourage them to ask for second opinions and keep looking for answers until a problem is dealt with. I also hope that if I have problems with future children that I will not allow these experiences to keep me from asking for help.

First nursing

My experience with Lactation Consultants (LCs) has not been a good. I’ve seen or talked to 3 different women and none of them were able to help in any way, any of the time. One of them even honestly told me that I was so well informed that I could probably do her job. I’ve visited my local La Leche League meeting and at my first meeting was answering more questions more thoroughly than the leaders. I’ve researched a lot I’ve read books, googled my mind out, watched videos. But either I’m weird or women with similar problems are keeping their mouth shut. Or like me, told that what they’re experiencing was part of the process. Or unlike me, giving up breastfeeding.

When Aedyn was born we made our first attempt less than 20 minutes after he appeared. I didn’t wait for help, I wanted to try it myself without interference from someone telling me how it “should” be done. The first try he didn’t have his mouth open very far, so, like I’d read, I pulled back before he could latch and tried again. The second time it was perfect, except I didn’t realize that newborns were directly related to Dyson vacuums. The nurses in the room were shocked and told me that they’d never seen a newborn latch so well, so quickly.

I had asked for a visit by an LC once I was settled, but she didn’t come until the next day, other than fussing at me for trying to nurse during the night without turning the light on (which she only knew because we’d missed the nipple and the mini Dyson had left a huge hickey on me) she didn’t have any tips and then tried to pile pillows around me that made me sit in uncomfortable positions and made it hard for Aedyn to get comfortable and stay latched. It was painfully obvious that she’d never had experience with someone who was a cup size L-M (yup, that’s me) and didn’t realize that I need different positions than “normal”. So after she left I just felt like it was a waste of time.

The next day her supervisor came in. This lady called Aedyn and I her best students. Umm, really? Because I’ve never seen you before, your associate didn’t help and just tried to make things difficult. I did my own research and learning, latched my baby on without help and was successfully nursing him without instruction or helpful input from anyone. Ok, lady, yeah, your best students, right. But I did ask her for help, I wanted to know if there were any positions for large breasted women that I could try, especially since I had had an urgent c-section and really couldn’t nursing side-lying because I couldn’t roll over or get up from that position without some intense abdominal pain. Nope. Nothing that I didn’t already know.  So my second question, I’m feeling a lot of pain when he nurses today, throughout the entire feeding. She checked his latch, he was fine, so I must just have sensitive nipples and need to just “get used to it”.

Thanks to Google I found positions that worked great for me and even more that made my life considerably easier.

Nursed out at 4 months

But the pain, the pain didn’t get any better. I didn’t “get used to it”. I called back and was told if his latch was fine and he was gaining weight/having appropriate diapers then it was just me being too sensitive. (Just a note: I have an extremely high tolerance for pain, I managed to recover from a c-section on nothing more than Motrin and even with the Motrin I was in tears every time Aedyn nursed until he was over 3 months old.) I would pump bottles for him when things got too bad just so I’d get a break for a feeding. He was gaining great and diapers were never a problem. I honestly answered other mom’s and our pediatrician’s questions when I was asked how it was going, but I guess they didn’t really understand how excruciating the pain really was. After about 3 months the pain faded and then finally disappeared. Aedyn and I went on to have a wonderful and very successful breastfeeding relationship until he was 13 months old, when I got pregnant with his brother and he weaned. I probably could have encouraged him to nurse longer, but it made me irritable and fidgety and my nipples were really tender again; all of which was normal and I kind of expected. So while weaning saddened me some, overall I was ok with it, and seemed to be too.

I didn’t find out until Aedyn was 2 what was causing that pain we had at the beginning, it was in a small paragraph in the troubleshooting section of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. He was tongue-tied. We knew that of course, and had chosen not to do anything at birth because it was a mild case, he was eating and gaining fine. We didn’t see the point of a procedure that he wasn’t really medically necessary until it became a problem. We decided that we would have the tie clipped if it seemed like it was ever interfering with his speech. Which it isn’t. What it did do was cause his tongue to not stick out quite as far as it should and rub against my nipple every time he sucked.

No one with medical/lactation training either knew or thought to mention this possibility, even though everyone knew he was tongue-tied. I didn’t know how to communicate the extent of the pain I had and when I mentioned it I felt like I was being whiny and a baby about it from everyone’s responses.

If I weren’t stubborn to a fault, and even more if we’d been able to afford formula, I don’t know if I would have kept nursing after the first four weeks. But we didn’t have the money. Breastfeeding was not an option for me, it was a necessity; so I made it work and I’m so glad I did! After that first 3 months, it was worth every minute!

Stick around for the next couple of blogs in this series about positions that I found that worked and then the new and different types of issues that Jaron and I had, why I still don’t like LCs, and how we’re doing now!

Share your thoughts and comments and then come join me on Google+, Facebook, and/or Twitter so you don’t miss any of the posts in this series!

Also check out my thoughts on Nursing In Public and How to Make Your Own Nursing Bra.


Jul 082011

Yup, it’s highly likely that you have this superpower too (even most dads have this superpower although it tends to be to a lesser extent than the mom version). Thank your hormones for that! A few weeks ago I had been fighting a migraine all day. I finally got both boys to sleep and sat down with my nightly PopTart and milk. By this point the migraine is raging and nothing was working to tame it. Of course, Aedyn woke up crying about 45 minutes later. I hauled myself into his room and picked him up. Immediately my migraine disappeared.
Aedyn had a fever, and a decently high one at that. I worked for the next hour and a half getting him cooled down enough to sleep and then back to bed. That migraine did not come knocking the whole time. It got me thinking, so I did a little hunting around to see if what I’d experienced was normal. Here’s your physiology lesson ~ When your baby or child cries, Mommy’s body releases a hormone called prolactin, this is the hormone primarily responsible for “mommy intuition.” In and of itself it can work as a painkiller, but it also triggers the release of oxytocin as you respond to your child by nursing or otherwise. Oxytocin is a bonding hormone, it’s what signals your breasts to let down milk, is responsible for the feeling of being in love, and can be triggered simply by cuddling and caring for your child. Oxytocin is also a natural painkiller. Add this to the stress hormone cortisol, toss in a little adrenaline and you are ready to slam through brick walls and take on a grizzly bear! Ok, maybe the hormone rush isn’t quite that good; but it is enough to get you through a crisis and get your baby taken care of. So it’s official, you ARE Supermom, and your body helps make that happen! Talk about a pair being made for one another! Follow me on Facebook or Twitter so you don’t miss out on any of the Milk Bubbles that just might make your day that much more special!